Why did Russia annex Crimea?

In February and further in March of 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. On March 16, in a disputed referendum that Ukraine and the West claimed as illegal, a part of the Crimean population chose to separate from Ukraine. On March 18, Russian and Crimean leaders signed a pact in Moscow to join the region to Russia.

The peninsula of Crimea became part of the Russian Empire after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate in 1783. After the collapse of the empire, the territory came under the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic till 1954. Meanwhile a series of short-lived independent Crimean governments emerged during the Russian Civil War, and the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was later established. It became part of the Russian Soviet later on.

The status of the Crimean Soviet as an autonomous entity was downgraded to that of a federal unit of Russia in 1946. In 1954, the Crimean Oblast (administrative unit) was transferred from the Russian Soviet to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The autonomous status of Crimea was confirmed again with the ratification of the Constitution of Ukraine in 1996. The constitution termed Crimea as the “Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” with a clause that it is an “inseparable constituent part of Ukraine”.

But the status of Crimea as an autonomous Ukrainian entity gave rise to tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Russia argued that it has a historical claim over the Crimean territory and its inhabitants, which can be traced back to the Russian Empire.

It is important to know the fact that there are a noticeable number of pro-Russian individuals in the Crimean territory. Demographically, the population is composed mainly of ethnic Russians along with significant Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict of 2014 came up due to Euromaidan protests and unrest that followed this event. Russia took the situation in Ukraine as a chance to invade and annex Crimea forever.

Masked Russian troops without insignia took over the Super Council of Crimea on 27 February 2014 and occupied other strategic sites across the peninsula.

Picture Credit : Google

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *