The peninsula of Crimea has become in the focus of attention in February 2014 and for many, that is also the moment that the history of Crimea started. A part of Ukraine and suddenly occupied and annexed by force by the Russian Federation, where Ukrainians and Tatars used to live in peace until Russia came. At least, that is what Main Stream Media wants us to believe and shockingly high amounts of people actually do believe. On the question where, if this would be true, suddenly all those ethnic Russian citizens of Crimea came from, in most case the answer is “those are retired Russian service men with their families, they don’t belong on Crimea”. Given the fact that the fast majority of the Crimean population is ethnically Russian, that would add up to an amount of retired service men and families that by far exceeds the manning of the Black Sea Fleet stationed at Crimea.
The true Russian roots of Crimea start in 1783, when the Crimean Khanate fell to the Russian Empire, after centuries of occupation by many, including Bulgars, Khazars, Kipchaks, the “Golden Horde”, and period of ruling by the Ottoman Empire. Just to put this in historical perspective:
- Canada was founded much later in 1867
- The USA declared independence just years earlier in 1776 and had their independence war still ahead of them.
- Germany as we now know it and as it pulled the world into World Wars which also raged on Crimea, was founded even later than Canada, in 1871.
- Ukraine as we now know it, was still to be founded by the Soviet Union in the 20th Century and in this historical time frame divided in different states and part of different empires, including The Ottoman Empire, The Polish Kingdom, The Austro-Hungarian Empire and even Lithuania, with a small Cossack Republic which disappeared as fast as it emerged.
- Belgium, later a ruler of parts of Africa and beneficiary of the aftermath of the Crimean War, was founded in 1830.
- The Netherlands has a longer history as Nation and attempts to destroy this nation since 1648.
This is the historical scenery in which Crimea became part of the Russian Empire, and thereby also became ground on which the Russian Empire was attacked by its enemies, mainly European. The Russian Empire, now in form control of the northern part of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea and their coast lines, posed a threat to the interest of the British Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Not only by increasing its influence in the region but also by blocking the only land route to the Asian part of the British Empire. Therefor, in 1853, the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Russian Empire and attacked the city of Sevastopol for its strategic harbor.
When the Ottoman Empire suffered a serious defeat, the British Empire, France and Sardinia joined the Ottoman Empire in an attempt to conquer Crimea to control the Black Sea and its coast lines. The city and harbor of Sevastopol were the first objective of this Alliance against the Russian Empire, for which large battles were fought with defeat and victory changing rapidly on both sides. The Alliance made another charge on Sevastopol and urged the Commander of the Russian defenders to surrender the city. His reply was historical, especially for the Crimeans: “The Russian Empire does not surrender its cities to enemies” and many historians say that this laid the foundation for the name “City of Hero’s” which Sevastopol so proudly carries.
The Alliance started a yearlong siege combined with relentless shelling by artillery from land and sea. 2/3rd of the city and its population was destroyed by the Alliance and what was left fell in the hands of the conquerors. Other cities attacked and for large parts destroyed by mainly French and British Expeditionary Forces where Balaklava, Kamish, Eupatoria, Kerch, Jenikale, Kinburn. Many Tatars on the peninsula with their strong alliance with the Ottoman Empire, joined forces with the Alliance and specialized in scouting and sabotage of the Russian defenders of the cities under attack. The Alliance paid a high price for their expeditions against the Russian cities and harbors, of which “the charge of the Light Brigade” is a famous example. Another famous example of the forgotten history of the European Empires attacking the Russian Empire on Crimea is the famous nurse Florence Nightingale, who wrote the majority of her famous letters, analyses and recommendations from the battlefields of Crimea during the Crimean War against the Russian Empire.
In 1856, a peace treaty was signed between The Russian Empire, The British Empire, France and the Ottoman Empire and the occupied cities of Sevastopol, Balaklava, Kamish, Eupatoria, Kerch, Jenikale, Kinburn were returned to the Russian Empire. This treaty shaped nowadays Europe far more than the Russian Revolution, both World Wars and the Soviet Union did together. As a result of the new power balance in Europe and the middle East, The Austro-Hungarian Empire fell apart, the German Empire was created, the Ottoman Empire lost its power base and transferred into modern and prosperous Turkey with a strong alliance with Russia. Not being able to defeat the Russian Empire but wasting fast resources in trying to do so and at the same time loosing control over the “american colonies”, The British Empire quickly downsized towards the United Kingdom which nowadays still struggles to be seen as a power of influence in the international theater of politics.
With all this dynamics in the European Power following the Crimean War, there is a stable factor at the peninsula in the Black Sea. The Russian roots of the majority of the population and their strong bond with their loved and respected Motherland. The cities, attacked and destroyed by foreign Expeditionary Forces and defended by Russian Armed Forces, have a bond with Mother Russia which exceeds every authority which any treaty or resolution will ever have.
Less than 90 years after the Crimean War, Crimea was once again attacked, now by Nazi Germany and the Russian population once again became the victim and target of a foreign occupier which was actively supported by the alliance and collaboration of Crimean Tatars. And once again, the Crimean Russian population paid a high price for this aggression against them, occupied during a war against Russia and the Soviet Union, and as being part of Russia and the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany, and its Allies Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Italia once again attacked Sevastopol for its strategic harbor and after a first failed attempt started the second yearlong siege in the history of the city, combined with heavy indiscriminate bombardments.
The Soviet Forces fought literally until the last man to defend the cities of Crimea, first and foremost Sevastopol. The city fell into the hands of Nazi forces and quickly thereafter the rest of Crimea. In revenge of its loses to occupy Crimea and the battle which took a year, where other parts of the Soviet Union have been captured prior to this according to the “Blitz Krieg” model, Nazi Germany and its Allies started a campaign of terror against the Russian population of Crimea. Sevastopol was punished heavily, even for Nazi standards, for its resistance and refusal to surrender. Once again, Sevastopol refused to surrender like it refused to do so when attacked in the prior century.
The Nazi occupation lasted until 1944 and with the approaching Soviet Army, Nazi Germany decided to defend and when needed destroy Sevastopol and its ports to slowdown the rapidly progressing Soviet forces. Russian Partisans throughout the Crimean Peninsula, attacked the Nazi forces and their Tatar allies in preparation of the long awaited liberation by the Soviet Army. Liberated in May of 1944, Sevastopol was the “last stand” of Nazi Germany and its Allies on Crimea.
The Defenders of Sevastopol are remembered throughout Crimea and the Russian Federations until these days for their heroic defense of Russian territory and population.
Monuments commemorate memories and history all over the world. The monuments for the Defenders of Sevastopol are seen on Crimea as moments for the Defenders of entire Crimea against attackers of Mother Russia, the beloved Motherland of the majority of the population. Crimeans have fought to defend their Motherland and many have lost their lives to defend their Motherland.
When modern Russians say that Crimea is sacred to Russia, that still does not match to which extend Russia is sacred to the Crimean Russians. Sacred from the moment Russia defended Crimea against foreign aggressors centuries ago and continued to do so in the second wave of aggression in the 20th century. In its desire to be a Russian Republic in the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation, Crimea has declared itself part of Russia 4 times in the 20th Century and finally achieved this heartfelt desire in the 21st Century.
Besides this historical right and desire of Crimea to be home with Mother Russia, there are also legal considerations on which I will publish in the near future. These legal considerations are important but still are of secondary importance compared to the wish and desire of the population of Crimea.
This is my first prelude to pleading the case for Crimea, for the right of self-determination, for the right of undoing failures by the Soviet Union for which the population of Crimea have no blame. This prelude and all future posting on this topic, are also my way of expressing my gratitude that my family and friend on Crimea have not become the new Defenders of Sevastopol and the beautiful peninsula and its fantastic population was spared the devastating war which is now destroying the south-eastern parts of Ukraine.
Dedicated to my parents who fell in love on Crimea, my aunt still living on Crimea, my friends living on Crimea, Robin Monotti who inspired me to publish about Crimea away from my normal occupational scientific writings and to all those people who celebrate their Russian Nationality on Crimea.