Communicating with the ordinary citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and discussing with them the development of the latest events in Ukraine, particularly the results of the aggressive annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by the Russian Federation, unfortunately I have learned that as a result of Russian propaganda in Cyprus, majority of them believe in myth that Crimea “historically was the territory of Russia, which in 1954 was taken away from it and was presented to Ukraine as a gift by Mr. Nikita Khrushchev, Ukrainian in nationality, the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of that times”. It is unfair with regard to the history at least, because this ungrounded information, which was imposed by the Russian party, has nothing in common with the reality of the events of those times.
Let me on the basis of the real archive documentary materials of the former USSR, a part of which were both Ukraine and Russia, to try to disprove this unfounded information and restore the historical truth.
First of all, I would like to underline that during the Soviet era the initiative to transfer Crimea from Russia to Ukraine, which both was independent republics within the USSR, belonged to the Russian party. And this initiative as well as its implementation was fully legal.
Particularly, on February 5, 1954 exactly the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) – the Russian supreme state institution of that times, issued a Decree d. no.: 712 “On transition of the Crimea region from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic” (the UkrSSR), signed by the head of the Bureau Mr. M.Tarasov and its Secretary Mr. I.Zimin. With the mentioned above Decree, the Bureau decided to submit the proposal to the approval of the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the USSR which was the highest collegial state institution of the USSR. The main motive of the decision was nothing else then “shared economy, territorial closeness as well as close economical and cultural ties between the Crimea region and the UkrSSR”. The original copy of this document you may find near the article.
At the same time, on February 13, 1954 the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the UkrSSR by its Decree “Regarding the issue of the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the RSFSR concerning the transfer of the Crimea region to UkrSSR”, which was signed by the head of the Bureau Mr. D.Korotchenko and its Secretary Mr. V.Nizhnyk, supported this initiative and officially asked the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the USSR to approve the transfer of the territory of Crimea.
After long and detailed debates by the members of the supreme institutions of RSFSR and UkrSSR, on February 19, 1954, the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the USSR on its meeting with the participation of the representatives from the Russian, Ukrainian and Crimea sides had issued a Decree “On transfer of the Crimea region from the RSFSR toUkrSSR”, which was signed by the head of the Bureau Mr. K.Voroshylov and its Secretary Mr. M.Pegov. The Decree approved the legal transfer of the Crimea region from the RSFSR to UkrSSR “considering the shared economy, territorial closeness as well as close economical and cultural ties between the Crimea region and the UkrSSR”.
Starting from February 19, 1954, Crimea legally obtained the full membership in the UkrSSR and, later on, got a status of the Autonomous Republic due to the results of the referendum on independence of Ukraine held in 1991.
Secondly, concerning the unfounded statements of some Russian politicians and diplomats with reference to the “historical affiliation” of Crimea to Russia, I would like to underline that Crimea has a very rich historical heritage. Particularly, every Greek or Cypriot person knows about the ancient Greek settlement named Chersonesus, which was founded by the colonial Greeks in 300-200 BC. Besides, historically Crimea belonged to Goths, Huns, Venetians, Bulgars, Slavics, Tatars, Turks and to many more other commonalties. Russians invaded Crimea for the first time as a result of Russian-Turkish War in 1873. That is why the mentioned above unfounded statements of the Russian politicians are totally absurd.
Considering the mentioned above, we can make the following conclusions:
1. The transfer of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine was fully legal, in accordance with the provisions of the legislation of the USSR, as a result of discussion of the issue by the members of the highest collegial state body of the USSR.
2. The initiative to transfer the Crimea from RSFSR to UkrSSR belonged to Russian side and not Ukrainian one.
3. In 1954, the Russian in nationality Mr. K.Voroshylov, but not Mr. N.Khrushchev, held the position of the head of the Bureau of the Supreme Council of the USSR and could influence on the decision. Mr. N.Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR, was not directly involved to the issue.
4. The main reasons for the transfer of the territory of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 were not “the friendly attitude of Ukrainian Mr. N.Khrushchev towards UkrSSR”, but pragmatic and well-grounded causes as the shared economy, territorial closeness as well as close economical and cultural ties between the Crimea and Ukraine.
I am sure that after this simple historical excursus in the history of the USSR, the Cypriots will not doubt further on the issue of the legitimacy of transfer of the territory of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine in 1954. Besides, I am sure of that after publication of the article no one will believe in another myth of Russian propaganda on “democratic” separation Crimea from Ukraine and its accession to the Russian Federation as a result of so called illegal “referendum” held on March 16, 2014 under the military pressure by the so called “green men” and against of all provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. “The referendum”, the results of which were impossible to count.