Published time: February 27, 2014 04:51
Edited time: March 02, 2014 19:57
With its multinational society and a long history of conquests, the Crimean Peninsula has always been a crossroads of cultures – and a hotbed of conflicts. Amid Ukrainian turmoil, every ethnic group of Crimeans has its own vision of the region’s future.
What is Crimea?
Now known as Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the picturesque peninsula shooting out into Black Sea from mainland Ukraine was for centuries colonized and conquered by historic empires and nomadic tribes. Greeks, Scythians, Byzantians and the Genoese have all left traces of their presence in Crimean archeological sites and placenames.
The City of Sevastopol on the Black Sea shore, the Crimea.(RIA Novosti / Igor Mikhalev)
The Russian Empire annexed the territory of Crimea in the last quarter of the 18th century, after a number of bloody wars with the Ottoman Empire.
As part of the 1774 Kuchuk-Kainarji peace treaty the Crimean Khanate, previously subordinate to Ottomans and notorious for its brutal and perpetual slave raids into East Slavic lands, aligned itself with Russia. Soon Empress Catherine the Great abolished the Crimean Khanate, giving them a historic Greek name of Taurida.
Soviet citizens got to know Crimea as an “all-Union health resort,” with many of those born in the Soviet Union sharing nostalgic memories of children’s holiday camps and seaside.