1. Crimea was a part of a number of ancient Russian principalities in the 10th–11th centuries and the Russian presence and activities in Crimea and adjacent lands were so extensive that the Arab geographers of that time preferred to call the Black See as “the Russian Sea.”
  2. The territory of Crimea was returned to Russia by the Peace Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji signed with Turkey on 10 July 1774 and the Russian sovereign rights over Crimea were finally confirmed by the Peace Treaty of Yassi of 29 December 1791.
  3. The territory of Crimea and the adjacent lands forming the Region of Taurida were developed mainly by the Russian population. Therefore, it was often designated in the documents and maps of the 18th–19th centuries as “Novorossiya” (or New Russia). Crimea was not part of Malorossiya (Small Russia) which is forming the basic axis of modern Ukraine, including the territories of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Poltava and some other regions of Ukraine.
  4. After the disintegration of the Russian Empire in 1917, no part of the territory of Crimea belonged to the independent Ukrainian state formations, such as the Ukrainian National Republic and the Ukrainian Derzhava (State) which preceded the formation of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, one of the founding states of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1922.
  5. During the Civil war, the territory of Crimea was proclaimed as an integral part of Russia by all governments which had been replacing each other, including the Soviet Socialist Republic of Taurida and the Crimean Soviet Socialist Republic. Later, on 18 October 1921, it was transformed into the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and in 1945 into the Crimean oblast (region) remaining in the composition of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
  6. In 1954 the Crimean region was separated from Russia and transferred to another member state of the Union – the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This process was launched on the initiative of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist party of the Soviet Union in January 1954 and was “stamped” in less than 5 months by the acts of state organs of the Soviet Union and both soviet republics in violation of the constitutional norms existing at that time. This gross violation of the principles of legality or the rule of law did not become the subject of any disputes which may be explained not only by the inevitable repressions which were waiting anybody who dared to oppose even arbitrary decisions of the totalitarian regime, but also by the undisputable fact that the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine was carried out within a single state in which actually there were no internal borders, there was a single citizenship and there were uniform laws throughout the entire Soviet Union.
  7. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the legitimacy of these acts was repeatedly questioned by the Russian authorities. The Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation adopted a Resolution dated 21 May 1992 No. 2809-1 “On Legal Assessment of Decisions of the Supreme Bodies of State Power of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Concerning the Change of the Status of Crimea, as Adopted in 1954” according to which all legal acts pertaining to the transfer of the Crimean region to Ukraine were recognized as having no legal force from the moment of their adoption (para. 1). This act of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation remains in full legal force for the Russian Federation till the present day. In substantiating the aforesaid decision it was emphasized that the separation of the part of the Russian Federation and its transfer to the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was carried out without consent of the population of Crimea and without account of the opinion of the population of Russia. The requirements providing for the national voting (referendum) envisaged by the Constitution of the USSR of 1936 (Art. 49) and the Constitution of the Russian SFSR of 1937 (Art. 33) were not taken into account. The procedural rule demanding negotiations between the two republics and the formal consent of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR for the transfer of the part of its territory was also not fulfilled, though it had been directly stipulated by Article 16 of the Constitution of the Russian SFSR of 1937. It was also emphasized that during the existence of the Soviet Union such transfer of part of the territory of the Russian Federation to another subject of the federation in this case, to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) did not entail essential changes in the rights of citizens of Crimea, as it was implemented within the framework of an extremely centralized, totalitarian statehood. The Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation called for interstate negotiations between Russia and Ukraine with the participation of Crimea and with account of the will of its population (para. 2 of the aforesaid Resolution of 21 May 1992).
  8. In Crimea the referendum was held on 20 January 1991, in which 81.3% of registered voters of Crimea participated. To the question: “Do you support the restoration of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, as the subject of the USSR and as the state party to the Union Treaty” positively responded 1,343,855 voters (93.26% of the total number of participating voters). The referendum was recognized by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to be in full conformity with legislation of both the Soviet Union and Ukraine. The Crimean Autonomous Republic was reestablished again. State officials of Crimea participated in the elaboration of the draft Union Treaty, representing Crimea as a future member state of the renewed Union.  The Supreme Soviet of Crimea adopted on 5 May 1992 the Act proclaiming the state independence of the Republic of Crimea. It was supposed that it would come into force after its approval by the all-Crimean referendum appointed to be held on August 2, 1992. Its participants were asked to vote on two questions: “Are you for independent Crimea in the Union with other states”? “Do you approve the Act of State Independence of the Republic of Crimea”? But on 13 May 1992 the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR suspended the referendum on the ground that it was not in conformity with the Constitution of Ukraine. Two months later, on 9 July 1992, the Supreme Soviet of Crimea declared the moratorium on holding of the referendum. On 6 May 1992 the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea was adopted. It proclaimed that the Republic of Crimea is a rule of law and democratic state and that it is in entitled to have the supreme right to natural resources, material, cultural and spiritual values and exercises sovereign rights and full authority throughout the Republic. It also noted, that the state authorities and public officials of the Republic of Crimea shall exercise on its territory all powers, except those which were voluntarily delegated to Ukraine and which were enshrined by the constitutional law of the Republic (Art. 1). At the presidential elections held on 30 January 1994, Yu.A. Meshkov, the leader of the electoral bloc “Russia” became the first President of the Republic of Crimea. In the second round of voting he received 72.9 % of votes of the total number of voters taking part in the elections. In February 1994 – January 1995, the Crimean state authorities adopted a number of acts, aimed at strengthening the statehood of Crimea. A significant part of these acts,included the amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea, draft laws on laws on Government and local self-government, citizenship of the Republic of Crimea, harmonization of interests of Ukraine and Russia.  On 27 March 1994 during the elections of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Crimea the voters participated in the republican poll. To the first question of the poll: “Are you for the restoration of the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 6 May 1992, which states that the relations between the Republic of Crimea and Ukraine shall be built on the treaty basis?” 78.4% of the voters of Crimea answered “yes,” including 83.3% of the voters of Sevastopol. To the second question of the poll: “Are you for restoring the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 6 May 1992 preserving the right of citizens of the Republic to have dual citizenship?” 82.8% of voters in Crimea answered “yes,” including 87.8% of voters in Sevastopol.
  9. Further development of the Crimean statehood was interrupted by the government of Ukraine. The President of Crimea, some other officials of the Republic were removed from office on 17 March 1995 according to the Law of Ukraine “On Repeal of the Constitution and Some Laws of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.” Besides the Constitution, the Ukrainian government cancelled the laws of the Republic of Crimea “On Elections of the President of the Republic of Crimea” of 17 September 1993, “On the President of the Republic of Crimea” of 14 October 1993, “On Restoration of the Constitutional Basis of Statehood of the Republic of Crimea” of 20 May 1994, the Constitutional Law “On the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Crimea” of 8 September 1994, “On Elections of Deputies and Chairmen of Rural, Settlement, District, City, District in Cities Councils” of 18 January 1995. On 1 November 1995 the new Constitution of Crimea was adopted, which considerably reduced the powers of the Crimean government and municipal organs. The tendency for minimizing the powers of Crimea was preserved by the Constitution of Crimea which was adopted on 21 October 1998 by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Crimea and was endorsed by the Law of Ukraine of 23 December 1998 which granted it full legal force.

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