Much debate has appeared over the past year on social media and in comments sections of news websites concerning the legitimacy of the Russian annexation of Crimea. Among those excusing or approving of Russia’s annexation are a few people who will point to various legal flaws in the way Crimea was transferred from the Russian Soviet republic to its Ukrainian counterpart, and will argue for the “correction” of a “historical mistake.” Crimea was transferred from Soviet Russia to Soviet Ukraine (both within a single country, the Soviet Union) in 1954 upon the initiative of First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) Nikita Khrushchev, and ratification by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, a kind of rubber-stamp legislature nominally outside the apparatus of the CPSU, but nevertheless necessary to give the Soviet Union an air of “parliamentarism” internationally. Those refusing to recognize that Ukraine’s post-Soviet borders (as recognized by the rest of the world, including Russia, no later than 1994) will say that Khrushchev and the Supreme Soviet had no “authority” to change internal republican borders in the USSR, and some even invoke United Nations provisions! But the debate over internal Soviet borders generally opens up a can of worms, and Moscow’s fomentation of separatism in places like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine should be seen by civilized people for what it is: cynical geopolitical maneuverings by a country (Russia) still enduring pangs from the death of its empire. This goes for Crimea, which Putin has described as “sacred ground” to Russians, as if he and his supporters have been oblivious to the fact that no civilized countries have engaged in unilateral military annexation since Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler seized Austria in 1938, in what has become known as the “Anschluss.” Was military annexation necessary to protect ethnic Russians in Crimea from discrimination? Unlikely, given the range of international bodies tasked with the protecting the rights of ethnic minorities. Was annexation of the entire Crimean peninsula necessary to ensure Russia’s security? Again, unlikely. The Russian military base in Sevastopol – headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – was very large in terms of manpower and hardware, and would not have had to leave no matter who was in charge in the Ukrainian capital. So it is worth looking at what has happened to Sevastopol since the Russian annexation. The following is a short article from the Ukrainska Pravda online newspaper. Although it tends to paraphrase in pro-Ukrainian terms, the quotations are from a pro-Russian newspaper, News of Crimea, the person quoted describes the figures cited as “objective.”
8 January 2015
In Sevastopol, industrial production has declined by 80% over the past year.
The illegitimate governor of Sevastopol, Sergei Menyailo, told this to “News of Crimea.”
He clarified that the fall in agricultural production was 50%, and the decline of construction – 50%. “In the mining industry and quarry development, the decline has reached 86.5%,” added Menyailo.
According to him, the reported decline in economic performance is objective, but “all the conditions” for achieving previous levels of production have been established.
He also said that this year, implementation of several projects in the field of capital construction has been planned. This includes construction of a children’s hospital with prenatal center and installation of gas turbine power plants at ten sites.