Ukraine should return Krushchev’s ‘gift’
In an age past, Russia conquered the Tatars in Crimea and retained a legitimate title by right of conquest. Thus it was an inherent part of Russia much as Massachusetts is part of the United States.
In 1954, Nikita Kruschev, who was from the Ukraine and quite a “character,” and dictator of the Soviet Union, decided to move the border of the Ukraine to include Crimea. It was no big deal then, since both Ukraine and Russia were part of the USSR, and it was hard to tell the difference. However, once the Soviet Union broke up it created big problems.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was based at Sevastopol in the Crimea, and it was not even a part of Russia. So the two countries had to negotiate a deal for Ukraine to lease the Sevastopol naval base to Russia. But that is not all. The largest nationality in Crimea is Russian, not Ukrainian. Thus the Russian population of Crimea dilutes the Ukrainian majority in the capitol, Kiev, causing a fractured government.
The Ukraine would do better without Crimea, which is essentially Russian. Both the Ukraine and Russia are easily understood in this situation. If someone gave you valuable real estate, you want to keep it no matter what. But what if it was not someone’s to give? Russia’s situation reminds me a little of Hawaii Sen. Haiakawa’s remark regarding the Panama Canal Zone: “We stole it fair and square, and I think we ought to keep it.” We should have offered Panama statehood, but that’s another story.
— Gifford Neill