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The notion that the transfer was justified solely by Crimea’s cultural and economic affinities with Ukraine is also far-fetched.In the 1950s, the population of Crimea — approximately 1.1 million — was roughly 75 percent ethnic Russian and 25 percent Ukrainian.A historical-archival journal, (Historical Archive), which had been published in the USSR from 1955 until 1962, began appearing again in 1992 with transcriptions of declassified documents from the former Soviet archives.The first issue of the revived in 1992 contained a section about the transfer of Crimea that featured documents from the Russian Presidential Archive and from a few other archives whose collections are now housed at the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF).The treaty did provide an important step in that direction, but years of further struggling and warfare had to take place before full unification occurred.In retrospect the Treaty of Pereyaslav is often associated (inaccurately) with Russian-Ukrainian unity, but it is hard to see why anyone in the USSR would have proposed celebrating the 300 anniversary of the document by transferring Crimea from the RSFSR to the Ukr SSR.In 1944, when Khrushchev himself was still the Communist Party leader in Ukraine, he reportedly had suggested to Stalin that transferring Crimea to the Ukr SSR would be a useful way of winning support from local Ukrainian elites.[2] Regardless of whether Khrushchev actually did bring up this matter with Stalin (the veracity of the secondhand retrospective account is uncertain), it most likely reflects Khrushchev’s own sense as early as 1944 that expanding Ukraine’s territory was a way of gaining elite support in the republic.

Khrushchev had been elevated to the post of CPSU First Secretary in September 1953 but was still consolidating his leading position in early 1954.The civil war was marked by high levels of casualties and gruesome atrocities on both sides.Despite Khrushchev’s later role in denouncing Stalinism and implementing reforms in the USSR, he had relied on ruthless, unstinting violence to establish and enforce Soviet control over western Ukraine.Hence, in 1954, Crimea was more “Russian” than it had been for centuries.Although Crimea is briefly contiguous with southern Ukraine via the Isthmus of Perekop, the large eastern Kerch region of Crimea is very close to Russia.

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