Crimea (Ukrainian: Крим; Krym; Greek: Taurica, Chersonese). (Map: Crimea.) The most southerly part of Ukraine, the Crimea is an irregular quadrangular peninsula situated between the Black Sea (in the west and south) and the Sea of Azov (in the east). It has a breadth of 200 km north to south, a maximum length of 320 km east to west, and an area of 27,000 sq km. It is connected to the mainland by the narrow, 7 km Perekop Isthmus, which is flanked by Karkinitska Bay in the west and Syvash Lake in the east. In the east the Crimea is separated from the Kuban (the Taman Peninsula) by the Kerch Strait.
The Crimea consists of two very different parts—the semiarid, treeless steppe of the Crimean Lowland in the north and the Crimean Mountains in the south. The Crimean steppe, with its continental climate and steppe soils and vegetation, is a continuation of the Ukrainian steppe and together with the Kerch Peninsula occupies four-fifths of the Crimea's territory. The Crimean Mountains consist of a narrow range of foothills and a low mountain chain covered with forests and high pastures. Below the mountains in the south is a narrow (2–12 km) coastal lowland—the Crimean southern shore—with a Mediterranean climate and vegetation.
The Crimea owes its importance largely to its convenient location on the borders of Ukraine, Caucasia, and the two seas that connect it with the mouths of large rivers, such as the Dnipro River, Dnister River, Don River, Danube River, and Kuban River, with other countries on the Black Sea, and with the Mediterranean Sea. As a result of these factors, the Crimea's protrusion into the sea, and its good natural harbors, the peninsula constitutes an outpost that controls the Black Sea, particularly its northern part. For this reason, in the past the Crimea was often dominated politically and culturally by southern states and peoples and was influenced by the states that controlled the Ukrainian mainland. These forces struggled for centuries for control over the Crimea. The peninsula itself was too small to take advantage of its favorable location and organize a strong, independent state. Usually it was the object of contention between large states. The Crimea was rarely politically unified and never ethnically uniform, for its northern part was closely tied to the peoples on the mainland, while its southern part was colonized by Mediterranean peoples. The descendants of various nomadic peoples that roamed the Ukrainian steppes over the centuries found refuge in the Crimean Mountains.
Because of its geographical location, the Crimea has the most ancient and richest history of all the regions of Ukraine. Control of the Crimea gives Ukraine today ready and safe access to the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, the Kuban, and Caucasia, as well as a secure southern border.
From 1954 to 1991 the Crimea has constituted Crimea oblast of the Ukrainian SSR; after 1991 it has been the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within Ukraine. The area is 27,000 sq km; and the population is 1,967,200, of which 1,274,300 is urban and 759,400 rural (2014). The Crimea is divided into 14 raions and has 16 cities, 56 towns (smt), and 243 rural councils.
History. The earliest known settlements in the Crimea date back to the Middle Paleolithic Period, about 100,000 years ago. They belonged to the Neanderthal man. Many Neanderthal relics have been uncovered in caves such as Kiik-Koba, Shaitan-Koba, or the Zaskelna archeological site. A burial of a Cro-Magnon child with some Neanderthal features discovered at the Starosilia archeological site near Bakhchesarai suggests that for a period of time at the end of the Mousterian period Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons lived in close proximity in the Crimea and even occasionally interbred. In the Bronze Age (2,000–800 BC) an Indo-European population appeared in the Crimea and engaged in herding and farming. The earliest historical population in the Crimea was the Cimmerians, of Iranian descent, who came in the first centuries of the first millennium BC. They were forced out to Asia Minor by the Scythians in the 7th century BC. Cimmerian remnants settled in the Crimean Mountains until the end of the ancient period and were called Taurians. In the 7th century BC the Greeks appeared on the Crimean coast and a century later began to found colonies (see Ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast). The most successful colonies were Chersonese Taurica, Panticapaeum, and Theodosia (see Teodosiia). From the 5th century BC until the 4th century AD the Bosporan Kingdom, with Panticapaeum as capital, controlled the eastern Crimea. In the 3rd–2nd century BC the remnants of the Scythians, who were forced from the steppes by the Sarmatians, had their own kingdom in the Crimean steppe, with its capital at Neapolis, now the city of Simferopol. The kingdom collapsed in the 2nd century BC under the pressure of Chersonese Taurica and the Alans. Remnants of the Alans survived in the Crimea until the 10th century in the vicinity of Fula (Chufut-Kaleh). In the second half of the 1st century BC the Bosporan Kingdom became a vassal state of the Romans, who controlled all of the Crimean coast and had garrisons in the larger towns and a fleet in Chersonese Taurica. With interruptions, Roman domination of the Crimea continued to the end of the 4th century AD. Thus, in the first centuries AD the Crimea belonged to three states: the Bosporan Kingdom, the republic of Chersonese Taurica, and the Scythian state. In the 3rd century the Goths invaded the Crimea, and in the 5th century they were forced from the steppes into the mountains by the Huns. A Gothic principality survived there until the 15th century.
The Huns destroyed the Scythian state and Bosporan Kingdom and caused the downfall of the Crimea. Panticapaeum declined. At the end of the 5th century the Crimean coast came under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. A century later most of the Crimea was captured by the Khazars. Byzantium re-established its rule over all of the Crimea only at the end of the 9th century. At that time the southwestern part of the peninsula was the most populated region. Chersonese Taurica, the largest city of the Crimea, and several small feudal principalities were situated here. Another important city was Sugdaea (now Sudak) on the southeastern coast.
The influx of Slavs into the Crimea began probably in the 4th century and intensified in the 6th century. In the 6th–10th century Greco-Byzantine Crimea, particularly Chersonese Taurica, played an important role in the spread of Christianity, which was established in the Crimea in the 3rd–4th century, and of higher culture to neighboring Ukraine, Khazaria, and Subcaucasia. For a time the Crimea mediated between Kyivan Rus’ and the Byzantine Empire. The Kyivan Prince Ihor and Prince Sviatoslav I Ihorovych the Conqueror, whose realm bordered on the Crimea in the south and east, tried to gain control over it. Volodymyr the Great captured Chersonese Taurica in 988. In the 10th–12th century the eastern part of the Crimea belonged to Tmutorokan principality, which was part of the Kyivan Rus’ state. Kyiv’s hold over the Crimea was loosened by the invasions of the Pechenegs and Cumans, who even controlled a part of the Crimea for a period. Vigorous trade between the Crimea and Kyiv, which included the export of Crimean salt, followed two routes: the ancient route along the Dnipro River and the Black Sea, and a newer route from the lower Dnipro via the steppe and the Perekop Isthmus.
When the Crusaders took Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire lost its influence in the Crimea. In the mid-13th century Venetian and, more importantly, Genoese trade colonies were established in the Crimea. The leading colony was Kaffa (now Teodosiia); other important colonies were Cembalo (Balaklava), Soldaia (Sudak), and Yevpatoriia. Chersonese Taurica declined completely in this period. In the 13th century Jewish traders appeared in the Crimea, and in the 14th century, with the fall of the Armenian state, many Armenians appeared. From the mid-13th century the Crimea, except for the Italian colonies, which remained self-governing for a long time, was seized by the Tatars of the Golden Horde. The geographical position of the Crimea favored the resistance of the Crimean Tatars—led by Nogai (1290–1301), Mamai (1362–82), Edigei (beginning of the 15th century)—to the central authority in Sarai. This contributed to the disintegration of the Golden Horde and the formation in the Crimea in 1449 of a separate state known as the Crimean Khanate, under the leadership of the Girei dynasty, which held power until 1783. Besides the Crimea the khanate controlled the lower Dnipro River, the Azov steppes, and the upper Kuban.
In the second half of the 15th century Bakhchesarai became the capital of the Crimean Khanate and the seat of the mufti, the head of the Moslem clergy. In 1474 Turkey captured the Italian colonies in the southern Crimea, and in 1478 the Crimean Khanate recognized the supremacy of the Ottoman Empire. The Crimean Tatars came under the cultural influence of the Turks and adopted their alphabet and literature. The Bilhorod, Edissan, Edichkul, and Dzhambuiluk hordes, which lived in the steppes along the Black Sea, were the vassals of the Crimean khan. (See Bilhorod Horde, Budzhak Horde, Budzhak Tatars.)
The Crimean Tatars practiced animal husbandry, agriculture, orcharding, and artisanry. They also invaded neighboring lands, particularly Ukraine, plundering and inflicting heavy losses on them. Having signed a treaty with Muscovy's Ivan III and having secured the support of Turkey, the Crimean Tatars sacked Kyiv in 1482. Tatar forces invaded Podilia, the Kyiv region, Volhynia, Galicia, and the Chernihiv region almost annually, destroying the towns and villages and seizing inhabitants, whom they later sold at slave markets. In the 16th century the Ukrainian Cossacks came to the defense of the population, and by the beginning of the 17th century they took the offensive against the Tatars. Under Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny the Cossacks sacked Perekop and Kaffa (1616). Eventually peace was established, and on 24 December 1624 the Tatar khan concluded an alliance against Turkey with Hetman Mykhailo Doroshenko. The Cossacks helped Khan Shagin-Girei to destroy the Turkish fleet. In the end, however, the Turkish faction won the upper hand, and after Doroshenko's death near Bakhchesarai in 1628 his Cossacks were forced to retreat from the Crimea.
In 1648 Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky concluded an alliance with the Crimean khan Islam-Girei III (1644–54), and the Tatar army helped Khmelnytsky defeat the Poles at the Battle of Korsun (1648) and the Battle of Zboriv (1649) during the Cossack-Polish War. To prevent Khmelnytsky's complete victory and the rise of a strong Ukrainian Cossack state, the Crimean khan forced Khmelnytsky to accept peace with Poland after the Battle of Zboriv (see Treaty of Zboriv) and the siege of Zhvanets (1653; see Treaty of Bila Tserkva) and betrayed him at the Battle of Berestechko (1651). The Crimean Tatars also plundered Ukraine and took many people into captivity (yasyr) on their return home. This forced Khmelnytsky to change allies and to sign the Pereiaslav Treaty of 1654 with Muscovy. Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky renewed the alliance with the Crimean khan, and the Tatars took part in the Battle of Konotop (1659). Hetman Petro Doroshenko had good relations with the Crimea, while the Zaporozhian Cossacks, under the leadership of Ivan Sirko, pursued for the most part a policy of hostility towards the Tatars. Tatar aggression in Right-Bank Ukraine during the period 1660–80 ruled out any possibility of Ukrainian-Tatar co-operation. In the Treaty of Bakhchesarai (1681) the Crimean Tatars were forced to make concessions to Muscovy.
After the Eternal Peace of 1686 between Poland and Muscovy, Ukrainian and Crimean interests again began to converge. An influential pro-Crimean orientation, supported by hetmans Ivan Samoilovych and, at first, Ivan Mazepa arose, in spite of the fact that the hetman forces had to take part in Muscovy's Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689. The Cossack leaders Vasyl Kochubei and Petro Petryk pursued a friendly policy towards the Crimea and Turkey. In 1692 Petryk concluded an alliance against Muscovy and Poland with the Crimean khan, who recognized him as the hetman of Ukraine. But the khan's plans did not succeed, and Petryk had to settle for the role of ‘hetman’ in khanate-controlled Ukraine. In putting together a coalition against Muscovy, Hetman Pylyp Orlyk concluded an alliance with the Crimean khan in 1711 but did not receive the help he expected; instead, the Tatars plundered Right-Bank Ukraine and Slobidska Ukraine in 1711–14. This was the last attempt at Ukrainian-Tatar co-operation.
In the 18th century the Cossacks helped Russia wrest control of the Black Sea coast from Turkey and the Crimea. The ‘alliance of eternal friendship,’ signed by Russia and the Crimean Khanate in Qarasubazar (now Bilohirsk) in 1772, and Turkey's recognition of Crimean independence in the Peace Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774 were diplomatic victories in Russia's strategy leading to the annexation of the Crimea in 1783.
During the 18th century the Hetman state and the Zaporozhian Sich had economic links with the Crimea. Ukraine imported Crimean products such as fish, salt, vegetables, textiles, and manufactured articles and exported to the Crimea grain, manufactured articles, and other goods. Trade with Turkey also flowed through the Crimea.
In the Russian Empire the Crimea became a part of the territory of New Russia gubernia and then, in 1802, of Tavriia gubernia. Russia immediately took advantage of the Crimea's strategic importance and built the port and fortress of Sevastopol, which became the home base of the Black Sea Fleet.
Religious and economic repression of the Crimean Tatars, during which they were forced to forfeit most of their lands to Russian landlords, caused a mass migration to Turkey, particularly in the first years of Russian rule and after the Crimean War (1853–6). At the same time Ukrainian and Russian peasants, as well as Germans, Bulgarians, and other colonists, flowed into the Crimea, particularly into the steppe region. From the 1870s Russians moved increasingly into the towns and resorts on the Crimean southern shore, so that by the beginning of the 20th century the Crimea was an ethnically mixed land inhabited by Russians, Ukrainians, and Tatars.
1917–18. With the outbreak of the February Revolution of 1917, four political tendencies competed in the Crimea: the Russian, favoring the Crimea's continued allegiance to Russia; the Crimean Tatar, aspiring to Crimean autonomy and eventual sovereignty; the Ukrainian (which was fairly weak), advocating the Crimea's incorporation into Ukraine; and, after the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolshevik tendency. The Ukrainian Central Rada did not treat the Crimea as part of Ukraine in its Third Universal (see Universals of the Central Rada). In January 1918 the Bolsheviks occupied the Crimea; in April they were forced out of northern Crimea by Ukrainian forces commanded by Col Petro Bolbochan. On 25 April 1918 Bolbochan took Simferopol and Bakhchesarai, but the German Command forced him to abandon these towns. This led to the loss of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, which had already raised the Ukrainian flag on its ships. With German support General S. Sulkevich (a former tsarist general descended from a Lithuanian Tatar) formed a government in which there was strong anti-Ukrainian sentiment. This provoked the Ukrainian government to blockade the Crimea. The Crimean government was forced to negotiate in Kyiv in October 1918 and to adopt a preliminary treaty by which the Crimea was to become an autonomous part of Ukraine, with its own diet, territorial army, and administration as well as a permanent state secretary in the Council of National Ministers of the Ukrainian National Republic. The treaty was never put into effect, because as soon as the Germans retreated the Crimea fell into the hands of right-wing Russian forces, which were supported by the expeditionary forces of the Allied Powers. In April 1919 the Crimea was briefly occupied by the Bolsheviks, who were forced out by Gen Anton Denikin in June. In 1920 the Crimea served as Gen Petr Wrangel's main base.
In November 1920 the Bolshevik armies occupied the Crimea for the third time. On 18 October 1921 the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed. It was made part of the RSFSR, rather than the Ukrainian SSR, although the Crimea shared no border with Russia.
In the 1920s the Crimean Tatars were allowed to foster their culture in the Crimean ASSR. But in the 1930s a policy of Russification was introduced, and the Tatars were persecuted. The Ukrainian language had no standing in the Crimea, and there were no Ukrainian schools. During the Second World War the Crimea was occupied by the Germans for two and one-half years. After the war the Soviets deported the Tatar population for ‘treason and collaboration with the Germans.’ On 30 June 1945 the Crimean ASSR was abolished, and the region was turned into an ordinary oblast of the RSFSR. The deported Crimean Tatars were replaced partly by Ukrainians, from the western regions that remained in Poland, and partly by Russians, mostly from central Russia. By decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR the Crimea was transferred from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR on 19 February 1954. The decree of 28 April 1956 forbade the Crimean Tatars to return to the Crimea. This prohibition was in effect until Ukraine proclaimed independence in 1991, although the decree of 5 September 1960 exonerated the Crimean Tatars from collaboration with the Germans.
During Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika, as centrifugal forces spawned declarations of sovereignty in parts of the USSR, regionalism also gained strength in the Crimea. In January 1991 the Supreme Soviet of the Crimea held a referendum and in February 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR ratified the change of status of the Crimea from an oblast to that of an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Following the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence (24 August 1991) and the referendum that confirmed it (1 December 1991), the name was simplified to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, or simply Republic of Crimea.
Immediately after Ukraine’s independence, the Crimea became a bone of contention between Russia and Ukraine. Despite the vote in favor of Ukraine’s independence in the Crimea (54.19 percent), there was a strong Russian undercurrent in the Crimea for separation from Ukraine and closer relations, if not reunion, with Russia. Supported by the officers of the Russia-controlled Black Sea Fleet and some Russian politicians in Moscow, Crimean legislators passed various resolutions, including the demand for a dual (Ukrainian-Russian) citizenship, but backed away from holding a referendum on their proposed new constitution of virtual independence (May 1992), when it was resolutely opposed in Kyiv. Continuing Russian pressure (declarations that Sevastopol, the base of the Black Sea Fleet, is Russian), required the appeal of Ukraine to the Security Council of the United Nations (June 1993) to prevent Russian aggression.
In January 1994 Yurii Meshkov was elected the first president of the Crimea. Pursuing a pro-Russian agenda, he held a referendum (March 1994) and then ushered through the adoption in the Crimean parliament of the proposed 1992 constitution; vigorous opposition from Kyiv led to its suspension. Nevertheless, with the support of Crimean politicians, Russian consular offices in the Crimea began to issue applications for Russian citizenship (March 1995). The Ukrainian government protested, abolished the post of the president of the Crimea, annulled the Crimean constitution of 1992, and requested that Crimean legislators revise the constitution so that it would harmonize with the Ukrainian constitution. Deposed from his post, Yurii Meshkov left the Crimea for Moscow. In an attempt to curb the autonomist and separatist aspirations of some part of the Crimea’s population, the Ukrainian government replaced him with its appointee Anatolii Franchuk.
Population. (Map: Population Distribution in the Crimea.) At the end of Tatar rule in 1775, the population of the Crimea was 250,000; of this most was Tatar and one-eighth was Greek. A few years before their annexation of the Crimea in 1783, the Russians resettled almost all of the Greeks (close to 30,000) from the Crimea to the Mariupol region; the Armenians were also resettled, in the Nakhichevan area of the lower Don region near Rostov-na-Donu. A mass emigration of the Crimean Tatars to Turkey ensued. The population of the Crimea thus fell to 158,000 in 1800, despite the immigration of Ukrainian and Russian settlers. At the beginning of the 19th century the Russian government encouraged Germans, Bulgarians, and other colonists to settle and cultivate the uninhabited lands of Southern Ukraine and the Crimea, particularly the north. A part of the Greeks in the Mariupol region also returned to the Crimea. Consequently, the population increased to 319,000 by 1855. But by 1865 it had fallen to 194,000 because of the Crimean War and a second mass emigration of the Crimean Tatars. A railway constructed in 1875 and the development of resorts on the Crimean southern shore attracted Ukrainian farmers into the steppes and Russians into the cities. By 1897 the population had grown to 565,000 and by 1913 to 729,000. Population changes in the interwar period were influenced by two great famines, in 1921 (see Famine of 1921–3) and 1932–3 (see Famine-Genocide of 1932–3), and the industrialization of the 1930s. In 1940 the population was 1,127,000. The population growth in the Crimea was much greater than in other parts of Ukraine: from 1897 to 1940 the population of Ukraine increased by 30 percent, while that of the Crimea increased by 107 percent. The Crimea always had the highest percentage of urban population. Table 1 gives the population of the Crimea in various years (in thousands).
The ethnic composition of the Crimea was quite varied until 1940. The population according to the 1926 census is shown in table 2. The number of Crimean Tatars declined continuously in absolute and relative terms: in 1775 there were estimated to be 200,000 Tatars, constituting 80 percent of the population; in 1897 there were 194,000 or 35.5 percent; in 1926 there were 179,000 or 25.1 percent. In 1926 the Tatars lived mostly in the villages and constituted a majority only in the south (42.4 percent). The Germans lived mostly in the villages of the Crimean steppe (90 percent). The Bulgarians inhabited the southeast and Bilohirsk raion. The Greeks and Armenians lived in the towns of the south. The Jews, Krymchaks (Tatar-speaking Jews), and Karaites resided in towns, mostly in Simferopol. Later the number of Jews increased greatly, because in 1927 the Soviet authorities began to settle them in the steppe areas. In 1936 the number of new Jewish settlers there reached 24,000, and a Jewish national raion—Larindorf—was established. Ukrainians and Russians constituted together 379,000 or 53 percent of the population. But official statistics do not provide reliable figures for the number of each nationality. There were most likely 180,000–200,000 Ukrainians (mostly in northern Crimea) and 180,000–200,000 Russians (mostly in the towns).
The Second World War completely altered the ethnic composition of the population. There was also a general decline in the population. Many Germans and a part of the Greeks had emigrated before the war. The Nazis eradicated most of the Jews, and the Soviet authorities deported the Crimean Tatars in 1944. After the war a large influx of Ukrainians and Russians ensued. In 1956 the Crimea's population reached its prewar level. By 1959 almost two-thirds of the population (65.3 percent) was urban. The population is not evenly distributed: the foothills and the Crimean southern shore are populated most densely, while the Crimean Mountains and steppes are sparsely populated. In 1983 there were three cities with populations exceeding 100,000: Simferopol with 324,000 people, Sevastopol with 328,000, and Kerch with 163,000. Of the remaining twelve cities, three—Yevpatoriia, Teodosiia, and Yalta—had 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants. Almost three-quarters of the urban population lives in towns and cities situated on two important physiographic lines: the southern coast and the steppe-mountain borderline. Kerch is a distinct region of urban concentration.
The ethnic composition of the Crimea according to the 1959 and 1970 census is shown in table 3. In 1970, 49 percent of the Ukrainians in the Crimea were urban and 51 percent, rural; 68.5 percent of the Russians were urban and 31.5 percent, rural. The urban Ukrainians constituted 21.1 percent of the population, while the rural Ukrainians constituted 36.7 percent (Russians constituted 72.9 and 57.7 percent respectively). In 1979, of 436,797 people who indicated they were fluent in Ukrainian, only 290,743 considered Ukrainian their mother tongue; 258,873 Ukrainians indicated Russian as their mother tongue.
The ethnic composition of the Crimea began to change in the late 1980s (table 4). A special USSR commission (February 1988) sanctioned the Crimean Tatars (who had been deported to Central Asia in 1944) to return to the Crimea. Already the January 1989 census registered 38,365 Crimean Tatars in the Crimea, or 1.6 percent of its population. Following Ukraine’s independence, the Ukrainian government supported their return; although few resources could be provided, a movement of up to 50,000 returnees per year resulted. By January 1994 their estimated number had increased to about 250,000, or 10 percent of the population of the Crimea. Returning to their former places, the Crimean Tatars settled mostly in or around Bakhchesarai and Bilohirsk (formerly in Tatar Qarasubazar).
The population of the Crimea has grown by less than 50,000 per year, from 2,458,600 in 1989 to 2,500,500 in 1990, 2,549,800 in 1991, 2,596,000 in 1992, 2,638,800 in 1993, and 2,651,700 in 1994. Since the natural increase of the population of the Crimea was small and declining, until it became negative in 1992, most of the annual increases resulted from net migration into the Crimea, which increased from 32,600 in 1989 to 42,800 in 1990, 43,300 in 1991 and 44,300 in 1992, declining to 20,100 in 1993. Both rural and urban population increased in the Crimea each year. The former grew from 744,700 in 1989 to 840,500 in 1994; the latter from 1,713,900 in 1989 to 1,811,200 in 1994. Cities of the Crimea grew until 1993, and then began to decline. Sevastopol reached 375,000 in 1993, and then receded to 374,000 in 1994; Simferopol — 358,000 and then 356,000; Kerch — 183,000 and then 182,000; Yevpatoriia — 115,000 and 115,000; Yalta — 90,000 and 89,000; and Teodosiia — 87,000 and 87,000. The reversal in the growth of cities in indicative of recent economic decline.
Economy. Before Russia annexed the Crimea, the Tatars led a seminomadic existence on the steppes, engaging in herding and extensive farming, and, in the southern Crimea, in orcharding, vegetable farming, and cottage industries. Under Russian rule the economy of the Crimea at first declined because of the emigration of Tatars and Greeks; later it improved owing to the colonization of the steppes, the development of viticulture and tobacco growing in the south, and the eventual completion of a railroad to Sevastopol. In the northern Crimea the steppes were put to the plow, and grain growing replaced animal husbandry. The proximity of good harbors facilitated grain export. In the south the intensive cultivation of crops that were in high demand in central Russia and the health resort industry rapidly gained in importance. (At the beginning of the 1910s almost 150,000 tourists per year visited the Crimea.) Various branches of the food and salt industry, shipbuilding at Sevastopol, and later iron-ore mining in Kerch accounted for most of the industrial production. During the Soviet period industry has expanded rapidly: while in 1913 it accounted for 45 percent of the region's production, by 1940 it had reached 80 percent. Intensive farming expanded greatly, as did the number of resorts.
Industry. Food production is the Crimea's main industry, accounting for 44 percent of industrial production. It is followed by iron-ore mining, metallurgy, and machine building (27 percent of production). Less important are the chemical industry, the building-materials industry, and light industry.
The oldest and the basic industry of the Crimea, the food industry, processes locally grown produce. Winemaking is particularly important, accounting for over 20 percent of the Crimea's production. In 1968, 362 million liters of vinous material were produced. Dessert wines made by the firms of Masandra and Zolota Balka, which are located near Yalta, Alushta, Sevastopol, Sudak, and other cities, are sold throughout the former USSR and the world. Grape juice is produced by plants in Sevastopol and Teodosiia. The fish-processing industry (13 percent of the Crimea's industry) is highly developed in Kerch, Sevastopol, Yalta, and Yevpatoriia. Fruit and vegetable canneries are located in Simferopol, Bakhchesarai, Dzhankoi, and Sevastopol. Tobacco is cured in Simferopol and Yalta and processed in Teodosiia. The essential-oils industry is concentrated in Simferopol, Bakhchesarai, Alushta, Sudak, and Nyzhnohirskyi and produces close to 40 percent of the former USSR's rose oil and 50 percent of its lavender oil.
Heavy metallurgy is based on the rich deposits of the Kerch Iron-ore Basin. The Komysh-Buruny Iron-ore Complex extracts local iron ore and ships it to the metallurgical plants of the Donets Basin and the Dnipro Industrial Region. The machine-building and metalworking industries are less important; they produce equipment for the food industry (Simferopol), tractor attachments (Dzhankoi), farming-machinery parts (Simferopol), electronic equipment, and parts for making and repairing ships (Kerch and Sevastopol). The chemical industry is based on the various large salt reserves of the Syvash Lake and other lakes. Chemical-bromate plants are found in Saky and Perekop. Plastics and consumer-chemicals plants are located in Simferopol. The construction-materials industry is based on abundant local resources; it produces reinforced-steel products, cement, and bricks.
The energy to run industry is provided by the regional thermoelectric stations (DRES) near Simferopol, Sevastopol, and Kerch. In the 1960s natural gas began to be tapped in the western and northern Crimea (where there are resources of 14 billion cu m) and gas pipelines running from Hlibivka and Dzhankoi through Simferopol to Sevastopol have been laid.
Agriculture. There are three agricultural regions in the Crimea: the steppe region with its grain growing and animal husbandry; the Crimean southern shore and foothills with their fruit growing, grape growing, and tobacco farming; and the mountains with their forests and summer pastures. Arable land covers 56.2 percent of the Crimea's area. Pastures, hayfields, and grazing land cover 23.4 percent; forests and brush cover 16 percent; and vineyards and orchards cover 7.9 percent. The total area under cultivation was 1,179,000 ha in 1978 (1,144,000 ha in 1959 and 804,000 ha in 1913). Of this area 540,100 ha are devoted to grains (650,000 ha in 1959 and 700,000 ha in 1913); 93,300 ha to industrial crops; 41,100 ha (39,000 ha in 1959 and 12,000 ha in 1913) to vegetables and melons; and 504,100 ha (62,000 ha in 1959 and 19,000 ha in 1913) to feed.
Winter wheat is the main grain, with an area of 325,400 ha in 1970 (309,000 ha in 1959 and 439,000 ha in 1913), followed by barley with 130,000 ha (70,000 ha in 1959 and 224,000 ha in 1913) and seed corn with 49,000 ha (195,000 ha in 1959 and 4,000 ha in 1913). The most common industrial crops are sunflowers, essential-oil plants, and tobacco. Cotton growing, which was greatly expanded in the 1930s (57,100 ha in 1937), was completely abandoned after the Second World War. The better sorts of tobacco, such as Diubek, which are grown mostly on the southern coast, are known throughout the USSR. The main essential-oil plants cultivated are the rose, lavender, and salvia. The Crimea is the main area of grape growing in Ukraine. The land area devoted to it has increased from 12,000 ha in 1940 to 22,400 in 1956, 90,250 in 1959, and 87,400 in 1979. Orchards and berry fields covered 74,600 ha in 1979 (15,500 in 1959). Various varieties of grape are grown for consumption or winemaking, mainly for making dessert and table wines. The grape crop in 1979 was 212,500 tonnes. The finer varieties of apple, pear, cherry, apricot, peach, walnut, and other fruits are grown. Of the subtropical plants the olive, fig, persimon, laurel berry, pistachio, and almond are common. Over 300,000 ha in the Crimea have been under irrigation since the construction of a series of water reservoirs and the North Crimean Canal.
Animal husbandry. Animals are raised for milk and meat. In 1973 livestock production included (1916 figures in parentheses) 651,200 (210,800) cattle, including 225,400 (77,700) cows; 404,700 (83,600) hogs; and 953,100 (710,000) sheep.
Transport. In 1980 the Crimea had 644 km of railroad and 6,500 km of paved highways. The oldest (1875) and most important railway line is the Sevastopol–Zaporizhia–Kharkiv–Moscow line. A second railroad was built just before the Second World War, connecting the Crimea through Perekop with Kherson. The main railway terminals are Dzhankoi and Simferopol. The first mountain trolleybus line in the USSR (1961) connects Simferopol and Yalta. The main seaports are Kerch, Teodosiia, Yalta, Sevastopol, and Yevpatoriia. The Crimea has airline communications with the main cities of Ukraine and the cities of the former USSR.
Resorts and tourism. The Crimea is the main health resort and tourist area of Ukraine and one of the main health-resort areas in the former USSR, owing to its mild climate, the curative powers of the sea, salt lakes, and curative muds, and its natural beauty. The principal resort region is the Crimean southern shore, particularly west of Alushta. On the western coast lie the children's resort of Yevpatoriia and the mudbaths of Saky. In 1972 there were 105 sanatoriums and 24 rest homes, with accommodation for a total of 46,000 patients, in the Crimea. In the summer about 80,000 people are visiting the Crimea at any one time, and in the winter about 45,000. Over the entire year about four million people make use of these rest facilities.
In general the Crimea is important to Ukraine as a region producing a surplus of iron ore and metals, valuable plant cultures (fruit, grapes, tobacco, spring vegetables, flowers), wines, fish, and canned goods, and as a health resort and tourist region.
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[This article was updated in 1998.]