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Readers' Forum: March 21, 2014

Should West respect wishes of Crimeans?

Enough, already! What happened to the universal human right of self-determination? Why is the left- and right-leaning media entertainers condemning the Autonomous Crimean Government for holding a referendum to discern the thinking of the majority?

The fact is that the Crimea has been a part of Russia since 1783 when the Empress  Catherine the Great annexed it from the dying Crimean Khanate (a remnant of the Mongolian or Golden Horde that invaded Russia in the 13th century). This was seven years after our 1776 Declaration of Independence, but six years before we began to operate under the Constitution.

The Crimea then became the summer home, playground and building site for royalty and the wealthy. After World War II, Nikita Khrushchev (the shoe banger), without asking permission from the inhabitants, transferred the title from the then-existing RFSSR to the UkSSR, both constituent “republics” within the monstrous USSR. It didn’t mean anything to the Crimeans. The transfer was only a symbolic, feel-good gift from one penal colony administrator to another.

One credible Russian source surmised that Khrushchev gave it away during a drunken Presidium meeting.

My guess is that Khrushchev was getting older and he wanted to rebuild his image and reputation in the Ukraine by replacing Ukraine’s memory of his involvement with the 1932-33 Terror-Famine (Holodomor or genocide). From 2 to 12 million are believed to have died. Google it.

On Sunday, 95 percent, according to Russian Television, voted to return the title to Russia. And then there was joy and spontaneous dancing on the streets.

Only an idiot could suggest that the presence of Russian troops forced their joy, singing and dancing when the people heard the election news.

I think the people of the Crimea should have their wishes respected by the West.

— Peter F.H. Priest

Emeritus Professor of  Russian


Institute of Technology

Terre Haute

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    March 12, 2010