PROBLEMS AND DISCUSSIONS
CHRONICLE AND EVENTS
Geopolitical relation between Moscow and Crimea started almost at the very beginning of the foundation of Moscow Dukedom, that is, in Golden Horde time. It’s a common fact that in the 8th century Eastern Europe became a part of the Great Empire of Chingiz–Khan, which went down in history under the name “Tatariya”. Thus, Crimea and the majority of Russian dukedoms became Western provinces of Mongolian influence. However, if Moscow Dukedom at that time was only just founded, Crimea already had more that two thousand years of the history of the development of its population by the time of Mongolian invasion. It was the richest country, which was located on the crossroad of migration and trade roads both the ancient and medieval world. The Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks and the Great Silk Road passed through Crimea. Khazariya and Byzantium fight for Crimea and finally divided it between each other. After them Venetians and Genoeses, the descendants of Romans conquered Crimea and eight centuries later restored three century rule of Ancient Rome over Crimea.
Mongolian governance maintained the status quo of Crimea. They just obliged rendering tribute the dependent territories. Thus, both Crimea and Russian Dukedoms became ordinary tributaries. The rest remained unaltered. That is, every province of the Great Empire kept on developing with one’s own discretion.
However, the Empire of Chingiz-Kane started breaking to pieces and coming apart on smaller states very soon (from the historic point of view), though Chingizids – the direct male heirs of the great conqueror kept on preserving the authority over these states. When the number of these heirs grew incredibly the internal wars for the throne began in every single state of the former unconquerable Tatariya.
Russian Dukedoms and Crimea came into White Horde’s sphere of influence that was called Golden Horde after the merger with Blue Horde in the time of Tokhtamysh governance.
Irrespective of provinces’ will they were involved in these internal wars as well. So called Battle of Kulikov was also one of the numerous fights for the throne in Saray. Its role was artificially exaggerated by the next generation of historians in order to praise the role of Russian armed forces who in fact played little role in such Chingizids’ fights against each other. In this very battle the loyal vassal of Tokhtamysh – Dmitry, Duke of Moscow took an initiative and set against Tokhtamysh’s enemy without waiting for the Siberian forces of Khan that had hurried to help him. Dmitry’s tactical-strategic assumption appeared to be right and he won the battle without waiting for overlord’s help. Indeed, it was the first victory of the united Russian armed forces, reinforced by Tatar cavalry (Russian armed forces had no cavalry at that time) over the unconquerable horde armed forces.
Moscow's victory in the Battle of Kulikov was in 1380. Golden Horde Empire was defeated only in 1502, and it was Mengly-Girey who did it. He was Chingizid, the second Khan of the separative state that was established instead of Crimean province of Golden Horde. In 1443 Khadzhy-Devlet-Girey – the claimant for the throne in Saray, who had settled in Crimea in 1428, declared the establishment of the State which was independent from Golden Horde. He called the population of the peninsular for help. With this goal he united all feudal entities and religious communities in one State Council called Divan, that in fact played the role of Western Parliament. This political step of Khadzhy-Girey promoted the establishment of the new community that nowadays we call “Nation”. This nation was referred to as Tatars.
Meanwhile Ivan the 4th – Duke of Moscow, who took advantage of collapse and total defeat of Saray, hurried declaring himself the heir of Saray throne. One of his motivations for this was the statement that he is also Chingizid. His father wasn’t, but his mother was Chingizid.
He transferred the capital of Golden Horde Empire to Moscow and proclaimed himself Tsar, that is the title that only the rulers of Empires had. From this very moment the confrontation between Moscow and Crimea started. Before the defeat of Saray Moscow and Crimea were the most faithful allies that could be proved by the period of governance of Ivan the 3rd and Khadzhy-Girey.
Along with the title of Tsar Moscow inherited the form of state governance – absolutist monarchy (unlike the parliamentary monarchy in Crimea). This resulted in the further enslavement of lower classes which reduced them to the position of slaves. Slav and Ugro-Finnic nations suffered the most.
Crimea went another way. Crimean Monarch’s dependence on the population made him choosing the policy that at any moment would allow him to find support of his subjects. Crimean Khans were fully dependent both on Turkish Sultan and Divan. In case the Crimean population didn’t like the Khan they could displace him. However, in Russia it was impossible even theoretically. The population Russia never participated in the state governance. “Revolt, so meaningless and ruthless” – was the only thing the people of Russian Empire could count for when they were driven to despair.
As far as the Russian Monarchs concerns, like a maniac they strove after the dream of restoration of the borders of the former powerful Empire of Chingizids, whose successors they always considered themselves. However, Crimea always prevented this aspiration. This confrontation that had been lasted for almost three centuries affected all layers of Crimean population. In the process of this permanent military confrontation predominantly Orthodox Crimea almost entirely adopted the Crimean rulers’ religion - Islam. It was the protest against the expansion of Orthodox Russia, where the Orthodoxy was imposed forcibly over the conquered peoples.
Finally, Moscow expanding to the unlimited extent due to the conquered territories to the East and using the power of innumerable recruit forces defeated Crimea. The freedom-loving people were conquered by the slaves.
After Moscow conquered Crimea it aimed at clearing Crimea of its people, who couldn’t accept the orders of slave-holding Russia because of their mentality. Genocide carried out by the government of Catherine the 2nd caused mass emigration of Crimean Tatars from their motherland. Maximilian Voloshin describes the 150 years of Russian governance over the Crimea by the following lines: “All this Mohammed paradise was completely destroyed. Instead of the splendid towns of Thousand and One Night fairytale Russians build few miserable country towns here and gave them pseudo-classic names – Sevastopol, Simferopol, Eupatoria”. The mass emigration of Crimean Tatars that took especially big degree in the 60th of the 19 century effected 784 settlements 330 of which got completely deserted.
Today more than 5 million immigrants from Crimea live in Turkey and in the states that formed the former Ottoman Empire. Today only 250 thousand Crimean Tatars live or rather vegetate in the Crimea. However, this is the result not of Tsarist policy but the communist one. In 1944 it reduced the number of Crimean Tatars in Crimea to complete naught. Tsars could slip well when the descendants of Russian slaves – communists got down to business.
Communist Empire like all other empires sank into oblivion quite soon. However, the communists didn’t die entirely and Crimea is still a communist enclave surrounded by the democratic regions. Crimean Tatars who live in this enclave in minority (1 to 10 ratio) constantly have to be under the martial law. Although, unlike Chechens they choused peace methods of war. However, the confrontation goes on.