Ladies & Gentlemen,
below is a new chapter of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry project "Cartographic propaganda" by Kyrylo Halushka
Peoples of Crimea and “The People of Crimea”
In our last series, we showed that Ukraine existed in Europeans’ vision of the new political geography of the continent following World War I. Various states could claim its territory, it turned into the arena of wars and conflicts, but it already existed (or rather re-emerged) as a geographic phenomenon.
How was Crimea viewed with regard to Ukraine? Since the times of the already mentioned earlier classic 1875 ethnographic map of European Russia, the so-called “Rittich’s mistake” remained on western maps. The author of the map, Col. Alexander Rittich of the General Staff, made a mistake when he calculated statistical data of Tavria Governorate, including the number of Ukrainians into the number of Russians. Because of that, the lands of Crimea and modern-day north Kherson Oblast were shown in Europe as ethnically Russian lands, though it was already disproven by the official tsarist census of 1897.
During the 1917 Revolution, Ukrainian leaders saw Crimea as an equal member of new federal Russia – as Crimean Tatar statehood. However, Tatars were prevented from coming to power in Crimea by Bolsheviks and Russian Whites, and Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky tried to resolve the Crimean problem in 1918. Economic blockade of the peninsula demonstrated its complete dependence on mainland Ukraine, and negotiations on its accession to the Ukrainian State started. However, the Hetman’s power also fell, and in the aftermath of the Civil War Crimea became autonomy of Soviet Russia.
Its ties to Ukraine were still subject of discussion in mid-1920’s. Because of that, there were attempts to ignore the presence of Ukrainians in the peninsula. The 1926 Ethnographic Map of Crimea includes Ukrainians in the Russian population (orange color), thereby not indicating their presence. But even on that map we can see the true ethnic outlines of Crimea, inhabited by Tatars (green), Germans (yellow), and Greeks. They all were deported in 1944, except Russians, and the present-day “people of Crimea” (mostly after-war migrants from Russia) have quite remote ties to that land.