[MGSA-L] Proposal to Reinstate Crimea With Ancient Greek Name
june.samaras at gmail.com
Sun Mar 30 13:04:18 PDT 2014
Russia: Proposal to Reinstate Crimea With Ancient Greek Name -
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The Russian lower house, called the “State Duma,” seems prepared to seize
this unique historic opportunity and reinstate Crimea with its ancient
Greek name, following the same decision made by the Russian Empress
Catherine the Great in 1783, when the Peninsula was annexed to the Russian
Empire. The symbolism is by no means accidental.
According to the Russian newspaper “Izvestia,” far-right LDPR MP Mikhail
Degtyarev proposed that the Peninsula should be renamed to Tauris or
Taurica, which would bear more resemblance to the historic path of the
The Russian MP mentioned that giving one of the proposed names to the
region — the name “Crimea” is attributed to the Tatars — would also be in
accordance to the message of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who
asked for recognition on the Peninsula of three languages; Russian,
Ukrainian and Tatar.
This particular view was also endorsed by the MP of the current ruling
centrist party “United Russia” in the State Duma, Alexei Zhuravlev, who
however insisted on leaving the people of Crimea to decide.
The leader of the Kuban Cossacks, Anatoly Mariette, also positioned himself
in favor of the name change. “Crimea is a name of Tatar origin and stands
as a symbol of 300 years of slavery, when the Tatars invaded the Russian
land and hundreds of thousands of prisoners were transported to distant
places,” he said.
The Crimean Peninsula was named Taurica (or Tauris) by the Greeks long
before the 6th century BC, when the first Greek colonies were created
there. According to Greek mythology, the Tauri were the people to whom
Iphigeneia was sent after the goddess Artemis rescued her from her father
Agamemnon, who was about to sacrifice her to appease Artemis. There, the
young woman became a priestess at the goddess’s temple.
The Crimean region has been conquered and has become a colony for many
historic empires and nomadic tribes throughout history. Scythians, Greeks,
Byzantines and Genoese were among the people who fought over the influence
on the region, while nomadic tribes such as the Goths and the Huns also
tried to conquer the area.
The Peninsula was conquered mostly by the Turk-Mongols, who assimilated
with the Turkic tribes already residing there. In 1441 they formed the
“Crimean Khanate.” The Turkish-speaking natives are known today as the
In 1774, after a peace treaty was signed between Russia and the Ottoman
Empire on the war in which the Ottomans lost, Crimea was annexed to the
Russian Empire and organized by Catherine the Great into the “Taurida
The region stayed under Russian authority until the 1950s, when USSR leader
of Ukrainian origin Nikita Khrushchev annexed the Peninsula to the
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991, a referendum with an approval rating of 93.26 percent made Crimea
an autonomous region within the USSR. As promised, though, a referendum on
the secession of the region from Ukraine was upheld, thus betraying the
Today, it is estimated that 97 percent of the Crimean population is
Russian-speaking, around 1,200,000 (58.3 percent) identify as Russians,
500,000 (24 percent) as Ukrainians and 12 percent as Tartars
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