Ukraine - Crimea

Triggering Rebellion: Crimea’s Breakaway

Paco Serinelli

Crimea, Ukraine. 14 – 16 March 2014

March 16 marks the first anniversary of the referendum that saw residents of the Crimean Peninsula vote to break away from Ukraine and align with Russia. Once a part of Russia, in 1954 the Soviets transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as an autonomous republic. When the USSR collapsed and Ukraine gained independence in 1991, Crimea remained a part of it.

But nearly 25 years of confederation were not enough to bind Crimea’s Russian-speaking majority to Ukraine. On March 16th, 2014, a Russian-backed referendum, not recognized by the Ukraine, saw a majority vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia. The vote triggered a secessionist rebellion in other majority Russian-speaking regions in Ukraine’s east, near Donetsk.