The Chinese government on February 24 — the 1-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022 — published a 12-point “Position of the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis,” that is, a proposed Chinese framework for a ceasefire in the war and the beginning of peace talks.

    The US leadership has dismissed the Chinese proposal as “an attempt to distract.” (link)

    China’s 12-point “Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis” asserts vague support for “sovereignty,” “ceasing hostilities” and “resuming peace talks,” without specific proposals on achieving those goals, U.S. officials said.

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC News on Friday that it showed China trying to draw the world’s eyes away from its support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “China’s been trying to have it both ways — it’s on the one hand trying to present itself publicly as neutral and seeking peace, while at the same time it is talking up Russia’s false narrative about the war,” Blinken said. “There are 12 points in the Chinese plan. If they were serious about the first one, sovereignty, then this war could end tomorrow.”

    The full text of the Chinese proposal (available here, link) is also published below. in this letter.

    It has not been easy for most ordinary people, who read reports on the document which generally cite only one or two points, to assess the proposal; this is the reason for publishing the entire text here.

    The proposal’s most striking point is that it makes no mention whatsoever of the contested territories, claimed by both Russia and Ukraine: (1) the Donbass region in the east of Ukraine, comprised of the Donetsk and Luhansk “oblasts” (provinces), and (2) Crimea in the south.

    Both of these regions are regions where a considerable percentage of the people speak the Russian language as their first language, and consider themselves ethnically Russian rather than Ukrainian.

    So it is clear that the Chinese are leaving the very contested and controversial matter of these two regions — the central matter under contention, really, so the most evident cause of this war — entirely open until after the peace talks begin.

    Up until now, the Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky, has stated that there would be no possibility of initiating talks unless it was agreed in advance that all of Ukraine’s territory prior to 2014 would be restored to Ukraine under any peace plan.

    But Zelensky’s first reaction to hearing of this Chinese plan was not to exclude it completely.

    “I believe that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine is not bad,” Zelensky told a news conference Friday. “But the question is what follows the words. The question is in the steps and where they will lead to.” (link)


    Could this proposal from China be a first hope of a possible framework for ending the bloodshed?

    The difficult question is the one of territorial integrity, and of sovereignty.

    In other words, “Who controls the land?”

    But this question of “who controls the land” is more complex than many may be aware.

    The borders of Ukraine as a separate nation were set in 1991, when Ukraine left the Soviet Union and first became a nation (Ukraine was also briefly a nation after the First World War, but was quickly taken over by the Bolsheviks and made into a Soviet republic).

    So what of these two regions, the Donbass region and the Crimean region?

    Even at the outset of Ukraine’s national life following the 1991 collapse of the USSR, many inside of Russia, but also inside of Ukraine, believed that those two regions had a deep connection to Russia, whether the Russia of the Russian Empire, or the Russia of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic during the time of the Soviet Union (December 30, 1922 to December 25, 1991).

    Today’s conflict is rooted in chaos and confusion of the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR) over a period of almost a decade, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, and in what we call “the dissolution of the Soviet Union” officialized on Christmas Day, December 25, 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev put his signature on a document dissolving the USSR.

    As each of the USSR’s constituent parts became a separate nation instead of remaining united republics within a “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” (the literal meaning of “USSR”), the area we call Crimea (“Krim” in Russian) went with the new state of Ukraine.

    But Crimea had only became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the “stroke of a pen” in 1954, transferred from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic’s territory and given to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the decision of Nikita Krushchev (link), who was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964.

    Krushchev did this because he was struggling to consolidate his position and power after the death in 1953 of Joseph Stalin (link). (See the article below for Krushchev’s motivations.)

    Catherine the Great (1729-1796, link) first added Crimea to the Russian Empire in 1783 — at the same time as the United States founders were beginning to write the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1787, and so providing the foundation for the U.S. as a nation separate from Great Britain. Crimea was part of Russia from 1783 until 1954, a period of 171 years.

    Here is a summary of that history:

    “In the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, Russia inflicted some of the heaviest defeats ever suffered by the Ottoman Empire… The Russian victories procured access to the Black Sea and allowed Catherine’s government to incorporate present-day southern Ukraine, where the Russians founded the new cities of Odessa, Nikolayev, Yekaterinoslav (literally: “the Glory of Catherine”), and Kherson… The treaty also removed restrictions on Russian naval or commercial traffic in the Azov Sea, granted to Russia the position of protector of Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire, and made the Crimea a protectorate of Russia. Russia’s State Council in 1770 announced a policy in favor of eventual Crimean independence. Catherine named Şahin Giray, a Crimean Tatar leader, to head the Crimean state and maintain friendly relations with Russia. His period of rule proved disappointing after repeated effort to prop up his regime through military force and monetary aid. Finally Catherine annexed the Crimea in 1783.”

    Why did Krushchev hand over the Crimea from Russia to Ukraine in 1954?

    A very interesting article published by the Wilson Center, authored by Mark Kramer, Director of Cold War Studies at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, entitled “Why Did Russia Give Away Crimea 60 Years Ago?” gives some insight into the matter (link, full text below).

    In essence, Kramer’s conclusion is that Krushchev made the transfer to win favor with other members of the politburo whose support he needed to remain uncontested as the post-Stalin leader of the USSR.

    So very personal machinations in 1953-1954 over who was to become and remain the undisputed leader of the USSR after Joseph Stalin were arguably a key contributing factor in the outbreak of this present terrible, bloody war…

    (continued below, with the Chinese proposal and Kramer’s article)


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    Here is the full text from China’s Foreign Ministry of a 12-point proposal for the warring sides in the Ukraine-Russia conflict possibly to begin peace negotiations:

    China’s Proposal to Settle the Ukraine-Russia Conflict (link)

    Published February 24, 2023 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

    China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis

    2023-02-24 09:00

    1. Respecting the sovereignty of all countries. Universally recognized international law, including the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, must be strictly observed. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All parties should jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations and defend international fairness and justice. Equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected.

    2. Abandoning the Cold War mentality. The security of a country should not be pursued at the expense of others. The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly. There is no simple solution to a complex issue. All parties should, following the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and bearing in mind the long-term peace and stability of the world, help forge a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. All parties should oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security, prevent bloc confrontation, and work together for peace and stability on the Eurasian Continent.

    3. Ceasing hostilities. Conflict and war benefit no one. All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control. All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire.

    4. Resuming peace talks. Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis. All efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be encouraged and supported. The international community should stay committed to the right approach of promoting talks for peace, help parties to the conflict open the door to a political settlement as soon as possible, and create conditions and platforms for the resumption of negotiation. China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

    5. Resolving the humanitarian crisis. All measures conducive to easing the humanitarian crisis must be encouraged and supported. Humanitarian operations should follow the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and humanitarian issues should not be politicized. The safety of civilians must be effectively protected, and humanitarian corridors should be set up for the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones. Efforts are needed to increase humanitarian assistance to relevant areas, improve humanitarian conditions, and provide rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, with a view to preventing a humanitarian crisis on a larger scale. The UN should be supported in playing a coordinating role in channeling humanitarian aid to conflict zones.

    6. Protecting civilians and prisoners of war (POWs). Parties to the conflict should strictly abide by international humanitarian law, avoid attacking civilians or civilian facilities, protect women, children and other victims of the conflict, and respect the basic rights of POWs. China supports the exchange of POWs between Russia and Ukraine, and calls on all parties to create more favorable conditions for this purpose.

    7. Keeping nuclear power plants safe. China opposes armed attacks against nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities, and calls on all parties to comply with international law including the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) and resolutely avoid man-made nuclear accidents. China supports the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in playing a constructive role in promoting the safety and security of peaceful nuclear facilities.

    8. Reducing strategic risks. Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought. The threat or use of nuclear weapons should be opposed. Nuclear proliferation must be prevented and nuclear crisis avoided. China opposes the research, development and use of chemical and biological weapons by any country under any circumstances.

    9. Facilitating grain exports. All parties need to implement the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed by Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine and the UN fully and effectively in a balanced manner, and support the UN in playing an important role in this regard. The cooperation initiative on global food security proposed by China provides a feasible solution to the global food crisis.

    10. Stopping unilateral sanctions. Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the issue; they only create new problems. China opposes unilateral sanctions unauthorized by the UN Security Council. Relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction” against other countries, so as to do their share in deescalating the Ukraine crisis and create conditions for developing countries to grow their economies and better the lives of their people.

    11. Keeping industrial and supply chains stable. All parties should earnestly maintain the existing world economic system and oppose using the world economy as a tool or weapon for political purposes. Joint efforts are needed to mitigate the spillovers of the crisis and prevent it from disrupting international cooperation in energy, finance, food trade and transportation and undermining the global economic recovery.

    12. Promoting post-conflict reconstruction. The international community needs to take measures to support post-conflict reconstruction in conflict zones. China stands ready to provide assistance and play a constructive role in this endeavor.

    [End, text of China’s February 24 proposal to settle the conflict in Ukraine]

    And here is the text of Mark Kramer‘s article on the reasons for the 1954 transfer of Crime from Russia to Ukraine:

    Why Did Russia Give Away Crimea Sixty Years Ago? (link)

    By Mark Kramer

    CWIHP (Cold War International History Project) e-Dossier No. 47

    The Transfer of Crimea from Soviet Russia to Soviet Ukraine, 1954

    Mark Kramer 

    Crimea was part of Russia from 1783, when the Tsarist Empire annexed it a decade after defeating Ottoman forces in the Battle of Kozludzha, until 1954, when the Soviet government transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR).

    The transfer was announced in the Soviet press in late February 1954, eight days after the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution authorizing the move on 19 February.

    The text of the resolution and some anodyne excerpts from the proceedings of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet meeting on 19 February were published along with the very brief announcement.[1]

    Nothing else about the transfer was disclosed at the time, and no further information was made available during the remainder of the Soviet era.

    Not until 1992, just after the Soviet Union was dissolved, did additional material about this episode emerge.

    A historical-archival journal, Istoricheskii arkhiv (Historical Archive), which had been published in the USSR from 1955 until 1962, began appearing again in 1992 with transcriptions of declassified documents from the former Soviet archives.

    The first issue of the revived Istoricheskii arkhiv in 1992 contained a section about the transfer of Crimea that featured documents from the Russian Presidential Archive and from a few other archives whose collections are now housed at the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF).

    Unfortunately, these documents do not add anything of substance to what was published in the Soviet press 38 years earlier; indeed, they are mostly identical to what was published in 1954. (Apparently, the editors of Istoricheskii arkhiv were unaware that the scripted proceedings of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium meeting had already been published in 1954.)

    The documents do confirm that the move was originally approved by the Presidium of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) on 25 January 1954, paving the way for the authorizing resolution of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet three weeks later.

    But the declassified files reveal nothing more about the motives for the transfer, leaving us with just the two official rationales that were published in 1954:

    (1) the cession of Crimea was a “noble act on the part of the Russian people” to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the “reunification of Ukraine with Russia” (a reference to the Treaty of Pereyaslav signed in 1654 by representatives of the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate and Tsar Aleksei I of Muscovy) and to “evince the boundless trust and love the Russian people feel toward the Ukrainian people”; and

    (2) the transfer was a natural outgrowth of the “territorial proximity of Crimea to Ukraine, the commonalities of their economies, and the close agricultural and cultural ties between the Crimean oblast and the UkrSSS.”

    Neither of these ostensible justifications holds up to scrutiny.

    Even though 1954 was the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, there is no connection between that treaty and the Crimean peninsula.

    Pereyaslav, in central Ukraine not far from Kyiv, is nowhere near Crimea, and the treaty had nothing to do with the peninsula, which did not come under Russian control until 130 years later.

    Moreover, the description of the treaty as having produced the “unification of Russia and Ukraine” is hyperbolic.

    The treaty did provide an important step in that direction, but years of further struggling and warfare had to take place before full unification occurred.

    In retrospect the Treaty of Pereyaslav is often associated (inaccurately) with Russian-Ukrainian unity, but it is hard to see why anyone in the USSR would have proposed celebrating the 300th anniversary of the document by transferring Crimea from the RSFSR to the UkrSSR.

    The notion that the transfer was justified solely by Crimea’s cultural and economic affinities with Ukraine is also far-fetched.

    In the 1950s, the population of Crimea — approximately 1.1 million — was roughly 75 percent ethnic Russian and 25 percent Ukrainian.

    A sizable population of Tatars had lived in Crimea for centuries until May 1944, when they were deported en masse by the Stalinist regime to barren sites in Central Asia, where they were compelled to live for more than four decades and were prohibited from returning to their homeland.

    Stalin also forcibly deported smaller populations of Armenians, Bulgarians, and Greeks from Crimea, completing the ethnic cleansing of the peninsula.

    Hence, in 1954, Crimea was more “Russian” than it had been for centuries.

    Although Crimea is briefly contiguous with southern Ukraine via the Isthmus of Perekop, the large eastern Kerch region of Crimea is very close to Russia.

    The peninsula did have important economic and infrastructural ties with Ukraine, but cultural ties were much stronger overall with Russia than with Ukraine, and Crimea was the site of major military bases from Tsarist times on, having become a symbol of Imperial Russian military power against the Ottoman Turks.

    Even though the publicly enunciated rationales for the transfer of Crimea to the UkrSSR were of little credibility, some of the comments published in 1954 and other information that has come to light since then do allow us to gauge why the Soviet authorities decided on this action.

    Of particular importance were the role of Nikita Khrushchev, the recent traumas inflicted on Ukraine, and the ongoing power struggle in the USSR.

    Khrushchev had been elevated to the post of CPSU First Secretary in September 1953 but was still consolidating his leading position in early 1954.

    He had earlier served as the head of the Communist Party of Ukraine from the late 1930s through the end of 1949 (apart from a year-and-a-half during World War II when he was assigned as a political commissar to the front).

    During the last several years of Khrushchev’s tenure in the UkrSSR, he had overseen the Soviet government’s side of a fierce civil war in the newly annexed western regions of Ukraine, especially Volynia and Galicia.

    The civil war was marked by high levels of casualties and gruesome atrocities on both sides.

    Despite Khrushchev’s later role in denouncing Stalinism and implementing reforms in the USSR, he had relied on ruthless, unstinting violence to establish and enforce Soviet control over western Ukraine.

    Occasional armed clashes were still occurring in the mid-1950s, but the war was over by the time Crimea was transferred in February 1954. The repeated references at the meeting of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium on 19 February to the “unity of Russians and Ukrainians” and to the “great and indissoluble friendship” between the two peoples, and the affirmation that the transfer would demonstrate how wise it was to have Ukraine “under the leadership of the Communist Party and the Soviet government,” indicate that Khrushchev saw the transfer as a way of fortifying and perpetuating Soviet control over Ukraine now that the civil war had finally been won.

    Some 860,000 ethnic Russians would be joining the already large Russian minority in Ukraine.

    A somewhat similar approach was used in the three newly annexed Baltic republics, especially Latvia and Estonia, both of which had had very few Russian inhabitants prior to the 1940s.

    The Stalinist regime encouraged ethnic Russians to settle in those republics from the late 1940s on, and this policy continued under Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. Proportionally, the transfer of Russians to the Baltic republics was greater than in Ukraine, but in absolute numbers the transfer of Crimea brought into Ukraine much larger numbers of Russians and a region closely identified with Russia, bolstering Soviet control.

    The transfer of Crimea to the UkrSSR also was politically useful for Khrushchev as he sought to firm up the support he needed in his ongoing power struggle with Soviet Prime Minister Georgii Malenkov, who had initially emerged as the preeminent leader in the USSR in 1953 after Joseph Stalin’s death.

    Having been at a disadvantage right after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev had steadily whittled away at Malenkov’s position and had gained a major edge with his elevation to the post of CPSU First Secretary in September 1953.

    Nevertheless, the post-Stalin power struggle was by no means over in early 1954, and Khrushchev was trying to line up as much support as he could on the CPSU Presidium for a bid to remove Malenkov from the prime minister’s spot (a feat he accomplished in January 1955).

    Among those whose support Khrushchev was hoping to enlist was Oleksiy Kyrychenko, who had become first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine in early June 1953 (displacing Leonid Mel’nykov, who had succeeded Khrushchev in that post in December 1949) and soon thereafter had been appointed a full member of the CPSU Presidium.

    In 1944, when Khrushchev himself was still the Communist Party leader in Ukraine, he reportedly had suggested to Stalin that transferring Crimea to the UkrSSR would be a useful way of winning support from local Ukrainian elites.[2]

    Regardless of whether Khrushchev actually did bring up this matter with Stalin (the veracity of the secondhand retrospective account is uncertain), it most likely reflects Khrushchev’s own sense as early as 1944 that expanding Ukraine’s territory was a way of gaining elite support in the republic.

    In particular, Khrushchev almost certainly regarded the transfer of Crimea as a means of securing Kyrychenko’s backing.

    Khrushchev knew that he could not automatically count on Kyrychenko’s support because the two of them had been sharply at odds as recently as June 1953, when Kyrychenko endorsed Lavrentii Beria’s strong criticism of the situation in western Ukraine — criticism that implicitly attacked a good deal of what Khrushchev had done when he was the leader of the republic in the 1940s.

    Khrushchev hoped that the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine would dispel the lingering tensions from this episode and thereby help to solidify Kyrychenko’s support in the forthcoming showdown with Malenkov.

    The earlier published documents, and materials that have emerged more recently, make clear that the transfer of Crimea from the RSFSR to the UkrSSR was carried out in accordance with the 1936 Soviet constitution, which in Article 18 stipulated that “the territory of a Union Republic may not be altered without its consent.”

    The proceedings of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium meeting indicate that both the RSFSR and the UkrSSR had given their consent via their republic parliaments. One of the officials present at the 19 February session, Otto Kuusinen, even boasted that “only in our country [the USSR] is it possible that issues of the utmost importance such as the territorial transfer of individual oblasts to a particular republic can be decided without any difficulties.” 

    One might argue that the process in 1954 would have been a lot better if it had been complicated and difficult, but no matter how one judges the expeditiousness of the territorial reconfiguration, the main point to stress here is that it is incorrect to say (as some Russian commentators and government officials recently have) that Crimea was transferred unconstitutionally or illegally.

    The legal system in the Soviet Union was mostly a fiction, but the transfer did occur in accordance with the rules in effect at the time.

    Moreover, regardless of how the transfer was carried out, the Russian Federation expressly accepted Ukraine’s 1991 borders both in the December 1991 Belovezhskaya Pushcha accords (the agreements that precipitated and codified the dissolution of the Soviet Union) and in the December 1994 Budapest Memorandum that finalized Ukraine’s status as a non-nuclear weapons state.

    Crimea had originally been an “autonomous republic” (avtonomnaya respublika) in the RSFSR, but its status was changed to that of an “oblast’” (province) in the RSFSR in 1945, ostensibly because the forced removal of the Crimean Tatars had eliminated the need for autonomy.

    After the Crimean oblast was transferred to the UkSSR in 1954, it retained the status of an oblast’ within Soviet Ukraine for 37 years.

    In early 1991, after a referendum was held in the UkrSSR and a resolution was adopted a month later by the UkrSSR parliament, the status of Crimea was upgraded to that of an “autonomous republic.”

    Crimea retained that designation within Ukraine after the Soviet Union broke apart.

    In the Russian Federation, however, the category of “autonomous republic” does not exist.

    In the treaty of annexation signed by the Russian and Crimean governments on 18 March 2014, the status of the peninsula was changed to simply a “republic” (Respublika Krym), joining 21 other “republics” of the Russian Federation’s now-85 federal “subjects,” with Crimea and the city of Sevastopol added as separate entities.[3]

    One of the ironies of the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 is that when the chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, Kliment Voroshilov, offered his closing remarks at the session on 19 February 1954, he declared that “enemies of Russia” had “repeatedly tried to take the Crimean peninsula from Russia and use it to steal and ravage Russian lands.”

    He praised the “joint battles” waged by “the Russian and Ukrainian peoples” as they inflicted a “severe rebuff against the insolent usurpers.” Voroshilov’s characterization of Russia’s past “enemies” seems eerily appropriate today in describing Russia’s own actions vis-à-vis Ukraine.

    A further tragic irony of the Crimean transfer is that an action of sixty years ago, taken by Moscow to strengthen its control over Ukraine, has come back to haunt Ukraine today.

    Mark Kramer is Director of the Cold War Studies Program at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies


    Document 1

    5 February 1954

    Decree of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Council of Ministers, “Concerning the Transfer of the Crimean Oblast’ from the RSFSR to the UkSSR”

    TsGA RSFSR [GARF]. F.259. Op.1. D.645. L.159. Published in “Istoricheskii arkhiv” (1992). Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg.

    Document 2

    5 February 1954

    Minutes Nº 41 of a Meeting of the Presidium of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic [RSFSR] Supreme Soviet

    TsGA RSFSR [GARF]. F. 385, Op. 13. D. 492. L. 1-2. Published in “Istoricheskii arkhiv” (1992). Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. 

    Document 3

    13 February 1954

    Decree of the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, “Concerning the Submission of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Concerning the Issue of the Transfer of the Crimean Oblast to the Ukrainian SSR

    GARF. F. 7523. Op. 85. D. 94. L. 8. Published in “Istoricheskii arkhiv” (1992). Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. 

    Document 4

    15 February 1954

    Letter from D. S. Korotchenko and V. Ye. Nizhnik to K. Ye. Voroshilov, with a Report about the Decree of the Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet 

    GARF. F. 7523. Op. 85. D. 94. L. 8. Published in “Istoricheskii arkhiv” (1992). Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. 

    Document 5

    19 February 1954

    Meeting of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

    GARF. F.7523. Op.57. D.963, L1-10. Published in “Istoricheskii arkhiv,” issue 1, vol. 1 (1992). Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. 

    Document 6

    Sergey Khrushcehv, Excerpt from Nikita Khrushchev: Reformator (Moscow: Vremya, 2010)

    Translated by Anna Melyakova for the National Security Archive. 

    [1] “V Prezidiume Verkhovnogo soveta RSFSR i Sovete Ministrov RSFSR,” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 1; “V Prezidiume Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR,” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 2; “Rech’ tovarishcha Tarasova M. P.,” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 2; “Rech’ tovarishcha Korotchenko, D. S.,” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 2; “Rech’ tovarishcha Shvernika N. M.” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 2; “Rech’ tovarishcha Rashidova Sh.,” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 2; “Rech’ tovarishcha Kuusinena O. V.,” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 2; and “Rech’ tovarishcha Voroshilova K. E.,” Izvestiya (Moscow), 27 February 1954, p. 2.

    [2] This matter is reported in P. Knyshevskii, “Shtrikhi k portretu kremlevskoi galerei,” Novoe vremya (Moscow), No. 9 (April 1994), p. 54. Knyshevskii claims that Khrushchev told him in 1944 (fifty years earlier) about having raised this matter with Stalin when Khrushchev was visiting Moscow. William Taubman accepts Knyshevskii’s account at face value in Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002), p. 163. I am far more skeptical (partly because Khrushchev was well aware of how savagely Stalin had attacked Ukrainian national elites throughout the 1930s, partly because Khrushchev’s main priority in 1944 was to crush the armed insurgency in western Ukraine, and partly because a secondhand account told so long after the fact is inherently difficult to assess), but I do regard it as a plausible reflection of Khrushchev’s own sentiment at the time.

    [3] “Dogovor mezhdu Rossiiskoi Federatsiei i Respublikoi Krym o prinyatii v Rossiiskuyu Federatsiyu Respubliku Krym i obrazovanii v sostave Rossiiskoi Federatsii novykh sub”ektov,” 18 March 2014, signed in Moscow.



    Director, Cold War Studies, Harvard University

    Mark Kramer is Director of Cold War Studies at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

    [End, Kramer article entitled “Why Did Russia Give Away Crimea Sixty Years Ago?” (link)]

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