Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crimea Joins Russia, Gives Up Independence, Becomes Disputed Territory

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Map of the claimed Republic of Crimea, which briefly declared independence from Ukraine on Mar. 17 before being annexed by Russia
The claimed Republic of Crimea which has now joined Russia (click to see full-sized map). By Evan Centanni, based on this blank map.
By Evan Centanni

Russia Annexes Crimea
The Crimean peninsula, which declared independence from Ukraine ten days ago as the Republic of Crimea, has now been absorbed into Russia. This was part of the plan all along - the claimed Republic of Crimea had requested to join Russia at the same time that it declared independence.

Related: Complete Map of Locations Seized by Russia in Crimea (Premium)

Once Russia had recognized Crimea as an independent country, Russian president Vladimir Putin then argued all that was necessary for his country to absorb the region was a treaty between the two supposedly sovereign states. The unification treaty between Crimea and Russia was signed on Mar. 18, the day after the peninsula's declaration of independence. The treaty went into full effect on Mar. 21 after it was ratified by both houses of the Russian parliament and formally signed into law by Putin.

See Also: Crimea Declares Independence: Is It Really a Country? 

Geographical Implications
Flag of Crimea Territory Name:  
• Crimea (English)
Krym (Russian, Ukrainian)
Qırım (Crimean Tatar)
• Ukraine
• Russia
Actual Control: Russia
Status: Federal subject of Russia (Republic of Crimea)/federal city (Sevastopol)
Capital: Simferopol/Sevastopol
Crimea's annexation by Russia brings about several simultaneous changes to the world's political geography situation:
Besides those country-level changes, there has also been an adjustment to the subnational administrative status of Crimea. Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the special municipality of Sevastopol, which united to claim independence as the Republic of Crimea, have now been separated again as divisions within the Russian Federation. The former Autonomous Republic of Crimea is now the Republic of Crimea, a federal subject of Russia, and Sevastopol is a "city of federal significance" (also a type of federal subject within the Russian Federation).

Transitioning Between Two Countries
Russia's annexation of Crimea may look complete on paper, but changing the whole region from Ukrainian to Russian administration is going to be a major logistical headache. In addition to the issues of distributing Russian citizenship to all Crimeans and figuring out what to do with members of the Ukrainian military who are stationed there, infrastructure will be a major issue.

Crimea has no land link to the rest of Russia, so new bridges and pipelines will need to be built if the region isn't going to remain heavily dependent on Ukraine. There will also be a major stir-up to the communications system as telephone area codes are completely replaced to fit into Russia's system. An extra digit will also need to be added to postal codes, and clocks will be permanently set two hours forward this Sunday to switch to the same time zone as Moscow.

Map of Russian seizures and military actions in the Crimea region which it recently annexed from Ukraine.

Also check out our premium map report: 
Complete Map of Locations of Russian Seizures or Attacks in Crimea

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Graphic of the Crimean flag  is in the public domain (source).