The Northern Black Sea Region

von by Kerstin Susanne Jobst Original aufOriginal in German, angezeigt aufdisplayed in English
PublishedErschienen: 2017-02-13
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    In historical studies, the Black Sea region is viewed as a separate historical region which has been shaped in particular by vast migration and acculturation processes. Another prominent feature of the region's history is the great diversity of religions and cultures which existed there up to the 20th century. The region is understood as a complex interwoven entity. This article focuses on the northern Black Sea region, which in the present day is primarily inhabited by Slavic people. Most of this region currently belongs to Ukraine, which has been an independent state since 1991. It consists primarily of the former imperial Russian administrative province of Novorossiia (not including Bessarabia, which for a time was administered as part of Novorossiia) and the Crimean Peninsula, including the adjoining areas to the north. The article also discusses how the region, which has been inhabited by Scythians, Sarmatians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Huns, Khazars, Italians, Tatars, East Slavs and others, fitted into broader geographical and political contexts.

    InhaltsverzeichnisTable of Contents


    With good reason, the Black Sea has come to be viewed in historical studies as a distinct historical region and thus as a space of concentrated communication, comparable with the Baltic region or the Mediterranean region.1 A perspective which focuses on nation-states appears inappropriate, as the region only came to be dominated by nation-states in the 20th century.2 The shoreline of the Black Sea, which connects , and parts of the , has been shared by the following states since 1991: , the , , , and . For a longue durée perspective, the nation-state frame of reference, which is historically comparatively recent, is of little use.3 Much more prominent and enduring than nation-states has been the influence of nomadic and sedentary cultures, and the waxing and waning of competing empires. This history has included extensive migration processes – some of which proceeded peacefully, some of which were violent – which increased the ethnicity and religious diversity of the region. Viewed from this perspective, the chosen focus of this article on the northern Black Sea region, i.e., primarily on territories which belong to Ukraine at present, is arbitrary. On the other hand, this focus can be justified as it makes it possible to identify contexts and structures which are characteristic of the historical region as a whole. These include the importance of the region as a space of classical and modern myths, as an economic region and as a zone of contact between nomadic and sedentary cultures, and between Islam and Christianity. The territory discussed in this article encompasses roughly the former imperial Russian administrative provinces of Novorossiia ("New Russia") and (Tavricheskaia guberniia). This region, which is today referred to as , roughly lies between the Danube Delta and the Kerch Strait ( in Russian and Ukrainian), including the hinterland.4

    Space of Myths and Legends

    The region to the north of the Black Sea has been settled by humans since primitive times. It was part of the world of classical (Greek and Roman) antiquity, which makes it a complex space of myths and legends. The ancient tales connected with the region in some cases have a grain of historical reality in them, but this has been continuously distorted and adapted to fit the narratives which the various groups constructed. In the form of the biblical flood, which is frequently described as having occurred in the region, the Black Sea is also connected with a topos which is present across cultures.5 The "evidence" is hotly contested, however, and has not put an end to the search for the "real" site.6 Ultimately, the question of whether the biblical flood occurred in the Black Sea is of secondary importance for a cultural studies perspective on the space.7 Thanks to the narrative of Iphigenia, the northern coast of the Black Sea also has its place in the mythical world of classical antiquity.8 Having been interpreted by Euripides (480–406 BC), Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)[Johann Wolfgang Goethe in der Campagna 1787 IMG], and more latterly by the Cypriot film director Michalēs Kakogiannēs (1922–2011),9 the narrative has become a kind of timeless theme of the arts.10 The island of Tauris in the legend is often identified as the .11 There Iphigenia, Agamemnon's daughter, as a priestess had to offer strangers as sacrifices to the goddess Artemis (Diana), until she was rescued by her brother Orestes. The idea that the northern Black Sea region is a shore from classical antiquity has also played an important role in Russian discourses on the region. From the famous journey of Empress Catherine II (1729–1796)[J. Miller, Catherine II, Czarine of Russia, Kupferstich, Datum unbekannt. Quelle:  Wellcome Library, London, Slide number 6170,, Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC-BY 4.0,] to the Crimea in 1787 – a few short years after the annexation of the region – which was not coincidentally known as the "Tauride Journey", reference was repeatedly made to the region's classical heritage and the world of the classical myths.12 From the Enlightenment onward, which also left its mark on the Russian elites, classical antiquity was considered a particularly significant era. With the annexation of the on the northern shore of the Black Sea, the Russian Empire had acquired its own piece of the territory of classical antiquity.

    The space is also connected with religious myths and legends, which also played an important role in Russian imperial discourses. In addition to the supposed baptism of Grand Prince Vladimir I Sviatoslavich (956–1015) in in the 10th century, which will be discusses again below, these myths also included the supposed Scythian mission of the apostle Andrew (known in Russian as Andrei Pervozvannyi, meaning "Andrew, the first called"). Andrew’s missionary activity is said to have taken him northward from the Black Sea along the Dnieper. In the form of the apocryphal text The Legend of the Journey of Saint Andrew to Russia, the story of this mission was included in the Nestor Chronicle (Povest vremennykh let). This text is viewed as the most important surviving sources for studying the . The text itself only contains the following prosaic reference: "[a]ls Andreas in Sinopé lehrte und als er nach Korsun' [Chersonesus] gekommen war, sah er, daß von Korsun' aus die Mündung des Dnepr nahe ist".13 However, as the conquest of the region by the Russian Empire got underway in the last quarter of the 18th century, such narratives which seemed to prove an ancient connection between Christianity and the East Slavic territory played a significant role in efforts to justify the annexation. The expansion of Russia into the region at the expense of the and the Crimean Khanate could in this way be portrayed as returning the region to its prior state. Ukrainian nationalist narratives have also included this collection of myths, but have integrated them into a linear Ukrainian (not Russian!) history.14

    The northern Black Sea region is, however, not only a mythical and legendary place in the Russian and Ukrainian contexts, as demonstrated by the Sarmatian myth cultivated by the Polish nobility in the 16th century. The Polish aristocracy began to trace its heritage as well as its system of values and norms back to the Iranian nomadic people the Sarmatians, who played a very important role on the northern shore of the Black Sea for a period of time.15 German-speaking travellers and ideologues, on the other hand, attached significance to the Goths who had advanced to the Black Sea in the 3rd century AD, whom they viewed as their ancestors. During the German occupation of the Crimea during the Second World War, the Germanization plans of Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) were also influenced by this supposed line of descent. The cruel attempts at so-called Umvolkung (re-peopling) in the peninsula were thus given the name "Gotenland".16

    The importance of the region for the imaginations and the collective memories of various nationalities and social groups can only be hinted at here. It is clear, however, that the Black Sea, and in particular its northern shore, have long been emotionally charged spaces of memory which in this regard no one nationality has exclusively claim to.

    The Northern Black Sea Region in Classical Antiquity

    The great ethnic and cultural diversity of this region has existed since earliest times. In classical antiquity, Asiatic and Greek influences resulted in the formation of "mixed civilizations" here.17 As the region was inhabited by groups which engaged in different forms of economic activity and lived in complex and mutually dependent relationships, none of the groups was able to gain lasting dominance over the others. Consequently, no centre of power emerged to dominate the region. The culturally different groups alternated between phases of coexistence and confrontation.

    Due to its advantageous location and climatic conditions, the Black Sea region was already settled before classical antiquity and it was the destination of the so-called "Ionian Colonization" (of the 11th/10th century BC) and the "Great Colonization" of the Greeks (from the 8th to the 6th century BC). The period up to the 4th century BC is believed to have been a period of prosperity:18 Scythian tribes and the Greek cities who paid tribute (in the monetary sense) to them created among themselves a concentrated network of production and trade – for example in cereals, furs, wax, honey and slaves – which was militarily protected by the Scythians. However, this economy soon declined, as demonstrated by the collapse of cereal production. This was the result not least of the increasing pressure which the inhabitants of the steppes to the north and the east exerted on the coastal regions. Nomadic and semi-nomadic groups, such as the Iranian Sarmatians (from about the 4th century BC)Die Sarmaten in Europa: Grabstein eines sarmatischen Reiters,19 gradually displaced or assimilated the Scythians.

    From the 3rd or 2nd century BC, the economic circumstances of the Greek cities on the northern shore of the Black Sea deteriorated and their security became increasingly precarious. Nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes from the north and the south demanded ever increasing tribute, and enormous sums had to be raised for the construction of fortifications. By this time, cities such as , Chersonesus and already belonged to the with its centre at Panticapaeum. However, the latter offered no security against the raids of the nomadic warriors.20 Indeed, Panticapaeum itself sought the protection of the kingdom of . The ruler of Pontus, Mithridates VI (ca. 132–63 BC), tried to extend his area of influence into Asia Minor, which brought him into conflict with .21 Consequently, the former Greek settlements on the northern Black Sea coast were among the sites where the so-called Mithridatic Wars (89–63 BC) were fought. After Rome under Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (106–48 BC) had finally defeated Mithridates VI in 63 BC, Pontus became a so-called client state of Rome. The cities on the northern shore of the Black Sea now developed very differently. Olbia to the west became a largely insignificant settlement, while Panticapaeum gradually lost its Hellenic character.22 Chersonesus, on the other hand, developed into an oligarchical republic supported by Rome, and the centre of Roman rule in the peninsula. While during the course of the 13th century large parts of the Crimea fell under the control of the Golden Horde, Chersonesus came under the control of , which maintained a number of thriving trading posts on the Crimean coast. Chersonesus was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. However, the troops of the Golden Horde under Edigü (ca. 1350–ca. 1419) laid waste to the city in 1399, and it was not rebuilt.23

    In the first centuries AD, the region remained a space of contact and migration, which various groups passed through, conquered and settled in. Newcomers and longer established inhabitants in some cases coexisted peacefully, in others engaged in violent confrontation. Many groups acculturated, while others such as the Germanic tribe often referred to generically as the "Goths" moved on again. The earliest documentary proof of the presence of Goths in the Crimea dates from 255. Many of them were pushed in the direction of by the arrival of group after group of nomads from the central Asian steppes. Others remained in the Crimea. These so-called Crimean Goths were politically and culturally connected with Byzantium and they converted to Christianity. They only finally surrendered their principality of , which was situated in the mountainous part of the peninsula, in 1475, as the Crimean Tatars completed their conquest of the region.24

    From the 3rd century AD, Chersonesus on the north shore of the Black Sea in particular developed into an early Christian centre. This city on the periphery of the Roman Empire frequently offered exile to churchmen who had come into conflict with the imperial authorities.25

    From the Khazar Empire to the Crimean Khanate and the Ottomans

    From the end of the 7th century, the Turkic Khazars extended their rule over large parts of the northern and eastern shores of the Black Sea. For nearly three centuries, they were a dominant power in the region – alongside Byzantium, which still ruled Chersonesus.26 Areas such as the Crimean Gothic city of Theodoro paid tribute to the Khazars, who also largely controlled long-distance trade, through which they were able to finance themselves. The relationship between the Khazars and was changeable.27 Alliances were formed against encroaching nomadic groups, such as the Pechenegs, or against the , but later dissolved. Ultimately, the Khazars were no longer able to withstand the constant pressure from the forest and steppe regions. In addition to the Alans, the Khazars faced a new opponent: the Kievan RusKiewer Rus Karte 1 IMG.

    In the 960s, Sviatoslav I (ca. 942–ca. 972) dealt the Khazars the decisive blow.28 However, one cannot speak of lasting Slavic control over the region at this time, though apologists of Russian rule over the northern Black Sea region in the 18th and 20th century tried to claim this.29 However, peaceful trade links undoubtedly existed, though these alternated with plundering raids by against Constantinople. There was also the Slavic principality of on the , which had developed out of the Greek settlement of , and which had come under the rule of the Rurik dynasty in the late-10th or early-11th century.30 It was mentioned for the last time in Russian chronicles in 1094.31

    The Kievan Grand Prince Vladimir I Sviatoslavich had already led his army to the Crimea around 988. There are different interpretations regarding the reasons for this.32 However, it is certain that it was around this time that Vladimir I was baptized, which led to the famous mass baptism in Kiev and the beginning of the Christianization of the Rus.33 According to the Nestor Chronicle, Vladimir I was baptized in Chersonesus.34 From the second half of the 19th century, this fact was a central element of the Russian Orthodox narrative employed to legitimize imperial Russian rule over the territory.35

    In the 13th century, the maritime republics of and Genoa established trading colonies along the coast. After the colony of Pera near Constantinople (now a district of Istanbul called ), the colony of Kaffa, formerly Theodosia, was the most important Genoese colony.36 Through Kaffa, Genoa was able to control not only most of the importation of silk into Europe, but also the slave trade. As with the other settlements, these so-called Italian colonies should not be thought of as ethnically or culturally homogeneous areas. For example, only one fifth of the inhabitants of Kaffa were Italian. The rest of the population consisted mainly of Greeks, Slavs, Armenians and also Muslim groups.37 In the late-15th century, Kaffa and a number of other coastal cities fell under the control of the Ottomans (as eyalet, i.e., provinces) or the Crimean Khanate. The inhabitants of the cities assimilated quickly and continued to play an important role in the overall economy of the region.38 The region also retained its general multi-ethnic and multi-religious character under Muslim rule.

    With the emergence of the Crimean Khanate in the 1440s, an entity came into being which – as both European and Arabic sources describe – together with the Ottoman EmpireKarte der Ausdehnung des Osmanischen Reiches, 2003, unbekannter Ersteller; Bildquelle: Wunderer, Hartmann: Der Islam und die westliche Welt: Konfrontation, Konkurrenz, Kulturaustausch, Hannover 2003, S. 115. © Bildungshaus Schulbuchverlage Westermann Schroedel Diesterweg Schöningh Winklers GmbH, Braunschweig. had a defining effect on the northern Black Sea region up to the 18th century. While the Italian trading cities came into being on the coast, to the north nomadic groups, which were predominantly Turkic in origin, became sedentary. Many of them converted to Islam. These so-called Crimean Tatars had come to the region with the Golden Horde, which had brought large parts of the Slavic territories of the Kievan Rus, which had splintered into constituent principalities, under its tribute rule.39 The history of the Tatars in the Crimean Peninsula began in the present-day town of (referred to in the Tatar language as "Eski Kirim", meaning "old fortress"), which lies in the northeastern part of the peninsula between the uplands and the steppe. Having been founded in the second half of the 11th century by Greeks and Armenians under the name Solchat, in the 13th century it became the seat of power of the local representative of the Horde, which was advancing westward. The city grew in importance and became known beyond the region as an economic and religious centre.40 In the 14th century, the conglomerate state of the Golden Horde began to disintegrate due to external41 and internal factors42, and a number of independent khanates emerged during the course of the 15th century. One of these was the Crimean KhanateIslamische Staaten in Europa um 1480 IMG, whose territory stretched beyond the Isthmus of Perekop.43 This new entity soon managed to extract tribute from the coastal cities.44

    Haçi Giray (died 1466/1475),45 who is believed to have been born in , has gone down in history as the founder of the Crimean Khanate (1424/1443–1774/1783). He became khan with the support of the influential leaders of the Şirins and Barins clans.46 To cement his authority, Crimean Khan Mengli I (1445–1515) concluded an alliance with under Ivan III (1440–1505). Though the relationship with the northern neighbour was subsequently often a fractious one, the foreign policy of the khanate subsequently proved to be flexible and pragmatic. It had the aim, firstly, of gathering the former lands of the Golden Horde, of which the Crimean Khanate believed itself to be the heir, under its leadership. Secondly, the khanate did not wish to allow any of the states in the region to attain a position of dominance. Consequently, from the mid-15th century onward the khanate alternately concluded alliances with and against the Golden Horde, and carried out plundering raids against both of the latter,47 often with the assistance of the Ottoman Empire.48 The khanate was nonetheless an important balancing and stabilizing factor, both in the region and in eastern Europe generally.49

    Under the aegis of the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Khanate, an influential culture which was strongly influenced by Islam developed in the region during the early modern period.50 On the one hand, this culture was more tolerant towards other religions than was the case in Christian Europe at that time.51 On the other hand, these powers conducted frequent plundering raids into the open steppe and forest regions to the north, which were inhabited by Slavs, and carried away both goods and people as slaves.52 These raids caused incredible suffering and great financial losses to the inhabitants of Poland-Lithuania (from 1569) and Muscovy. The Cossack armies employed by Muscovy and the Polish crown to secure the border regions were not effective in preventing these raids.53 Consequently, it was not possible to intensively cultivate the fertile land along the open border. The north was largely cut off from trade through the Black Sea, and the scarcity of population – which was a problem in early modern societies generally – was further exacerbated by the slave trade.54

    The plundering raids of the rulers of the northern Black Sea region undoubtedly constituted an essential part of their own economic power. Over the longer term, however, they had the effect of slowing down processes of modernization, since innovations in crafts and in proto-industry were introduced late or not at all. Also in the area of military technology and tactics, the Ottoman Empire and the khanate55 increasingly fell behind Poland-Lithuania, but also in particular behind a Russian Empire that was growing in strength during the 17th century.

    Russian Rule: The Region as Novorossiia

    After a number of limited victories56, finally secured access to the Black Sea with the signing of the Treaty of in 1774.57 was forced to surrender large territories during the Russian-Ottoman War which began in 1768, including lands along the Bug and Dnieper rivers. In 1774, the Crimean Khanate formally obtained its independence from the Ottoman Empire. In reality, it came under Russian dominance in terms both of its internal and external affairs. After a series of rebellions against Khan Şahin Giray (1745–ca. 1787), who had been installed by her, Catherine II annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 1783.58 Up to that point, Istanbul had been guaranteed a degree of influence over the khanate as a result of the sultan's position as caliph.59 The loss of strategically important fortifications on the northern shore of the Black Sea, such as Kerch, Enikale and Kinburn, was a painful defeat for the Ottomans.

    Though Saint Petersburg had scored an enormous strategic and, in particular, symbolical victory, Russian rule over the northern Black Sea region was not an unmitigated success story.60 The imperial Russian administration achieved other significant and conspicuous successes by continuing to pursue the strategy tested by Peter I (1672–1725) of securing recently conquered territories by building new cities (gradostroenie). In addition to (founded in 1783),61 which was to achieve military and national fame during the Crimean War (1853–1856), the city of (founded in 1794) proved to be the most successful of the newly founded cities.62 The city's reputation as a southern trading centre grew continuously, and it served as the motor for impressive economic development in the regionWahrzeichen der Stadt: Potemkinsche Treppe in Odessa, ca. 1890–1900.63 However, Odessa's rise was at the expense of other parts of the region, such as the Crimea.64 To the extent that Russia succeeded in defending the northern Black Sea coast against Ottoman and Tatar claims on it, and also increasingly integrated the region politically, intellectually and economically, Russian policy in the region proved successful. In the 20th century, however, this policy came into conflict with other nationalist movements (particularly those of the Crimean Tatars and the Ukrainians).

    The region was not subject to any kind of special treatment. During the imperial Russian period, it essentially passed through the same stages of integration as the regions of central Russian.65 Under Catherine II, imperial policy towards the region largely corresponded to the contemporary paradigm of enlightened absolutism, i.e., the principles of tolerance and pragmatism. Subsequently, particularly during the reign of Alexander III (1845–1894), homogenizing measures – which were common elsewhere in Europe at that time – were increasingly applied. Longer term trends in imperial Russian policy are very visible when one looks at the example of the Crimea. According to the manifesto promulgated by Empress Catherine II in April 1783 on the occasion of the annexation, the region was to become part of the Russian Empire "forever",66 particularly as this acquisition was closely connected with other foreign-policy aims for the future.67 The desire for "eternal" rule in the region manifested itself not only in a complex discursive legitimization strategy intended to "prove" that Russian rule over the Crimea was "good", "just" and beneficial,68 but also in the fact that it was hardly ever referred to as a colony.69 Russian policy in the former Crimean Khanate nonetheless exhibited characteristics of both colonial rule and direct hegemony.70 This is demonstrated by both the power relationships between the metropole and the periphery established there and the use of the region as a Slavic settlement colony. Through the building of cities (gradostroenie) and colonization and resettlement measures (referred to as pereselenie), the rulers shaped the colonial space. Up to 1819, a deliberate programme of colonization was implemented in the region, which was followed by further state-directed and other waves of migration in the 19th century.71 Foreigners whom the Russian regime viewed as useful were settled in the region, included among others Germans, Swedes and Swiss (i.e., confessionally divergent groups) as well as Orthodox Bulgarians and Gagauzians from the Ottoman Empire.72 In tandem with these efforts, the regime implemented further measures which were intended to reduce other population groups which were viewed as "dangerous" and/or "less useful". These measures were primarily directed at the Muslim Tatars. In the period up to the end of the Russian Empire, the Crimean Tatar population fell significantly as a proportion of the total population of the region, as many Crimean Tatars migrated to the Ottoman Empire, partly for religious reasons, partly for economic regions.73

    The example of the Crimean Tatars, who from the Russian perspective were the most significant religious and cultural "other" group in the region, enables us to draw some fundamental conclusions on mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in colonial rule. Theoretically, practices were largely aimed at inclusion. The Muslim inhabitants were thus – again in theory – not a disadvantaged group per se. For example, the Tatar nobility was integrated into the Russian aristocratic system in order to promote the "separation of the Tatars from Turkish power".74 Through incorporation into the Russian table of ranks (tabel o rangakh), the Tatar aristocracy was at least in theory (this was less the case in practice) granted parity of esteem with the Russian nobility. Up to the fall of the Russian monarchy, the Muslim clergy, who were paid by the state, controlled all religious and educational affairs of the Muslim religious communities (umma).75 The Muslim peasants in the region – this "land of freedom" – were in many cases in a better position than the peasants in the core territories of the empire, as they were not forced into serfdom, which continued to exist in the empire until 1861.76 The Great Reforms, for example the judicial reforms and the introduction of regional elected assemblies (zemstva), also benefited the Muslims in this region.77

    Thus, Russian rule over the multicultural, poly-religious and foreign Black Sea region was ambivalent. Cities such as Odessa and the tourist centre of 78 on the southern Crimean coast were boomtowns. But the region's infrastructural deficiencies also became apparent, particularly during the Crimean War. Also ambivalent was the Russian approach to sections of its new subject population. Groups which were identified as "foreign", such as the Muslims but also increasingly the Black Sea Germans79 who did not integrate into the majority Slavic population to any great degree, were viewed with suspicion on the one hand, though, on the other hand, they hardly faced any discrimination on the legal level. It is clear, however, that soon after its conquest the region came to be viewed as a fundamental and inviolable part of the Russian Empire, and was emotionally appropriated, a fact which is demonstrated not least by the great significance of the topos of "Russia's own" Black Sea coast in Russian literature and art.80

    World War, Revolutions and Soviet Rule

    The First World War Animierte Karte Europa initially had less of an impact on the Black Sea region than, for example, the western regions of the Russian Empire, as it only witnessed small troop movements and a small number of maritime operations.81 The February Revolution in 1917 also proceeded comparatively "unproblematisch und gewaltarm".82 However, the three great problems of land, bread and peace, which the Petrograd government failed to solve, alienated the region's population from the representatives of the new order. The formation of parallel structures of power which occurred in and Moscow – provisional government vs. peasants' and soldiers' soviets – also occurred in the northern Black Sea region. This was particularly the case in cities which had substantial military infrastructure or a comparatively large proportion of industrial workers in the population, i.e., Sevastopol and Odessa.83 Similar to other parts of the Russian Empire, the ethnic minorities of the region also became politicized. For example, the politically active Crimean Tatars changed their demands during the course of 1917. While early in the year they demanded cultural autonomy within a future federal, democratic Russia, by the end of the year they were aiming for full independence from the .84 At the same time, the violence escalated. After the October Revolution, various groups in the region fought against each other; "revolutionary" groups attacked "bourgeois" Russians, and at the local level partisan groups with nationalist or social motivations also became involved. The region remained politically volatile and confused until the final victory of the Bolsheviks. Short-lived states came into existence, such as the Ukrainian National Republic (Ukrainska Narodna Respublika), which positioned itself on the left of the political spectrum but favoured a Ukraine independent of Russia,85 and the independent Crimean state, which some Tatar politicians hoped would join with the Ottoman Empire in the medium term.86 All of these were swept away by the Red Army. Additionally, there were interventions by numerous external actors.87 After the Treaty of was signed in early 1918, troops of the Central Powers occupied large parts of the region.88 The so-called White Guardists and the allied troops who supported them were involved in the region during the Russian Civil War. The Black Sea region, including its northern coast, was plunged into war and destruction.89

    In the first years of Soviet rule after the end of the Civil War, a period of consolidation began for the region. As elsewhere in the Soviet Union, the New Economic Policy (Novaia Ekonomicheskaia Politika) had a calming effect on the economy. However, general Soviet policy also had negative consequences. The famines of 1921/1922 – as a result of the World War and Civil War – and of 1932/1933 – as a result of collectivization and a "war against the peasants" – also afflicted the former provinces of Novorossiia and Tavriia.90 The persecution of the so-called kulaks which occurred as part of the collectivization policy from 1929 onward also affected the farmers of the Black Sea region.91 The militant antireligious campaigns of the so-called Bezbozhniki ("godless") from the middle of the 1920s onward also occurred here,92 as did the chistki ("purges") of the communist cadres from 1934 onward.93 At the same time, both the Ukrainian population as part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Crimean Tatars benefited from the policy of korenizatsiia (indigenization), which was implemented throughout the Soviet Union, as well as from ukrainizatsiia (Ukrainization). The foundation of the Crimean Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic94 in 1921 must also be viewed in this context. Both the Ukrainian SSR and the Crimean Tatar ASSR were the result of the federative element promoted by Bolshevik propaganda from 1918 onward, which was part of a larger nationalities policy of Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) and Joseph Stalin (1879–1953)[Stalin-Denkmal in Prag 1955–1962 IMG] and which was intended to make the non-Russian ethnic groups loyal to the regime. However, the abandonment of administration on the basis of geographical areas in favour of structures devoted to a specific ethnic group was in fact not very appropriate given the historically poly-ethnic population structure of the region. The northern Black Sea region retained a high degree of ethnic diversity up to the end of the Second World War.95 The Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars of the northern Black Sea region nonetheless benefited from the policy of indigenization until the partial abandonment of "positive discrimination" in the early-1930s.96 There was progress particularly in the areas of education, language, culture and general participation in society, though some of this progress was subsequently reversed, particularly during the period of the so-called "Great Terror".

    From the Second World War until the End of the Soviet Union

    The traditional significance of the Black Sea region including its northern shore as a region of migration manifested itself in its most brutal form after the invasion of the by began in June 1941 and the Black Sea region was occupied by German and Rumanian troops. Odessa was capture in the autumn of 1941 after protracted fighting with a high death toll on both sides. It became part of the Rumanian zone of occupation referred to as , and was ruled in a heavy-handed way until it was reconquered by the Red Army in 1944.97 In addition to Soviet partisans – Odessa was declared a so-called "hero city" (gorod geroi) after the end of the war in recognition of its resistance – the Jewish residents[Der Ansiedlungsrayon im russischen Zarenreich IMG] of the city were victims of unprecedented violence: "Ohne Zwang von Seiten Deutschlands […] traf der Holocaust vor allem die Juden Bessarabiens and des von Rumänien eroberten Teils der Ukraine".98

    The Black Sea Germans, some of whom had been living in the northern Black Sea region for generations, predominantly supported the occupation regime. The various National Socialist actors pursued different plans and strategies in the administration and exploitation of the peninsulaDeutscher Einmarsch auf der Krim, 1942. While the everyday reality of occupation in the peninsula differed little from that in other parts of the "east", it nonetheless had its "unverwechselbares, eigenes Gepräge", not least due to the poetic and mythical connotations of a potential Gotengau.99 Erich von Manstein (1887–1973), the Chief of Staff of Army Group South, is known to have suspended orders regarding the deportation of the local population when this was necessary for a more effective prosecution of the war,100 and at times he delayed the deportation of Jews by the local SS forces for pragmatic reasons.101 The German side undoubtedly tried to gain the support of the Crimean Tatar population for practical reasons. However, it is not possible to speak of an "erdrutschartigen Vertrauensvotum des krimtatarischen Volkes" towards the occupiers102. While some inhabitants of the Crimea were well disposed to the German troops Deutsche Soldaten in Sewastopol, Krim, 1942 particularly after the repressive measures which the region had experienced during the 1930s, there is no evidence of mass collaboration with the German occupation on the part of the Crimean Tatars. Crimean Tatars served in the Red Army and fought the occupying power, but some Crimean Tatars also supported the occupation in so-called Dorfschutztruppen (village militias) or as Hilfswillige (voluntary helpers).

    However, the Soviet authorities made no such distinction after the peninsula was won back in early 1944. The entire Crimean Tatar population of nearly 200,000 people – along with the Crimean Greeks and other nationalities perceived to be foreign – was deported to other parts of the Soviet Union under inhumane conditions. They were accused of collaboration with the National Socialist occupiers, an accusation which on the whole was not true. Many of the deportees died during transportation to central Asian ,103 and this banishment (sürgün) remains a collective national trauma up to the present day. In June 1945, the Crimean ASSR, which had in any event been ethnically cleansed of the nationality from which it had taken its title, was finally dissolved and the area became an administrative region (oblast) within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), without any additional rights. On the whole, the Second World War brought the region not only an incredible degree of destruction and death, but also a degree of ethnic homogeneity which was unimaginable up to that point. Since then, it has overwhelmingly been populated by East Slavs, i.e., Ukrainians and Russians. The cultural, religious and ethnic diversity which had existed for centuries between the Danube Delta and the Straits of Kerch was destroyed. Admittedly, the initial impulse for this development was not provided by the Soviet authorities, or by Stalin himself, but by the National Socialists.104 The idea, which had occurred to some Russian politicians and intellectuals from the late-18th century onward, that the northern Black Sea region would be "better" without its Islamic population and all other sections of population which were perceived to be foreign had now to a large extent become reality.105

    On the ethnically homogenized northern Black Sea coast, the post-war years were dominated by the rebuilding of the infrastructure which had been destroyed as a result of the war and the loss of population, as well as by increased industrialization. In addition to its agricultural industries, the Crimea Crimea developed into one of the most important centres for health spas and tourism in the Soviet Union, earning the peninsula the title of "All-Union Sanatorium"Schlammbäder für die Schönheit: Sanatoriumsaufenthalt in Jewpatorija, Krim, ca. 1920.106 However, Odessa to the west once again became the centre of the coastal regionReiseziel Odessa. It became not only one of the most important centres of education of the region; its advantageous geographical location also helped it to become the main centre for ship-building, oil-refining, and fishing in the region. However, the city never regained the cultural significance which it had had prior to the Second World War, particularly since the vibrant Jewish intellectual culture which the city had formerly had, had been extirpated by the German and Rumanian occupiers.107

    In the post-war period too, the northern shore of the Black Sea was affected by all of the broader trends in Soviet politics. Catherine II's plan to bind the region to the Russian state "for all eternity" appeared to have been realized, as the Russian element was undoubtedly dominant in the Soviet Union. While the northwestern section of the coast belonged to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, this was unimportant from Moscow's perspective, as it seemed unimaginable that the USSR would disintegrate. This was clearly also the view of Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971), who in 1954 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Perejaslav108 between the Zaporozhian Host and Muscovy summarily withdrew the Crimean peninsula from the RSFSR and "bestowed" it on the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This step, which even at the time was controversial, has since the disintegration of the USSR repeatedly caused problems between Kiev and Moscow, particularly in view of the emotional significance which the territory holds for Russia.109

    The transfer of the region to Ukraine initially brought no change for the deported Crimean Tatars. In contrast to other nationalities which had suffered a similar fate, they were not rehabilitated in the aftermath of the 20th Conference of the Communist Party and the famous so-called private address of Khrushchev.110

    Summary and Future Perspective

    The historical region of the Black Sea emerges as a contact zone which spans the divide between eras and peoples, but which was divided up and retrospectively nationalized during the course of the 20th century. The northern Black Sea coast is part of a complex web of relationships, the central historical characteristic of which is and remains trade and the lasting hybridization of life-worlds. During the 20th century, empires disintegrated and the composition of the population was fundamentally transformed, mainly by violent means.

    The region, which since the end of the Soviet Union has belonged to independent Ukraine, is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Ukrainians. The Crimea with its more than 60 percent ethnic Russian population is an exception. However, the region as a whole is strongly Russophone.111 While the fact that the western part of this region belongs to Ukraine has been accepted more or less without protest in Moscow circles and by the majority of the population of the Russian Federation, there have since the 1990s repeatedly been debates about which state the Crimea should rightly belong to. The concern, which has been expressed from time to time, that the peninsula could become a "new Kosovo"112 appears to be coming true in 2014. In the past, there have already been disagreements about the ownership of what remains of the Black Sea fleet and the use of Sevastopol as a Russian naval base. Additionally, there have been tensions – which have at times turn violent – between the majority Russophone Slavic inhabitants of the Crimea and returned Tatars.113 The social and political integration of the returned Tatars in the Ukraine, which has faced serious economic difficulties, remains a central and unresolved issue. However, this also applies to those sections of the Slavic population of the region which believe that their lives would improve if the region belonged to the Russian Federation.114

    The predominantly Slavic population has since the 1990s been divided between those who orientate themselves towards the Ukrainian state and those who orientate themselves towards the Russian state. There is little sign of the emergence of a perspective which could encompass the Black Sea region as a whole, even though the region faces as many shared problems now as it did at any other time in its history.115

    Kerstin S. Jobst



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    Williams, Brian Glyn: The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation, Leiden et al. 2001.

    Wolf, Armin / Wolf, Hans-Peter: Die wirkliche Reise des Odysseus: Zur Rekonstruktion des homerischen Weltbildes, 3rd edition, Munich et al. 1990.

    Wolfram, Herwig: Die Goten: Von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des sechsten Jahrhunderts: Entwurf einer historischen Ethnographie, 4th edition, Munich 2001.

    Yanko-Hombach, Valentina et al. (ed.): The Black Sea Flood Question: Changes in Coastline, Climate and Human Settlement, Dordrecht 2007. URL: [2020-07-16]


    1. ^ On the concept of a historical region, see for example: Özveren, A Framework 1997; Troebst, "Geschichtsregion" 2010.
    2. ^ This has been demonstrated among others by the following works: Ascherson, Schwarzes Meer 1996; King, The Black Sea 2004. King specifically refers to the following work from the 1930s: Brătianu, La Mere Noire 1969.
    3. ^ Obviously, this structural-historical approach was propounded by Fernand Braudel in particular. His work Das Mittelmeer und die mediterrane Welt in der Epoche Philipps II. inspired historians of the Black Sea region such as King. See: Braudel, Das Mittelmeer 2001, vol. 1–3.
    4. ^ In historical studies, particularly Russian-speaking historical studies, the term "southern Ukraine" was not very commonly used. One exception is: Druzhinina, IUzhnaia Ukraina 1970.
    5. ^ For example, the Americans Walter Pitman and William Ryan presented the results of their oceanographic research to the public in the 1990s. They interpreted an enormous flood of water into the Black Sea after the last ice age as the biblical flood: Pitman / Ryan, Noah's Flood 1999.
    6. ^ On this, see for example the concurring position in: Dimitrov / Dimitrov, The Black Sea 2004. This is contradicted, on the other hand, by some contributions in: Yanko-Hombach, The Black Sea Flood Question 2007.
    7. ^ Also, we must assume that there was not one single "global flood", but a multitude of catastrophic flood events; myths such as the biblical flood, which exist in many cultures, can thus be viewed as an expression of collective, symbolically adapted formative experiences.
    8. ^ Since classical antiquity, the Black Sea has been viewed by a number of authors as the place where Odysseus got lost on his journey home from Troy. On attempts to locate the Odyssey, see: Wolf / Wolf, Die wirkliche Reise 1990, pp. 143–206, particularly p. 146.
    9. ^ In 1978, Michalis Kakogiannis was nominated for the Oscar for best foreign film for his interpretation of Iphigenia based on Euripides.
    10. ^ On this topos in German-language literature in the 19th and 20th centuries, see: Hermann, Iphigenie 2005.
    11. ^ Numerous visitors to the peninsula have tried to discover authentic or even imaginary traces of this myth in the Crimea. See, for example: Jobst, Die Perle 2007, pp. 115f. and pp. 162f.
    12. ^ Ibid., pp. 158–176.
    13. ^ Müller, Die Nestorchronik 2001, p. 8, verse 43 ("as Andrew taught in Sinope and after he had come to Chersonesus, he saw that it was not far from Chersonesus to the mouth of the Dnieper" transl. by N. Williams).
    14. ^ For an introdution, see: Jilge, Von der Perestrojka 2008.
    15. ^ This was ultimately a legitimization strategy intended to justify their special privileges (compared with non-nobles and people of other confessions) and their moral superiority (compared to other ethnic groups). For an introduction, see: Cynarski, Sarmatyzm 1974; Długosz et al., Sarmatismus 2013. The results of a research project entitled "Der Sarmatismus in Polen – der Orient und die Kultur der polnischen Adelsgesellschaft in der frühen Neuzeit" held at the Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum für Ostmitteleuropa (GWZO) have unfortunately not yet been published.
    16. ^ Jochmann, Adolf Hitler 1980, particularly pp. 39, 48, 90f. and 124; and Kunz, Die Krim 2005, pp. 41–73.
    17. ^ This was how Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff (1870–1952), an important scholar of antiquity, put it at the beginning of the 1920s (see: Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks 1922, p. 7). He rejected the influential idea propagated by Greek authors of a dichotomy between "civilized" (i.e. Greek), and "Barbarian" (for example Scythian) populations; in this way, he implicitly called into question the idea of "pure" cultures, which had such a brutal effect on the history of the first half of the 20th century in particular. Prior to that, Herodotus (ca. 484–ca. 425 BC) in particular had in his Histories described the non-Greek peoples, such as the Scythians, as "other" and less "civilized" compared to the Greeks (see Herodotus' description of the Scythians in: Herodot, Historien 2001, vol. 1, see book IV). However, in contrast to subsequent authors, he did not resort to "cultural supremacism" (according to the opinion of Neal in: Ascherson, Schwarzes Meer 1996, p. 86). Rostovtzeff, in contrast, was eager to portray the region between the steppes and the coast which was shaped by nomadic and sedentary cultures, which he in accordance with the fashion of the time referred to as "southern Russia", as highly developed and the result of a symbiosis between different cultures. He backed up his thesis with evidence from archaeological excavations at Scythian burial mounds, so-called Kurgany (see: Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks 1922, pp. 20–25). His view of the cultural parity of esteem between nomadic and sedentary cultures is shared by modern cultural studies, though his attitude was highly controversial in the 1920s. In the present, the region represents a promising field of investigation for the historical comparison of civilisations, which has been discussed for a long time (see: Kaelble, Zivilisationsvergleich 1999).
    18. ^ Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks 1922, pp. 64f.
    19. ^ In older works, the terms "Sarmaten" and "Sauromaten" are used synonymously in some cases and exclusively in others. The term is in the present predominantly used as a subordinate category for nomadic tribes of Iranian origin. For an introduction, see: Brzezinski / Mielczarek, The Sarmatians 2002.
    20. ^ Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks 1922, pp. 146–148.
    21. ^ On this, see: McGing, The Foreign Policy 1986.
    22. ^ Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks, p. 155: "[...] it was no longer a real Greek city. Hellenism in Panticapaeum was perishing daily."
    23. ^ Here and in the rest of the article, I am following my entry for "Chersones" in the handbook "Religiöse Erinnerungsorte in Ostmitteleuropa", edited by Joachim Bahlcke and Thomas Wünsch: Jobst, Art. "Chersones" 2013, pp. 3–12.
    24. ^ Wolfram, Die Goten 2001, p. 87; Vasil'ev, The Goths 1936.
    25. ^ For example, Pope Martin I (died 655), who was martyred there in 655.
    26. ^ This vast kingdom has frequently attracted the attention of academia, because its upper classes – while adhering to strict tolerance of other forms of belief –predominantly belonged to Judaism. See a recent overview of the research on this topic: Alikberov, Khazary 2010. In the context of the eastern Christian church, the unsuccessful missionary journey of Cyril (ca. 826–869) and Methodius (ca. 825–ca. 884), the so-called apostles to the Slavs, to the Khazar kingdom is important, as it can be incorporated into a linear historical interpretation through the connection between the Black Sea region and the Orthodox religion. On this, see: Bujnoch, Zwischen Rom und Byzanz 1972, particularly pp. 54–106.
    27. ^ King, The Black Sea 2004, p. 74, refers to an "inconstant relationship" between the Khazars and the Byzantine Empire.
    28. ^ In the Nestor Chronicle, the event is described as follows: "Svjatosláv zog gegen die Chasaren. Als aber die Chasaren das hörten, zogen sie aus, mit ihrem Fürsten, dem Kagán. Und sie trafen zusammen, [gegeneinander] zu kämpfen. Und als es zur Schlacht kam, gewann Svjatosláv die Oberhand" ("Sviatoslav advanced against the Khazars. But as the Khazars heard of this, they advanced with their prince, the Kagán. And they met to fight [against each other]. And when the battle occurred, Sviatoslav gained the upper hand" transl. by N. Williams). Müller, Die Nestorchronik 2001, pp. 79–80, section 965.
    29. ^ For example, the Russian polymath Mikhail V. Lomonosov (1711–1765), who in the mid-18th century believed he could prove that the Sarmatians were actually Slavs. See: Slezkine, Naturalists 1997, p. 50 and 57. On Stalin's attempts to prove that autochthonous Slavic groups had been native to the region, see: Ascherson, Schwarzes Meer 1996, pp. 74f.
    30. ^ According to the Nestor Chronicle, Mistislav, a son of Grand Prince Vladimir I, captured the city after successfully wrestling with the prince Rededja, who had ruled Tmutarakan up to then. The latter had suggested that, instead of the armies doing battle, the two commanders should fight each other: "Und wenn du gewinnst, so magst du meine Habe und mein Weib und meine Kinder und mein Land nehmen; wenn aber ich gewinne, so nehme ich all das Deine." ("And if you win, you can take my possessions and my wife and my children and my land; but if I win, I will take all of yours." transl. by N. Williams). As Mistislav was in danger of losing, he called out to the mother of god for support – and he "schlachtete den Rededja" ("killed Rededja"). In gratitude, he built a church and dedicated it to Mary. See: Müller, Die Nestorchronik 2001, p. 181, section 1022.
    31. ^ Subsequently, Tmutarakan came under the rule of various rulers. For a time, it was a Genoese colony. See: Chkhaidze, Tmutarakan 2010 (in Cyrillic).
    32. ^ According to one version, Vladimir I had put down a rebellion at the behest of Byzantium, and as a reward after his baptism he received the hand of a sister of the emperor, the so-called purple-born Anna. According to another version, he had already been baptized before his arrival in the peninsula. See: Jobst, Die Perle 2007, pp. 289–311 and the literature cited there.
    33. ^ For more detail on this, see: Poppe, The Political Background 1982.
    34. ^ Müller, Die Nestorchronik 2001, p. 137, section 988, verse 52; here it reads "Er ließ sich aber taufen in der Kirche der Heiligen Gottesmutter, und es steht diese Kirche in der Stadt Korsun' [Chersones]" ("He had himself baptized in the Church of the Holy Mother of God, and this church stands in the city of Chersonesus" transl. by N. Williams).
    35. ^ On this, see: Jobst, Die Perle 2007; Kozelsky, Christianizing Crimea 2010.
    36. ^ See: Brătianu, Recherches 1929; see also: Hryszko, Z Genui nad Morze Czarne 2004.
    37. ^ Veinstein, From the Italians to the Ottomans 1986, p. 223.
    38. ^ This is particularly true of Kaffa/Keffe, which remained an important centre in the slave trade in the early modern period.
    39. ^ Muscovy was only able to free itself from this tribute duty in 1480.
    40. ^ The 19th-century historian F. Chartaraj, who was an authority on the history of the region and who typically of the time equated Islam with Asia, described Eski Kırım as having been "one of the most important cities of Asia" in the Middle Ages. Chartaraj, Istoricheskaia sudba 1867, p. 154.
    41. ^ Most significant of the external causes were the rise of Lithuania and Muscovy, as well as the incursions of groups from the east, for example, those of the armies of Tīmūr Lenk (1336–1405) in 1391 and 1395.
    42. ^ There was a particularly bitter rivalry between the individual clans, which prevented the emergence of a strong central power.
    43. ^ The khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan emerged on the Volga. There was also the khanate of Sibir, the khanate of the so-called White Horde on the territory of present-day Kazakhstan and the Nogai Horde.
    44. ^ Fisher, The Crimean Tatars 1978, p. 2. Fisher's book is still the most authoritative work on the Crimean Tatars. See also: Williams, The Crimean Tatars 2001. The main focus of Williams's work is the migrations of the Crimean Tatars.
    45. ^ On the life of Haçi Giray, see among others the work of the eminent Austrian orientalist Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774–1856): Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte der Chane 1970, pp. 31–33; Smirnov, Krymskoe Khanstvo 1887 (in Cyrillic).
    46. ^ However, this was not recognized by the Horde until 1502. Smirnov, Krymskoe Khanstvo 1887, p. 227 (in Cyrillic).
    47. ^ On the khanate, see the concise description in: Jobst, Krim-Khanat 2011; and the whole of: Fisher, The Crimean Tatars 1978.
    48. ^ From 1478, the Ottoman Empire was in a "von der Historiographie nicht eindeutig zu bestimmende rechtliche Beziehung" ("legal relationship which is not clearly defined in the historiography") with the khanate, a relationship which "stark vereinfacht … als Suzeränitätsverhältnis zu fassen [ist]" ("it is a simplification to describe as a suzerainty relationship"). Jobst, Krim-Khanat 2011, pp. 15. It is not possible to satisfactorily explain how this subordination under the Ottomans came about. See the discussion in: Fisher, The Crimean Tatars 1978, pp. 8–12.
    49. ^ Kołodziejczyk, Das Krimkhanat 2012; see also: Kołodziejczyk, Krymskoe Khanstvo 2004.
    50. ^ Brentjes, Islamische Architektur 1997.
    51. ^ For example, see: Fisher, The Ottoman Crimea 1981.
    52. ^ A debate has arisen within historical studies over the number of these attacks. Estimations of the number of incursions into Polish-Lithuanian territory vary between 75 and 300. See the discussion in: Podhorodecki, Chanat krymski 1987, p. 109.
    53. ^ On this, see the recent publication: Kappeler, Die Kosaken 2013. Still of great value is: Stökl, Die Entstehung 1953. They even exacerbated the situation in the region further between 1550 and 1650 by increasingly acting on their own initiative and penetrating further into Ottoman and Crimean Tatar territory by land and sea. For example, at the beginning of the 17th century, Cossack groups repeatedly attacked Kaffa/Keffe in an attempt to free Orthodox Slavs who had been taken into captivity, but also to take valuable plunder. Skorupa is of the view that many Cossack raids into the Crimean Tatar and Ottoman territories were more predacious than defensive in nature. See: Skorupa, Stosunki polsko-tatarskie 2004, p. 261.
    54. ^ Khodarovsky (see: Russia's Steppe Frontier 2002, p. 223) estimates that in the first half of the 17th century between 150,000 and 200,000 Russian subjects ended up in slavery (on the drain on the Polish-Lithuanian state, see: Davies, Warfare 2007, pp. 23–27). The slave trade had already begun in classical antiquity in the Black Sea region. For a long time, it was controlled by Christian merchants. However, it never reached the proportions of the transatlantic slave trade (see: King, The Black Sea, p. 116 and the literature cited there). The phenomenon, which has unjustly been attributed solely to Tatars and Turks, has left its mark on the (eastern) European collective memory. This also explains "das schlechte Image des Krim-Khanats in der christlichen Welt als Reich von Räubern und Sklavenhändlern" ("the bad image of the Crimean Khanate in the Christian world, were it was viewed as a kingdom of robbers and slave traders" transl. by N. Williams) (Jobst, Krim-Khanat 2011, p. 21). On the Russian view of the Crimean Tatars as a nation of warriors and slave traders, see: Jobst, Die Perle 2007, p. 195–199.
    55. ^ In particular, the horse-mounted Muslim armies, who had for so long been very effective, were no longer able to meet the challenge posed by the military innovations, and the Turks and Tatars became "technologically simple people", according to: Taagepera, An Overview 1987, p. 6, note 1.
    56. ^ The first attempts were undertaken in 1687 and 1689 under Vasilii V. Golitsyn (1643–1714) and these ended to the north of Perekop against the troops of Crimean Khan Selim I. Giray (ca. 1631–1704). In 1696, the Ottoman fortress of Azov was captured for a short period.
    57. ^ Besides territorial gains, the Russian Empire benefitted from unrestricted shipping in the Black Sea and passage through the Bosporus. Additionally, Saint Petersburg had secured a special function as protector of the Orthodox Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire, which was to play a role in the lead-up to the Crimean War. Still relevant on this topic is: Druzhinina, Kiuchuk-Kainardzhiiskii mir 1955.
    58. ^ Fisher, The Russian Annexation 1970.
    59. ^ For this reason, it is not possible to speak of a complete defeat for the Ottoman Empire or a comprehensive Russian victory. See, however, the divergent positions in: Davison, Russian Skill 1976, who supports this view, and: Weisband, Turkish Foreign Policy 1973, p. 211.
    60. ^ Jobst, Vision und Regime 2012.
    61. ^ No history of Sevastopol which meets academic standards has yet been published. On the foundation of the city and the Sevastopol myth, see: Jobst, Die Perle 2007, pp. 351–406 and the literature cited there. Sevastopol also plays a role in literature. For example, see: Tolstoj, Sewastopoler Erzählungen 1947.
    62. ^ Herlihy, Odessa 1986; King, Odessa 2011. Other cities, such as Kherson – which was founded in 1778 at the mouth of the Dnieper and which should not be confused with the ancient city of Chersonesus in the Crimea – or Nikolaev (now Mykolajiw, founded in 1789) at the mouth of the Bug were less successful due in part to their geographical locations. For example, they were not navigable all year round due to the strong waves in the Black Sea. See: Jones, Opening a Window 1996, p. 128.
    63. ^ The territory which now belongs to Ukraine, but which was known then as southern Russia was a veritable island of modernization within the Russian Empire, the economy of which was backward compared to western Europe (see: Lindner, Unternehmer 2006).
    64. ^ After an initial phase of fairly energetic development, the infrastructure of the Crimea was badly neglected, and the Russian Empire suffered the consequences of this during the Crimean War. In general, the great economic expectations which the Crimea awakened after its annexation only partially came true. See: Gloger, Rezeption des Krimkrieges 1985 (not published); this unpublished Masters thesis describes the debate within Russia on the so-called paradigm of backwardness after defeat in the Crimean War. On the Crimean War in general, but also on the Crimean theatre of war, see for example: Figes, The Crimean War 2010.
    65. ^ In contrast to most of the central Asia territories conquered in the 19th century, Novorossiia and Tavriia province were not treated as a corpus separatum.
    66. ^ See this manifesto in: Vernadsky, A Source Book 1972, vol. 2, p. 412.
    67. ^ The push of the Russian Empire towards the northern shore of the Black Sea is usually portrayed as part of the so-called "Greek Project", that is, the reestablishment of an Orthodox Christian empire including Constantinople under the aegis of Russia. See: Hösch, Das sogenannte "Griechische Projekt" 1964.
    68. ^ For a more detailed account, see: Jobst, Die Perle 2007.
    69. ^ Prince Grigorii A. Potemkin (1739–1791), who oversaw the military elimination of the Crimean Khanate, put it even more clearly in confidential correspondence with Catherine II. He discussed the annexation of the Crimea in the context of the expansionary policies of the European great powers and stressed Russia's right to participate in that development. See: Potemkin's letter to Catherine II of 14/12/1782, in: Lopatin, Ekaterina II 1997, letter 635, p. 155 (in Cyrillic).
    70. ^ Jürgen Osterhammel defines colonialism as "eine Herrschaftsbeziehung zwischen Kollektiven, bei welcher die fundamentalen Entscheidungen über die Lebensführung der Kolonisierten durch eine kulturell andersartige und kaum anpassungswillige Minderheit von Kolonialherren unter vorrangiger Berücksichtigung externer Interessen getroffen und tatsächlich durchgesetzt werden. Damit verbinden sich in der Neuzeit in der Regel sendungsideologische Rechtfertigungsdoktrinen, die auf der Überzeugung der Kolonialherren von ihrer eigenen kulturellen Höherwertigkeit beruhen." Osterhammel, Kolonialismus 2003, p. 21 ("a relationship of rule between collectives, in which fundamental decisions regarding the lives of the colonized are made and enforced by a culturally different minority of colonial masters who have little desire to adapt and who make the decisions primarily with external interests in mind. In the modern period, this has often also involved justificatory doctrines portraying the colonizers as fulfilling an historical mission, a belief which is based on the conviction on the part of the colonial masters of their own cultural superiority." transl. by N. Williams).
    71. ^ The southern periphery attracted people. Odessa in particular drew people, particularly oppressed groups such as the Russian Jews. However, pogroms occurred there on a number of occasion during the 19th century. The region was nonetheless rightly viewed as a land of freedom to the extent that serfs constituted a far smaller proportion of the population than in the central Russia regions. On this, see: Herlihy, Odessa 1986, pp. 79f. and pp. 114–126. On the image of Odessa in literature, see: Babel, Geschichten aus Odessa 1926.
    72. ^ On this topic, see: Brandes, Von den Zaren 1993; Auerbach, Die Besiedlung 1965; Neutatz, Die "deutsche Frage" 1993.
    73. ^ In any case, the Crimean Tatars and the Turks not only had Islam and shared history in common, but also a very similar culture. On the Russian side, this emigration was viewed positively and encouraged, for example by generous allocations of passports, or indirectly through a climate of mistrust and the failure to removed economic impediments (for a detailed discussion, see: Jobst, Die Perle 2007, pp. 219–250). However, in contrast to the aftermath of the Second World War, direct physical force was not employed during this period.
    74. ^ Lashkov, Statisticheskie svedeniia 1886, p. 91.
    75. ^ Diulichev, Rasskazy 2003, p. 241.
    76. ^ In the Crimea, only about 6 percent of the agrarian population were serfs. In Kiev province, by contrast, almost 61 percent of the peasants were unfree in 1857. See: Herlihy, Odessa 1986, p. 80.
    77. ^ Kirmse, Dealing with Crime 2012; Kirmse, Law and Empire 2013.
    78. ^ Malgin, Russkaia Rivera 2006.
    79. ^ Myeshkov, Die Schwarzmeerdeutschen 2008.
    80. ^ On the Crimea, see: Jobst, Die Perle 2007. On Odessa, see for example Konstantin Paustowskij's autobiographical account Der Beginn eines verschwundenen Zeitalters (2002, pp. 227–481); see also the Odessa novel by Vladimir Jabotinsky which appeared in German translation in 2012 under the title Die Fünf. Jabotinsky is usually viewed in academic circles as a Zionist.
    81. ^ Even before the Russian declaration of war, the Ottoman Empire had pre-emptively bombarded the Russian naval bases in Sevastopol, Novorossiisk and Odessa, without causing much damage. The Russian navy subsequently mined parts of the Anatolian coast and cut off the Ottoman coal supply, which was important for shipping. See: King, The Black Sea 2004, p. 211.
    82. ^ Here, I am quoting from: Jobst, Im Spiel 2001, p. 88 ("unproblematically and peacefully" transl. by N. Williams).
    83. ^ In Odessa, for example, there was the so-called Rumcherod (an abbreviation of Tsentralnyi ispolnitelnyi komitet sovetov Rumynskogo fronta, Chernomorskogo flota i Odessy, "Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of the Rumanian Front, the Black Sea Fleet and of Odessa "), which claimed control over the regions of Odessa, Kherson, Bessarabia and parts of Tavriia province between early 1917 and May 1918. This committee reflected conditions elsewhere in Russia to the extent that Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks also constituted a majority here (The Mensheviks, or "minoritarians", were a faction within the SDARP, along with the Bolsheviks, the "majoritarians").
    84. ^ See: Kirimal, Der nationale Kampf 1952, pp. 34–39; as an exponent of the nationalist movement, he assumed a high degree of political engagement among the Crimean Tatars.
    85. ^ On the UNR, see: Velychenko, State Building 2011.
    86. ^ Jobst, Ordnungsversuch 2001.
    87. ^ In 1919, the region experienced violence at the hands of – among others – the troops of the self-appointed Ataman Nikifor A. Grigorev (ca. 1885–1919), who was also responsible for numerous pogroms. Grigorev was extremely flexible in his choice of allies. At times he fought on the side of the UNR, at other times he joined forces with the Bolsheviks, and at other times he sought to join forces with Nestor Ivanovich Machno (1889–1934). Fedorovskii, O vzaimootnosheniiakh 1998.
    88. ^ For an overview of this topic, see: Dornik, Die Besatzung 2008. However, this book generally depicts the Axis powers in an overly positive light.
    89. ^ This region has in recent times been included among what academics refer to as "Räume des Schreckens" ("spaces of horror") in eastern Europe. For example, see: Schnell, Räume des Schreckens 2012, particularly the chapter "Die Ukraine als Schlachtfeld, 1919–1920", pp. 176–186.
    90. ^ See the recent article: Seydahamet, Famine 1931.
    91. ^ On the unrest among the rural population of the Crimea, see: Fisher, The Crimean Tatars 1978, p. 143.
    92. ^ The Muslims of the region were less affected to the extent that less mosques were destroyed: Poliakov, Krym 1998, p. 51.
    93. ^ On the Crimean Tatar Communist Party, see for example: Williams, The Crimean Tatars 2001, pp. 366f.
    94. ^ This was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). According to the Union constitution, autonomous republics – in contrast to Union republics – were not allowed to cede from the Union.
    95. ^ In addition to Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, there were also Greeks, Armenians, Germans, Poles and Jews; the latter were considered to be a nationality in the USSR. In the late-19th century, Jews constituted one third of the population of Odessa for example (see: Ascherson, Schwarzes Meer 1996, p. 223). On the so-called "Produktivierungskampagne" (productivization campaign) in the Crimea, which was intended to establish an autonomous Jewish region in Birobidzhan, see: Kuchenbecker, Zionismus 2000, pp. 91–112.
    96. ^ See: Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire 2001.
    97. ^ See the general overview in: Völkl, Transnistrien 1996; and the comparative study: Baum, Varianten 2011.
    98. ^ Portmann, Politische Geschichte 2011, p. 588 ("Without any pressure on the part of Germany […] the Holocaust primarily affected the Jews of Bessarabia and of the parts of Ukraine occupied by Rumania" transl. by N. Williams). After the war, there were only 48 Jews left in Odessa (see: King, Odessa 2011, p. 248). Measures aimed at annihilating the Jews and a spectrum of behaviour – which was common in occupied territories – ranging from passivity, to active resistance, to partisan activity, to collaboration, was also typical of other parts of the region, such as the Crimea.
    99. ^ Kunz, Die Krim 2005, p. 10 ("own distinctive characteristics" translated by N. Williams).
    100. ^ For example, in the context of combatting partisans and when transport capacity was otherwise employed.
    101. ^ However, it is highly questionable whether this enables us to speak of an "in mancher Hinsicht moderatere[n] Besatzungsregime" ("in some regards more moderate occupation regime") under Manstein, especially since the Wehrmacht worked closely with Einsatzgruppe D which was entrusted with the task of exterminating the Jews (see: Kunz, Die Krim 2005, p. 236, a work which is on the whole very useful). See also: Angrick, Besatzungspolitik 2003.
    102. ^ Hoffmann, Die Ostlegionen 1976, p. 44 ("avalanche of support from the Crimean Tatar people" transl. by N. Williams).
    103. ^ Naimark, Fires of Hatred 2001, pp. 85–107.
    104. ^ Here, I do not deal with the fate of the so-called Black Sea Germans, many of whom had been resettled in Germany in 1910 as part of the Hitler-Stalin Pact.
    105. ^ See: Jobst, Die Perle 2007, particularly pp. 219–249.
    106. ^ On the beginnings, see: Jobst, Die Perle 2007, pp. 311–339, Malgin, Russkaia Rivera 2006.
    107. ^ King, Odessa 2011, pp. 251–268.
    108. ^ This agreement is interpreted very differently by the Ukrainian and Russian sides. Nationalist Ukrainian historians usually view it as a temporary alliance with the Tsar, which came about in the context of political pressure from the Rzeczpospolita. On the Russian side, it is viewed as a "reunification" of the Kievan Rus, which had split into constituent principalities. For an overview, see: Kumke, Zwischen der polnischen Adelsrepublik 1993.
    109. ^ This article was concluded after the referendum held in the Crimean Peninsula on March 16 2014, which was predominantly viewed by the international community as contravening international law. As expected, more than 90 percent of the Crimean population which participated in this "referendum", which featured irregularities and attempts to exert influence, voted to join the Russian Federation.
    110. ^ See the text of this so-called secret address: [Khrushchev], Rede des Ersten Sekretärs 1956. See in particular the convincing interpretation of Khrushchev's bestowal in: Sasse, The Crimea Question 2007, pp. 107–126. The bestowal occurred in 1967, but did not grant Tatars the right to return to the peninsula. A number of Crimean Tatars nonetheless returned to their old home. The flow of returning Tatars increased in the period of Perestroika. The Tatars currently constitute about 15 percent of the population of the peninsula. See: Williams, The Crimean Tatars 2001, particularly pp. 411–464.
    111. ^ On the significance of this fact, including in the context of commemorative policies, see: Münz / Ohliger, Die Ukraine 2000.
    112. ^ [Anonymous], Spannung am Schwarzen Meer 2003, p. 93.
    113. ^ See: Sasse, The Crimea Question 2007.
    114. ^ The Crimean Peninsula was the only region of the Ukraine to be granted a degree of autonomy from Kiev in the 1990s, and constitutes a special space due to its exposed geopolitical position. Today, the peninsula is a source of friction between the Ukrainian, Russian and Turkish states, the latter viewing itself as protecting the rights of the Crimean Tatars. See also: Jobst, Geschichte der Ukraine 2010, pp. 238–247.
    115. ^ The importance of the region in the context of security was already highlighted before the Crimean Crisis of 2014 by the August Crisis of 2008 between Georgia and the Russian Federation. Turkey's demands to be recognized as a regional custodian of order may result in Turkey increasingly playing the Crimean Tatar card. And when Rumania and Bulgaria joined the European Union, its border moved to the shore of the Black Sea. In addition to security issues, economic and ecological issue also play a role (see: King, The Black Sea 2004, particularly the chapter "Facing the Water", pp. 239–247). Ankara has seized the initiative at least in this regard by founding the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in 1992. The states which have a Black Sea shoreline and a further six states have set themselves the goal of cooperating more intensively in the areas of maintaining peace, and promoting stability and prosperity. The European Union launched the so-called Black Sea Synergy to strengthen regional cooperation. This is part of the EU Neighbourhood Policy, which is intended to strengthen links to states which are not contiguous with the EU without proceeding to membership, and is also intended to strengthen the "strategic partnership" with the Russian Federation. This organization is also intended to promote cooperation in the region. The fact that the organization includes Greece, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as the states with a Black Sea shoreline indicates that the organization has a broader regional perspective. See the official website of Black Sea Synergy of the European Union, online: Whether these initiatives are suitable for the promotion of a shared frame of reference and identity remains to be seen.

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    : The Northern Black Sea Region, in: Europäische Geschichte Online (EGO), hg. vom Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG), Mainz European History Online (EGO), published by the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz 2017-02-13. URL: URN: urn:nbn:de:0159-2017021003 [JJJJ-MM-TT][YYYY-MM-DD].

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