This is a humble supplement to the letter from Mr. Hunt on the Russian-Ukraine conflict. It was a great read and I just wanted to outline some more of the historical context.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the ownership of the Crimea. Who is really the owner of this piece of land on the verge of a war?

Crimea is a peninsula on the Black Sea north off Ukraine, in the East covered by mountains and vast woodlands, in the north by steppes that create most of the land.

It’s on these steppes, practically until the end of 15th century, that it was under control of the Tatars of the Golden Horde, then it was under the reigns of the Great Horde and Crimean Khanate. At that time their weapons were quite advanced – all warriors had bows, swords, and horses and fought in full armor. Their riding skills proved much better any other riders in this region. On the other hand, the Crimean Khanate, although powerful, was waging numerous wars; its economy was based mainly on invading their neighbors at the same time, not having their own production.

Until a balance in this region of Europe between three monarchies – Turkey, Russia and Rzeczpospolita (Polish State) was kept, the Khanate could always count on support, but when the Ottoman Empire and Rzeczpospolita collapsed that fragile balance had been destroyed and the Crimea eventually became a part of Russian Empire.

(Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Crimean Tatars have been living in Crimea since the 13th century and come from North-West Mongolia and Baikal region. They had their own language, and Islam was their religion. In 1850, the Crimean Tatars were 75% of the population, nowadays the number is only 10%. When in 1920 Russia finally invaded Crimea, the Tatar community was subjected to massive killings.

In the following year, the Crimean peninsula suffered from hunger caused primarily by the incompetent rules of the Bolshevik government. Almost 100,000 people lost their lives and 50,000 left Crimea. The future did not turn out much better, unfortunately. From 1931 to 1933, another hunger wave struck, accompanied this time by an attack on Muslim clergy and mass Russification of the Tatar community.