News / Europe

    Khrushchev’s Son: Giving Crimea Back to Russia Not an Option

    Pro-Russia demonstrators holding Russian and Crimean flags and posters rally in front of the local parliament building in Crimea's capital Simferopol, Ukraine, March 6, 2014.
    Pro-Russia demonstrators holding Russian and Crimean flags and posters rally in front of the local parliament building in Crimea's capital Simferopol, Ukraine, March 6, 2014.
    Crimea is a Ukrainian peninsula, home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet which allows Moscow to extend its military presence throughout the Mediterranean.

    The majority of its population is ethnic Russian, a quarter is ethnic Ukrainian and about 12 percent are Crimean Tatars.

    For centuries, Crimea was part of Russia, until 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave the peninsula to Ukraine - at that time a Soviet republic.

    FILE - A 2001 photo of Sergei Khrushchev, the son of the late Soviet leader, speaking to reporters in his Brown University office in Providence, R.I.FILE - A 2001 photo of Sergei Khrushchev, the son of the late Soviet leader, speaking to reporters in his Brown University office in Providence, R.I.
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    FILE - A 2001 photo of Sergei Khrushchev, the son of the late Soviet leader, speaking to reporters in his Brown University office in Providence, R.I.
    FILE - A 2001 photo of Sergei Khrushchev, the son of the late Soviet leader, speaking to reporters in his Brown University office in Providence, R.I.
    Nikita Khrushchev gives Crimea to Ukraine

    Khrushchev’s son Sergei said the decision to give Crimea to Ukraine had to do with economics and agriculture - the building of a hydro-electric dam on the Dnieper River which would irrigate Ukraine’s southern regions, including Crimea.

    “As the Dnieper and the hydro-electric dam [is] on Ukrainian territory, let’s transfer the rest of the territory of Crimea under the Ukrainian supervision so they will be responsible for everything," Sergei Khrushchev said. "And they did it. It was not a political move, it was not an ideological move - it was just business.”

    Khrushchev said it made sense to have one entity responsible for the building of such a large project.

    “And now we have this speculation that my father wanted to satisfy Ukrainian democracy, that he even made a gift to his wife, my mother, because she was Ukrainian - all this have nothing with reality. It was just an economical issue, and not political,” said Khrushchev.

    Crimea Now under Russian Control

    Crimea is now under complete control of Russian armed forces. Russian officials say the move was to protect ethnic Russians living on the peninsula. But western officials say there is no evidence that Russians need protection. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described the takeover as “an incredible act of aggression.”

    Tensions rose between Moscow and Kyiv last month after Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown by a protest movement wanting closer ties with the European Union. More than 80 demonstrators were killed and Mr. Yanukovich fled to Russia.

    Khrushchev said there are no parallels between what is happening in Crimea and the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over its two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    “In the 2008 war there, the president [Mikhail] Saakashvili tried to restore control over these two rebel regions using force - and they attacked them and Russia fought back. It was war.”

    Referendum on Crimea’s Future March 16

    Right now, said Khrushchev, no shots have been fired in Crimea.

    “And I hope there will be no shooting, because nobody is interested there in fighting. And the Ukrainian military who are serving in Crimea, they are Crimeans and they don’t want to start fighting," said Khrushchev, “that will be against the interest of their own people and their own country. And I think the Russians also don’t want to fight. Why do they have to fight?”

    Looking ahead, Khrushchev said giving Crimea back to Russia is not an option - “and I hope it’s not going to happen. And I never heard from Putin that he wanted to do it.”

    However, lawmakers in Crimea have scheduled a referendum on joining Russia for March 16 - a move that will escalate tensions even more.

    Andre de Nesnera

    Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Marius from: Canada
    March 25, 2014 3:46 PM
    Igor,
    You are too young to remember or too patriotic to believe that Crimea is not Russian. The only reason Russians are the majority in Crimea is because of Soviet genocide by Stalin

    I would not be debating this with you if my grandma had not left the Ukraine to move to Canada.
    http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/genocide/ukraine_famine.htm

    by: Regula from: USA
    March 07, 2014 6:18 AM
    This article is a lot of propaganda; apparently Khrushchev's son wants to distance himself from the Russians for fear of shadows of the past.

    Nobody wants to fight in Crimea - that is exactly the reason for the Russian deployment: the US used a group of rightwing extremists who actually belong to NATO but are stationed in Ukraine, to start the protests and rioting and keep the rioting going by shooting on both, the police and protesters, to topple Yanukovich. The real cause for the riots was the US intention to get Ukraine under western control and into NATO and to oust the Russians from their base and fleet in Sewastopol. Association with the EU was only a pretext to start protests going.

    Without the Russian military there would have been civil war in Crimea between the rightwing extremists, under the pretext to eliminate all Russians who, after the Ukrainian parliament repealed the language law, became pariahs.

    It is thanks to Putin's far sight that this civil war - and the US intentions for Crimea - were prevented.
    In Response

    by: Roman Skolozdra from: Florida USA
    March 07, 2014 3:32 PM
    And you get your information from Putin himself? Some of what you say might be true but I don't think this was so well planned out that it endup like the way things are now. I have absolutely no idea how or why you are so pro Russia/ Putin . Putin has put a lot of people in a very dangerous position. If fighting were to break out what's he going to say, oh , no I didn't want it to excaslate like this. I think you are the one spreading propaganda.

    by: Tatiana from: Washington, DC
    March 06, 2014 9:30 PM
    Sergei, come on!! Your father presented Crimea to Ukraine to gain support from the communist leadership of Soviet Ukraine for his hold of General Secretary post. It was an action similar to the one done in the old times by Emperors giving the land to buy the loyalty of potential troublemakers. The name of Khrushchev will be forever despised not only by the Russian people but by all those who are well aware of his role in Stalin's terror in Ukraine. for his shoe banging in UN and for his promise to bury America.
    In Response

    by: Roman Skolozdra from: Florida USA
    March 07, 2014 4:05 PM
    I've read that Khrushchev's wife was Ukrainian, not sure if he was Ukrainian. Khrushchev inflicted a lot of pain on Ukraine. Khrushchev's son could shed some light on wether Khrushchev was Russian or Ukrainian. The conflict in Crimea is very serious situation and I don't believe Putin is not behind the troops that are there without insignias, which constitutes a voilation of treaties and laws only because at one time the borders were different than thy are today. You can give something than all of a sudden take it back, where is the logic in that.
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    March 06, 2014 11:36 PM
    You are right! Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, a Ucrainian, gave Crimea to Ukraine against the will of Crimea people. He robbed Crimea from Russia on the economic pretext. So now Crimea must be returned to Russia on economic, historical, cultrural...reasons.

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