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.
    x
    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.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora