Information on the tension and violence between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians in Crimea, and the state protection available to those ethnic Ukrainians and Russians who are victims of ethnically motivated violence [UKR25374.E]

In telephone interviews on 4 and 6 November 1996, a research fellow with the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham, who has written extensively on Ukrainian politics, provided the following information. There has been a general decrease in tension between the Ukrainian and Russian communities in the Crimean peninsula since the abolition of the presidency in Crimea by the Ukrainian authorities in the spring of 1995. The Russian secessionists were reduced to minority status in the Crimean parliament and government in the summer of 1995, and this has lessened the possibility of the Russian community attempting to secede. However, although the majority of Russians in Crimea appear resigned to remaining in Ukraine, a minority continue to desire secession, and tensions remain. Several issues, including the status of the Black Sea fleet and the city of Sevastopol, continue to be unresolved.

The research fellow added that he has not heard any reports since 1991 of violence between the Russian and Ukrainian communities in Crimea, although several years ago the police and Russian mafia were engaged in violent confrontations with the Tatars. The mafia has great power in Crimea, but the victims of mafia violence, both within and outside the mafia, do not appear to have been targeted because of their ethnicity.

Several journalists from the Russian federation have been killed in Crimea in the last several years, but it is unclear whether the motives were mafia-related or due to ethnic or political tensions. Ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea who do not publicly display their Ukrainian nationalism too vigorously probably do not encounter any hostility from the Russian majority in Crimea. However, those ethnic Ukrainians who do so may encounter difficulty from Russian nationalist groups.
For additional information on tensions between Russians and Ukrainians in Crimea, and on tensions between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea, please consult the attachments to this Response, the DIRB publication Ukraine: Chronology of Events March 1994 - September 1995, and page 1092 of Country Reports 1995. The last two documents are available at Regional Documentation Centres


Additional information on violence between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians in Crimea, and the state protection available to victims of ethnically motivated violence in Crimea, could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this information request.


Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham. 6 November 1996. Telephone interview with research fellow.

_____. 4 November 1996. Telephone interview with research fellow.


Flot Ukrayiny [Sevastopol, in Ukrainian]. 24 August 1996. "Ukraine: Legislator Discusses Situation in Crimea." (FBIS-SOV-96-177 11 Sept. 1996, pp. 37-40)

TASS [Moscow]. 30 October 1995. Lev Ryabchikov. "Crimea's Russian Community Faces Trial on Ethnic Charges." (NEXIS)

_____. 29 October 1995. Lev Ryabchikov. "Crimea Russian-Speakers Protest Persecutions." (NEXIS)

_____. 23 October 1995. Lev Ryabchikov. "Kiev Tries to Split Crimea According to Nationality." (NEXIS)

_____. 18 October 1995. Mikhail Stetsyuk. "Russian Community Persecuted in Sevastopol." (NEXIS)

_____. 25 September 1995. Lev Ryabchikov. "Crimea Officers Protest at Russian Community Disbanding." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Report. Yearly.

DIRB country file on Ukraine.

DIRB databases.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports.

News from Helsinki Watch [New York]. Monthly.

Transition [Prague]. Bi-monthly.

Uncaptive Minds [New York]. Quarterly.

Two other oral sources contacted did not provide information on the requested topics.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact other oral sources.