Crimean People's Republic

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Crimean People's Republic
Qırım Halq Cumhuriyeti
Кримська Народна Республіка
Krymska Narodna Respublika
Крымская Народная Республика
Krymskaya Narodnaya Respublika
Flag of Crimea
Anthem: Ant etkenmen  (Crimean Tatar)
"I've pledged"
StatusSelf-proclaimed autonomy of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic
Common languagesCrimean Tatar
• 1917–1918
Noman Çelebicihan
Historical eraWorld War I
• Proclaimed
13 December 1917[1]
• Soviet takeover
January 1918
• Crimean Offensive
13–25 April 1918
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Taurida Governorate
Taurida Soviet Socialist Republic
Today part of[nb 1]

The Crimean People's Republic (Crimean Tatar: Qırım Halq Cumhuriyeti; Ukrainian: Кримська народна республіка; Russian: Крымская народная республика) existed from December 1917 to January 1918 in the Crimean Peninsula, a territory currently disputed between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Crimean People's Republic was the first Turkic and Muslim democratic republic in the world. In its founding, the Crimean People's Republic was one of many short-lived attempts to create new states after the Russian Revolution of 1917 had caused the Russian Empire to collapse.

Brief history[edit]


The Crimean People's Republic was declared by the initiative of the Qurultay of Crimean Tatars,[1] which stipulated the equality of all ethnicities within the peninsula; the largest proportion of people living in the Crimea at the time were Russian (then comprising 42% of the population of the Crimea) or Ukrainian (11%).[5] However, Crimean Tatars were for a while the dominant political and cultural force on the peninsula. Noman Çelebicihan was the first President of the nascent Republic.[1]

The Qurultay consisted of 76 delegates, four of whom were female (Şefika Gasprinskaya, Anife Bоdaninskaya, Ilhan Tohtar, Hatice Avcı). The delegates were chosen from five counties: Yalta (24), Akmescit (19), Kefe (16), Kezlev (11), and Orkapy (6). The Qurultay elected as chairman the Crimean writer Asan Sabri Aivazov.

The Qurultay in opposition to the Bolsheviks published a "Crimean Tatar Basic Law", which convened an All-Crimean Constitutional Assembly, established a Board of Directors as a provisional government, and erected a Council of National Representatives as a provisional parliament.[6] The Board of Directors and the Central Council of Ukraine both mutually recognized each other.[1]

Bolshevik coup d'etat[edit]

This attempt to build a new nation was quickly defeated by the Bolshevik- and anarchist-dominated Black Sea Fleet.[6] Already on December 16, 1917, the Bolsheviks captured Sevastopol where the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet was located and dissolved the local council of deputies. The power in the city was transferred to the local revkom. The Bolsheviks were supported by some ships of the Black Sea Fleet. To defend itself, the Crimean government created a United Crimean Headquarters on December 19, 1917, that had at its disposal two cavalry and one infantry regiment of Crimean Tatars as well as some Ukrainian and Russian formations that amounted to some thousand people. Several armed incidents took place during January 1918. On January 14, 1918, the Bolsheviks captured Simferopol where they managed to arrest former President of Crimea (Head of Directorate) Noman Çelebicihan who had just resigned on January 4, 1918. He was transferred back to Sevastopol and interned until February 23, 1918, when he was shot without trial. The body of Çelebicihan was thrown into the sea.

On the initiative of Çelebicihan on January 10, 1918, the Qurultay created a special commission that conducted talks with the Bolsheviks to stop the armed conflict in Crimea.

By the end of January 1918, the Bolsheviks had captured the whole of Crimea and dissolved both the Qurultay as well as the Council of National Representatives. A mass terror engulfed the peninsula based on class struggle and ethnic cleansing. With Çelebicihan in the Reds' custody, another leader of the Crimean Tatars, Jafer Seidamet, managed to escape to the Caucasus across continental Ukraine. Many Crimean military formations retreated to the mountains. The government of Ukraine blockaded Crimea while trying to reestablish control over the Black Sea Fleet and the city of Sevastopol. Any Muslim supporting military formations on the way to Crimea was stopped. That, in turn, triggered a protest from the All-Russian Muslim military suro (council). Note that by the end of January 1918, the Ukrainian government itself was forced to declare war on the Russian SFSR due to the advancement of the Red Guard forces of Moscow and Petrograd into Ukraine without explicit notification.

The Bolsheviks briefly established the Taurida Soviet Socialist Republic on Crimean territory in early 1918 before the area was overrun by forces of the Ukrainian People's Republic and the German Empire. Some officials of the National government such as Cafer Seydahmet Kırımer who managed to escape the Bolsheviks' terror sought political asylum in Kyiv and petitioned for military help from the advancing Ukrainian Army as well as the forces of the Central Powers.


On December 28 the Qurultay had established a republican government (Hükümet).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea the status of the Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community considers the Crimea and Sevastopol an integral part of Ukraine, while Russia, on the other hand, considers (and administrators) the Crimea and Sevastopol an integral part of Russia.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ a b c d (in Ukrainian) 89 років від проголошення у Бахчисараї Кримської Народної Республіки, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (13 December 2006)
  2. ^ Gutterman, Steve. "Putin signs Crimea treaty, will not seize other Ukraine regions". Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  3. ^ Ukraine crisis timeline, BBC News
  4. ^ UN General Assembly adopts resolution affirming Ukraine's territorial integrity Archived 2018-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, China Central Television (28 March 2014)
  5. ^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (2007). Ukraine: An Illustrated History. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 238. ISBN 0-295-98723-5.
  6. ^ a b Garchev, Petr. "KURULTAY AND CENTRAL COUNCIL". Center of Information and Documentation of Crimean Tatars. Retrieved 2008-06-10.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°45′10″N 33°51′39″E / 44.7528°N 33.8608°E / 44.7528; 33.8608