Crimea's history is extremely complex and reaches back to antiquity and even prehistory. The settlement of Hersones near present-day Sevastopol was an outpost of Greek and Hellenic culture for two millenia. Bakhchisaray was the seat of the Khans' rule for several centuries. The city of Kerch is 2600 years old and was founded one year after Rome. Crimea has been settled and colonized by Skifs, Sarmats, Greeks, Genoans, Venicians, Armenians, Jews, Turks, Khans, Russians, and Ukrainians. In Crimea Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all have left their distinct mark. With few exceptions people of these different faiths coexisted peacefully.
Part of Crimea's unique flavor comes from the presence of Crimean Tatars — mixed-blood descendents of all the ethnic groups that inhabited the peninsula before Ekaterina II annexed Crimea at the end of the 1700s. The Tatars were deported to Central Asia by Stalin after WWII (allegedly for helping the Germans), and Russians and Ukrainians were moved in to take their place. As a result much of the local color and cultural heritage was lost. After perestroika the Tatars began moving back, acquiring land and building homes and businesses. They are known for their industriousness, national cooking (which you can get a taste of at any Crimean resort), and 'eastern' mindset. The Tatars have weak ties to Islam (compared to Arabic countries) and usually speak fluent Russian along with their own language.
Crimea is a parliamentary republic that has no president. The legislative body is a 100-seat parliament, the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea.
The executive power is represented by the Council of Ministers, headed by a Prime Minister who is appointed and dismissed by the Verkhovna Rada, with the consent of the President of Ukraine. The authority and operation of the Verkhovna Rada and the Council of Ministers of Crimea are determined by the Constitution of Ukraine and other the laws of Ukraine, as well as by regular decisions carried out by the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea.
Justice is administered by courts that belong to the Judicial system of Ukraine.
While not an official body controlling Crimea, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is a representative body of the Crimean Tatars, which could address grievances to the Ukrainian central government, the Crimean government, and international bodies.
During the 2004 presidential elections, Crimea largely voted for the presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, the current Prime Minister of Ukraine, and during the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, the Yanukovych-led Party of Regions also won most of the votes from the region.
Following the Crimean parliamentary election, 2006, the following political parties are represented in the Verkhovna Rada bloc: "Za Yanukovycha!" (Party of Regions and the Russian Bloc): 32.55% (44 mandates); party "Soiuz": 7.63% (10 mandates); Kunytsyna Electoral Bloc: 7.63% (10 mandates); Communist Party of Ukraine: 6.55% (9 mandates); People's Movement of Ukraine: 6.26% (8 mandates); Yulia Tymoshenko Electoral Bloc: 6.03% (8 mandates); People's Opposition Bloc of Natalia Vitrenko: 4.97% (7 mandates); Oposition Bloc "Ne Tak": 3.09% (4 mandates).
Crimea is subdivided into 25 regions: 14 raions (districts) and 11 city municipalities, officially known as "territories governed by city councils".Each region consists of city, urban-type settlement and village communities. Note that Sevastopol Municipality, the uncolored region immediately to the west of Bakhchisarayskyi Raion (#1) is one of two special municipalities within Ukraine and is not part of Crimea itself.
Population of the Crimea is 2 033 700 people. About one hundred twenty five nationalities live at Crimean Peninsula. Local population mostly consisted of Russians - 58,5%, Ukrainians - 24,4% and Crimean Tartars - 12,1%, also represented Armenians - 0,4%, Jews - 0,2%, Greeks -0,1%, Germen - 0,1% and others.
Language composition: 77% of Crimean population consider Russian as their native language, 11,4% - Crimean-Tartar as their native and 10,1% - Ukrainian.
Official State language in Crimea is Ukrainian.
Southern Coast of the Crimea has sub-Mediterranean, mild continental climate with hot dry summer and mild warm humid winter. Average temperature in summer
|July| +23,0° +24,5° and in winter |January| +2,0° +4,0°. Annual precipitation at the Southern coast of the Crimea is about 350-650(mm). We have 250-300 SUNNY DAYS per year.
The Mountain ranges which divides the Southern Coast of the Crimea from the Midlands has a light continental climate with warm and mild humid summers and cool humid winters.
The Midland Region of Crimea has a mild continental steppe climate with hot dry summers and cool humid winters. Average temperature in summer |July| +22,0° +23,5° and in winter |January| -2,3° - 0,0°. Annual precipitation in the Midlands of the Crimea is about 340-480(mm).