1774-1783 1853-1889

The Crimean Peninsula under Russian Rule, 1783-1853

The Russian administration had taken possession of the hitherto Ottoman holdings on the Crimean coast (Kaffa etc.) and, with the abolition of the Khanate, the property of the Girays. It respected the property rights of the Tatar population. In 1784 the Tavricheskaya Oblast (Taurian Province) was established, comprising of the Crimea and the region to the north of it. Under Paul I. (1796-1801) it was integrated into the larger province of New Russia; under Alexander I. it was restored, now as a Gubernija. The Russians chose Simferopol as seat of administration; the cities of the Crimea were given Russian names. The administration was exclusively staffed with Russians; this was explained with the fact that the Tatars would not understand the language.
Catherine the Great generously handed out large land holdings to her favourites, thus creating a new elite of Russian nobles with property on the Crimea. Vineyards and grandiose estates were established on the coast (Yalta). The Russian administration in Simferopol, on the othetr hand, for much of the time, pursued a policy of treating the Tatars, especially the Tatar mirzas, with justice, respecting their status and their property rights. On the other hand, the administration aimed at increasing the agricultural production, creating new port facilities (Sevastopol) and, in order to boost both, attract settlers from Russia and elsewhere. In the cities, monuments of the Ottoman/Khanate period and even older Genoese monuments were destroyed. The Russian administration treated the community of Crimean Muslims with respect; in 1831 a Crimean Muslim Religious Committee was established, responsible for religious affairs such as education of the Muslim Tatar population, marriages etc.
More important than the influx of settlers - by 1802 estimated at 4,500 - was the emigration of Tatars; in the first two decade of Russian rule estimated at c. 30,000 (some estimates are as high as 100,000). A.W. Fisher also points out that the Tatar elite, treated as nobility by the Russian administration, underwent assimilation and thus was estranged from the Tatar population. In 1802, the total population is given as 185,000, the far majority being Tatars.
The cities quickly took on a Russian character, exception Bakhchisaray. Over the decades, immigration, encouraged by the administration continued, and the ethnic composition of the peninsula slowly changed.
The integration of the Tatar population into the Russian Empire was at least partially successful; Tatar cavalry regiments were formed, which loyally served the Czar on numerous occasions.
Poor sanitary conditions - the city repeatedly was struck by Cholera - are blamed for the Sevastopol Revolt of 1830.

Sevastopol History, from Sevastopol.org
History of the Crimea, from Black Sea Travel
Crimean Tatars and Noghais in Turkey, by Henryk Jankowski, posted by Int'l Committee for Crimea
DOCUMENTS List of Crimean Khans, from Kessler Web
REFERENCE Alan W. Fisher, The Crimean Tatars, Stanford : Hoover Institution Press (1978) 1987, KMLA Lib.Sign. 947.717 F553c

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 8th 2005

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