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800,000 Russians Have Moved to Occupied Crimea Since 2014 – Ukrainian Human Rights Union Says

(This article is republished through our collaboration with The Kyiv Independent – ​​Ukraine’s leading English-language publication. If you would like to support their wartime journalism, please consider becoming a member via this link).

Up to 800,000 Russians have moved to the occupied Crimean peninsula since its illegal annexation in 2014, and around 100,000 Ukrainians have left the area. This constitutes a larger Russian project for reshaping the peninsula’s demography, on Vladyslav Miroshnychenko, an analyst for the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) on December 6.

The figure is consistent with previous estimates by other Ukrainian officials. Tamila Tasheva, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s permanent representative for Crimea, on in July 2023 that between 500,000 and 800,000 Russians had illegally moved to the peninsula since 2014.

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Since its illegal annexation in 2014, Russia has pursued policies designed to increase the number of Russians in Crimea, while forcing or otherwise pressuring Ukrainians to leave the area.

According to Miroshnychenko, the immigration of 800,000 Russians and the exodus of 100,000 Ukrainians is not only an organic process, but rather the result of a deliberate policy by the Russian government which he claims can be considered a violation of international humanitarian law.

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Russification policy

These policies include “favorable mortgages (to Russians), relocation of the Russian military, police, government members, health and education workers, judges and their families, deportation of Ukrainians to the mainland, and encouraging other Ukrainians to move to Russian territory.”

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Miroshnychenko noted that Russia has attempted to implement a similar policy in parts of Ukraine occupied by Russia since the full-scale invasion in 2022, although it has had less success due to the ongoing war.

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Young people take part in a demonstration to mark the ninth anniversary of Crimea’s annexation from Ukraine with the banner: “Russia doesn’t start wars, it ends them,” next to a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Yalta, Crimea, Friday, March 17, 2023 . Photo: AP / NTB

Population greatly reduced

This is particularly evident in Mariupol, which was heavily bombed and shelled during Russia’s nearly three-month siege of the city immediately following the 2022 invasion. The National Resistance Center reported in August 2023 that Moscow had drawn up a “development plan” for the city which involved the relocation of around 300,000 Russians to Mariupol by 2035.

The city had a pre-invasion population of over 450,000, but Ukrainian authorities estimate that only 100,000 remained after Russian forces captured the city.

2023-12-14 04:38:56
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