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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 19, 1954

MEETING OF THE PRESIDIUM OF THE SUPREME SOVIET OF THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS

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    Meeting minutes from Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet during which the transfer of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine was approved.
    "Meeting of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics," February 19, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, GARF. F.7523. Op.57. D.963, L1-10. Published in "Istoricheskii arkhiv," issue 1, vol. 1 (1992). Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119638
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Meeting of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet

19 February 1954

K. Ye. Voroshilov. I declare the meeting of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics open.

Today we are to discuss one question - the joint submission of the Presidium of the RSFSR and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR concerning the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' from the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Are there any other proposals?

(Presidium members: "No" "Adopt")

The proposal concerning the agenda is considered adopted.

We move to the discussion of the question. The floor is given to Cde. Tarasov, member of the Presidium and Chairman of the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, for a report.

M. P. Tarasov. Comrades, the question of the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' from the Russian Federation to the Ukrainian SSR has been submitted.

The Crimean Oblast', as is well-known, occupies the entire Crimean Peninsula, territorially adjoins the Ukrainian Republic, and is a sort of natural continuation of the southern steppes of Ukraine. The economy of the Crimean Oblast' is closely tied to the economy of the Ukrainian SSR. The transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the fraternal Ukrainian Republic is advisable and meets the common interests of the Soviet state for geographic and economic considerations.

The Ukrainian people have tied their fate with the Russian people since olden times. For many centuries they fought against common enemies - tsarism, serfowners, and capitalists, and also against foreign invaders. The centuries-long friendship of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and the economic and cultural link between Crimea and Ukraine were consolidated still further with the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

The issue of the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian Republic is being examined in days when the peoples of the Soviet Union are marking a notable event, the 300th anniversary of the reunion of Ukraine with Russia, which played an enormous progressive role in the political, economic, and cultural development of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples.

The transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian Republic meets the interests of strengthening the friendship of the peoples of the great Soviet Union, and will promote the further strengthening of the fraternal link between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and the still greater prosperity of Soviet Ukraine, the development to which our Party and government have always devoted great attention.

The Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet with the participation of the executive committees of the Crimean Oblast' and Sevastopol' City Soviet of Workers' Deputies has examined the proposal of the RSFSR Council of Ministers about the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian SSR.

Considering the commonality of the economy, the territorial proximity, and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimean Oblast' and the Ukrainian SSR, and also bearing in mind the agreement of the Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet, the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet considers it advisable to transfer the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

I submit for your consideration and approval the 5 February 1954 Decree of the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet:

"Concerning the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

Considering the commonality of the economy, the territorial proximity, and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimean Oblast' and the Ukrainian SSR, the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet decrees:

Transfer the Crimean Oblast' from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

This decree is to be submitted to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet for approval."

K. Ye. Voroshilov. The floor is given to Cde. Korotchenko, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR.

D. S. Korotchenko. Comrades!

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR completely shares the proposal about the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' from the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian SSR which was described here by the Chairman of the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, Cde. Tarasov.

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the great Russian people for that exceptionally remarkable act of fraternal aid which is the subject of today's meeting.

The transfer of Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR, considering the commonality of economic development, the territorial proximity, and the growing economic and cultural ties between the Ukrainian Republic and the Crimean Oblast' is completely advisable and is a very great friendly act demonstrating the unlimited trust and love of the Russian people for the Ukrainian people. The Ukrainian people well know that to be in friendship with the great Russian people, with all the peoples of our country, means to go victoriously along the path pointed out by the Communist Party, along a path of a free and happy life, along the path to Communism…

The Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet asks the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet to approve the joint submission by the Presidium of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic about the transfer of Crimea from the RSFSR to Ukrainian SSR will be greeted with gratitude by all the Ukrainian people.

Allow me to assure you that the Ukrainian government will give proper attention to the further development of the economy of Crimea and an increase of the material and cultural welfare of the workers of the Crimea Oblast'…

K. Ye. Voroshilov. Who wants the floor? Cde. Nikolay Mikhaylovich Shvernik has the floor.

N. M. Shvernik. Comrade members of the Presidium, the proposal concerning the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' from the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic has great historical significance, and is a demonstration of the fraternal friendship between the peoples of two great socialist republics.

The Crimean Oblast' plays a considerable role in the economy of the USSR as a region of ferrous metallurgy, viticulture, winemaking, the canning and fishing industries, animal husbandry, and as land growing high-quality wheat. The Crimean Oblast' borders the territory of the Ukrainian SSR. This fact is responsible for the development of common cultural and economic ties of the Crimean Oblast' and Soviet Ukraine.

To a certain degree all this dictates the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Such a transfer of a very large oblast', rich in raw material resources with a large, developed industry, and valuable natural therapeutic factors can be accomplished only in the conditions of our socialist country, forever liberated from the oppression of capitalist landowners, in a country where concern for the person and his material and cultural needs is at the forefront.

There is no doubt that this very important historic act will serve the further continuous economic and administrative development of the Crimean Oblast' in the Ukrainian SSR. One also ought to point to the fact that the Crimea is a health resort of world importance. An enormous number of workers are treated and rest in its numerous sanatoria and rest homes…

The transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian SSR will be greeted by our people with great enthusiasm, for they see in this a guarantee of the wise leadership of the Communist Party and the concern of the Soviet government for the further development and prosperity of Soviet Ukraine.

The unbreakable and eternal friendship of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples will be a guarantee of the further economic strengthening of the Soviet Union, which is developing along the path of Communism.

I fully support the proposal to transfer the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

K. Ye. Voroshilov. Cde. Rashidov has the floor.

Sh. Rashidov. Comrades…The transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian SSR is occurring in remarkable days, when all the people are marking the 300th anniversary of the reunion of Ukraine with Russia, and is a new, vivid manifestation of the wise nationality policy of the Communist Party directed at the comprehensive development and flourishing of the creative and spiritual forces of all the peoples of our country. This is possible only in our country, where there is ethnic strife and there are no national differences, where the lives of all the Soviet peoples pass in an atmosphere of peaceful constructive work in the name of the peace and happiness of all humanity, where concern for the individual is the highest law of the Soviet government and the Communist Party. I heartily support the joint submission by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Presidium and the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet Presidium concerning the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

K. Ye. Voroshilov. Cde. Kuusinen has the floor.

O. V. Kuusinen. Comrades!...Only in our country is it possible that such a great people as the Russian people magnanimously transferred one of the valuable oblasts to another fraternal people without any hesitation. Only in our country is it possible when such very important issues as the territorial transfer of individual oblasts to a particular republic are settled without any difficulties, with complete coordination, guided exclusively by considerations of advisability, economic and cultural development, guided by the common interests of the Soviet state and the interests of the further strengthening of friendship and trust between peoples…

K. Ye. Voroshilov. No more have registered [to speak]. Who wants the floor? No one. The floor is given to Cde. Pegov to read the proposal.

There are no other proposals.

N. M. Pegov. It is proposed to adopt the following decree:

"Considering the commonality of the economy, the territorial proximity, and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimean Oblast' and the Ukrainian SSR, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics decrees:

["]Approve the joint submission of the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Ukrainian SSR Supreme Soviet concerning the transfer of the Crimean Oblast' from the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic."

K. Ye. Voroshilov. There are no other proposals?

(Presidium members: "No").

Permit us to vote for only the proposal which was read by Cde. Pegov. Whoever is for the proposals, those please raise your hand. The Presidium members vote. Please put them down. Who is against? None. Who abstained? Also none.

The Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is adopted unanimously.

Comrades…this remarkable act of great state importance once again confirms that relations between the sovereign union socialist republics in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were founded on the basis of genuine equal rights and a real understanding and respect for mutual interests directed at the prosperity of all union republics.

Under capitalism this would have been impossible. In history there could not be and cannot be such relations between republics. In the past, and especially under capitalism, desires for territorial seizure and the desire of strong countries to feast on the territories of weak countries formed the very basis of relations between countries. Only in the conditions of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was such a just solution of all territorial issues between union republics possible based on administrative and economic advisability with complete mutual friendship and the fraternal cooperation of their peoples. The transfer of the Crimean Oblast' from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR meets the interests of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples and the overall state interests of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics…Both in the distant and not-so-distant past enemies repeatedly tried to take the Crimean Peninsula from Russia and use it to pillage and ravage Russian lands, and to create a military base there to attack Russia and Ukraine. But more than once in joint battle the Russian and Ukrainian peoples severely beat the insolent invaders and threw them out of Ukraine and Crimea. Ukraine and Crimea are closely tied by a commonality of economic interests; this has already been eloquently said here by both the presenters and the comrades who spoke. The cultural ties between Crimea and Ukraine have especially grown and deepened. The transfer of the Crimea Oblast' to the Ukrainian SSR will undoubtedly strengthen these traditional ties still further …

We know and are glad that the Russian, Ukrainian, and all the other peoples of our boundless country will henceforth develop and strengthen their fraternal friendship. Let our great Motherland, the fraternal Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, strengthen and develop!

We have no other questions today.

I declare today's meeting closed.