The results are finally out. A referendum was held over the weekend in Crimea which was torn between joining Ukraine or Russia.
The people have voted for the latter – much to the displeasure of the West, which clearly has a history of feuds with Russia.
But why was the former Soviet Union so keen on acquiring the small peninsula anyway? So much so, that it was ready to risk war.
Well, here’s a list of possible reasons that might help you understand why the Russian President Vladimir Putin is so obsessed with Crimea.
Savior For Ethnic Russians:
Vladimir Putin will become a knight in shining armor for all the ethnic Russians (who make up around 60% of the total population) in Crimea who – from the very beginning – despised the pro-European Union “invasion” of the present Ukrainian government led by Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Oil And Gas:
After the referendum results, Putin will most likely annex the rights to any natural treasures found in Crimea’s maritime zones. Energy companies like Trans Euro Energy have already discovered huge amounts of rich natural gas reserves under the Crimean peninsula.
So it isn’t just sentiment “fueling” Russia’s obsession with Crimea.
Solar Power Plants:
Crimea is home to three huge solar power plants out of which two - Perovo Solar Park and Okhotnykovo Solar Power Station – are the largest in Europe.
Therefore, Russia – or any other country for that matter – would never let go of that kind of energy-rich facilities.
Russia’s Only Warm Water Naval Base:
Panorama of the Sevastopol port entrance (left) with its monument to Russian ships which were sunk in the Crimean war to blockade the harbour(far right side) – Wikimedia Commons
As Greg Satell of Forbes pointed out, Russia is interested in Crimea because it has its only warm water naval base – Sevastopol – on Crimea’s southwestern tip. It’s allegedly the port from where Putin used to supply weapons to Syrian ally Bashar al-Assad.
Russia – as it was witnessed during the Sochi Olympics in February – is not very tourism-friendly because of its certain laws and regulations.
However, Crimea could change that.
All of the above suggest that Russia’s acquisition of the Crimean peninsula – even at the cost of war with Ukraine – is justifiable (at least for Putin)