I came to US from small working class town Kerch, which located on Eastern border of Crimean peninsula.
City strategically positioned on the shores of Kerch Strait, which connects Black Sea and Sea of Azov. It also lies on a very border between Europe and Asia.
Today's population exceeds 175,000.
Majority of people work either on ship building factory, metallurgical plant or fish / sail across world waters.
Everything in town connected in one way or another to sea, since water surrounds natives from three sides:
My early childhood was spent playing on the beach,
swimming in the sea and catching unsuspicious sea creatures.
Since that time I learned how to fish and tried not to escape any
fishing opportunity. Kerch has a rich 2,600,000-year history filled with all kinds of battles and invasions from all over the world. May be that's why I inherited perseverance, compassion and love for freedom.
- on north- Sea of Azov
- on south- Black Sea
- on east- Kerch channel
Kerch history overview:
- VI B.C-Ancient Greeks found my hometown as democratic city-state Panticapeus.
- 323 B.C.- After death of emperor Alexander The Great, Greek Empire was divided into smaller kingdoms. Independent Bospor Kingdom appeared on a territory surrounding my hometown, which became state capital.
- III B.C.- Very soon Bospor State expanded its territory to Balkans and Middle East.
Panticapeus king army clashed in numerous wars with various Greek, Italian and Persian forces in conquest for land and power.
- I B.C.- Repeated wars finally exhausted land against powerful army lead by Julius Caesar. Bospor lost its independence and became part of Roman Empire.
Treasure hunters for ages to come will discover all sorts of jewelry, statues and other ancient art .Later this treasures will be either sold or taken to museums of London, Paris, Berlin, Petersburg, etc as war trophies.
- 325 A.D - Christianity was adopted as state religion.
- V A.D. - Huns, savage invaders from Central Asia, repeatedly attacked and finally conquered my city. They destroyed Panticapeus and hastened the fall of Rome.
- VI A.D- Byzantium Empire subjugated my hometown. But constant attacks did not stop from Guot, Hazar and other Asian and Arab tribes.
- VIII A.D- Hazar khan ruled Crimea and changed cities name to Kerch.
- IX A.D-Pecheneg warrior troops captured Crimea.
- X A.D.- Russian army forced Asian and Arabic tribes away and established Slavic Tmutorokan Principality (988 A.D.).
- XI- Polovtsy tribes cut off peninsula from land connection with Kiev Russ.
Kerch continued to thrive despite all circumstances due to protection by Byzantine Empire. But after it’s capital Constantinople was conquered by Crusaders , empire collapsed, support ceased to exist and new invaders terrorized my city.
- XIII A.D.-middle- Mongol-Tatar army led by Genghis Khan pierced across continent and occupied Kerch as well as most of Russia.
- 1270- With disintegration of Mongolian rule Venetian and Genoa merchants took over control in Kerch. They established colonies controlled from Italy’s Genoa. City quickly became rich as a major port and trade center on a border of Europe and Asia. Unfortunately, at this time some locals turned to pirating on passing trade-ships.
- 1475- Turks dismissed Christian sovereignty and imposed Islamic Crimean Khan, controlled from Istanbul. Black sea became totally dominated by Turks. Kerch economy rapidly declined.
- 1559-1640- Ukrainian kazaks campaign for Crimean Independence.
- 1669-1774- Turkey defeated in war led by tsar Peter The Great. Crimea became a part of expanding Russian Empire. Opened metallurgical plant, shipbuilding yard and stone-cutting facilities brought new workforce to Kerch.
- 1853-1856- Crimean War devastated city. English and French troops bombarded Kerch from battle ships and destroyed all industry. Russian fleet banned on Black Sea as a result of lost war.
- XIX century-end- Fishing industry makes Kerch prosperous again. Local herring exported all over Europe and city becomes famous for its sea delicacies.
- 1914- World War I brought destruction in confrontation with neighboring Turkey.
- 1918- January-Bolsheviks proclaimed Soviet Socialist republic of Tavrida.
- 1918- April- Bismarck’s Germany occupied Crimea that was divided by civil war.
- 1918-November-French and English troops force Germans to retreat from Kerch.
- 1919-April- Red Army captured all Crimea except Kerch.
- 1919 –June- Patriotic army led by Russian General Denikin liberates Crimea from communists.
- 1920-fall- communist Lenin sends best brigades from Moscow (led by Frunse) to destroy last bourgeois state in Russia. Remainder of Denikin army retreats to West Europe and United States.
- 1941-June 22nd- World War II struck Crimea with German air attacks.
- 1941-November 9th- City occupied by German troops.
- 1942-Dcember 30th-Soviet Army recaptured Kerch back.
- 1942-May 19th- City stormed by German nazi troops. Red Army’s retreat across Kerch Channel was not complete successfully. Enemy surrounded many battalions. But instead of surrender they went into abandoned underground maze of stone mines to fight back as partisans. Italian and Romanian brigades moved into Kerch to secure this strategically important position for German Axis Allies.
- 1943- November 1st-Soviet marines landed in Eltigen (village west of Kerch) and established bridgehead for planed ahead attack.
- 1944-April 10th-Kerch finally liberated, but war left it in ruins and almost uninhabitable.
Under direction of Stalin thousands of native minorities were expelled from Crimea to Siberia and Far East. Most of them perished forever in communist labor camps:
- 192,000 Tatars
- 50,000 Germans
- 20,000 Italians
- 15,000 Greeks
- 13,000 Bulgarians
- 20,000 other national minorities
- 1945-Augast- WWII ended. It took lives of more than 40 million soviet people. But communist regimes continued oppress even their own people. Cold War started.
- 1954-Febuary 19th- soviet leader Khrushchev (Ukrainian origin) received birthday gift in form of the whole region. Crimea was reassigned from Federative status in Russia to Ukrainian Municipality.
- 1991-February- People of Crimea elected to proclaim Independent Autonomic Republic.
Pictures from Crimea