Crimea or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is today a Russian republic. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name. Crimea was annexed by Russia in a referendum on March 16 2014. The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 96.77 percent vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout. 
The territory of Crimea was conquered and controlled many times throughout its history. The Cimmerians, Greeks, Persians, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Khazars, the state of Kievan Rus', Byzantine Greeks, Kipchaks, Ottoman Turks, Golden Horde Tatars and the Mongols all controlled Crimea in its early history. In the 13th century, it was partly controlled by the Venetians and by the Genovese; they were followed by the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire in the 15th to 18th centuries, the Russian Empire in the 18th to 20th centuries, the Russian SFSR and later the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union in the rest of the 20th century, Germany in World War II.
The capital and administrative seat of the republic's government is the city of Simferopol, located in the center of the peninsula. Crimea's area is 26,200 square kilometres (10,100 sq mi) and its population was 1,973,185 as of 2007.
Crimean Tatars, an ethnic minority who now make up about 13% of the population, have formed in Crimea in the late Middle ages, after Crimean Khanate had come into existance. The Crimean Tatars were forcibly expelled to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin's government. After the fall of the Soviet Union, some Crimean Tatars began returning to the region.
- ↑ RT: Crimea declares independence, seeks UN recognition (140317)
- ↑ Pohl, J. Otto. The Stalinist Penal System: A Statistical History of Soviet Repression and Terror. Mc Farland & Company, Inc, Publishers. 1997. 23.