Russian senators seek to make the day Crimea joined the Russian Empire a commemorative date

Russian senators seek to make the day Crimea joined the Russian Empire a commemorative date
A group of Russian senators headed by Upper House speaker Valentina Matviyenko have drafted a motion to make the date when Crimea joined the Russian Empire in the late 18th century a commemorative day.

The bill establishes a new commemorative day in Russia. This is April 19 – the day when the Crimean Peninsula, the island of Taman and the basin of the Kuban River were accepted into the Russian Empire in 1783,” reads the explanatory note attached with the bill.

The name of the commemorative day – the Day when Crimea, Taman and Kuban Were Accepted into the Russian Empire – reflects the true geopolitical events that inspired Empress Catherine II to sign the Royal Manifesto on accepting these regions into the Russian state. 

“Before this manifesto, Crimea had deep ties with Russia and became a cradle of the Russian Orthodox Church. Apostle Andrew was preaching Christianity in Crimea in the 1st century AD and in 988, Grand Prince Vladimir was baptized in Crimea’s Chersonesus to later become the ruler who Christianized all Russia. Saints Cyril and Methodius, the creators of the Cyrillic Alphabet, were teaching in Crimea,” the note reads.

When Russia accepted Crimea under its protection in 1783, it was done on request of the region’s residents who suffered from endless wars,” the senators note, adding that the Russian Royal Manifesto did not describe the accession as an authoritarian or forced act.

Currently, March 18 – the day when the Crimean Republic and the city of Sevastopol were reunified with the Russian Federation in 2014 – is celebrated as a public holiday in both of the newly accepted regions. In March 2015, lawmakers from the populist nationalist LDPR party proposed making this day a Russian national holiday, but the bill has not yet been passed.

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