A sudden and sizable demographic shift, driven mainly by migration, is helping Russia cement its grip on the Crimean peninsula.
After the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea, at least 150,000 people have moved to the peninsula mainly from Russia, but also from other Eurasian states. At the same time, roughly 150,000 erstwhile residents of Crimea have left, heading mostly for territories under Ukraine’s control.
Official data compiled by Russian state agencies show that from the start of 2014 through the third quarter of 2016, Crimea experienced a net inflow of 83,000 individuals. Over 149,000 moved to the peninsula, while about 66,000 departed, according to statistics compiled by entities set up by Russia’s Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat): Sevastopolstat and Krymstat. The latter agency tracks statistics in the so-called Republic of Crimea. Sevastopol, home to the Black Sea Fleet, is technically its own district apart from the rest of the peninsula, and is run directly by Moscow.
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Alexander Alikin is an independent journalist based in Crimea.