In February of 2014, the world was shocked on February 26, just three days after the Sochi Olympics ended, and the days following when reports began to surface that Russian troops were deployed in Crimea. Russia had poured billions of dollars into the 2014 Winter Olympics and other things in order to attempt to portray Russia in a more positive light, and now they had just invaded one of their neighboring countries ruining any progress they had made.
In 1954 on February 19, Crimea became apart of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This move surprised many because Russia has a long history with Crimea and has gone to great lengths in the past to add and keep Crimea under their control. What is even more strange is the reasoning behind the transfer, which were “the economic commonalities, territorial closeness, and communication and cultural links” between Ukraine and Crimea (Siegelbaum). The weird thing is that their economies really were not very intertwined, since Crimea relied mostly on tourism. On the other hand, Russia was economically and militarily intertwined with Crimea due to Russia’s need for a warm water port that can be used all year around, which has recently been reaffirmed through Russia’s invasion of Crimea. As for the cultural connection, the same is true in the sense that Russia had greater cultural ties to Crimea since the majority of its population in 1954 was Russian. The thought process involved in this exchange is very mysterious. It makes you wonder if Ukraine had some sort of leverage against the Russians at the time, which they used to make this transfer occur.
Siegelbaum, Lewis: http://soviethistory.macalester.edu/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1954crimea&Year=1954