Russia had only two cities of Federal subordination – Moscow and St. Petersburg

Photo: AFP

Statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin that even after the “illegal transfer” of the Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Sevastopol has always legally been part of the RSFSR and Russia, is easily refuted by official documents.

About this senior fellow at the American Cato Institute, Russian economist and former adviser to Putin Andrei Illarionov wrote in his blog in “Live journal”.

 

“THE ILLEGAL TRANSFER OF CRIMEA”

The expert recalled that article 16 of the RSFSR Constitution of 1937 and article 15 of the Constitution of Ukrainian SSR of 1937 in force in 1954, it was established that the territory of Union republics may not be changed without their consent. Description of powers, what has the Federal Republic in terms of determining its boundaries, contains in article 19 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and article 19 of the Constitution of the USSR. In article 19 of the Constitution of the RSFSR (similar to the content of article 19 of the Constitution of the USSR) the conduct of the Federal Republic in the person of its Supreme bodies of power and bodies of public administration subject:

  • a) submission for approval to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of formation of new territories and regions and also of new Autonomous republics and oblasts in the RSFSR;
  • g) approval of boundaries and district division of the Autonomous Soviet socialist republics and the Autonomous regions;
  • d) the setting of boundaries and district division of territories and regions…

Thus, says the expert, in the conduct of the Federal Republic were the issues of changing the borders of the Autonomous republics, Autonomous regions, boundaries and district division of territories and regions within the Union Republic.

As for the authority to change the boundaries between Union republics, they, according to the Constitution of the USSR 1936 (as amended on August 8, 1953), belonged to the jurisdiction of the Union of SSR:

Article 14. The jurisdiction of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics represented by its Supreme bodies of state power and bodies of state administration:

  • d) approval of changes of boundaries between Union republics;

Consequently, the authority to make decisions on changes of borders between Union republics belonged to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, emphasizes the former adviser to Putin.

These bodies and took required according to existing legislation then the decision to transfer the Crimean region from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

This is the Law of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, about the alleged absence of which he said, says the expert.

He recalled that a similar procedure (the adoption of laws by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR or the adoption of decrees by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in the presence of submissions from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviets of the Union republics and in the absence of preliminary decisions of the Supreme Soviets of the Union republics) were used, and other changes of boundaries between Union republics.

Thus, the first statement of Putin about the alleged “illegal transfer of Crimea from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR” is not true, the transfer of the Crimean region from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 was made in strict accordance with the then in force law of the USSR, emphasizes Illarionov.

 

“THE FORGOTTEN SEVASTOPOL A PART OF RUSSIA”

As for the city of Sevastopol, Putin used against him, the term “municipalities” in Soviet administrative practice was not used, said Illarionov. Used a different term – “a city of Republican subordination”.

In the period from 1955 to 1991, the list of cities of Republican (RSFSR) subordination, there were only two such cities – Moscow and Leningrad. Sevastopol city in the list was not. During these years, Sevastopol was in the list of cities of Republican subordination in the Ukraine.

See: Of the RSFSR. Administrative-territorial division of 1 January 1981 (SS. 5 and 510),

and also:

Territorial division of the RSFSR from 1961 to 1991

City of Republican subordination


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