One year ago today, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decree that officially acknowledged Crimea’s independence and claimed the peninsula as Russian territory. To commemorate the conquest of Crimea, the State Museum of Contemporary Russian History chose to display the pen Russian President Vladimir Putin used to sign the annexation bill.
“There were a total of four pens quantitatively to the signatories,” announced museum director Irina Velikanova. “We have the pen which Putin used to sign the treaty.”
The museum’s exhibition is called “Crimea: The History Of Return,” and includes 450 pieces with three sections. It will exist until April 12. It starts with “the Russian Empire, the main events in the peninsula in the 20th century, and its search for national and political identity in the early 1990s.” Communist Party General Secretary Nikita Krushchev gifted Ukraine the peninsula in 1954. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Crimea became the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
“There are also the materials devoted to the events of spring 2014 — leaflets, posters and the uniform of Crimea’s Berkut (special police force) fighters which we received from our colleagues in Crimea,” she said.
After Ukraine’s parliament ousted Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych on February 22, Crimea declared independence from Ukraine. Officials pushed out the Kiev-appointed mayor, dissolved parliament, and appointed Russian officials.
The Kremlin insisted it was only locals who participated in the takeover. In the documentary Homeward Bound, however, Putin explained the exact plan he concocted to capture Crimea. Moscow admits the government was behind the seizure. The planning occurred days before the ouster of Yanukovych.
“We ended at about seven in the morning,” explained Putin. “When we were parting, I said to my colleagues: we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia.”
The West continues to apply pressure on Russia to return Crimea to its rightful owner. Russia insists Crimea will never return to Ukraine, which means the West will continue sanctions.
“There is no occupation of Crimea,” declared Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Crimea is a region of the Russian Federation and, of course, the subject of our regions is not up for discussion.”
The Defense Ministry recently delivered “nuclear-capable long-range bombers” to Crimea “as part of war games.” Over 45,000 troops participated in the war games that “appear to be a show of force and defiance” on the anniversary.