How Crimea Turned Russian

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On 8 April, 1783, Russian Empress Catherine II signed the decree “On Accession of the Crimean Peninsula, the Taman Island and the Kuban Region to the Russian Empire.” Everyone was due to maintain the document in secrecy until the integration became a fait accompli. The transition was smooth and peaceful, but this triumph was preceded by years of political friction and strife in which Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin, the Empress’s right-hand man in all her endeavors, had played the first fiddle.