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“Crimea Acts” of 1954: International Legal Principles

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Crimea was transferred to Ukraine by Russia in February 1954 in violation of not only of the constitutions of the USSR, Russia (RSFSR), and Ukraine (Ukrainian SSR) in force at that time, but also of the principles of international law. This thesis is substantiated by a detailed analysis of the legal acts that formalized the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine; by research into the historical context of their adoption; by an assessment of whether these acts conform to international legal standards; and by the testimony of the author of the present article, who consulted on draft Union Treaty in 1990–1991, in drafting laws of the Republic Crimea in 1994–1995, and in presenting the legal position of the Russian Federation on Crimea in the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe in March 2014. The author expands upon the legal position of Russia on Crimea and addresses existing conflicts in legislation of the Russian Federation as the legal continuer of the USSR and the RSFSR; applies the international legal means for protecting the interests and the will of the people of Crimea and to prevent further escalation of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.

About the Author

Vladimir Lafitsky
Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL)
Russian Federation


9 Sadovaia-Kudrunskaia St., 9, Moscow, 125993


1. История Крыма сдревнейших времен до наших дней (в очерках) [History of Crimea from the Ancient Time and Till Our Days (Essays)] (Simferopol: atlas-Comact, 2006).

2. Федоров А.В.Правовой статус Крыма. Правовой статус Севастополя [Fedorova.v. Legal Status of Crimea. Legal Status of Sevastopol] (moscow: mSu Publishing House, 1999).

3. Latsa a. Un printemps russe (Genève: Éditions des Syrtes, 2016).

For citation:

Lafitsky V. “Crimea Acts” of 1954: International Legal Principles. Russian Law Journal. 2020;8(4):4-29.

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ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)