In a remote and desolated region of the Crimean peninsula, a language had survived conquests and an occupation throughout much of the region’s troubled past. That language has been identified as “Crimean Gothic”. The language faded into obscurity in the late 18th century but provides evidence as to the original inhabitants of the region. Linguistics (those who study language) formed their conclusions form objective evidence that survived the inhabitants themselves. In a letter written by a man named Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, in 1562, at least 80 words (contained in his letter) provided direct and clear evidence. The Crimea has a history that reaches back, far beyond the revisionist history of Russian Vladimir Putin. I say sorry to the apparatchiks busily scribbling propaganda at Pravda. It turns out that the Russian language in the region is fairly current and is solely the result of heavy immigration into the Crimea by ethnic Russians following World War II. In Ghiselin’s hand written letter, common words were studied and compared to other languages to establish connectivity. The experts then concluded that the native language of the region (dating back before the 16th century) would be known as Crimean Gothic because of its distinct relationship to another known “Gothic” language: modern German. A quick comparison of several of the 80 words provides ample evidence. The Crimean Gothic word for “hand” in Crimean Gothic (CG) is “handa” while the German word is “hand – like in English. The CG word for “sister” is “schuuester’ while the modern German word is “Schweste”. Similarly, “house” is “hus” in CG and “haus” in German Those words are not even remotely similar to the Russian or any other Slavic language used today. But, before you jump to the same conclusion that Hitler used in his annexations; the Goths are mainly eastern region Germanic people and are quite different from the historic Huns who form the basis on modern day Germany. They flourished during the time of the Roman empires and were, at that time a dreaded enemy of the Romans. Herwig Wolfram, a noted Austrian historian and Professor emeritus at Vienna University, provided extensive and well researched history of the Goths in Crimea and establishes the presence of permanent, long term Goth settlements in the Crimea as early as 371 AD . The Crimea was invaded first by the Huns in 378AD at which time its first monarch, Emperor Valens was killed. It is established fact that prior to that invasion, Emperor Valens and his Crimean Gothic army had defeated the Romans at Adrianople There are extensive details pertaining to the battle of Adrianpole. Many maintain that the decisive defeat of entire sections of the Eastern Roman legions on the battlefield on that day (August 9, 378) marked the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. This obscure peninsula has seen its share of invaders over the millenniums. Historic research establishes that following the Goths, the region has been invaded at various times by he Scythians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Huns, the Khazars, the Comans / Polovtsi / Kipchaks, the Varangians / Rus / Russians, the Genoese, the Mongols, the Tatars, Tamerlane, the Cossacks, and Russia. Historic Gothia also had significant dealings with the Bosporan Greeks, the Greeks of Trebizond, the Petchenegs, the Alans, the Avars, the Bulgars, the Hungarians, the Crusaders (from “Romania”), the Wallachians, the Zikhians, and the Lithuanians. Situated, as it is on the north end of the Black Sea, Crimea provides a warm water sea port enabling year round access for commercial and military shipping. Russian (and subsequent USSR) interest in naval access is fairly current compared to the rich history of the Goths in the region. It is known that Russian Emperor, Catherine the Great annexed the Crimea in 1783, and subsequently established a Russian naval base at Sevastopol. It is known that Russia had negotiated the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi with the Ottoman Empire in 1833 with intent of sailing warships to open ocean waters by way of the Dardanelles. That attempt was quashed by combined efforts of European nations and resulted in the London Straits Convention of 1841 which prohibited use of the port and routes through the Dardanelles by Russian warships. By 1944, Russia was the recipient of enormous amounts of foreign aid by way of the Marshall Plan and acquiesced (briefly) to the Convention (London Straights Convention). Subsequently, once memory of the charity afforded by way of the Marshall Plan had faded, the Russians resumed use of the ports in the Ukraine as home base for its Black Sea fleet. The advent of “glasnost” in the late 1980’s led to the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. The various states that had formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) became free and independent nations. Among those newly freed states was the Ukrainian Republic and, therein was a problem for Russia. Its warm water sea port and home base for its Black Sea Fleet was now in the hands of a foreign state (Ukraine). With renewed foreign largess pouring into Russia and the various former bloc members of the former USSR, Russia might have attempted forced annexation of the Ukraine at that time by use of military might. To do so, would have risked the loss of foreign aid needed to prop up the failed economy inside of Russia. An alternate plan quickly evolved as tens of thousands of Russian expatriates moved to the Ukraine. Immigration into the Ukraine (mysteriously) centered in the eastern region of the Ukraine and mainly adjacent to the sea ports used by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Quickly and quietly, Russian expatriates represented a clear majority in the eastern half of Ukraine. Throughout the period from the mid 1980’s until present time, many claim that outside (external) influence from Moscow were at work to destabilize Ukraine’s attempts to form government. By 2013, the Ukraine authorities had fully comprehended what was taking place internally and enacted law to prohibit use of Russian language in the media. Presumably an attempt to stifle easy flow of propaganda, this piece of legislation became the “flash point” for the Russians now residing in the Ukraine. Open demonstrations, and then full scale riots ensued leading to a decision by Russian leader Vladimir Putin to annex the Crimea as part of Russia. His argument was that (a) the region was a traditional part of Russia and (b) his intervention was for the protection of the inhabitants of the Crimea (who happened, by now to be Russian expatriates). I form no final conclusions on this sordid strategy by Putin only to say that perhaps one could not expect much more from the man himself. Putin, after all was the head of the Soviet Secret police (KGB) at the time when the former Soviet Union disintegrated.
The world is in a dangerous position at this moment
[i] Vasiliev, A. A., The Goths in the Crimea, Mediaeval Academy, 1936.
[ii] Ammianus Marcellinus, The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus During the Reigns of The Emperors Constantius, Julian, Jovianus, Valentinian, and Valens, trans. C. D. Yonge (London: G. Bell & Sons, 1911), pp. 609-618.
[iii] Ukraine, Russia, and the Black Sea Fleet Accords Tyler Felgenhauer WWS Case Study 2/99