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Sevastopol

Sevastopol (sĬvăs´təpōl´), formerly spelled Sebastopol, city (1989 pop. 355,000), on the Crimean peninsula and the Bay of Sevastopol, an inlet of the Black Sea. From 1954 part of Ukraine (then the Ukrainian SSR), it passed to Russian control in 2014 after the occupation and annexation of Crimea. A city with special status under Ukrainian rule, it was made a federal city by Russia and is administratively not part of Crimea.

Economy

The city is a port, a major naval base, and a strategic strong point. Commercial vessels no longer use the deep natural harbor. Instead, the harbor is given over to the navy that patrols the Black Sea and the Bosporus. The city's industries include shipbuilding, lumber milling, food processing, and the production of bricks and furniture.

History

Sevastopol stands near the site of the ancient Greek colony of Chersonesus or Cherson, founded in 421 BC A democratic city-state, Chersonesus was the most important Greek colony in the Crimea until Scythian invasions forced it to become (179 BC–63 BC) a protectorate of King Mithradates VI. In the 1st cent. AD the cities of the Crimea became part of the Roman Empire, and in the 4th cent. Chersonesus became the city of Korsun in the Byzantine Empire. In the Middle Ages it remained a large trading and political center and played an important role in the economic and cultural life of the Crimea, the Black Sea area, and Russia.

The city survived as a Genoese trade colony until it was destroyed (1399) by a Tatar invasion. Sevastopol was founded as a city and port by Catherine II on the site of the Tatar village of Akhtiar after the Russian annexation (1783) of the Crimea. It was strongly fortified and became (1804) the chief base of the Russian Black Sea fleet. In the Crimean War Sevastopol resisted the besieging British, French, Turks, and Sardinians for 349 days (1854–55). The hero of the land defense was Gen. E. I. Totleben; the Russian fleet was sunk by the Russians themselves to block the entrance to the harbor.

In Sept., 1855, the French successfully stormed the fortress of Malakhov, on the south shore of the bay, and three days later the Russians were forced to abandon Sevastopol. A record of the spirit and sufferings of the city's defenders has been preserved in The Tales of Sevastopol by Tolstoy, who fought in the ranks of the besieged. Sevastopol declined as a military fortress after the Crimean Peace Conference (1856), and its fortifications were razed. After 1871, however, they were rebuilt, and in 1890 the city again became a chief naval base. The Sevastopol sailors mutinied during the 1905 revolution. In the Russian civil war Sevastopol was the headquarters of Gen. P. N. Wrangel during the last stand of the Whites (1920).

The heroic resistance of Sevastopol in 1854–55 was, if possible, eclipsed by the stand the city made against the Germans in World War II. During a siege lasting more than eight months, the city was virtually destroyed. For three weeks the defenders fought on in the rubble, against all hope, until July 3, 1942, when German and Romanian troops at last took the city. After its recapture (May, 1944) by the Russians reconstruction began. As a reward for its valiant resistance, Sevastopol was named a "hero city" of the Soviet Union. The city was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 (as was all Crimea) and became part of the independent Ukraine in 1991. The former Soviet Black Sea fleet, of which the city was the home, remained largely under Russian control under a 1995 agreement, and subsequent agreements (1997, 2010) allowed Russia to use Sevastopol naval base until 2042.

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Sevastopol

SEVASTOPOL

City and naval base on the southwestern tip of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.

With its excellent harbors and anchorages, Sevastopol has an advantageous location from which to conduct operations in the Black Sea. The city stands on the southern shore of Sevastopol Bay and has a population of 390,00075 percent Russian and 20 percent Ukrainian. The site of ancient settlements, modern Sevastopol was founded by Prince Grigory Potemkin in 1783 after the conquest of the Crimean Khanate. Admiral F.F. Mekenzy, commander of the newly created Black Sea Fleet, placed a naval station there, and in 1784 the settlement was named Sevastopol.

In 1804 Alexander I's government declared Sevastopol the primary naval base of the Black Sea Fleet. The naval base and the city grew significantly during the second quarter of the nineteenth century when Admiral Mikhail Lazarev served as fleet commander. By 1844 the city had a population of more than forty thousand, making it the largest city in Crimea. Sevastopol became the major base for fitting out and repairing warships. Its defenses grew in extent and quality.

In 1853 Admiral Pavel Nakhimov's squadron sailed from there to Sinope, where it annihilated a Turkish squadron. During the Crimean War, Anglo-French forces besieged Sevastopol. The defense was immortalized by Leo Tolstoy, one of the defenders, in his Sevastopol Tales. Sevastopol fell to the Anglo-French forces in September 1855.

Following the Crimean War, Sevastopol suffered decline, because the peace treaty denied Russia the right to maintain a fleet in the Black Sea. With the remilitarization of the Black Sea after 1870 Sevastopol regained its importance as a naval base for a modern ironclad fleet.

Sevastopol was associated with rebellion, mutiny, and civil war. In 1830 government restrictions to combat a cholera epidemic set off a revolt among sailors and civilians. In June 1905 the battleship Potemkin sailed from Sevastopol on its way to mutiny over bad meat. During the Russian civil war Sevastopol was the headquarters of Baron Peter Wrangel's White Army. The Red Army under Mikhail Frunze stormed Crimea in October 1920, and Wrangel evacuated his army to Istanbul.

During World War II Sevastopol was the site of an eight-month siege by German and Rumanian forces under Field Marshal Erich von Manstein and fell in July 1942. On May 9, 1944, the Soviet Fourth Ukrainian Front under the command of Marshal Fyodor Tolbukhin liberated the city.

Following the end of the existence of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia and Ukraine entered into negotiations over Sevastopol. During the early twenty-first century the city is a special region within Ukraine, not under the government of Crimea, and the Russian and Ukrainian navies share the naval base.

See also: black sea fleet; crimea; crimean war; ukraine and ukrainians; white army

bibliography

Curtiss, John Shelton. (1979). Russia's Crimean War. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Tolstoy, Leo. (1961). Sebastopol. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Jacob W. Kipp

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Sevastopol

Sevastopol (Sebastopol) Black Sea port on the sw of the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine. Founded in 1783 by Catherine II, it was fortified in 1804. Sevastopol became home to the Russian Black Sea fleet and was the major strategic objective of the Crimean War, besieged from October 1854 to September 1855. The Russians sank their own fleet to block the harbour entrance, and inflicted heavy Allied casualties before evacuating the city. The fortifications were destroyed, only to be raised again after 1871. By 1890, the city was again a functioning naval base. During World War 2 the German army besieged Sevastopol for eight months before it capitulated in July 1942. It was recaptured in 1944, and again reconstructed. In 1995 Ukraine agreed to allow the Russian fleet to maintain its Sevastopol base in return for Ukrainian ownership of 19% of the fleet. Pop. (1996) 365,000.

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Sevastopol

SEVASTOPOL

SEVASTOPOL , city in Crimea, Ukraine. Jews lived there in the Greek period when the city was called Khersones. Shortly after its foundation in 1784, Jews began to settle in Sevastopol, many of them from Galicia. They engaged in commerce and crafts and some acted as purveyors to the local garrison. The community was severely struck by a plague which broke out in the town in 1825. The development of the community was brought to a sudden halt as a result of the government's decision in 1829 to prohibit residence in the town, which had become the chief Russian naval base on the Black Sea, to all Jews, as constituting a danger to security, with the exception of those who served in the army. Jews already living there were ordered to leave the town within two years, and even temporary residence or visits were restricted. The order did not apply to the *Karaites. The local authorities unsuccessfully attempted to have the order rescinded, pointing out the harm which would be caused to the Jews themselves and to the town generally. The expulsion was halted for three years, after which Sevastopol was closed to Jews. In 1842, even a temporary stay by Jews in Sevastopol was limited to one month. During the Crimean War (1854–56) many Jews took part in the defense of Sevastopol and about 500 fell in battle. A monument was erected to their memory in the city in 1864. From 1859 various categories of Jews (merchants registered in the guilds, with their servants and clerks, and artisans) were authorized to live in Sevastopol; there was also some alleviation in the attitude toward visits and temporary residence of Jews in the town. Thus the Jewish settlement was renewed during the second half of the 19th century, and in 1880 numbered 400. In 1874 a "house of prayer for soldiers" was opened in Sevastopol, and in 1884 the construction of a synagogue was completed. Jews began to play an important role in the foreign trade which passed through the port, especially grain commerce. By 1897 3,910 Jews lived in Sevastopol (7.4% of the total population), including about 70 families of "Krimchaks" (Jews from Crimea itself). About 830 Karaites were also living in the city. In 1907 the authorities again began to expel Jews from various parts of Sevastopol, and by 1910 their numbers had decreased to 3,655. With the revolution of 1917 and abolition of all the anti-Jewish restrictions, many more Jews settled in Sevastopol. By 1926 their numbers reached 5,204 (7%). In 1939 they numbered 5,988 (5.5% of the total population).

Holocaust and Contemporary Periods

Sevastopol was occupied by the Germans on July 12, 1941. They soon collected 4,200 Jews who remained in the city and from its environs, and they murdered them in ditches outside the town and in gas vans. A small synagogue and Jewish cemetery were maintained in the late 1960s.

bibliography:

M.I. Mysh, Rukovodstvo k russkomu zakonodatelstvu o yevreyakh (1890); D. Polonski, Istoricheskiy ocherk sevastopolskoy yevreyskoy obshchiny (1909).

[Yehuda Slutsky]

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