The role of physical infrastructure in the perennial struggle for Crimea
Volume 19, Issue 1 (2021), pp. 27–46
Pub. online: 8 July 2022 Type: Article Open Access
8 July 2022
8 July 2022
Based on an inter-disciplinary theoretical approach about built form as a social construct which mirrors power relations, this article examines the role of what is broadly understood as ‘physical infrastructure’ in Crimean political history, with particular emphasis on the late modern period. The analysis reveals that the infrastructural component proved to be crucial in terms of physically ‘attaching’ the peninsula either to the Russian or Ukrainian parts of the mainland, with the latter naturally seen as a much better option due to the existing terrestrial connection at least as long as all of them remained within a single state. The Soviet disintegration therefore immediately made Crimea’s infrastructure both a contested milieu and a medium of this contestation. As a result, the 2014 annexation and subsequent flashpoints cannot really be explained without referring to such issues as transportation gateways, energy security, and even water supply. While long being quintessentially political, physical infrastructure in Crimea is becoming existential.