Tuzla Island: the conflict between Ukraine and Russia
Tuzla Island is not large: in length about six kilometers, and in width - no more than five hundred meters, such an oblong strip of sand between the Taman peninsula and the Crimea. In itself, this scrap of sushi of special value does not represent, only its place on the geographical map is important. In 2003, this islet became famous all over the world. The Ukrainian parliament was boiling, one deputy proposed to give "a pawn for Tuzla", another introduced the neologism "to be tuzl". There were other phonetic-linguistic playfulnesses, which were not inferior to those quoted above. Russian politicians were not inferior to their Ukrainian counterparts in their efforts to demonstrate courageous brutality and militancy.
The island has normal weather ...
In an area of three and a half squarekilometer, in principle, can fit a small town. It would be if this territory was inhabited by the Japanese, for example, or representatives of some other people who value land above personal comfort. For Ukraine, the country is rather big, this appendage to the peninsula, received after the collapse of the USSR, was rather symbolic. It's almost impossible to live here: when it's stormy, half the area is hidden under water. In addition, the sea takes its toll: in the preceding dispute, five years, one square kilometer of the earth is washed by the waves. Strengthening work went slowly, they were limited to the installation of reinforced concrete slabs. During periods of seasonal storms, the territory was in fact separated from the "big land", but this did not prevent the residents who lived in the island of Tuzla, who were ready for privation. The recreation center "Two seas" of the Kerch port and another, the factory, "Albatross", a fishing settlement and a border outpost peacefully got along on a small piece of land. There was even a store, which worked, however, only in the warm months.
The beginning of the dispute
Nothing at first sight did not foreshow anyfriction between two fraternal states. This is not such an important part of the territory ... Russia has reconciled itself to the loss of the Crimea, not to mention such an insignificant and sparsely populated object as the island of Tuzla. The conflict arose in the autumn months of 2003, after the Ukrainian border guards saw in binoculars and later with the naked eye that a certain hydraulic engineering structure was approaching from them on the adjacent side, and quite quickly, by a hundred and fifty meters a day. How to react to what is happening, the military did not know, and reported their observations to their superiors. That, in turn, informed Kiev. Through diplomatic channels, the Ukrainian government demanded explanations from the Russian side and received them. The erected structure is called a dam, it is built to improve the ecological situation in the water area of the Azov Sea. However, this explanation was not satisfied by the Ukrainian leadership, it saw in the actions of Russian hydro-builders an expansive drive on the island of Tuzla. And for such an assumption there were grounds.
Painful attitude to the issues of territorialintegrity was characteristic of all administrations, beginning with Kravchuk, who occupied offices on Bankova Street in Kiev. The controversy over the eligibility of joining the Crimean Autonomous Oblast to the Ukrainian SSR was indeed a "trump card" for politicians in Russia, especially during the pre-election period, and the counterfacts of their Ukrainian counterparts standing on the ultra patriotic platform played the same role. Objectively, the Taman shore and the island of Tuzla until 1925 were one whole, until the sea depths swallowed up a part of the narrow isthmus. Legally, the arguments in favor of Ukraine's belonging to this territory are not perfect, but since 1991 it has been customary that any ambiguities were interpreted in favor of "younger brothers". In the Yeltsin period, even the city of Union subordination Sevastopol, which was not formally included in the Crimean Autonomous Region, was transferred to Ukraine, although its Russia could be defended in international arbitration courts.
The economic background of the conflict
The dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the island of Tuzla had quite utilitarian reasons - at least two.
First, the country to which it belongs,actually and legally controls navigation through the Kerch Strait, which means the receipt of a half million US dollars annually in the budget.
Secondly, Tuzla Island, on all internationallegal norms, sets the boundary line of territorial waters. With the existing status, most of the fish resources of the Sea of Azov fell into the zone of Ukraine's economic interests.
Thus, the island of Tuzla from the almost useless in the Soviet years a scrap of sandy shallows has become a strategically important object of international law.
Underwater relief of the seabed area,adjacent to Tuzla and encompassing the Kerch Strait, in a sense, provoked the conflict. The fact is that the most deep-water and fish-rich areas have moved to Ukraine, while the Russian Federation has got shallow water. Actually, Russians could easily solve this issue in a different way, simply by deepening their bottom section. The boundary of territorial waters would not be violated at the same time, but another problem would arise concerning the very existence of these very fish riches. Fishing is most effective in the western, deep-water part of the strait. But fish spawns in the Russian shallows. If the conditions for this do not become, then, as they say in Odessa, "there is nothing to catch" (only in the most direct sense). And the fish factories were located mainly in the Crimea, then the Ukrainian one. It should be noted that the Russian side has not gone on such a disastrous step for the environment.
The development of conflict and mutual quarrel
On how to really lead anyfighting, and, naturally, there could be no speech. To attack an attack by mobile mechanized columns of Russian hydropower engineers would have meant to commit an explicit act of aggression, the construction of a dam was in neighboring territorial waters. In this case, Russia's response measures, most likely, would be very tough. Another thing - rhetoric. From TV screens, newspaper pages and other Ukrainian media, calls were made to stand "as one" and defend the island of Tuzla. The conflict fell by the way and bored Russian politicians scandalously radical, urging "to teach a lesson" and "punish."
The Importance of Tuzla Today
Russia went on concessions in 2003 and recognizedrights of Ukraine to the island of Tuzla. The hydroelectric station was completed a hundred meters from the boundary of the territorial waters. According to experts, the dam today successfully fulfills its ecological function, that is, it prevents the erosion of the Russian coast and the further shallowing of the adjacent water area. About her today, against the backdrop of the recent Crimean and East Ukrainian events, do not even remember. As they say, in comparison with the lost head the spoiled hairdress does not play a role. But the task of reorientation of the peninsula, which was detached from Ukraine and annexed to Russia, to the mainland communication became urgent. The narrowest point of the sea water barrier is the Kerch Strait, in the center of which is the island of Tuzla. The bridge that connects the two banks is likely to pass here.
Perspectives of the island
Most of all, there will be two bridges, at least,this project is considered the most optimal, given the perspective loading of the overpass. In addition to the road service, it is also proposed to organize a railway. The approximate time of construction is four years. The route passes through the spit and the dam in two sections (1400 and 6100 meters). The railway track must be electrified. Thus, the island of Tuzla again acquires strategic importance. The bridge will connect the Krasnodar Territory with the Crimean region and provide independent from the political situation the possibilities of communication of the mainland with the peninsula.
Meanwhile, the design of the future grandiosebuildings, here come mainly tourists. It is very beautiful, relatively deserted, clean water, to bathe, however, in some places it is dangerous because of strong currents. The question of how to get to the island of Tuzla, is solved simply: from Kerch here goes a small ship.