In the late mediaeval and early modern period scattered communities of the Karaites (i.e. non-Talmudic Jews) settled in several regions of Eastern Europe such as the Crimea, Poland and Lithuania. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Karaites printed their books (mostly exegetical and theological works in Hebrew) in several Karaite and Rabbanite typographies. Nevertheless, after 1917 the centre of Karaite printing shifted from the Russian Empire to interwar Poland and Lithuania. Surprisingly, a tiny Karaite community of interwar Poland and Lithuania (ca. 800 individuals) had been publishing as many as five periodicals in three languages! Furthermore, the Karaites also printed quite a number of separate brochures and leaflets, and published articles in non-Karaite periodicals. From the 1930s the Karaite community started losing its Judeo-Karaite identity and accepted a new Turkic ethnic self-identification which was based mostly on the use of the Turkic Karaim language and a few pseudo-scholarly theories testifying to the non-Semitic origins of the Karaites. The renaissance of Karaite printing was stopped in 1939, with the Soviet intervention in Poland and the beginning of the Second World War. The paper analyses the main tendencies in the development of the Karaite printing in Poland and Lithuania in the interwar period. A special emphasis is placed upon the role of printing in the unusual transformation of the East European Karaites’ ethnic identity — from pious non-Talmudic Jewish believers to an isolated ethnic enclave with a bogus Khazaro-Turkic identity.
The article analyses the main tendencies in the transformation of the urban structure of Crimea at the later stage of the existence of the Crimean Khanate and the early years of Russian domination. After the Russian annexation of 1783, the urban structure of Crimea underwent some sort of hasty modernisation. This process, which strongly affected its most important centres (Sevastopol', Simferopol', Feodosija, Evpatorija) was less evident in smaller towns and settlements (Bahçesaray, Karasubazar). Some old mediaeval settlements were either entirely abandoned (Mangup, Çufut Kale, Orqapısı), or remained in the state of decline (Eski Kırım/Staryj Krym). The settlements along Crimea's coastline started to develop rapidly. Those situated on the southern coast (Yalta, Gurzuf, Alushta, Alupka, Nikita) started growing mostly because of their touristic importance, whereas those situated on the western shore (Sevastopol', Balaklava, Inkerman), due to their military significance.
The article examines the history of the trade in Polish slaves and captives in the Tatar and Ottoman Crimea in the seventeenth century on the basis of hitherto unknown archival evidence and rare printed sources. After the capture an average Polish slave of simple origin was transported to the Crimea, where he had been sold on the local slave markets. Unless he had some special qualifications, a slave usually had to fulfil agricultural duties and do heavy manual work. The slaves usually had some limited free time and could attend Catholic services in the churches of the Crimea's large urban centres. Rich Polish captives were treated in accordance with their high social status and were ransomed for a considerable redemption fee. Important role in ransoming such rich captives was played by Jewish, Tatar and Armenian merchants.
The article analyses the development of Crimean studies from the end of the 18th century until today. It is only after the Russian annexation of the Crimea that the scholars started seriously studying the Crimean peninsula, its history, ethnography, geography, and other disciplines. At the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries the historico-ethnographic information was collected largely by state officials and travelling scientists of non-Russian origin. In the first half of the 19th century the Crimea was already studied by professional ethnographers and historians; it is in this period that the museums of antiquities were established in Kerch and Theodosia. A major wave of interest in the Crimea in Russia and in Europe took place as a consequence of the Crimean war in the 1850s. In the second half of the 19th century the Crimea continued to be studied by professional scholars; a special organisation TUAK was established to control the state of the Crimean antiquities. The study of the Crimea by Soviet scholars folded in the 1930s with the Stalinist purges of “bourgeois nationalists” in science. The period of the 1930s–1980s was characterised by stagnation in Crimean studies. The renaissance of the study of the Crimea began at the end of the 1980s; it coincides with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the establishment of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea in 1991.