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Putin’s Crimea-as-Jerusalem Myth Baffles Russian Historians

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President Vladimir Putin’s elevation of Crimea to the status of Russia’s Holy Land has prompted puzzlement and scorn from historians and commentators.

Crimea for Russians is “like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem” for Muslims and Jews, Putin said, and would be regarded this way “from now on and forever.” Vladimir the Great was baptized in Chersonesus, Crimea, an event in 988 that’s considered to be the beginning of the Christianization of Kievan Rus, a precursor state to Russia and Ukraine, Putin explained in his annual address yesterday to parliament and top officials in Moscow.