You’ve surely seen the coverage in the news about Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. While most of the World is refraining from making changes to official maps, including those from Maps.com, the Russians see this as a done deal. We will be taking a more pragmatic approach and wait until the dust settles, but that could take some time with the West objecting to the annexation of a portion of a sovereign nation. Depending on how this plays out, it is entirely likely that our maps will be shown with an “occupied by” notation for the Crimea. While we wait to see how this plays out, the Russians are moving ahead full steam, as you will see below…
Russia on Monday redrew its official maps to include Crimea after annexing the peninsula, even though the move has not been internationally recognized. Maps on the Kremlin and government websites include Crimea, describing it as the “youngest region of Russia.” Russia’s absorption of Crimea has drawn international condemnation and sparked the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
Russian troops have seized Ukrainian military bases on the mostly Russian-speaking region of two million people since a March 16 independence referendum. Several of Russia’s most popular websites including the main search engine, Yandex.ru, have also changed their maps. But on a parallel site for Ukrainian users, Yandex.ua, it continued to show Crimea as part of Ukraine.
Yandex, which is based in Moscow, wrote on its official blog last week that “maps will be different for different countries. That is Crimea will be shown according to the official position of each country.” Yandex said it would also change the way it presented news, with stories about Crimea being classed as domestic news for readers based in Russia. The Russian language version of Google shows Crimea with a dashed border line, used for “disputed” boundaries.
Russia’s biggest Internet company, Mail.ru, was one of the first sites to change Crimea to part of Russia on March 21, the day that President Vladimir Putin signed the agreement absorbing the peninsula. Russia’s television channels have for several days included Crimean towns in their national weather broadcasts.
One Russian bank used the change as an advertising opportunity, covering the side of a building in central Moscow with a map of Crimea and the slogan “Russia and Crimea together forever.”
Source Agence France Presse, reprinted from the International Map Industry Association