Moscow, December 5, 2014
The Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed the Federal Assembly with his annual message. The address was by tradition delivered at the Kremlin's St. George Hall before an audience of over 1,000 people, reports the official website of the Russian Federation’s president.
In his speech the Russian president particularly dwelt on the spiritual significance of the Crimea— “the ancient Chersonese, or Korsun, as it was called by Russian chroniclers”—for Russia.
"A historic reunification of the Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia has taken place. For our country, for our nation this event has a special significance,” Vladimir Putin said. “Our people live in the Crimea, and the territory itself is strategically important because here are the spiritual origins of the formation of the multifaceted but monolithic Russian nation and the centralized Russian state.
“For, it was here, in the Crimea, in the ancient Chersonese, or Korsun, as it was called by Russian chroniclers, that Prince Vladimir received Holy Baptism and then christened the whole of Rus’.
“Alongside with the ethnic closeness, common language and elements of the material culture, the common territory (though yet with no clear boundaries), the emerging joint economic activities and power of the prince, Christianity was a powerful spiritual uniting force that enabled participation in the formation of the united Russian nation and the common statehood of the different tribes and tribal unions of the whole, vast Eastern Slavic world. It was this spiritual force that inspired our ancestors to realize once and forever that they were one nation. And so it gives us every reason to state that for Russia the Crimea, ancient Korsun, the Chersonese, Sevastopol have an enormous civilizational and sacral meaning—in the same way as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is meaningful for those who confess Islam or Judaism”.