Island Tuzla in the Kerch Strait of the Azov Sea. Kerch Bridge
The small island of Tuzla is located in the Azov Sea, between the two peninsulas - Kerch (Crimea) and Taman (Krasnodar Territory). Received prominence in 2003. This was facilitated by disagreements between the Russian Federation and Ukraine regarding the right to own Tuzla Island. It is currently of strategic importance. Through it will pass the Kerch bridge, which will connect the territory of Russia and the Crimea.
The island is small, has from 5 to 6.5 km long and 0.5 km wide. It is covered with sand and has the shape of an arc. During the period of large storms, part of the island is submerged. As scientists have established, in ancient times, the sea level was 2-4 meters lower, and the island of Tuzla as such did not exist, since its territory was part of the Taman Peninsula.
Studying ancient maps, one can see that not at all times the island of Tuzla was integral, sometimes it fell into several islands.Until 1925, it was connected to the mainland, but the storm of 1926 set it off from the Taman Peninsula by 300 meters. After a certain time, another strong storm removed the island another kilometer.
On the one hand, the sandy island, which has practically no vegetation, is unsuitable for life, and nevertheless there is a small fishing village, two recreation centers. There is a shop, two piers, two roads that run along the coast and consist of concrete blocks that strengthen the coast from erosion. There is electricity here. Since the fall of 2015, Tuzla Island received a message to the mainland through the bridge, which will become part of the Kerch Bridge. At present, the second part of it is being built “Kerch Peninsula - Tuzla Island”. Crimea and Russia will have a reliable message.
At the time of antiquity, when the island was part of the mainland, the Kuban River delta was located on the Taman Peninsula. The river itself flowed into the Azov and Black Sea. Its channels separated the island from the rest of the land. Over time, they were filled with sand and silt sediments, which led to their disappearance. The river began to carry water only in Azov.
In the south of modern Tuzla, there was a large station of ships. Proof of this are the old anchors, which are found here in large quantities. Here, under the water, are the remains of two ancient settlements. Traces of an old ferry connecting the capes of Tuzla and Ak-Burun, which was used to overcome the narrowest part of the Cimmerian Bosporus, were found in ancient times, as the Kerch Strait was called in ancient times.
Background of the dispute
The island of Tuzla was originally located in Russia. In 1941, it was incorporated into the Crimea, which in 1954 became part of the Ukrainian SSR. At that time, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, so there were no questions about the island of Tuzla. It was a practically uninhabited and uninteresting sandy island.
It is in close proximity to Russia and is a continuation of the Taman Peninsula (Krasnodar Territory). The island located between the Taman and Kerch Peninsulas lies so that part of the strait from the Crimea is navigable. From the Kuban, only fishing boats can sail.
The dispute about the island of Tuzla
In this regard, the governor of the Krasnodar Territory A.Tkachev makes the only right decision that would improve the passage through the Kerch Strait from the side of Taman. The construction of the dam begins, which would give an opportunity to raise the water level in this part of the strait. In addition, this was due to the need to strengthen the shore of the Taman Peninsula, which is annually eroded by the sea.
Ukraine did not like this position, since a considerable duty was charged for the passage through the navigable part of the strait of ships and vessels with cargo. In 2003, the construction of the dam was suspended for 102 meters from the conditional border with Ukraine, which was declared by it unilaterally, without coordination with Russia. The controversy of the territory of Tuzla Island back in 1997 was questioned by political and public figures, since its territory is a continuation of the Kerch Peninsula.
After the talks between Presidents Putin and Kuchma, a cooperation agreement was signed. Consultations on this issue continued. In 2005, information appeared in the Ukrainian press that Russia voluntarily renounced its claim to the island. But the Russian Foreign Ministry was quick to declare that the status of the island remains uncertain.
The island after the voluntary entry of Crimea into Russia
After the entry of the Crimea peninsula into Russia, the issue with the island of Tuzla ceased to be relevant. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a statement about this, stating that the Strait of Kerch and the island of Tuzla could not be negotiated. Russia unilaterally declared that the island we are considering is the territory of Russia.
In connection with what is happening in Ukraine, Russia makes a decision to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait. The island was assigned a special role. The first part of the bridge was built and connected a dam on the territory of the Taman Peninsula and the island of Tuzla. Construction of the bridge continues. He will connect the island with the Crimea. The length of the built part of the bridge was just over one and a half kilometers.
Island and cultural ties of the two countries
A small, almost devoid of vegetation island attracts creative people. Since 1987, summer camps of science fiction lovers have been located here, which were called “Mosquito Pleish”. They gathered like-minded people for 8 seasons.
From 1993 to 1995, three Bosporus forums were held on the island, attended by artists, poets and writers of the two countries.Poetic readings, other literary and artistic actions were held.
In August 2008, an international literary and artistic festival was held, in which representatives of the Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar peoples took part.
Ecology Tuzla Spit
The island is practically devoid of vegetation. On its territory there are natural lakes on which birds nest. There is a problem of the island of Tuzla. It consists in the fact that the territory is annually reduced, as the coast is eroded by current and storms. During the observation process, it was found that more than 5 kilometers of the southern part of the island went under water. On both sides along the coast stretched concrete dams, the purpose of which is to protect it.
Scientists are also worried about the Kerch Bridge: with the introduction of it into operation on the island, a large load will fall, and this, of course, will affect the ecology. Cars and railways will pass through it. Tuzla has the form of an elongated spit 0.5 km wide. Motorways and railways connecting bridges will run along its length. The total distance between the Kerch and Taman Peninsulas is 20 km, of which 6 km will pass on the island.And as a nature reserve, it will cease to exist.