Great Nuclear War
Kiev and other major cities in the Ukraine were targeted during Doomsday, though the southern coastal regions largely escaped intact with only a few cities being hit. Yalta, one of the most important resorts in Crimea, was spared because it represented no significant strategic threat to America or its allies, despite fears it may have been hit in an attempt to kill any Soviet leaders that could have been vacationing at the resort at the time.
However, Crimea did not escape unscathed - several strikes occurred in the vicinity of Sevastopol, and the regional capital of Simferopol was hit as well.
Fallout from strikes across the Black Sea - and the strikes in the Western Crimea - had great impact on the Western Crimea, even if most of it bypassed the peninsula to the south and north. Even today, much of southwestern Crimea around Sevastopol is thought to still be uninhabitable, with Central Crimea not any better. Explorers have gone and investigated the area, however.
On the eastern coast, mass hysteria gripped much of the population, due to the observation of the strikes, and the belief that the Soviet government had collapsed. Luckily, some higher-ranking members of the Party had been on vacation at a resort in Yalta and took control of the town and nearby areas. The support of local authorities made integration with other survivors simple.
By the end of 1968, this government had managed to unite much of the southeastern parts of the peninsula, running along the coast from the town of Foros in the southwest, to the town of Kirovs'ke in the northwest, including the Kerch peninsula. The government decided to secure the southern half of the Odessa Oblast, to ensure the safety of the waters there, which was accomplished by the end of 1977.
In 1980 a squad of the Sicilian Navy have enter in contact with the city of Yalta and with the Crimea. Now the two nations have regular rapports.
As the decade came to an end, it began to be suspected in Yalta that the Isthmus of Perekop, and territory between there and Kirovs'ke, had remained fairly radiation free. It was true that the the Isthmus had indeed survived, but been overwhelmed by refugees in the months Post-War. Nevertheless, they took control of it by 1981, and exploration vessels were finally sent throughout the rest of the Sea of Azov.
In 1990, contact was made with Dnipropetrovsk, which became an associated state of the growing republic.
Crimea's economy is still recovering from The Great Nuclear War, like much of the world. Still, they have been on the up-and-up since 1985, and the port growing around Yalta is probably the largest usable port on the Black Sea. In fact, they are home to a large merchant community, and the commodities market does very brisk business.
Some areas of the country still suffer from shortages, even today. Within the last decade some of these areas almost starved and it was only until a small revolt, put down fairly easily, took place in those areas did the government send supply convoys to resupply the areas.
Post-War, the few surviving ships of the Black Sea Fleet, along with several merchant vessels, fleeing the destruction of Sevastopol, anchored at Yalta. Today, these vessels - and what few vessels were found in other locations, and managed to arrive afterwards - form the backbone of the Crimean military. The other half of their military arm, the Crimean Marines, while numbering only a bit over ten thousand, is responsible for the security of the nation on the mainland, and has a detachment on each vessel of the Navy.