A report on BBC radio today visited Sevastopol and Chersonese
and described the growing "Russification" of the WHS.
If you can access BBC (I have provided the World Service link in the hope that this isn't blocked like UK channel broadcasts are), listen around 17 minutes in on this programhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csvnrn
It appears that very large numbers of Russians are now visiting Chersonese on "Pilgrimage" whilst of course the number of Non Russian visitors has plummeted to almost zero. The reason for so many pilgrims seems to derive from the branding of the site as the location where the Christianization of Rus began (even BEFORE Kiev) - "(Chersonese) remained in Byzantine hands until the 980s, when it reportedly fell to Kiev. Vladimir the Great agreed to evacuate the fortress only if Basil II's sister Anna Porphyrogeneta would be given him in marriage. The demand caused a scandal in Constantinople. As a pre-condition for the marriage settlement, Vladimir was baptized here in 988, thus paving the way to the Baptism of Kievan Rus'. Thereafter Korsun' was evacuated.
For obvious reasons Vladimir Putin is particularly active in boosting this aspect of Russian historical "claims" on the place and has recently (Aug 18 2017) visited the site as part of a visit to the Crimea (his 2nd visit there at least - see later). See http://articleable.info/articles/putin-in-22085
On this occasion he said that "It is necessary to create the Russian Mecca here"
. In 2015, he was quoted as saying that the location "is as sacred to Russian Orthodox Christians as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is to Jews and Muslims
" - whilst at the same time taking the site under federal control - http://theartnewspaper.com/news/news/putin-intervenes-in-crimean-row/
(just wonderful, with Putin at Chersonese, trowel in hand, as the "keen amateur archaeologist"!!)
The new director who eventually emerged after the contretemps described in the above link was interviewed during the BBC program and has obviously taken on board the "correct" historical view about the site's "Russian" importance and even uses the "Russian Jerusalem" phrase!