History of Ukraine
Archeological finds show that the earliest settlements in the Dnepr and Dniester valleys appeared several thousand years ago. The territory of present-day Ukraine was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, and Goths throughout the first millennium B.C. Antes and the Rus’, the ancestors of the Eastern Slavs, occupied central and eastern Ukraine in the 6th century A.D. About fourteen East Slav tribe unions existed in Ukraine during the 6th - 9th centuries. They became the political foundation for forming the core of the powerful Kievan Rus’. It included the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Pereiaslav, Novgorod, Halych, Smolensk, Rostov.
Kievan Rus’ is the beginning of the Ukraine history as a state. Kievan Rus’ spread from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathians to the Volga River. During almost 100 years Prince Oleg, his successor Igor (reigned 912-945), Igor’s widow Olga (who was regent until about 962), and Olga’s son Sviatoslav (r. 945-972) turned the scattered Slavic tribes into an organized powerful state. Kyiv became the political center of the Eastern Slavs.
The time of the greatest rise Kievan Rus’ reached during the reigns of Prince Volodymyr (Volodymyr the Great, r. 980 -1015) and Prince Yaroslav (Yaroslav the Wise, r. 1019-1054). Volodymyr’s most important merit was the Christianization of Kievan Rus’. The successful military raids of the Prince expanded the limits of the Rus’ territory. At that time Kyiv had 400 churches, 8 markets, and over 50000 residents (compared to 20000 in London, Hamburg, and Gdansk).
Prince Yaroslav improved relations with the rest of Europe, especially the Byzantine Empire. He promulgated the first East Slavic law code, Rus’ka Pravda; founded a school system; built Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev and Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod. Conflict among the various principalities of Rus’, in spite of the efforts of Prince Volodymyr Monomakh, led to decline, beginning in the 12th century. Subsequently, all principalities of present-day Ukraine acknowledged dependence upon the Mongols (1239–1240). In 1240 the Mongols sacked Kiev, and many people fled to other countries. In Rus’ propria, the Kiev region, the nascent Rus’ principalities of Halych and Volynia extended their rule. In the north, the name of Moscow appeared in the historical record in the principality of Suzdal, which gave rise to the nation of Russia. In 1199, principalities with common economic and cultural conditions and political and economic relations, united and formed the Halytsian-Volynian state under the reign of Halytsian Prince Roman, a descendant of Volodymyr Monomakh. The Halytsian-Volynian principality had undertaken the state-creating traditions of Rus’.
The Prince Danylo Halytskyi had rendered great services to his country in protecting boundaries of the Halytsian-Volynian Principality during the Mongol-Tatar invasion to Rus. In 1254-1255, he succeeded in gaining a number of victories over the Mongol-Tatar armies and in driving them away - outside the boundaries of Ukraine. The internal and foreign policy of Danylo Halytskyi favored the increase of his popularity in the eyes of the world community. Courtiers of European countries considered it an honor to be associated with the Halytsian-Volynian Prince. In 1253, he was crowned by Pope Innokentyi IX in the town of Dorohychyn. This act confirmed the recognition of the Halytsian-Volynian principality as a subject of international law. But the constant exhausting struggle with foreign and home enemies gradually weakened the Halytsian-Volynian principality, of which its enemies took advantage without delay. At the end of the 14th century, the lands of the recently b state proved to be divided between Poland, Lithuania and Hungary.
The military-political movement of Lithuania and Poland to Ukrainian lands began in the 1330s and 1340s, when the Lithuanian Grand Duke Liubard conquered Volyn. The assignment of the lands of the Halytsian-Volynian principality between two foreign states was completed by the Lithuanian-Polish War of 1351-1352, after which Halychyna proved to be under the power of the Polish King (later the West Volynian lands: Kholmian and Belzian, came under the Polish crown). The Podilia, Kyiv, Siver and Pereiaslav provinces also became parts of Lithuania. The local population did not resist Lithuanian expansion to Ukrainian lands. It can be explained that Vilno did not try to break traditional socio-political institutions and the economic system which existed at that time. The state did not want to meddle in the spiritual life of Ukrainian lands.
After the Union of Lublin in 1569 and the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Ukraine fell under Polish administration, becoming part of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom. The period immediately following the creation of the Commonwealth saw a huge revitalisation in colonisation efforts. Many new cities and villages were founded. During this time, most of Ukrainian nobles became polonised and converted to Catholicism, and while most Ruthenian-speaking peasants remained within the Eastern Orthodox Church, social tension rose. Ukrainian people who fled efforts to force them into serfdom came to be known as Cossacks and earned a reputation for their fierce martial spirit. Some Cossacks were hired by the Commonwealth (became ’register Cossacks’) as soldiers to protect the south-eastern borders of Poland from Tatars or took part in campaigns abroad (like Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny in the battle of Khotyn 1621). Cossack units were also active in wars between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Muscovy.
The Cossacks initially were focused on the struggle against Turkey-Tatar aggression. But from 1648 to 1654 Cossacks under their Hetman (Ukrainian for Cossack leader) Bohdan Khmelnytsky organized a series of revolts against the Poles. In order to secure a military ally against Poland, the Cossacks signed an agreement with Muscovy in 1654, known as the Pereiaslav Agreement. The Hetman’s State in Ukraine that Khmelnytskyi created had great potential for independence. However, these potentials were not realized for many reasons. It wasn’t until the late 17th century that the domestic problems that tore Ukrainian society apart became more defined as a result of a policy of tsarism. The brutal struggle between some hetmans and claimants of the Hetmate broke out immediately after Khmelnytskyi’s death. The country was drawn into the vortex of civil war, political crisis and economic displacement for many years. Newly elected Hetman Yurii (about 1641-1685), a son of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, could not prevent the increase of the troubling symptoms. The Chudnivsk agreement, which he made during the military campaign of 1660, practically recognized the validity of the Hadiach agreement. In 1663, deprived of real political support, Yurii Khmelnytskyi abdicated. The Hetman’s mace in Left Bank Ukraine, owing to the support of the Tatars, came to the hands of General Secretary (Pysar) P. Teteria. Near the city of Nizhyn in 1663, the Chorna Rada, as it is called in Left Bank Ukraine, elected the Cossacks’ chief, I. Briukhobetskyi (?-1668), to be Hetman,. Such was the division of Cossacks’ Ukraine into two Hetmanates. The complete territory distribution of Ukraine between two states was confirmed by the Andrusiv truce of 1667 between the Moscow State and Rich Pospolyta. The Left Bank and Kyiv with surrounding territory stayed with Moscow the Right Bank remained under Poland, and Zaporizhia was subject to both states. Some time later, the territory dismemberment was confirmed by the clauses of the so called "Eternal" peace of 1686.
The prospects of the territory consolidation of the Left and Right Banks became most visible in the period of the reign of P. Doroshenko (1627-1698), a colonel from Pryluky. Being one of Khmelnytskyi’s fellow warriors, the Left Bank Hetman belonged to the convinced supporters of the existence of a single powerful Ukrainian state. To achieve this aim, he began fighting with Poles, made an agreement with the Tatars, negotiated with representatives of the Moscow Tsar and Left Bank Hetman I. Briukhovetskyi. He succeeded in uniting both of the territories under his mace for a short time. But the interference of Russia and Rich Pospolyta which extended a campaign against the Hetman made this victory an unstable one. The Cossacks’ Ukraine proved to be drawn into a new vortex of political struggle and internecine wars. At the beginning of July 1668, P. Doroshenko had to leave Left Bank Ukraine, and in March 1669, at the Cossacks’ Council in Hlukhiv they elected a Chernihiv colonel who was supported by Moscow, D. Mnohohrishnyi (?-1696), to be Hetman of Left Bank Ukraine. The agreement he had with the Moscow government essentially limited the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state.
As to other Ukrainian lands: Transcarpathia was still part of Hungary and Northern Bukovyna was under the reign of the Moldavian principality, the vassal of Turkey. Foreign ethnic political institutions and right standards were in force there. Considerable changes occurred in the political condition of the Western Ukrainian lands in the late 18th century. The downfall and division of Rich Pospolyta marked the territory-state belonging to Halychyna, Transcarpathia and Northern Bukovyna. As a result of the first Poland downfall (1771), almost all of Halychyna and the western part of Volyn and Podillia were conquered by Austria. Those lands were unified with a part of Polish provinces into the "Kingdom of Halychyna and Lodomeria". The other territories were gained by Austria after the third downfall of Poland (1795). Northern Bukovyna was also occupied by Austria. In 1774, the Vienna troops occupied the whole territory of the land (in 1775 these gains of Austria were affirmed by the Constantinople convention). Transcarpathia, which preserved traditional division into comitates, remained under the reign of the Hapsburgh monarchy.
For the last part of the 18th century, Austrian Emperor Josef II and Empress Maria Theresia realized a number of reforms in the land. They limited the power of landlords over peasants, canceled the peasants’ personal dependence on landlords, liquidated certain duties. The government also made reforms in the spiritual sphere (e.g., they opened a lyceum in Mukacheve and seminary in Lviv). At the same time, schools with education in Ukrainian were organized. A number of Ukrainian departments were founded in Lviv University, which opened in 1784. Unfortunately, these progressive actions of Austrian government were ceased in the future.
The beginning of the 18th century was marked by the complication of the domestic and foreign political situation in Left Bank Ukraine. The Northern war between Russia and Sweden for the Baltic Sea coast, resulted in the increase of economic pressure on the part of the Tsar’s government on Ukrainian manufacturers, the attraction of its human resources to participate in the military actions and fortifications and construction. Ivan Mazepa (1644-1709), who was elected Hetman in 1687, acted on the opportunity of the Sweden invasion in Ukraine to take a risky step. Together with his confederates and four thousand cossacks he united with the army of Karl XII in October 1708. An agreement was soon made between Ukraine and Sweden which provided for complete independence of Ukraine from "all foreign possession". Unfortunately, the general Ukrainian public, which had not been sufficiently informed about the Hetman’s intentions, did not support his plans to stir up a rebellion against Peter I. In particular, peasants and common cossacks feared to find their way to the yoke of Polish shliakhta. In addition, they did not want a renewal of rules which had existed on the entire Ukrainian territory since 1648. The mass repression on the part of the Tsar’s troops pounced on those suspected of having relations with Mazepa. Hundreds of cossacks and officers were persecuted - some of them were imprisoned, some annihilated. Ivan Mazepa was declared a traitor, and his name was anathematized. By the Tsar’s command, the officers elected I. Skoropadskyi (1646-1722) as the new Hetman. After the defeat of the Swedish Army near Poltava in June 1709 and the capitulation of Karl XII and his allies, the offensive of tsarism against autonomy of the Hetmanate was executed much more quickly. The highest state posts in the Hetman’s administration were given to people devoted to Peter I. First, Russian landlords appeared in Ukraine (as they were the closest fellow warriors of the Russian emperor), and then middle gentry appeared. In 1709, the Zaporizhian Sich was destroyed. Thousands of cossacks left for Turkey in search of refuge. The government of Peter I subsequently annihilated all the traces of the Ukrainian state system, undermined the welfare of the Ukrainian people, and ruined the economic potential of Ukraine. The next step in limiting the rights of autonomy of Ukraine was the creation of the First Little Russia Collegium (1722), which became the chief managerial authority of the Hetmanate. The measures with regard to the successive liquidation of the local Cossack self-ruling were also taken in Slobodian Ukraine. Such a policy of Peter I could not help but result in the resistance of the national elite, where the idea of Ukrainian independence was still alive. It was manifested mostly in the Constitution by P. Orlyk, in which the preliminary experience of Ukrainian state existence had been generalized and the future ways of its development outlined. In the mid 1720s, P. Polubotok (about 1660-1724), who was appointed Hetman, rose for the defense of the national state system of Ukraine. But his plans were not supported by the demoralized society - torn by social conflict. In 1750, K. Rozumovskyi (1728-1803) was elected as the last Hetman of Ukraine. In his domestic policy, he reorganized the Cossack army, performed court reforms, gathered the meetings of Cossack officers. He also tried to pursue independent foreign policy, favored the transfer of Ukrainian problems from the jurisdiction of Senate to the Collegium of Foreign Affairs, applied for the liberation of Ukrainians from participation in military actions outside of Ukrainian territory. However, Catherine II, disturbed by the increase in Rozumovskyi’s authority, decided to completely liquidate the hetmanship. The Second Little Russia Collegium was created in 1764. It’s task was to completely liquidate the autonomy right which was still in use in the Left Bank Hetmanate. The attack of tsarism on the remains of Ukrainian autonomy entered its final phase in the 1770s and 1780s. Already in 1765, Catherine II had ordered to liquidate Slobodian’s Cossack army. The Slobodian Ukrainian province was organized there - which was later included in the Kharkiv viceroyalty. A Manifesto of August 3, 1775 proclaimed the liquidation of the Zaporizhian Sich. The socio-political system of Hetman Ukraine also underwent fundamental changes. In the early 1780s, its territory was divided into regions ruled by governor-generals.
Tsarist rule over central Ukraine gradually replaced ’protection’ over the subsequent decades. After the Partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795, the extreme west of Ukraine fell under the control of the Austrians, with the rest as part of the Russian Empire. As a result of Russo-Turkish Wars the Ottoman Empire’s control receded from south-central Ukraine, while the rule of Hungary over the Transcarpathian region continued. Ukrainian writers and intellectuals were inspired by the nationalistic spirit stirring other European peoples existing under other imperial governments and became determined to revive the Ukrainian linguistic and cultural traditions and re-establish a Ukrainian nation-state. Russia however, fearing separatism, imposed strict limits on attempts to elevate Ukrainian language and culture, even banning its use and study. However, many Ukrainians accepted their fate in the Russian Empire and some were to achieve a great success there. Many Russian writers, composers, painters and architects of the 19th century were of Ukrainian descent. Probably the most notable was Nikolai Gogol, one of the greatest writers in the history of Russian literature.
The liberation traditions of Ukrainians began their renaissance in the early 19th century. It first began in circles of national intellectuals - Ukrainian writers in particular. The activities of the Brotherhood of St. Cyril and Methodius was the important point on the path of consolidation of the national liberation movement. That was a non-legal political organization created in Kyiv in 1846 by representatives of the Ukrainian national intelligentsia. Taras Shevchenko also spread the national liberation ideas in his poetic works. The attainment of state independence of Ukraine and the establishing of it as an equal member of the confederation of independent Slavic countries, with Kyiv as the political center, was the goal of the Brotherhood activities. The demand for liquidation of the monarchical system of the Russian Empire and the abolition of serfdom were the closest political requirements of the Brotherhood members. The practical activity was concentrated on education and search of the way to raise the economic development of Ukraine. Russian Tsarism savagely punished the Brotherhood members.
The 20th century was marked by the considerable aggravation of the revolutionary struggle. First, Ukrainian political parties (the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party, Ukrainian Socio-democratic Workers’ Party, the Society of Ukrainian Progressionists) were under its influence. Their leaders were D. Antonovych, O. Lototskyi, V. Vynnychenko, S. Petliura, S. Yefremov and others. Some of these individuals became prominent figures of the future Ukrainian revolution. Notwithstanding the Draconian laws of Tsarism of 1863 and 1876 with regard to the Ukrainian language, the development of Ukrainian culture rose to a new level. It became an important factor of national renaissance. The creative work of M. Hrushevskyi, (e.g., the multi-volume "History of Ukraine-Rus"), works by B. Hrinchenko, A. Krymskyi, and M. Arkas were noticeable literary landmarks. Pressing social and national problems were addressed in the works of many poets.
The state of Ukrainians in the lands subject to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century was not less complicated than of those in the territory of Eastern Ukraine. The population of Eastern Halychyna, Northern Bukovyna and Transcarpathia (mainly peasants) suffered from economic and social oppression, as well as from national restraints. By the mid-19th century, the Austro-Hungarian government, influenced by the revolutionary situation in Europe in 1848, began reforms directed at improving agrarian relations in the country. In particular, they liquidated juridical dependence of peasants on the landlords - the plots of lands were allotted to them. This created conditions for the successive transformation of the peasantry in active political force. In April 1848, Austria acquired the status of constitutional monarchy. But the declared democratic liberties and national equality of people often remained on paper. Constitutional-parliamentary management was restored only in the 1860s. The adoption of the December 1867 constitution guaranteed (at least formally) the equality of nationalities and languages. Separate regions of the empire (e.g., Halychyna) received the right of limited authority. In the 19th century, there were certain changes in the socio-political life of the region. The activation of the enlighteners’ ideas and the furthering of the ideology of romanticism, which was caused by the rise of the liberation movement on the European continent, favored the intense processes of national renaissance. The first cultural-educational circles appeared in Peremyshl and Lviv. Interests in the history of the land, language and folklore considerably increased at this time. However, the decisive part in the development of the national movement at that time belonged to the socio-cultural association "Rus’ka triytsia". The motives of the liberation of the region were seen on the pages of publicists’ articles, almanacs, and school textbooks.
The revolutionary events of 1848-1849 had broad resonance in the West Ukrainian lands. The first Ukrainian political organization, the Chief Rus Council, appeared in Lviv in 1848. Its program documents were filled with ideas of autonomy, democracy, and reformation in different spheres of political and intellectual life of the region. Revolutionary events enlivened the Ukrainian national liberation movement in Northern Bukovyna (a rebellion headed by Lukian Kobylytsia) and in Transcarpathia (O. Dukhnovych and A. Dobrianskyi). The national movement was not stopped after the revolution suppressed. The development of the national liberation movement in the Western Ukrainian lands was not isolated, but was in close relations with analogous processes in Eastern Ukraine.
On February 23, 1917, the revolution broke out in Petrohrad (the empire capital St. Petersburg was renamed during the Russian-German war of 1914). Tens of thousands of soldiers from the local garnisson joined workers on the third day of conflict. Two authorities appeared in the evening of February 27, which played an essential part in the following events: Petrohrad council of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and the Provisional Committee of the State Duma (Parliament). On March 2, Tsar Mykola II abdicated and the Duma Committee, in agreement with the Petrohrad Council constituated the executive organ of new power: the Provisional Government.
The Ukrainian Tsentralna Rada (Central Council) appeared in Kyiv on March 4. This representative democratic body (UTR) appeared on the wave of revolutionary events to head the national-liberation movement in all Ukrainian provinces. Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, the recognized leader of the Ukrainian liberation movement, was still in exile when elected as Head of the Tsentralna Rada. Meanwhile, the national revolution developed. In the first announcements of the Tsentralna Rada, the national program was mainly a cultural trend. M. Hrushevskyi, who had returned from exile, put the slogan of constitution of national territorial autonomy of Ukraine. The head of UTR called for the Ukrainians to not embrace the lands with the overwhelming Ukrainian population. These were 9 provinces (the Soviet Ukraine was later created on their territory) as well as Kuban, the northern and two southern regions of the Bessarabian prince, Kholmsk province, western districts of the Don Army region, and the southern regions of the Voronezh province.
The First Universal of Tsentralna Rada was announced on June 10, 1917 in Kyiv at the congress of delegates of Ukrainianized regiments of the Tsarist Army. It proclaimed that Ukrainian people had the right to manage their life through the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly called on democratic ground. Some days later, the executive organ of power, the General Secretariat headed by V. Vynnychenko was created at the closed meeting of the Rada. The Provisional Government had to recognize the Tsentralna Rada as a state organ. After such a success, the Rada approved the Universal II, where it informed about the creation of the General Secretariat and the development of the law on Ukrainian autonomy.
On October 25, 1917, Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government and at the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrohrad, they created their own Government - the Soviet of People’s Commissars (Sovnarcom), headed by V. Lenin. The October over throw created a new political situation, to which the Tsentralna Rada had to react immediately. It issued its Universal III, where it proclaimed the creation of the Ukrainian Republic (UPR). Impressed by the offensive of the Russian troops controlled by Sovnarcom, the Tsentralna Rada leaders quickly lost illusions of Russia’s transformation into a democratic federal republic. The formal separation from Bolsheviks’ dictature became a main task. On the night of January 12, 1918 M. Hrushevskyi issued the Universal VI of the Tsentralna Rada, which proclaimed the independence of the UPR.
On January 27, 1918, the first peace treaty of the world war was signed between the UPR and four states of the German block in Brest-Litovsk. A day before the signing of the agreement, the Soviet Army entered Kyiv and the Tsentralna Rada had to recognize that it needed immediate military help. On February 18, German and Austro-Hungarian troops began to occupy Ukraine. According to the Peace Treaty, concluded on March 3 between Russia and the Central States, the Sovnarcom committed to recognize independence of the UPR and started peace negotiations.
The presence of the occupational army removed the revolutionary situation in Ukraine. Activity of those social classes which required to respect the private property and to liquidate chaos and anarchism increased. The former tsarist General P. Skoropadskyi used these moods and came to power, being proclaimed the Hetman of the “Ukrainian State”, which replaced the UPR. Complete power was in his hands before calling in the parliament. P. Skoropadskyi invited to his government authoritative figures who strove to work constructively. However, occupants permitted his activities only in the national-cultural sphere. Interested in removing maximum amounts of food and raw materials from Ukraine, the military administration of the central states continually meddled in the affairs of the state authorities. Peasants began the war with occupants who supported the return of landlords to their estates. The Hetman’s regime could survive only under the occupation. On November 12, 1918 a truce was concluded between Germany and Entente countries, which meant the end of the World War. German and Austro-Hungarian armies lost their occupation functions. The next day there was a secret meeting of the heads of Ukrainian parties who decided to organize the Directory to guide the overthrow of the Hetman’s regime and to restore the UPR. The Directory was headed by V. Vynnychenko and its armed forces were subject to S. Petliura. They mainly consisted of thousands of battle-hardened rebels. Some weeks later, the Directory took control of entire Ukraine. The appearance of the Directory was unexpected for the neighbors of Ukraine. The Entente planned to fill the power vacuum in Ukraine by bringing in 12-15 of its divisions with the occupation of Kyiv and Kharkiv. In November, the armed forces of S. Petliura were opposed by the troops of Y. Pilsudskyi, who wanted to draw as far eastward as possible the undetermined boundary of the renewed Polish state. Red armies of L. Trotskyi were about to invade Ukraine from the north and east and the White Guard of A. Denikin from the south.
The defeat in the world war lead to the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire and creation of independent states by its people. On October 18, 1918, the Ukrainian National Rada was constituted in Lviv. It proclaimed the intention to create a state on the ethno-Ukrainian lands within the empire. The reviving Poland also raised the claims for those lands. Therefore, the National Rada hastened to occupy Lviv and the whole territory of Western Halychyna with its armed forces. On November 13, they formed the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (WUPR). The head of the National Rada, E. Petrushevych became the president of the WUPR, and K. Levytskyi headed the State Secretariat. The reunion of both Ukrainian states was announced on January 22, 1919 in Kyiv. The reunion declaration was to be approved by the Constituent Assembly called from the territory of all Ukraine. But it had not come to actual reunion. In 1919, the Polish troops, armed by the Entente, occupied Eastern Halychyna and Western Volyn. Much earlier, at the beginning of January, Soviet Russia began the invasion of the UPR and occupied its capital on February 5. The Directory first stayed in Vinnytsia, then in Zhmerynka, Proskuriv and Rivne. Early in May, S. Petliura and other figures of the UPR emigrated.
In January 1919, the government of Soviet Ukraine refused the denomination introduced by the Tsentralna Rada (UPR) and established another one, the Ukrainian Socialist People’s Republic (Ukrainian SSR). The government’s name also changed to Sovnarcom, as in Moscow. The government was headed by Khrystian Rakovskyi, the leading figure of the Second International who appeared in Russia after the advent of Bolsheviks and offered his services.
The elections of the workers’ council, the Red Army soldiers and peasants deputies were held in spring 1919. As a result of the manipulations with representation norms, the Bolsheviks gained a complete advantage. The Soviets only served as a cover for the dictatorship of the RCP(b)-CP(b)U which was supported by the army and Extraordinary Commission. In accordance with the Ukrainian. SSR constitution, which had the constitution of Soviet Russia as a model, the All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets became the higher legislative body and All-Ukrainian Central executive committee (AUCEC) performed its functions between congresses.
On the eve of the inevitable war with Soviet Russia, Y. Pilsudskyi, the head of the Polish state, considered it expedient to regulate relations with his former enemy, S. Petliura. Wishing to continue the war for an independent UPR, Petliura accepted his conditions. The Warsaw agreement was made in April 1920. The Pilsuskyi’s government refused from the intentions to expand Poland to the limits of Rich Pospolyta of 1772 and recognized the UPR. This concession was of symbolic value. However, Petliura had to make real concessions when given consent to the state boundary along the line already occupied by Pilsudskyi’s troops. Pilsudskyi did not wait for the end of relocation of Soviet troops, and on April 25, 1920, began the offensive along the 500 km front using the forces of three armies which accounted for about 150 thousand people. Fifteen thousand of Petliura’s soldiers advanced together with the Poles. On May 6, they occupied Kyiv. V. Lenin placidly met the first success of Poles because the objective correlation of forces was in favor of Russia. The counter-offensive of soviet troops that started on June 5 soon turned into the broad offensive headed by M. Tukhachevskyi. Moscow had formed a marionette-like government of F. Dzerzhynskyi, whom they planned to make the head of conquered Poland. The threat of losing the state rights conquered in 1918 closely united the broadest ranges of population around the government. Immediate help with arms and ammunition was given by France. Troops of M. Tukhachevskyi were stopped within 23 km of Warsaw and began to retreat in confusion under the destructive Polish attack. In ten days, they were already over the Buh. At the end of September, the front was in the region of Zhytomyr and Berdychiv. The truce that was finalized in October fixed the consent of the Soviet party to remain Western Ukraine and Western Bielorussia within the boundaries of Poland. After the withdrawal of Y. Pilsudskyi’s troops to the Zbruch river, the S. Petliura’s army fought in Left Bank Ukraine for about one month with the forces of O. Yegorov. On November 18, 1920 Petliura’s troops left the frontier Volochysk and retreated to Poland. However, the UPR army continued the hopeless struggle with partisan raids in the Right Bank. After numerous protests by Rakovskyi, the Polish government stopped them at the end of 1921.
UKRAINE IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR: According to the clauses of the Riga peace agreement, Eastern Halychyna and Western Volyn were parts of Poland. The Polish government did not give the Ukrainians the rights of autonomy. During the land reform, Polish land owners (mostly former military officers) obtained the best plots of land. About 200 thousand of them were distributed in overpopulated areas of Western Ukraine from 1920-1938. The colonization and assimilation policy of Polish powers called for the resistance of population, ruled by two opposite underground organizations: the Communist party of Western Ukraine and the Ukrainian military organization. Early in 1929, the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN) was created in Vienna.
On September 1, the attack of Poland by Adolf Hitler marked the beginning of the Second World War. Almost simultaneously, Stalin attacked Poland on September 1 from the east and occupied the greatest part of the country’s territory: Western Bielorussia and Western Ukraine. In June 1940, Stalin tookBessarabia, and Northern Bukovyna was annexed by Romania in 1940. After the reunification of the Ukrainian SSR and Western Ukraine, the population grew by 8,909 and by the middle of 1941, the population stood at 41,675,000.
The republic territory became 560 thousand square miles. The sovietization of the newly-created western regions began. All the political, national economic and cultural infrastructure that was created by Ukrainian intellectuals and businessmen was annihilated. About 10% of the Western population was repressed, and the population sharply felt the lack of freedom with which the totalitarian regime had embraced them with.
On June 22, Germany and its allied powers invaded the Soviet Union from three strategic directions. Having had no experienced military leaders, the Red Army suffered great losses and the soldiers often found themselves surrounded. By the end of September, the Red Army left Odesa, and in the middle of October the battles were expanded near Kharkiv and Donbas.
The Soviet Union suffered great defeat, which cast doubt in the state’s existence and the fate of its people. Hitlerites considered the territory of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, as the life space (Lebensraum) for German people. Mad racist theories of Fuhrer, which materialized in his general plan “Ost” were soon realized.
In December 1941, Wehrmacht suffered its first defeat near Moscow. In the course of counterattack, the Red Army drew the Germans back for 400 km. Nonetheless, 1942 was still unsuccessful. The catastrophe near Kharkiv, where three armies were surrounded and crushed was one of the greatest tragedies. Sevastopol fell in July, and on the 22nd, the receding Soviet troops left the last settlements in the territory of Donbas. The enemy penetrated the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga in the region of Stalinhrad.
Hitler gave a considerable portion of Ukrainian land to his ally, I. Antonesku. They created a new Romanian province called “Transnistria”, with a center in Odesa. West-Ukrainian lands were subject to governor-generalship which embraced the greatest part of Poland. The Right Bank and the greater part of the Left Bank, and areas adjacent to the Crimea, created “Reichscommisariat of Ukraine”.
Terror swayed in the lands occupied by Germans, who completely exterminated Jewish and Gipsy populations, as well as all other people suspected of not being loyal to the Reich. Thousands of people starved to death because the occupying powers didn’t care to supply food to the towns. In 230 camps for war prisoners, 1,366 people died, most of whom starved to death. Ostarbeiters, in a number close to 2.4 million, were taken off to work in forced labor camps in Germany. Nearly 320 villages, with people still dwelling in their homes, were burned down. About 6 million Ukrainians served in the armed forces of the anti-Hitlerite coalition of countries. Of them, about 3 million died, and every other person became an invalid. Between 7-8 million people, born in Ukraine perished during the war.
Partisan movement in Western Ukraine was lead by the OUN. On the eve of the war, OUN split into two parts, which seemed to disagree with each other. They were the OUN(b), headed by S. Bandera, and OUN(m), headed by A. Melnyk. When German troops had occupied Lviv, Bandera and his adherents announced “Act to restoration of the Ukrainian state”. A provisional government was appointed, headed by Y. Stetsko. When Berlin authorities came to know about the unwarranted actions of the nationalists, the government was driven away and the OUN leaders found themselves in concentration camps. After two tides of arrests and executions (in September and December 1941), the OUN under Bandera went underground.
In the autumn of 1942, Bandera’s OUN decided to create the Ukrainian Insurrection Army (UIA), called upon to fight with the Polish and Soviet partisan-underground formations. Banderists defended the local population from occupying forces and periodically entered into armed conflicts with them. As a whole, the command maintained its troops in the state of armed neutrality. They were guided by the pragmatic desire to spare their strength for the struggles with the Red Army, since it became apparent that it would return.
After the defeat in Stalinhrad, a division of sich gunman, “Halychyna” was created at the initiative of German authorities. This was a typical example of collaboration. Cooperation with nazism doomed to defeat in the war could not give anything the to the Ukrainian cause. The Stalinhrad catastrophe created preconditions for mopping up the territory of Ukraine from the occupants.
On December 19, 1942, the enemies were dislodged from the first Ukrainian villages. After the victory on the Kursk Bulge in July 1943, Soviet troops counterattacked and quickly liberated Left Bank Ukraine and Donvas. Kyiv was liberated on November 6, 1943.
In October 1944, the entire Ukrainian territory was free from enemy forces. Transcarpathian Ukraine was liberated on October 26-28. In November, the congress of people’s committee in Mukacheve made a resolution about the Transcarpathian withdrawal from Czechoslovakia and its reunification with Ukraine. The new region expanded Ukraine’s territory to 577 thousand square miles.
After landing American and English forces in Normandy in June of 1944, the defeat of Germany became inevitable. The Berlin operation, in which the troops of the 1st and 2nd Bielorussian and 1st Ukrainian fronts took part (total of 2.5 million people), became the last page in the war. On May 9, 1945, the statement of unconditional capitulation was signed in the presence of Soviet, American, English and French representatives.
The results of the war and the postwar world order were determined by mutual actions of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition (first of which were the Teheran and Crimean conferences). The conference in San Francisco in June 1945, founded the United Nations organization. Ukraine and Bielorussia, the union of republics of the USSR which had made a recognizable contribution to the defeat of nazism, were among the founding nations of the UN organization.
Material losses of the USSR during the Second World War surpassed 40% of total expenditures of the belligerent powers. The part of the Ukrainian SSR in the All-Union losses surpassed 40%. Ukraine suffered greater material losses than Russia, Germany, France or Poland.
Restoration began immediately after the retreat of the German army, Great care was taken to restore railways and coal-metallurgical complexes. By the end of 1945, about 1/3 of the prewar industrial potential of the republic had been renewed.
During the period of the first postwar five-year plan (1946-1959), the Ukrainian industry, as a whole, achieved the prewar level of production. But the isolation from the surrounding world was evident in that Soviet industries lagged considerably behind other leading countries.
The success of industry growth was provided for the low part of wages of workers and employees in national income, as well as for the nonequivalent exchange between towns and villages.
Renumeration of labor in kolkhoz was extremely low and personal farming property of peasants imposed high taxes and obligatory supply of natural products. Notwithstanding the hard drought of 1946, the taxation imposed by the state was not decreased. The Famine of 1946-1947 took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian peasants.
Total collectivization of agriculture was carried out in western regions during 1948-1949. Its methods were as brutal as those used in eastern regions in 1929-1933. Trying to resist the state which expropriated property and made a peasant the hired manpower, the boldest went to the forest to detachments of the UPA. Partisan activity in western regions was extinguished only in 1952.
Ukraine History after the Breakup of the USSR. Mikhail Gorbachev was only the sixth leader since the USSR’s birth in 1922. But he became the last one. After the coup on August 21, 1991 Soviet republics had already begun moves to break away. Soviet Union was disbanded on December 8, 1991 at the Belovezh Forest Meeting near Minsk. The leaders of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Most of the other republics soon signed up for the new union. On July 16, 1990, the Parliament of Ukraine - Verkhovna Rada adopted a historic document titled the Declaration of Nation Sovereignty of Ukraine. It was the beginning of the new period in the Ukraine history. On August 24, 1991, the Act of Independence of Ukraine was proclaimed. An all-Ukrainian referendum took place on December 1, 1991. It confirmed this historical choice with more than 90% of the votes. Leonid Kravchuk was elected President of Ukraine. 1994 - Ukraine became a member of the Council of Europe.
1994, Kravchuk lost his presidency to his former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma. Since his election, President Kuchma has implemented a few market reforms, but the economy remains dominated by huge, inefficient state-run companies and has not improved significantly.
On July 28, 1996, Verkhovna Rada passed the new Constitution. The 2004 presidential election appeared to mark a significant turning point for Ukraine, and led to the events known as the "Orange Revolution." In late December, after a few election tours Victor Yushchenko became the new President of Ukraine. The collapse of the Soviet Union has not only brought new freedoms and opportunities, but completely transformed the lives of all those who once lived there. A new page of Ukraine history has been turned over. There are a lot of expectations for major changes in the country. But at the same time there are still severe economical, political and social problems.
Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004-2005 was a series of protests and political events that took place throughout the country in response to allegations of massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. The protests were prompted by reports from numerous domestic and foreign observers as well as the widespread public perception that the results of the run-off vote of November 21, 2004 between leading candidates Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych were rigged in favor of the latter. The run-off was mandated by Ukrainian law due to the official results of the presidential vote held on October 31, 2004, in which no candidate carried more than 50% of the cast ballots. The winner of the run-off was to become Ukraine’s third president since its 1991 independence following the demise of the Soviet Union. Orange was adopted by the protesters as the official color of the movement since it was the election campaign color of the main opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko. The symbol of solidarity with Yushchenko’s movement in Ukraine was an orange ribbon or a flag bearing the "Так! Ющенко!" ("Yes! Yushchenko!") slogan. While millions of Ukrainians demonstrated daily in Kiev (Kyiv) — the capital city of Ukraine and the center of the revolution where a large 24-hour tent city was set up by Yushchenko’s supporters —the action was highlighted by a series of nationwide protests, sit-ins, and general strikes organized by the opposition, following the disputed results of the November 21 run-off election.
Due in large part to the opposition movement’s efforts, the results of the original run-off were annulled and a second run-off election was ordered by Ukraine’s Supreme Court for December 26, 2004. Under intense scrutiny, the second run-off was agreed by domestic and international observers to be virtually problem-free. The final results showed a clear victory for Yushchenko, who received about 52 percent of the vote compared to Yanukovych’s 44 percent. He was declared the official winner and with his inauguration on January 23, 2005 in Kiev, the Orange Revolution reached its successful conclusion.
In March 2006, the Verkhovna Rada elections took place and three months later the official government was formed by the "Anti-Crisis Coalition" among the Party of Regions, Communist, and Socialist parties. The latter party switched from the "Orange Coalition" with "Our Ukraine", and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc. The new coalition nominated Viktor Yanukovych for the post of Prime Minister. Yanukovych once again became Prime Minister, while the leader of the Socialist Party, Oleksandr Moroz, managed to secure the position of chairman of parliament, which is believed by many to have been the reason for his leaving the Orange Coalition, where he had not been considered for this position.