The Washington Post: how Ukraine became Ukraine
Over the past year, Ukraine has been plunged into chaos. Mass protests against pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 led to his overthrow. This was the cause of the growing crisis: a new provisional government in Kiev observed how Russia first captured and then annexed the territory of the Crimea, a strategically important peninsula on the Black Sea. Because of the actions of the pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, who are said to be directly supported by Moscow, thousands of people have already died.
For some, Ukraine has become the geopolitical border between the liberal-democratic West and authoritarian neo-imperialist Russia, which is led by President Vladimir Putin. Foreign policy makers in Washington openly view the situation as a new cold war.
Behind today's political differences lies the country's distant and difficult past. The land, which is called Ukraine today, has long been native to many Russian nationalists. But it was also home to many nations and empires. Its changing boundaries and often intersecting historical events in the lives of the peoples inhabiting it play a role in modern complex events and heated relations.
We invite you to take a look at how Ukraine became Ukraine over the 1300-year period of history, which is illustrated cards, provided by The Washington Post mapper, Gene Thorp. Modern borders of Ukraine on all maps are indicated in green.
"Rus" or "Rus" - the tribes that gave their name to Russia are Scandinavian or Varangian merchants and settlers, who moved from the shores of the Baltic Sea through forests and swamps of Eastern Europe to the south to fertile lands along numerous rivers on which modern Ukraine is located. Other Viking adventurers, in search of luck, moved further south — to the great capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople — where they sometimes became mercenary warriors.
The first large settlement of the Rus was Kiev, founded in the 9th century. In 988, the prince of Kievan Rus was baptized by a Byzantine priest in the old Greek colony on the coast of Crimea - Chersonese (Korsun). His baptism marked the arrival of Orthodoxy in Kievan Rus and is still for Russians a deeply symbolic national event. That Prince Vladimir was mentioned by Putin in his speech in December last year, explaining the reasons for the annexation of the Crimea.
Then, starting from the XIII century, the repeated raids of the Mongolian tribes weakened the influence of Kiev and, ultimately, led to the creation of other centers located further north in Russia - among them was Moscow. The Turkic descendants of the Mongolian Golden Horde created their kaganate along the northern borders of the Black Sea.
1650 - 1812 years
Looking over several pages of history, we see that the lands on which modern Ukraine is located were just on the border between the warring empires. There are constantly conflicts and changing boundaries. The Polish-Lithuanian principality (which in its heyday united a large part of Europe) owned a large territory of Ukraine, although in addition, the country had to survive the invasions and domination of the Hungarians, Ottoman Turks, Swedes, Cossack troops and armies of several Russian tsars.
In the 17th century, Russia and Poland divided among themselves most of the territory in which modern Ukraine is located along the Dnieper River. Russia continued to expand its borders in the next century, during the reign of Catherine II, who believed that Novorossia, that is, New Russia, is a term revived by pro-Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine. But in those days, the Russian Empire cherished the dream of defeating the Ottoman Empire and expanding Moscow’s possessions to Istanbul (the former Constantinople) and even to Jerusalem.
“Believe me, you will crown yourself with immortal glory, not a single Russian autocrat has ever known,” an eminent court official and advisor of Yekaterina Grigory Potemkin told Catherine the Great in discussing the plan with the Empress, who had the goal of winning back the Crimea from the Ottoman Empire under her suzerainty. "And this glory will open the way to further and even greater glory."
Meanwhile, at the end of the 18th century, as a result of the partition of Poland, the city of Lviv - once a major national, cultural, industrial, and commercial center of the region, as well as the center of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe - lost its greatness, becoming part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was here in the middle of the XIX century that Ukrainian nationalism emerged, based on the traditions and language of local peasants and the aspirations of the local intelligentsia, who tried to get rid of the oppression of Russian rule in the east.
1914 - 1918 years
The First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution 1917 brought the people of the territories in which modern Ukraine is located with even more suffering and upheavals. The new government of the Bolsheviks, desperate to get out of the war with Germany and its allies, had no choice but to sign a peace treaty in the city of Brest-Litovsk in 1918, as a result of which Russia transferred some of its territories to the Central Powers and including Ukraine.
Later, in the same year, the terms of the treaty were annulled as a result of the defeat of Germany, but the gin of Ukrainian nationalism was already released from the bottle. In cities such as Lviv, Kiev, and Kharkov, an independence movement broke out, in which parties and groups of all stripes participated, but ultimately subsided amid a larger-scale power struggle in Russia.
1919 - 1922 years
At the end of World War I, the reborn Poland regained Lviv and the territories in which Western Ukraine is now located. The country became almost the main battlefield of the Russian civil war, in which the Bolshevik army faced a number of enemy units, headed by supporters of the old tsarist regime, and various political adventurers. From the monstrous bloodshed - and several battles with Poland - the Bolsheviks emerged victorious and in 1922, officially announced the creation of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The following years were even more tragic: at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s, Ukraine was seriously affected by the regime of the Soviet tyrant Stalin. As a result of the strict Stalinist policy of collectivization, many Ukrainians were expropriated and deported. Because of the famine - the artificially created famine in 1932-1933 - about three million people died.
In order to compensate for the shortage of the population, Russian-speaking citizens moved to the deserted Ukrainian cities from different parts of the country, which still affects the demographic situation, which determines political differences in Ukraine.
1945 - 1954 years
The Second World War brought devastation and devastation to Ukraine. Hitler and other Nazi strategists hoped that it would become the breadbasket for the new expanded German Empire. But instead, the country turned into a territory of a terrible and bloody war - the land disfigured by the hardest historical battles and tormented by massacres of civilians. Some Ukrainian nationalists temporarily collaborated with the fascist authorities, believing that thanks to the German invasion and occupation they could achieve their own independence. This is exactly what happened in western Ukraine, where until the end of World War II, people did not know what Soviet power was.
The “fascist ideology” of these Ukrainian partisans is still a source of political differences in the country. Some militant participants in the protests against Yanukovych actively picked up the ideas of war heroes who collaborated with the Nazis. Meanwhile, Kremlin propaganda has used this historical fact to pin a label on the Kiev government and declare that it came to power in the wake of "neo-Nazism."
After the end of World War II, the Soviet Union regained Lviv and its neighboring territories in western Ukraine. In 1954, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the majority of whose population was Russian (after the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars).
After the collapse of the USSR
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine, like many former Soviet republics, became a new independent state. Her political life and beliefs tore the regional contradictions between the country's west and the pro-Russian east. Russia decided to maintain its naval base in Sevastopol, the main port city in the south of Crimea.
Like this. Russian troops, much of which are based in Sevastopol, dispersed throughout March last year in order to support actions that eventually turned out to be the Russian annexation of Crimea. The actions of the pro-Russian rebels of Lugansk and Donetsk in the east of Ukraine, an important industrial region of the country, are continuing, despite repeated attempts to conclude a truce.
Kiev seeks to obtain from the West more substantial military assistance for the conduct of hostilities, which, according to many, constitute a war with Moscow. There are fears that the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will impose martial law, trying to pacify the separatists, which will become a threat to the democracy emerging in the country. Ukraine is at the notorious crossroads, where, however, it has been for many centuries.
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stdClass Object ([term_id] => 377 [name] => Ukraine [taxonomy] => post_tag [slug] => ukraina)Ukraine
stdClass Object ([term_id] => 13334 [name] => In the homeland [taxonomy] => category [slug] => novosti-rodini)At home
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