Ukraine

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Ukraine
Україна
Anthem: Ще не вмерла України і слава, і воля  (Ukrainian)[1]
Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny i slava i volya  (transliteration)
Ukraine's glory has not perished, neither has her freedom
Capital
and largest city
Kiev
50°27′N 30°30′E / 50.45°N 30.5°E / 50.45; 30.5
Official languages Ukrainian
Recognised regional languages Russian, Crimean Tatar
Ethnic groups 77.8 % Ukrainian
17.3 % Russian
  4.9 % others[2]
Demonym Ukrainian
Government Unitary semi-presidential republic
 -  President Viktor Yanukovych
 -  Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
 -  Speaker of Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn
Legislature Verkhovna Rada
Formation
 -  Kievan Rus' 8821 
 -  Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia 11991 
 -  Cossack Hetmanate 1649 
 -  Ukrainian National Republic November 7, 1917 
 -  West Ukrainian National Republic November 1, 1918 
 -  Ukrainian SSR December 30, 1922 
 -  Second Declaration of Independence June 30, 1941 
 -  Independence from the Soviet Union August 24, 19912 
Area
 -  Total 603,628 km2 (45th)
233,090 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 7%
Population
 -  2010 estimate 45,888,000[3] (28th)
 -  2001 census 48,457,102
 -  Density 77/km2 (115th)
199/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $302.679 billion [4]
 -  Per capita $6,656 [4]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $136.561 billion[4]
 -  Per capita $3,003[4]
Gini (2006)31
medium
HDI (2010)increase 0.710[5]
Error: Invalid HDI value · 69th
Currency Hryvnia (UAH)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code 380
Internet TLD .ua
1 The ancient state of Kievan Rus' was formed in 882 on the territory of modern Ukraine. From the historiographical point of view, Rus' polity is considered by some historians and the Ukrainian Parliament as an early predecessor of the Ukrainian nation.[6]
2 An independence referendum was held on December 1, after which a Ukrainian independence declaration was finalized on December 26. The current constitution was formally adopted on June 28, 1996.

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It borders Russia to the East and north-east, Belarus to the north, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south. The historic city of Kiev (Kyiv) is the country's capital. The chief city of the Western Ukraine is Lviv.

The Ukraine as a nation state in its current form is of fairly recent origin. Historically the country is divided into two spheres: the ancient principality of Galicia in the West, which looks to the Germanic countries and Poland culturally as influences, and the Russian-speaking South and East, which naturally looks more to Moscow. The country is a majority Orthodox religiously, but Uniate Catholics predominate in the West and those of the Orthodox faith there are also in conflict with the contemporary Moscow Patriarchate. The nation considers itself the heirs of the Cossacks.

Contents

History

Over what is today known as the Ukrainian steppe, on both sides of the middle Dnieper, the Chronicle of Nestor (Nestor lived c1056 - c1114) tells us that from the eighth to the first century BC the Scythians occupied the region where Kiev stands, and from which tribes the territory kept its name long after their demise. Then came the Sarmatians whose civilisation was impregnated with Hellenism and Asiatic influences and which was destroyed by the Goths in the third century. At this juncture appear the Antae, who, according to the latest research, form a link between the Helleno-Scythian-Sarmatian civilization and the population of the later centuries. It is practically certain that the Antae were Slavs; but they are unlikely to have inherited very much from their predecessors, who had been swept away in the welter of successive invasions. It is known that the Antae were attacking the Byzantine Empire in 518AD. In the ninth century the names of the Slav peoples still stood for no more than groups of tribes organised on a patriarchal basis. As populations grew, fortified towns surrounded by palisades became accepted centres of trade and local power, and Kiev is one of the more prominent examples. The Slavs of the steppe at this time still paid tribute to the Khazars.[7] From at least the 9th century, the territory of present-day largely eastern Ukraine was a centre of a medieval eastern Slavic civilization forming the state of Kievan Rus[8]. For the following several centuries the territory was divided among a number of regional powers.[9]

Treaty of Brest Litovsk

Ukraine delegation at Brest-Litovsk.

The Ukraine enjoyed a brief period of, firstly, autonomy, and then quasi-independence, in the year which followed the February Revolution in Russia. In July 1917 a huge debate took place in the Russian Duma over autonomy for Ukraine (being that part of it in Russia, not Galicia which was Austrian), which was violently opposed by a majority, and which caused a major parliamentary crisis[10] resulting in the resignation of the Premier, Prince Lvov, and his Cadet Party. Ukraine (in Russia) then declared its independence from Russia, and on February 9, 1918 a Treaty of Peace between Ukraine and the Central Powers was signed at Brest-Litovsk guaranteeing a 'Free Ukraine'.[11] The victorious Western plutocratic Allies, however, refused to recognise the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and declared it null and void in early 1919. Meanwhile, in the winter of 1918, the Central Powers armies had been evacuated and the entire area then became submerged in the Russian Civil War[12][13]. (See also Galicia).

Upon the final Bolshevik victory, much of today's Ukraine east of Galicia found itself as one of the artificial Soviet Republics from 1922, part of the murderous Communist Soviet Union[14]. During Soviet rule, in 1932–1933 millions of Ukrainian people were systematically starved to death in a man-made famine known as Holodomor[15].

Polish claims

"Corrupt Petlura has sold Ukraine to the Polish landowners." (Ukrainian text)

Galicia and Ruthenia were, at the 1919 Paris Peace Conferences, hotly contested. In December 1918 a People's Republic under a 'Directory' presided over by Symon Petlura had been proclaimed. However he subsequently formed an alliance with Poland in order to defeat the Bolsheviks, offering Poland Galicia. Removed from the Austrian sovereignty they had enjoyed since 1772, the indigenous population of Galicia and Ruthenia were anxious not to be placed in the newly resurrected state of Poland. This alliance provoked a huge backlash amongst Ukrainian nationalists and peasant committees in Galicia who were "manifestly anti-Polish and wanted to destroy everything Polish regardless of class distinction". There were dramatic reports of Polish landed proprietors being burnt alive and the prisons "crammed with Poles".[16] Petlura was overthrown after a brief duration by the Bolsheviks, who occupied Kiev in February 1919. (Petlura was later assassinated in broad daylight in the centre of Paris, on 25 May 1926, by the Russian Jewish anarchist, Sholom Schwartzbard.) During the Summer of 1919 Poland's Marshal Pilsudki, with his now French-supplied army, invaded Galicia, capturing Lemberg, and then with a force of Poles and 'reliable' Ukrainian nationalists made a mad dash towards Kiev, taking it on May 6, in a desperate bid to transform all the Ukraine into a Polish satellite state.[17] The Poles were only able to hold on there for five weeks before their long retreat to "the gates of Warsaw" in the Russo-Polish War.

Britain's objections

Poland's champions, France and the USA, now pressed for inclusion of Galicia and Ruthenia etc., into the new Poland. But "the British Government was opposed to anything leading to a final union of Galicia and Poland", pointing out that "a large majority of the population in Eastern Galicia in particular was not Polish."[18] Towards the end of 1919, on December 2, the French then raised the issue of what they termed 'Western Galicia' saying it was "necessary to recognise the sovereignty of Poland" there. Paderewski (for Poland) then referred to Ruthenians and Ukrainians as "primitive people who only exist because of our assistance and practical help".[19]

Polish Mandate

The end result was a compromise (for the Allies) and a victory, of sorts, for Poland, being that Galicia would provisionally become a League of Nations Mandate with autonomy under Polish administration (not sovereignty), for 25 years. There were numerous conditions, one of which was that Poland could not exercise military conscription there and that the indigenous population would have the same representation in the Polish Diet as anywhere in Poland.[20]

"These German soldiers died for us"

Despite the expressed concerns about Polish nationalist "excesses" should all these provinces be under their government, these proved correct, as the administration and education were strongly Polonized and the Ukrainian language and culture suppressed. The Poles ruled with a harsh military presence, putting down strikes and unrest in 1931 and 1934 - in the latter year Ukrainian patriots assassinated Bronisaw Pieracki, the Minister of the Interior.[21].

World War II saw the invasions of Poland and the Soviet Union by Greater Germany and for a time the communists were drive out of Ukraine. Many Ukrainian patriots formed military units to fight alongside the Germans in an 'anti-Bolshevik' war against Stalin's Russia and their occupation by the latter.

After World War II

Ukrainian issues highlighted in the Monday Club News, Oct 1972

With the defeat of Germany in 1945 the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was reconstituted and its territory was enlarged after the Second World War to include Galicia proper, as well as some other lands west of the Dneiper; and again, in 1954, with the transfer of the Crimea.

In the Free World campaigns highlighting Communist atrocities in the Ukraine continued, and Ukrainian nationalist groups outside the Soviet Bloc continued their efforts for an independent Ukraine. Many conservative organisations in the West gave their support, amongst them the Conservative Monday Club and the Western Goals Institute[22][23] in the United Kingdom. Ukrainian expatriates kept their country's culture alive with many publications.[24]

The Ukraine became independent after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991-2.[25]

In March 2014 the Crimea returned to Russian sovereignty following a referendum organised and held there by the government of the Crimea which had been elected under Ukrainian sovereignty.

During the 2014 conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, leaflets were spread around saying Jews in the Ukraine must register with a non-existent government agency. This was revealed to be a hoax. An investigation traced the hoax not to anti-semites, but to the ADL spreading another hate crime hoax.[26][27]

In February 2014, president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from office in a coup d'etat, allegedly financed by USA.[28]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. Law of Ukraine. State Anthem of Ukraine (Ukrainian). Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (2003-03-06).
  2. Population by ethnic nationality, 1 January, year. ukrcensus.gov.ua. Ukrainian Office of Statistics. Archived from the original on 2008-03-23. Retrieved on 2010-04-17.
  3. Ukrainian population keeps decreasing. National Radio Company of Ukraine (2010). Retrieved on 2010-06-20.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Ukraine. International Monetary Fund (2010).
  5. Human Development Report 2010. United Nations (2010). Retrieved on 5 November 2010.
  6. "Kievan Rus". 2001-2005. http://www.bartleby.com/65/ki/KievanRu.html. [dead link]
  7. Portal, Roger, The Slavs, London, 1969, pps:29-33 and 35. ISBN 297-76313 X
  8. Franklin, Simon, Writing, Society and Culture in early Rus, c.950-1300, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN:0-521-81381-6
  9. Morfill, W.R., M.A., Russia, 2nd edition, London, 1891, gives a good account of the earliest developments.
  10. Figes, 1996, p.420.
  11. Wheeler-Bennett, John W., Brest-Litovsk: The Forgotten Peace, March 1918, MacMillan, London, 1966 edition, pps:392-402.
  12. Hudson, Miles, Intervention in Russia 1918-1920, Barnsley, UK, 2004, ISBN:1-84415-033-X
  13. Carr, Edward Hallett, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923, London, 1950.
  14. Conquest, Robert, The Great Terror, London, 1968 & 190. ISBN:0-09-174293-5
  15. Conquest, Robert, The Harvest of Sorrow, London, 1986 & 2002. ISBN:0-7126-9750-0
  16. A Collection of Reports on Bolshevism in Russia, No.34, from Sir Horace Rumbold to Earl Curzon, British War Office, 1919. Published in HMSO 'Uncovered editions', 2000, pps:124-128, ISBN 0-11-702424-4
  17. Figes, Orlando,A People's Tragedy - The Russian Revolution 1891 - 1924, London, 1996, p.697-8. ISBN 0-224-04162-2
  18. Woodward, Professor E.L., and Butler, Rohan, Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939, First Series, vol.iii, 1919, HMSO, London, 1949, pps:348-355, contains the Minutes of an acrimonious meeting held at President Wilson's house in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, with Wilson, Clemenceau, Orlando (Italy), and others and Paderewski representing the Polish Committee's claims on the Ukraine in a most forceful manner, and Lloyd George's serious rebukes and criticisms of Polish claims all told: "Poland has won her freedom not by her own exercertions but by the blood of others, when she had, in 1914, not the slightest hope of it. Now we have the greatest troubles trying to keep them from annexing other nations and imposing upon them the very tyranny which they themselves have endured for centuries. They are Imperialists."
  19. Woodward & Butler, vol.iii, 1949, p.352.
  20. Woodward, Professor E.L., and Butler, Rohan, M.A., Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939, First series, vol.ii, 1919, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London, 1948, pps:218-9/279-281/363-369.
  21. Davies, Norman, Vanished Kingdoms, London, 2011, p.477. ISBN:978-1-846-14338-0
  22. European Dawn, London, July and September 1989 editions
  23. Young European, Newsletter of Young Europeans for World Freedom, Dec 1988, a Western Goals UK publication.
  24. Bloch, Marie Halun, Ukrainian Folk Tales, London, 1964, taken from the original collections of Ivan Rudchenko and Maria Luyiyanenko, is a good example.
  25. Pryce-Jones, David, The War That Never Was - The Fall of the Soviet Empire 1985-1991, London, 1995, ISBN:0-297-81320-X
  26. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/04/19/359181/ukraine-jew-registration-hoax-traced/
  27. http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/04/21/ukraine-jew-registration-hoax-traced/
  28. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ukraine-crisis-where-viktor-yanukovych-one-year-his-ousting-president-1488867

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