Ukraine, rich in minerals, fertile soil and resources, has been under attack almost forever.
Russia tried to erase Ukrainian history while they ruled over the Ukrainians. Ukrainians weren't allowed to teach their history.
Kievan Rus reached the height of its power in the 10th century. Under the wise and popular Volodymyr the Great, the first Ukrainian state was expanded and consolidated. In 988 Volodymyr adopted Christianity. He began a massive church and school building program in Kiev. Kiev became a place of splendor and beauty. His successor Jaroslav the Wise, expanded Christianity and the many monasteries, etc. The first written code of laws in the Slavic world was Ruska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth). Recognized as the powerful, cultured state, his daughters married the kings of Hungary, Norway and France. And the royalty of Europe sent their sons to the Ukrainian universities of learning.
At this time Moscow was founded and it was a land of barbarians. In 1169 Andrew Bogolubsky sacked Kiev and everything of value was transported out. In 1240 Kiev was sacked again by the Mongolian chieftain, Genghis Khan.
In time three nationalities emerged: The Ukrainians, the Byelorussians and the Russians. In the 12th century Galicia and Volynia combined and retained the name Rus. In the 14th century Galicia was conquered by Poland, while Lithuania annexed Volynia and took control of Kiev. [This had nothing to do with current Russia.]
The rise of the Cossack organization, after the decline of the Mongol power, helped preserve the Ukrainian heritage was in eastern Ukraine. The Mongols retreated from Kiev. The principality of Muscovy grew in 14th & 15th century.
In 1648 Ukrainian forces defeated Poland and established a separate Ukrainian state. Ukrainian ruler Khmelnitsky agreed to a treaty with Muscovy [big mistake] which started Muscovy troops migration to be stationed in Ukraine. In 1649 Khmelnitsky’s successor Vyhovsky defeated the Russian armies at the Battle of Konotop.
Poles and Russias were opposed to a autonomous Ukraine and partitioned Ukraine along the Dnieper River: left bank went to Poles while right bank went to Muscovy [not called Russia yet].
Ukraine aligned with Sweden to defeat but were defeated by Czar Peter I at Battle of Poltava.
The Cossacks made two important contributions: they revived the democratic tradition of ancient Kiev and they provided the Ukrainian people with renewed hope for a independent Ukraine. For the next 122 years Ukraine was ruled by two imperial powers Russia and Austria.
Russia is claiming Kiev Rus’ legacy.
"So with changing the capital, he (Peter the Great) decided to REBRAND the whole country and appropriate Kiev Rus' noble history and that is how his order of 1721 appeared - to use name "Russia" instead of Muscovy.
Of course for that the history books were removed all over Ukraine and the whole history was brutally rewritten" [by Andy Lazko - January 21, 2020.] Ukrainians were denied their national identity.
When Russia took over the Rus name and legacy, Ukrainians adopted “Ukraine” means '(Living) on the Edge, Borderland, Defending Civilization'. Also means: “our land”.
Research from "The Ukrainians in America" by Myron B Kuropas. ISBN: 0-8225-0221-6
Ukrainians have been fighting this war for independence for centuries. Each generation of youth are ready to give their lives for a free Ukraine:
Below is the time-line of major events:
879 - Kiev was captured by the Varangians (Vikings)
1240 - Genghis Khan Mongolians sacked Kiev and controlled Ukraine
In the 14th century Galicia was conquered by Poland and Lithuanians took Volynia and Kiev.
1659 - Ukrainian Cossacks defeated Russians, but both Poles and Russians were opposed to autonomous Ukraine. In 1667 they partitioned Ukraine along the Dniper River.
1676- Turkish-Crimean Tatar army ravaged Right-Bank Ukraine
1735 - Crimean Tatars invaded Ukraine (a lot of wars with Turkey between 1686-1878)
1709 - Ukraine joined Sweden against Russia and attempted to unite the two Ukraines.
1768 - under Polish –Lithuanian commonwealth Polish & Lithuanians were landowners and Ukrainians were treated as serf.
1775 - the Zaporezhian Sich, the last remaining Cossack stronghold was destroyed by Russian army
1781 - eastern Ukraine formally incorporated into Russian empire
1876 - Czar Alexander II forbid Ukrainian language. He issued a proclamation forbidding the publication of all books and materials in the Ukrainian language. This continued throughout Russian occupation.
1917 - Russian Revolution overthrew the czar of Russia. All-Ukrainian Congress was held in Kiev. Start of the Ukrainian National Republic
Russian troops invaded Ukrainian republic and Ukraine's only hope against them was to sign an agreement with Germany for a free sovereign and independent state of Ukraine. With German and Austrian help they were able to rid Ukraine of Bolsheviks. Ukrainians were on both sides of WWI.
1918 - Germany signed the armistice with Allies and withdrew its troops from Ukraine. With the collapse of the old Austro-Hungarian empire November 17, western Ukrainians declared independence.
1919 - Nov 3, the two Ukrainian republics were formally united with a population of 35 million people
1920 - Polish invaded from the west, Russians invaded from the east. US treaties in 1919, 1920, 1921 & 1923 partitioned Ukraine -- to Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Polish and USSR.
1923 - Ukraine became known as UkSSR - Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
1932-33 - great famine Holodomor caused by Stalin (Krushchev admitted 10 million starved to death).
1941 - Hitler invaded Ukraine – Ukrainians naively believed Hitler’s promise of an independent republic. Greeted them as liberators. Big mistake. UPA first fought the Nazi’s but they took revenge on the whole Ukrainian population; killed 20 Ukrainian civilians for every Nazi soldier killed. Hitler divided Ukraine into 4 regions. Disunited, they couldn’t fight back well. Old Polish government in exile in England.
Ukrainians were forced to fight on four sides of WWII. Conscripted by German, Russia, Poland and UPA.
1944 - Ukraine back in Stalin’s hands. Big Three Yalta Conference (Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt) agreement split Ukraine between Poland and Russia along Curzon line. With America's help, Stalin was able to drive the Nazi’s out of Ukraine.
Huge population exchange followed in 1946-1947 called Operation Vistula. Ukrainians were afraid to say they had land in Poland because they would be considered Kulaks and routed to Siberia.
1950 – General Roman Skukhevich, Commander of UPA, kept the war going against USSR until 1950, five years after the end of WWII, killed in action.
1991 - Ukraine declares independence from USSR http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ukraine-declares-its-independence
2014 - Putin wants Ukraine back (first leg in rebuilding USSR), especially the valuable seaports of Crimea (called New Russia in 1783) and Odessa. Mar 2014 start of war in Eastern Ukraine (Donbass, Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine) by Russian-armed separatists. Obama allowed Russia to take over Crimea inspite of the agreement to protect Ukraine (See Budapest Memoradum on Security, 1994).
My Ukraine -- another Ukrainian history lesson: By Chrystia Freeland. Very in-depth report.
Chrystia Freeland is a journalist, author, and politician. She was a stringer in Ukraine, deputy editor of The Globe and Mail, and has held positions at the Financial Times ranging from Moscow bureau chief to U.S. managing editor. As an activist Ukrainian-Canadian, she has written several articles criticizing Russia's interventionism and supporting Ukrainian independence.
Freeland is author of Sale of the Century a book about Russia's transition from communism to capitalism, and the award-winning book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. Since 2013, Freeland has been a member of Canada's Parliament, representing Toronto Centre in the House of Commons.
Sep 14, 2015 Hello Olga,
I have to thank you very very sincerely for your excellent work on the internet on Ukranian history, it is a fascinating read and opened my eyes up even more to what the Ukranians have gone through.
I am Jewish by birth but not by belief, and have only had wonderful experiences with Ukrainians, both in the USA where I was born, and here in Prague where I now live. I was in Kiev in 2006 and only then for the first time learned of the Holomodor, which has never gotten any serious attention in the media.
I went to Ukraine the second time this year, by motorcycle, making a circle through Karpatia and Bukovina from Uzhgorod to Lvov, down to Chernivsti and back. It was an amazing trip, lovely people, beautiful nature, and I got to see as well how difficult life is for the Ukrainian people. But, as I said, they are wonderful in spite of everything, and pray only finally for peace and a decent life for them.
I hope one day we will finally have some peace, and that Ukraine is free, peaceful. I will return to Karpatia one day when they fix the roads. I had a great time, but I cannot say that my motorcycle was quite as happy :)
Jerry Salem email@example.com
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