At the present time Ukraine is a country, located in the southeast Europe. Lands of Ukraine mainly consist of fertile black soil steppes; this country also has a mountainous area, which includes the Carpathians and the Crimea chain. Ukraine is bordered by Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. In 2014 the Ukrainian land Crimea was annexed by Russia. This country is currently engaged into the war against pro-Russian mercenaries, who is coming from the west-south of Ukraine’s territory, called Donbass.
Ukraine was also known as “Kievan Rus” until the 16th century. In the end of 10th century (988) the Kievan Rus adopted Byzantine Christianity and became one of the most powerful countries of those days. During the next two centuries Kievan Rus was shuttering. The splitting and separating into principalities, combined with the wars against Magyars the Kievan Rus was weakened more and more, so in 1240 Mongols of the Golden Horde easily captured Kyiv.
During the mid-14th century due to Lithuania expanding Tatars were supplanted in Ukraine. The union between Poland and Lithuania opened Ukraine to expansion from Poland. After the 1569, Ukraine came under Polish rule, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was persecuted. In 1596 was developed the Uniate, or Greek Catholic faith, in case of confrontations between the Ukrainian Orthodox and Polish Catholic bishops.
The term Ukraine may be also translated as the “borderland”, according to the sad history of this country. At the time of rising of Muscovy, the harsh conditions, made by Polish rule led to creating the Zaporizhzhya Sich, the land to where many Ukrainians ran from the religious persecution. The “soldiers” of this military order called themselves as Cossacks, an adaptation from the Turkish word “kazak” – outlaw, adventurer.
Cossacks, led by Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky started the revolution against the Poland and their domination. Ukraine was too weak to fight the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, so Khmelnitsky asked Moscow for help. In 1654 was signed Treaty of Pereyaslav. According to the terms of this treaty, Ukraine has wide autonomy and was largely independent, but Moscow soon started to do the same as the Poland – to encroach the rights of this autonomy (for example, czar of Moscow called Ukrainians as “Little Russians”, when in the Moscow realm they called themselves as “Great Russians”).
In 1658 Cossacks tried to have a treaty with Poland, attempting to throw off Moscow protection. The Russo-Polish war ended in 1667, with a treaty which divided Ukraine between the Poland and Moscow: Poland obtained the right side of Ukraine, while the Moscow got the eastern part of the Dnieper River plus Kiev).
Hetman Ivan Mazepa tried to get independence to his county by supporting Sweden against Moscow in the Northern War, but they were defeated. The last hetman of Ukraine was forced to resign by Catherine, the Empress of Russia in 1764; The Zaporizhzhya Sich was destroyed by Russian troops in 1775.
During the 19th century there was nothing very special for Ukraine (literature, art and others are not included, only history). The most significant years of 19th century were 1848, 1863 and 1876. 1848 – The Austrian revolutions come, which bring Ukrainians of Galicia more rights and freed them from serfdom. 1863 – The Valuev Circular, which forbade Ukrainian language in schools, literature and religion. 1876 – The Ems Ukaz, which banned the usage of the Ukrainian language in print; this decree forbade the import of Ukrainian publications and banned staging of plays or lectures in Ukrainian language.
After the overthrow of the Russia czar regime in 1917, the central council of Ukraine had set up Mikhailo Hrushevsky as president. In 1917, June, Vladymir Vinnichenko as the prime minister and Simon Petlura as a war minister entered the government of Ukraine. Ukraine proclaimed them as independent in January of 1918 after the Bolshevik revolution. In 1919 there was a proclamation of the union between the W and E Ukraine, but soviet troops immediately occupied Kiev so Ukraine lost their independence. In 1922 Ukraine became one of the republics of the USSR. During the famine of 33-34 years many Ukrainians died because of imposed agricultural collectivization. All Ukrainian leaders, who opposed Stalin were executed and purged.
During the World War II a huge amount of Ukrainians welcomed the German army as liberators and supported them in the fight against the USSR. But however, because of the Nazi’s disdain against the Slavs, many Ukrainians turned into anti-Nazi fighters. The republic of Ukraine suffered many devastation during this war, as these lands were something like the battleground. About 1.5 million Jews were killed during the WWII, many were shot in Babyn Yar, outside Kiev. After the WWI the territory of Ukraine changed – Easter Galicia was added to Ukraine along with the Transcarpathian region. Also, there was an annexation of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954.
In 1991 Ukraine was declared as the independent country, with the Leonid Kravchuk as the first Ukrainian president. During the next 23 years Ukraine changed 7 Rada’s (Ukrainian parliament) and five presidents, and every president was worse than the previous. Also, during the independence term of Ukraine they had 2 revolutions, 2004 and 2014 revolutions: the Orange revolution and the Euromaidan revolution accordingly.
In present time Ukraine is in the state of war against the pro-Russian terrorists, which are supported by Russia’s government (they deny it). After the annexation of Crimea by Russia the invasion wasn’t stopped and the war spread over the south-eastern parts of Ukraine (these territories border Russia, so it isn’t hard to understand that without the support the pro-Russian rebel forces won’t have even a chance against the regular army). Russia unleashed a very powerful informational war against the Ukraine, calling them Nazis and Banderovtsy (the rebels from WWII who were fighting against the Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) and this propaganda had a great success, but it wasn’t enough to raise a great rebellion against the Kiev. That’s why there are used regular Russian troops, who wear unmarked uniforms. On 17th of July the Boeing 757 of Malaysian Airlines was shot down from the territory, controlled by the terrorists. On the 27th of August Russian regular troops invaded Novoazovs’k, in addition to Luhansk and Donetsk region.
The Ukrainian crisis still continues, everyday becoming even more gruesome, terrible and bloodshed. The territory of this county is a great, bleeding wound on the body of Europe. But still, even after the two votes (vote on their president plus vote on Verkhovna Rada parliament) they choose the corruptors from the previous governments, who are not much better than their previous president Yanukovich and his puppet-parliament.
As it can be seen, Ukraine is the country with a great, but sad past and present. People of this country try to earn their independence from century to century, fighting against numerous enemies over and over again. But one enemy never changed – Russia. From 17th century and until now Russia fights against the Ukraine and tries to enslave its brave and sublime nation. The example of Ukraine can show that even the small country, with the support from others can withstand against one of the powerful and big empire like Russia.
Without the help, coming from Canada, USA, EU Ukraine would be already colonized by Russian regular forces, because of its weak economics, army, and high nation passiveness. But it will be stupid to believe that Putin will stop on Ukraine. If he captures this country, his ambitions will only grow upon it. The hungry beast can’t stop by treaties and peace-requests; it only can be stopped by the heavy knock-out. The only chance for Europe not to be engaged into the slaughterhouse – to fight, using the hands of Ukraine, its army and people. They’ve already proved that everything they need – weaponry, food and clothes.
The future of Ukraine is foggy and unpredictable due to inadequateness of Putin and his “friends”. There are few ways for Ukraine:
- If Putin get knocked out from Ukraine, Ukraine will still have its foggy future, mostly depends on its people. If people of Ukraine fight corruption and the trash from their government – they have a chance to become one of the EU family, as a thriving country. Otherwise, corruptors will steal money, EU and America will refuse to sponsor such a country and here comes the 1st variant, with the bridgehead and invasions.
Ukraine’s future depends mostly on their people and countries that provide the needed help to Ukraine. Without this help, the country mentioned in this text will become nothing but something like Abkhazia or South Ossetia.
- Bassis, Volodymyr. Ukraine. Milwaukee, Wis: Gareth Stevens Pub., 1998.
- Raffensperger, Christian. Reimagining Europe: Kievan Rus' in the Medieval World. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard UP, 2012.
- Subtelny, Orest. Ukraine a History. 3rd ed. Toronto [Ont.: U of Toronto, 2000.
- Palij, Michael. The Ukrainian-Polish Defensive Alliance, 1919-1921: An Aspect of the Ukrainian Revolution. Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1995.