November 18, 2016

The Ukrainian People and Ukrainian Statehood
in the Polish and Russian Historiography and Politics

The Independent Analytical Centre for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel” allows analysts to express their views on specific political, economic, security, information situation in Ukraine and the world at large, based on personal research and geopolitical analysis.

 

Note that the authors' point of view
can disagree with the editor's one.

 

 

The author of the work for the contest: a student of the Small Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Olga Rudyuk, a pupil of the Specialized School Number 200 named after Vasyl Stus

Scientific Adviser: Romanenko Tetyana Vasylivna, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of the Chair of socio-political sciences, globalization and social communications of the Institute of Law and Public Relations of the Open International University of Human Development “Ukraine”

 

Polish Scientists and Politicians on Ukrainians and the Ukrainian Statehood

Information about the oldest Ukrainian-Polish relations is in “The Primary Chronicle”, “Kyiv Chronicle” (1118–1199), “Galicia-Volyn Chronicle” (1205–1290) and other sources. They show a long and active ties between the two nations.

The image of a Ukrainian in Polish literature as the stereotype had been formed for centuries. In particular, Polish romanticists of the 18th–19th centuries promoted the idea of Polish cultural superiority over Ukrainians caused by the pro-western nature of the Polish culture.

One of the main issues of the history of Polish-Ukrainian relations, according to Ukrainian historian Dmytro Doroshenko, is the Cossack-Polish struggle which in the middle of the 17th century turned into the wide national and social revolution of the Ukrainian people. The Polish scientific historiography of the 60s–70s of the 19th century treated Cossacks negatively. To it, Poland's struggle against Cossacks was a struggle between two forces: the colonization, economic, cultural with rebellious and destroying, which had led to the bloody flood — Khmelnytchyna (The Ukrainian-Polish War, Cossack-Polish War, Cossack Revolution, national-liberation war of the Ukrainian people, Khmelnytskyi Uprising — the name of the historical period of 1648–1657 and the uprising led by Bohdan Khmelnytskyi as a result of which Rzeczpospolita lost its control over a part of Ukrainian ethnic lands, on the basis of which a Kossack state was founded with Hetman at its head — transl). These views were popularized in Polish literature by the known writer Henry Sienkiewicz.

Brought up on Sienkiewicz's works, Polish politicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, regardless of their party affiliation, unanimously set a goal to restore the Polish state not within the ethnographic, but within its historic borders with mandatory inclusion of Ukrainian lands. Relevant concepts were formulated, and the Polish political circles were actively working on the implementation of those concepts.

Roman Dmowski and Jozef Pilsudski

Roman Dmowski and Jozef Pilsudski

The leader of the Polish National Democrats Roman Dmowski substantiated the idea of ”incorporation”, i.e. including Ukrainian lands into Poland. According to it, Ukrainians as the “non-historical”, “non-state” people, were denied of the right to have their own state. Socialist Jozef Pilsudski proposed a federation program, according to which, would be restored Rzeczpospolita consisting of Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Ukrainian lands. At this, the leading political and economic role should be played by the Polish ethnic element.

So, the two influential and popular political doctrines on Ukraine — “incorporation” and “federation” ones — denied the Ukrainian people's right to self-determination and put forward claims to own Ukrainian lands.

These political concepts were implemented during the First World War.

In 1918, Poland with the help of Germany and Austria-Hungary, gained independence. After that Rzeczpospolita committed an armed aggression against Western Ukrainian People's Republic and occupied its territory.

The Ukrainians' desire to have their own state was not seen as a phenomenon similar to the Polish revival by the Polish politicians. For them it was just an anti-Polish riot that occurred in the original (as they thought) Polish lands and which threatened Rzeczpospolita's territorial integrity.

To legally secure the won by Poland, at the Paris Peace Conference the head of the Polish delegation R. Dmowski said that Ukrainians had nearly no intelligentsia and therefore could not form their own government. Finally, having promised to lease to France on favourable terms the Boryslav oil field, the Polish side managed to have the favourable for itself decision on the issue.

Coat of Arms of Poland (1919-1927)

Coat of Arms of Poland (1919-1927)

At the same time, R. Dmowski was persuading the representatives of the Entente that the Ukrainian People's Republic (UPR) as a state was anarchic, the idea of national independence among its people was very weak, so it was too early to think of Ukraine as an independent state of the whole Ukrainian people.

So, Poland prevented formation of a Ukrainian state in Eastern Halychyna (Galicia) and its unification with the UPR. Under the Riga Treaty of 1921, Poland and Russia divided Ukraine between themselves. The Polish scientists' historical conceptions turned for the Ukrainian people into war and the postwar occupation regime in the lands of Ukraine as part of Rzeczpospolita.

During the Polish People's Republic, historical science would mainly “debunk” non-communist political movements in Rzeczpospolita. After 1989, in Poland there were many scientific works on the Polish-Ukrainian relations during the Second World War and the postwar years.

Some Polish researchers (“revisionists”), try to correct the negative image of a Ukrainian established by historiography of the past. This direction originates from publications of the Parisian “Culture” and the underground “Solidarity”.

The rest of the Polish historians turned to the unacceptable for science path of distortion of the facts of the past. They (the so-called historians–“traditionalists”) include the Semashkos and the like.

Since the restoration of independence of Ukraine (1991), Ukrainian and Polish historians have been repeatedly trying to formulate joint answers to the “difficult questions” of the history of Polish-Ukrainian relations. However, the created by Polish historians and writers of the period of romanticism and introduced into the mass consciousness of generations of Poles negative image of a Ukrainian is still alive. In particular, in the article by Zbigniew Zagajewski “An Essay on the History of Ukraine in Terms of Its Relations with Poland”. This stays in the way of friendly relations between the two nations. Neutralization of these ideas should, in our view, be the prime task of all Polish governments.

 

Russian Scientists and Politicians on Ukrainians and the Ukrainian Statehood

The same can be said about our eastern neighbor. It is believed that the foundations of Moscow's state doctrine regarding Ukraine were laid by Prince Ivan III, who, following the example of Moscow Metropolitans, began to write his name in the churchly bookish form — “Ioann, by the Grace of God Ruler of All Rus”. By his new title, Ivan III expressed directly his claim to owning Ukrainian lands, which at that time were part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rus and Zhemaytia. After all, the idea of unity of the princely family from Kyiv to Moscow through Volodymyr was actively exploited by Moscow journalism in the late 15th–early 16th centuries. Deriving their family tree from a mythical Rurik, Moscow's rulers looked at Kyiv principality as at their rightful inheritance, temporarily seized by Lithuanian princes and Polish kings and which had to be won back (“freed” from the Lithuanian, and later — from Polish authorities).

Starets (Monk) of the Yelizarov Monastery Filofey and His Messages, Kyiv, 1901

Starets (Monk) of the Yelizarov Monastery Filofey and His Messages, Kyiv, 1901

The finishing touch of the creation of the imperial ideology was the doctrine of “Moscow — the Third Rome”, expressed in the two messages (late 1523–early 1524) of Starets (Monk) of the Yelizarov Pskov Monastery Filofey to Prince Vasiliy III. Its essence was that, after the Florence Union between Constantinople and Rome, and after the conquest of Byzantium by the Turks, the Greeks' role had to move to another, God's chosen people, obviously Moscow. Moscow — the Third Rome — had to replace the second Rome — Constantinople. This doctrine was the ideological foundation of political struggle for next generations of Russian politicians. Because the external form of the state is not important here, just like it does not matter whether we have to do with the idea of the Third Rome or the idea of the Third International.

The active implementation of this doctrine on the South-Western direction of Moscow's foreign policy has caused the Ukrainian people's heavy losses.

It had led to the elimination of the achievements of the National-Liberation Revolution (1648–1657) of the Ukrainian people led by Bohdan Khmelnytskyi.

The formation of the Ukrainian Cossack State, as the successor of the old Rus (Kyiv) state, resumed the interrupted by foreigners tradition of the Ukrainian state. It was a huge success of the Ukrainian people. It had to be consolidated in the very complex international situation in Eastern Europe and the major socio-political changes in Ukraine. Ukraine's military and political union with the House of Romanovs had to help this. However, after Moscow's numerous unilateral violations in the 17th–18th centuries of the Pereyaslav Treaty of 1654, the government of Empress Catherine II in 1764 abolished the Cossack state and turned Ukraine into a province of the Russian Empire. This title was granted to Muscovy in 1721 by Tsar Peter I's wish.

Lesser Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, 1983

Lesser Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, 1983

On this occasion, prominent Slavist A. Bruckner in his “History of Russia” said: “Peter I introduced the name Russia in order to mislead Europe, that Muscovy supposedly had not conquered Ukraine, claiming that Moscow and Ukrainian peoples were the same people that allegedly had common history, and that Mazepa's struggle did not have a national-state character but was an internal struggle for power in the state”. The government of Catherine II by altering chronicles, writing fraud chronicles, and other falsifications, substantiated the “legality” of appropriation of the history of Kievan Rus and created the basis for the historical mythology of the Russian state.

Through administrative enforcement, this mythology reigned the Ukrainian lands that were part of the Russian Empire for a long time. The outstanding historian Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi wrote that Russia through paradoxes and fraud, repeated for so long that those who listened to them, began to really believe in them, would mask, overshaddow the great historical, cultural, psychological, any border that for ages had been separating Ukraine from Russia.

But in the second half of the 19th century a new phase of the national revival began.

Educated young Ukrainians intensified efforts in the field of national ethnology. This pretty much alarmed the imperial government and the pro-governmental intelligentsia. There began administrative harassment of “Ukrainophiles” and ideological confrontation. The Ukrainian language was banned from being used in public life. Russification of Ukrainians got intensified.

For example, Knyaz (Duke) A. Volkonskiy falsified the meaning of the name “Ukraine” in his article “Historical Truth and Ukrainophilian Propaganda”, Professor P. Bohayevskiy published his tendentious “Adding Malorossia (Small Russia) to Muscovy”, Professor T. Florinskiy attacked the Ukrainian language in his “The Malorossian Language and “Ukrainian-Russian” Literary Separatism”, Professor B. Lyapunov promoted the “The Onenness of the Russian Language in Its Dialects”. This had lasted until the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I.

Analyzing the national-political situation before the war, a famous scientist V. Vernadsky pointed out that at that time a new generation of supporters of Russian imperialism was coming onto the arena, who “...recognize only great nations' right to create culture, and therefore doom the culture of the 30-million Ukrainian people to dissolving in the Great Russian sea”.

Taking an advantage of the war time, the Russian government intensified its attack on the Ukrainian national liberation movement. It closed almost all Ukrainian organizations and newspapers. It arrested and exiled to the North of Russia the universally recognized leader of the Ukrainian cultural and educational movement Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi. The wave of repression also covered the Russian-occupied Halychyna (Galicia).

The Russian army occupied Lviv on 3 September, 1914

The Russian army occupied Lviv on 3 September, 1914

The Russian army occupied Lviv on 3 September, 1914 and was there till the end of June next year. Ukrainian public and political activist Dmytro Doroshenko wrote about this: “The first steps of the Russian administration in Halychyna, which was headed by the Governor-General Count Alexei Bobrinskiy, were marked by special repressions against all manifestations of Ukrainian national life; immediately after the entry of Russian troops into the city — were closed without exception periodic Ukrainian editions, all cultural and educational societies, clubs, bookstores; it was forbidden to sell or keep at libraries all without exception books in “Malorossian dialect”, it was most strictly forbidden to use that “dialect” at all societies, organizations, courts, administration, finally there began arrests and expulsion of representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia, clergy and peasantry”.

The struggle against the Ukrainian national liberation movement did not stop after the fall of the tsarist regime. One of the leading Ukrainian politicians M. Mikhnovskyi describing the Russian-Ukrainian relations after the February 1917 revolution, wrote: “All the Russians want — a unitary (”uniting”) Democratic Republic, because the Russians want to continue their past dominance over Ukrainians, while Ukrainians want to get free from that dominance... The Moscow people — not this or that party, but the entire people — wants to be lord of the Ukrainian people. Hence the struggle between the two peoples. One struggles for its liberation, the other — for its dominance over the first one”.

This struggle got especially escalated after the Bolshevik Revolution in Petrograd. An apt characteristics of the Bolsheviks' actions was given by M. Hrushevskyi. He wrote: “This is a continuation under false demagogic Bolshevik slogans of the same task to destroy the Ukrainian nation, which had been set by a royal flock of police and apostates at the beginning of the World War...

In the pursuit of the fugitive from Moscow captivity — “khokhol”(Russian humiliating nickname for a Ukrainian), in the heat of fighting with him, the Bolshevik leaders without ceremony dumped the old slogan “the right to self-determination up to complete separation” and turned into “federalists” — very strange “federalists”, whose task was “uniting the democracy”, Great Russian and Ukrainian, and obviously — any other from the former Russian Empire.

I do not know how the idea of federation will endure and survive this hard blow of Lenins' and Trotskyis', calling themselves federalists.

It will be very difficult for someone, at least for a while, to call oneself a federalist, when Lenins and Trotskyis consider themselves federalists, and under this “federalism” is in reality a very bad terrorist centralism”.

In step with the “reds” were their official opponents from the “white” camp. Colonel A. Dotsenko, the Chief Ataman Symon Petlyura's Senior Adjutant, in his memoirs cites an extract from the order of the Commander of General Denikin's Volunteer Army dedicated to Ukraine: “By courage and blood of the Army one after another are being “liberated” “Russian regions”. I declare Russian the official language in all the territories. I call on all to fight for “one and undivided Russia”.

The Ukrainian People's Republic and the Western Ukrainian People's Republic

The Ukrainian People's Republic and the Western Ukrainian People's Republic

In 1917–1920, the neighbouring countries destroyed the Ukrainian People's Republic and the Western Ukrainian People's Republic by the armed force. The tradition of Ukrainian statehood was again interrupted. But it lived on in the memory of the people and constantly reminded the invaders about itself during peasant uprisings and political and military actions of the Ukrainian national liberation movement of the 20th century. This could not be helped even by the massive indoctrination of the population of Ukrainian lands under the foreign rule.

The restoration of Ukraine's independence in 1991 was perceived ambiguously in Moscow. The teaching in Russian schools and universities of the history of ancient Kievan Prince State (popularly — Kievan Rus) as, allegedly, of the initial phase of the history of the Russian state, not recognizing the 1933 Holodomor as genocide of Ukrainians, denial of the fair and lawful nature of the armed struggle of the Ukrainian national liberation movement against foreign (Russian included) invaders, testify to the Russian Federation's actual non-recognition of independence of Ukraine and its violating the acting Ukrainian-Russian intergovernmental agreements on friendship and good neighborly relations as well as of international obligations, particularly in the law of war, is an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and help to incite Ukrainophobia and ethnic hatred both in Russia and in Ukraine, and in neighboring European countries, wherever Ukrainian live and where there is Russia's information influence.

Russian geostrategist A. Dugin writes: “...Moscow should actively get engaged in the reorganization of the Ukrainian space according to the only logical and natural geopolitical model” which involves “geopolitical decomposition”, i.e. dismemberment of Ukraine.

As we can see, the modern historical science of the Russian Federation continues the imperial traditions on Ukraine. This does not add to equitable international dialogue and peaceful coexistence of the peoples of the two countries.

At the same time, the fact that intellectuals and politicians of neighboring countries have not risen to the level of objective coverage of the history of the Ukrainian nation and our national statehood should not shock us. They have always been guided by their own interests and will always do so. Because, according to experts, in international politics there are no friends, only interests. Our own interest is to eventually develop a clear state concept of the origin of Ukrainians and periodization of the history of the Ukrainian statehood.

 

Problematic Questions of the History of the Ukrainian People and of the Ukrainian Statehood

The Origin of the Ukrainian People

The origin of the Ukrainian people is the key question of Ukraine's national history, without answering which it is impossible to develop a scientific view of the stages of the development of the Ukrainian statehood. Unfortunately, so far the official national science has not created a true concept of the genesis of the Ukrainian people. In Ukraine still prevails the old Soviet version (based on the Russian imperial concept of the ancient Rus people) about the Ukrainian people's originating from the late Middle Ages (14th–15th centuries).

Mykhailo Hrushevskyi

Mykhailo Hrushevskyi

However, a prominent Ukrainian historian Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi (1866–1934) in his article “The Usual Scheme and Matter of the rational structure of the history of the Eastern Slavs” (1904) characterized the imperial scheme of Russia's history: “This scheme is old, it begins in Moscow scribes' historiographical schemes, and it is based on the idea of genealogy — genealogy of the Moscow dynasty... Moscow scribes could afford this — for them genealogical succession was enough, but modern science is looking for the genetic connection and has no right to link the “Kyiv period” with the Volodymyr period(as they are called inappropriately) as the stages of the same political and cultural process.

We know that the Kyiv state, law, culture were the creation of one people, Ukrainian-Rus; the Vladimir-Moscow state was the creation of a different people — great Russian... The Kyiv period developed not into the Volodymyr-Moscow period, but into the Galician-Volyn one in the 13th century, then into the Lithuanian-Polish period in the 14th–16th centuries. The Vladimir-Moscow government was neither heir or successor of the Kyivan state, it (Muscovy —transl.) had grown from its own root and its relation to Kyiv could rather be compared, for example, with the relation of Gallic provinces to Rome, but not with the succession of two periods of political and cultural life of France... The Great Russian history (this is “Russian History” from the 12th–13th centuries) — with the Ukrainian-Rus (Kyiv) beginning sewn to it — is just a deformed, unnatural combination, not some “commonRussian” history. After all, there can be no “commonRussian” history as there is no “commonRussian” people”.

M. Hrushevskyi was supported by the Ukrainian anthropology founder Fedir Vovk. The results of his research were presented in his book “The Ukrainian People in Its Past and Present”, published in Petrograd in 1916.

F. Vovk singled out Ukrainians into a separate Ukrainian anthropological type. Comparing Ukrainians' anthropological features with those of neighboring peoples, F. Vovk came to the conclusion that Ukrainians show the greatest affinity with southern and western (except for the Poles) Slavs and, as it was pointed out by the French anthropologists Deniker and Amy, belong to the Adriatic, or Dinaric race.

This can be confirmed by a short table from F. Vovk's materials (Appendix 1).

 Appendix 1

The Table of Anthropological Features of the Ukrainian People

 

Ukrainians

Russians

Poles

Height (average figure)

1,685mm

1,657mm

1,654mm

Bust

55.04

52.18

54.11

Arm length

45.7

46.0

45.7

Leg length

53.6

50.5

52.1

Scull index

83.2

82.3

82.1

Nose index

67.7

68.5

66.2

Facial width

180.0mm

182.0mm

181.0mm

Facial index

78.1

76.7

76.3

Hair and Eyes colour per 100 people

fair

15%

36%

32%

middle

45%

42%

50%

dark

40%

22%

18%

Some would think that the difference between individual peoples are too small and do not matter. However, these are average numbers, taken from thousands of measurements that clearly indicate the anthropological peculiarity of this human group.

”What does this table teaches us?” — Asks the founder of the Ukrainian geopolitics Academician Stepan Rudnytsky. And he gives the answer: “First of all it shows us (and very clearly at that) that the Ukrainian people have very little racial similarity with Russians and Poles, while those two peoples — our neighbours are very similar in appearance... We, Ukrainians, are a separate nation, we are neither polonized Russians nor Russified Poles, but a separate people even from the point of view of race, which cannot be said about Poles or Russians. Ukrainians' anthropological type shows their being absolutely independent from the Polish, Belarussian and great-Russian type”.

The fact that the Ukrainian people are different from Poles and Russians had been pointed out in travel notes and reports of diplomatic and foreign travelers, merchants and diplomats.

So, Ukrainians are an independent people, not a minor Polish or Russian tribe. Now we need to find out whether the Ukrainians in Ukraine are migrants or natives, indigenous people?

The famous scientist V. Khvoika championed the idea of a continued gradual ethnic development of inhabitants of the Forest-Steppe Ukraine against the local background at least from the time of the ancient agricultural Trypillya culture through the Scythian time to the Slavic age. The idea of the Ukrainian people's origin from the people of Trypillya was lately developed by B. Sherbakivskyi. Researcher V. Petrov also shared the same point of view. The idea of continuity of the archaeological cultures and continuality of the ethnocultural process in Ukraine was developed by the well-known expert on ancient history O. Znoyko.

Unlike Ukrainian scientists, Russian historian M. Pogodin stated that Kyivan Rus had been inhabited by velikorossy (great Russians), who after the invasion of Batu moved northwards, into Moscow woods. That is why Russians' coming (in the second half of the 17th century) into the Dnieper region — was, say, just their returning home, inhabited during the legitimate masters' being away by immigrants from Halychyna (Galicia) and Volyn.

M. Pogodin's pseudo-historical theory was denied by M. Hrushevskyi, who proved that there had never been any mass migrations from the Dnieper region to the North as a result of the Mongol invasion. M. Hrushevskyi considered Ukrainian history in its organic wholeness: from the beginning of the known from written sources life of ancient Slavic tribes until all the way into the 20th century. The first phase of the national Ukrainian history M. Hrushevskyi saw in the times of Ants (middle of the 1st millennium AC), insisting on the existence of a continuous line of the Ants' ethnic development to modern Ukrainians.

Of the four main versions: Trypillyan-Aryan, early-Slavic, Kyiv Rus and late middle-age ones — most convincing seems to be the first one, according to which the Ukrainian ethnos emerged no closer to us than in the 4th–3rd millennium BC.

The Trypillyan Culture

The Trypillyan Culture

Modern ethnic Ukrainians are cultural and spiritual descendants of the Trypillyan civilization. After all, the Trypillyan culture existed mainly in the lands of Ukraine. Secondly, the modern Ukrainian population is autochthonous in the area. And from the time of Trypillya it has not disappeared from here. Therefore, the genetics and traditions could not disappear either.

We borrowed from Trypillyans almost everything: houses, gardens, flower beds and wicker fences around houses, clothes and the art of embroidery, utensils and the ornaments on them, holidays, painted eggs, national cuisine. Our spirituality, honesty, kindness, peacefulness, respect for elders, mothers, women, and bread — they all are also from Trypillyans.

So, based on the analysis of artifacts, sources, historical records and scientific studies, one can identify common features in favor of the indigenous origin of Ukrainians. The main among them are as follows: a common anthropological type; language signs, thoroughly researched and studied by linguists, including toponyms and hydronyms; archaeological sites that share the features characteristic of only one area; main types of economic activity — agriculture and animal husbandry, that are observed throughout the historical vertical; works of art, including ceramics, which have characteristic features of only a specific geographical area; ideological and ritual system that was formed and has been functioning for a long time in Ukraine.

The modern Ukrainian language is full of words familiar to us which in their time were used by Trypilyans-Aryans. For example, khlib (bread), yachmin (barley), bureviy (storm), pluh (plow), holub (dove), iskra (spark), batko (father), zhyto (rye), kin' (horse) and many others.

As the Trypillyan civilization was the most archaic civilization on our planet, the old Ukrainian language in which communicated its carriers, is the oldest pra-language from which all the other languages derived. Mykhaylo Krasutskyi, a known linguist, in his book “Antiquity of the Ukrainian Language” (Odesa, 1880) wrote: “Comparing for a long time Aryan languages, I have concluded that the Ukrainian language is not only the oldest of all Slavic languages, including not only the so-called Old Slavonic language, but also Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and other Aryan languages“.

According to the Ukrainian researcher I. Yushchuk, our language is much older than Russian or English. It had been created, perfected and polished by our ancestors for thousands of years.

Lots of speculations have always been made by the enemies of the Ukrainian people around the name “Ukraina” (“Ukraine”). Some Polish historians said that “Ukraina” means borderlands of Poland to the East of indigenous Polish lands — “Kresy Wschodnie”. In turn, their Russian colleagues insisted that “Ukraina” is a “border land of Russia.”

Ukrainian scientists once rightly pointed out, that if it were really so, there would be at least 4 Ukraines around Russia: in the North, in the South, in the East and in the West of Russia. Instead there is only one Ukraine — west of Russia. The same applies to Poland. This means that both the versions (Russian and Polish) of the “okrayinnist”(“outskirtedness” — being a border land) of our country are unscientific. Ukraine has never been anybody's “border land”. The true meaning of the name “Ukraina” (“Ukraine”) one can learn from the works by Ukrainian scientists S. Shelukhin, I. Borshchak and other bona fide researchers.

 

The Question of the Ukrainian People's “unstatehoodness”

Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi “Illustrated History of Ukraine”, Kyiv, 1917

Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi “Illustrated History of Ukraine”, Kyiv, 1917

There is no defense for the thesis of “unstatehoodness” of the Ukrainian people. According to M. Hrushevskyi's History, from the end of the 4th to the 7th century there existed a state of Ants. Its successor was Kyiv State and later — Galicia-Volyn State.

Halychyna (Galicia) was won by the Polish king Casimir (Kazimierz) in 1349, but was finally included into the Polish state in 1387. So, Halychyna was part of Poland from 1387 to 1772 (for 385 years). However, the Polish administrative system was introduced in 1435. From 1772 to 1918 Halychyna was part of Austria-Hungary (for 146 years). During all those years, Ukrainians had been keeping and developing their language, culture and identity.

From 1360's Kyiv region and Podillya were under Lithuania. But the elimination of the independent Kyiv principality took place in 1470. Till 1568 Ukrainian lands were part of Lithuania (for 99 years). They also preserved a broad autonomy and culture. From 1568 to 1648 Ukraine was part of the federal Rzeczpospolita. From 1648 to 1764 it is the Cossack Hetman State. Zaporizhzhya Sich was abolished in 1775. And this means another 11 years of freedom. Ukraine was province of Russia from 1764 to 1917 (for 153 years).

From 1917 to 1920 — restoration of the Ukrainian State (UPR Ukrainian passports were valid abroad till 1924 and those of ZUNR — till 1923).

In 1939 — Carpathian Ukraine.

In 1941 — The Act (30th June) on the resumption of the Ukrainian State.

In 1991 — the modern Ukraine.

Now let's have a look at our neighbors. In 476, Western Roman Empire collapsed. France, Germany and Italy till 843 were part of the Carolingian Empire. After its collapse, in Italy we see the period of fragmentation, invasions and domination of foreign invaders. Germans, Normans, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Germans, Austrians succeeded one another. Only in 1870–1871, Italy became an independent state.

Czech Republic from the first half of the 10th century was in vassal dependence from Germany. From 1526 (completely — from 1620) to 1918 — is part of the Habsburg Empire (for 298 years).

Poland was formed at the end of the 10th century. Since the beginning of the 11th century it was Germany's vassal. Unification of Poland took place in the middle of the 14th century. It was divided between the neighboring countries in 1772, 1793, 1795. Gained independence in 1917–1918 (after 145 years).

The current Russia — for a long time it had been the Ukrainian Kyiv State's vassal. After the conquest by the Mongols (in 1238–1240) it was under the rule of the Tatar Khans. That rule lasted for more than 300 years. Some Russian historians believe that at that time there was no Principality of Muscovy, but there was Moscow Khanate instead.

State formations on the territory of modern Romania began in the early 4th century. They were in vassal dependence from Turkey, Poland and Hungary. Only in 1859–1861 the state of Romania was formed.

The Bulgarian state emerged in 679–681. It was destroyed by the Byzantines in 1018. Was restored in 1185–1396. Was conquered by the Turks and for almost 500 years was under their authority.

Hungarians won the Slavic territory where they now live, at the end of the 9th century. After the battle of Mokhacs (1526), Hungary was divided between Turkey and Austria. Till 1918 it was part of the Habsburg Empire.

Well, none of these countries has been always independent. But can we use the term “unstatehoodness” in regard to these peoples? Possibly not. We can't use it regarding the Ukrainian people either. Statements about the Ukrainian people's unstatehoodness are unscientific. As argued by historian Ilko Borshchak, the idea of the United Ukraine has been known to Europeans since ancient ages.

So, studies of Ukrainian scientists suggest that the Ukrainian people is a separate people with its own unique culture and millennial tradition of state in its native land. While unbiased analysis of theories of foreign researchers who deny this, shows their unscientific and political interest.

 

Conclusions

The most important feature of the modern world is a struggle of peoples for their place in history. Anyone who cannot withstand competition, is driven into a dead end from which it will never get out. We must stand.

The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine of August 24, 1991

The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine of August 24, 1991 

During past centuries, enemies stubbornly tried to throw us, Ukrainians, out of the past history of mankind. Polish chauvinists said that there were no Ukrainians, just some Ukrainian part of the Polish peasantry; Russian chauvinists said that there were no Ukrainians, but Malorossy (Lesser Ukrainians); supporters of modern “merger” of peoples, say that to develop Ukrainian nationality now is non-progressive. Such statements constitute a threat to the existence of the Ukrainian people.

The great expert in Ukrainian history, culture and lifestyle, Academician Stepan Rudnytskyi advised us to fairly and comprehensively study our ancestry and tradition of the Ukrainian statehood and to develop our Ukrainian national worldview. So the sacred duty of every Ukrainian is to know its people as deeply as possible, to develop a national worldview and based on it, jointly and unanimously with the countrymen to work for the good of our people, developing the long tradition of the Ukrainian statebuilding.

The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine of 24 August 1991 states that the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic solemnly declares independence of Ukraine, “continuing the thousand-year old tradition of statebuilding in Ukraine”.

This provision of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine could be a compromise for creating a state concept of periodization of the history of Ukrainian statehood. In case if the scientists and politicians on whom depends taking such a decision, understand the state's interest in this.

The historical tradition of statebuilding in Ukraine does not need anybody's decision. It was, is and will be as long as there is the Ukrainian people.