Ukraine History

By | January 8, 2023

Ukraine (State Flag)

Ukraine National Flag

The flag whose blue and yellow color can be traced back to the 1200’s, was first seen during a revolt in the mid-1800’s. During the short period of independence 1918-21, it was the official flag of Ukraine. The blue color stands for the sky and the yellow for the country’s extensive wheat fields. In September 1991, it was officially introduced again.

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Ukraine (Prehistory)

From southern Ukraine originate finds from the Old and Middle Paleolithic, including Neanderthal tombs in Crimea. From the time after 30,000 BC. (Late Paleolithic) the settlements of mammoth hunters are known along the great rivers; among the small finds are figurines of bones. In SV occurs after 6000 BC. the oldest agriculture. After 4000 BC. dominated the Tripolje culture with large settlements of up to 40 ha.

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The Bronze Age, after 3000 BC, is in the south characterized by cattle breeding cultures with burials under mounds. With the Iron Age, after 800 BC, half- and whole-nomadic cultures in the south dominated with extensive contacts to Asia. The Scythians built colossal, fortified tribal centers and had, among other things. a large iron production. Magnificent tombs in mounds have a legendary richness of richly ornamented gold objects and Greek luxuries (approximately 400 BC). The forest zone in the north still followed a slow development, where small, fortified settlements are common.

On the coast was laid from 500-tkKr. Greek colonies or city-states, Tyras on the Dniester, Olbia on the Dnieper and Chersonesos (Sevastopol) and Pantikapaion (Kerch) in Crimea. From here, food was exported to the Mediterranean countries. With new, foreign nomadic peoples like the Sarmatians in the last centuries BC. and with the expansion of the Roman Empire, conditions changed again. approximately 300 AD penetrated Gothic tribes, the Chernakhov culture, from Northern and Central Europe to the Black Sea, from where they in 300-t. invaded the Roman Empire.

In the forest zone in the north, Slavic culture developed, characterized by developed agriculture and technology (iron production, ceramics). Fortified settlements or castles are common, while houses are small.

Ukraine – history

The first state formation in Ukraine was Kyjiv-Rus from approximately 900 (see Russia – history until 1682). The Western Rus’ principalities of Galicia and Volynia developed after the amalgamation in 1199 into a center of power, which carried on the legacy of the Kyji War (see Galicia-Volynia). After the Mongol storm of 1240-41, Ukraine was consolidated by Prince Danylo (d. 1264), who in 1253 was crowned.

According to a2zgov, the Ukrainian lands came under Lithuanian and Polish control in the mid-14th century, and in 1569 Lithuania ceded its Ukrainian possessions to Poland when the common state was established. In the buffer zone of the Ottoman Empire, organized societies of free peasants and free traders emerged, emerging as Cossacks as a new military and political factor in the late 16th century.

Cossack States 1648-1711

The social and religious tensions during the Polish nobility were unleashed in the 17th and 18th centuries in peasant uprisings. A Cossack uprising of 1648-49 led to the formation of a Ukrainian Cossack state under Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who in 1654 swore allegiance to the Russian Tsar.

Poland and Russia agreed in 1667 to divide Ukraine into two zones of influence along the Dnieper. Polish landowners returned to the troubled western shores, leading to new uprisings, which helped weaken Poland.

The Cossack state on the eastern shore experienced a cultural flourishing, but self-government was significantly curtailed after the Battle of Poltava in 1709. The last remnants of independent state institutions disappeared in 1785, when Catherine II occupied the Cossack elite in the imperial nobility.

Empire times

From the partitions of Poland 1772-95 until 1914, the Ukrainian lands were divided between the Habsburg Empire and Russia. Galicia in the Habsburg Empire became the center of the Ukrainian national movement, first as a result of Josefinism, later encouraged by the revolutionary events of 1848.

However, it was not until a long-running cultural struggle and language dispute that Galicia’s Greek Catholic Ruthenians identified themselves as Ukrainians and made common cause with the Orthodox Ukrainians in the Russian Empire.

In the Russian part of Ukraine, the regime severely blocked any approach to Ukrainian political organization before 1905, After the January Uprising in Poland (1863-64), a strict ban on the use of the Ukrainian language was introduced. It effectively cuts off the national-minded elite from getting the peasant population to speak.

The Ukrainian Revolution 1917-20 and Soviet Ukraine

In connection with the collapse of the Russian Empire after World War I, a Ukrainian state, the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR), emerged in 1918, the president of which became the historian Mykhajlo Khrushchev.

The Red Army carried out three invasions in 1918-20, and Ukraine was effectively thrown out in the Russian Civil War. 1919-20 was marked by peasant uprisings, Jewish pogroms and a white military dictatorship. In a final attempt to secure the UNR, they abandoned Eastern Galicia and allied themselves with Poland. A Polish-Ukrainian army was led to Kyiv in 1920, but a Soviet-Russian counter-offensive drove it back to Warsaw.

The Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was a reality in October 1920. Eastern Galicia was incorporated into Poland in 1923, and approximately 5 mio. Ukrainians became second-class citizens here until 1939.

After several sufferings during the war communism and a famine 1921-23, Soviet Ukraine from the mid-1920’s reaped the benefits of the easing measures taken to legitimize the Soviet regime against the Ukrainian people.

The Ukrainian language and a persistent effort against illiteracy were used as weapons in the communist upbringing of the population. An industrial boom was financed by nationalizations and forced collectivization of agriculture. The peasants’ opposition to collectivization, unrealistic planning goals and violent grain requisitions led in 1932-33 to a famine catastrophe, which in Ukraine and in Crimea alone cost up to 5 million. human life. The man-made disaster is referred to in Ukrainian Holodomor as the ‘famine extinction’.

The transition to a planned economy marked a political turn to traditional Greater Russia centralism and a showdown with national communism, which culminated in the Ukrainian terrorist years of 1933-34. After new purges in 1936-38, the Ukrainians and the national minorities were subjected to Russification and ideological unification. The brutal purges greatly affected Ukraine’s Polish minority.

World War II and post-war period

As an offshoot of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the Soviet Union occupied the East Pole in 1939 and North Bukovina and Bessarabia in 1940. The war and the German and Romanian occupations of 1941-44 inflicted monstrous human and material losses on Ukraine. 28,000 villages and 700 towns were destroyed. Some Ukrainian nationalist groups supported Germany in the fight against the Soviet Union, and for several years after the war, nationalist partisans continued to fight the Soviet forces in the country. As a result of the extermination of the Jews and the deportations of Germans and Crimean Tatarsas well as population exchanges with Poland and Czechoslovakia 1944-46, Ukraine lost its multiethnic character. In the new Soviet Ukraine, the Russians constituted the only major non-Ukrainian population; in turn, the Ukrainian ethnic area was for the first time united in one state. After certain concessions to the Ukrainian national feeling during the war, traditional Russian nationalism was again put in the spotlight. However, Crimea was handed over to Ukraine in 1954.

In the mid-1980’s, Ukrainians emerged as loyal Soviet citizens. The majority of the population had adapted politically, but there was a small highly educated and nationally conscious Ukrainian population that did not allow itself to be assimilated. Gorbachev’s reform policies created expectations of change, but the Conservative Republican leadership blocked changes. After replacements in the party leadership in 1989, cultural associations and recently released dissidents formed a popular movement for the perestroika, Rukh. The movement was well represented in Ukraine’s parliament in the 1990 election. Rukh’s line of independence won support from a section of the old party elite led by Leonid Kravtjuk after extensive strikes. AfterThe August coup in Moscow 1991 Ukraine declared itself independent. At the same time, Kravchuk was elected president of a national communist program.

Ukraine after independence

Ukraine was structurally unprepared for independence. The political leadership focused on national and state consolidation and postponed radical economic and political reforms. However, the country quickly gained a share in international loan and support schemes, especially after the 1994 decision to scrap nuclear weapons from the Soviet era. Following the election of Leonid Kuchma as president, relations with Russia were normalized and separatist tendencies in Crimea and eastern Ukraine fell silent. Ukraine became a member of the Council of Europe in 1995. Despite the adoption of a Western-style democratic constitution in 1996, certain shortcomings and frequent political crises between the legislature and the executive hamper Ukraine’s further integration into European structures.

In the 1999 presidential election, incumbent President Leonid Kuchma was re-elected with 56.3% of the vote after defeating the left-wing rival in the second round. Prior to this, there had been a muddy election campaign in which two blocs consisting of different parties had faced each other. Kuchma played well here on the showdown with communism and on economic liberalization and continued rapprochement with Western Europe. The election underlined the noticeable dividing line between Western Ukraine and Eastern Ukraine, where the left (the Communists) in particular have their base. The president ousted reform-minded Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko in 2001 after disagreements over economic policies, after he had been in office for a year and a half. In the 2002 parliamentary elections, Yushchenko’s bloc of parties, Our Ukraine, in which parties originating from the popular movement Rukh, 23.6% of the vote. President Kuchma’s bloc, For a United Ukraine, achieved 11.8%. Kuchma’s policy then seemed to have assumed increasingly centralist features and was moving in the direction of a growing rapprochement with Russia. The second term of office of the President was marked by political scandals, and the general development led the Council of Europe to review Ukraine’s membership from 1995.

The biggest political scandal was the case of the assassination of a government-critical journalist in the autumn of 2000. Kuchma denied complicity, but in 2002 and 2003 the opposition organized mass demonstrations against him with accusations of corruption and demands for his resignation. When Kuchma could not be re-elected in 2004, his supporters bet on getting his prime minister since 2002, Viktor Yanukovych, elected president; this was also openly supported by Russia. Yanukovych narrowly defeated Yushchenko in the second round of elections in November 2004. However, it was clear that Yanukovych’s victory was the result of widespread electoral fraud, and the opposition took to the streets in the so-called Orange Revolution, following Yushchenko’s election campaign color.

The revolution resulted in the Supreme Court declaring the second round invalid and deciding that it should go around in December, with Yushchenko winning by a recognized vote with 52% of the vote over Yanukovych, who received 44%. Yushchenko appointed his comrade-in-arms from the Orange Revolution, Yulia Tymoshenko, as Prime Minister, and his seizure of power meant a marked change in Ukrainian politics with greater openness, more freedom of the press and law and order. However, his team was soon split and allegations of corruption were made among his closest associates.

In September 2005, Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko. However, both she and Yanukovych made a political comeback in the March 2006 parliamentary elections, in which her bloc received 22% of the vote, his Party of the Regions 32%, while Yushchenko’s bloc Our Ukraine received only 14%. Yushchenko had not lived up to expectations. Against this background, an orange coalition consisting of Tymoshenko’s bloc, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party, which together held 243 of Parliament’s 450 seats, began negotiations to form a government. According to the constitutional amendments that had been adopted during the presidential election crisis in December 2004 with effect from 1.1.2006, the president was to leave a significant part of his power to parliament and the government. After three months of negotiations, the Orange Coalition had to give up forming a government, the Socialist Party left the coalition and entered into a coalition with the Party of Regions and the Communist Party under the leadership of Yanukovych. This so-called “anti-crisis coalition” put an end to the protracted political crisis when it agreed with Yushchenko in early August 2006 on an agreement on national unity. On the basis of this political program statement, a government was formed with Yanukovych as Prime Minister and representatives of Yushchenko in the posts such as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense. On the basis of this political program statement, a government was formed with Yanukovych as Prime Minister and representatives of Yushchenko in the posts such as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense. On the basis of this political program statement, a government was formed with Yanukovych as Prime Minister and representatives of Yushchenko in the posts such as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense.

However, Yanukovych quickly broke national unity in an attempt to seize power from Yushchenko. By the end of the year, parliament had fired most of Yushchenko’s ministers, and in January 2007 the anti-crisis coalition, with the support of Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc, passed a law depriving the president of the right to personally appoint his foreign and defense ministers. In March 2007, a number of parliamentarians from Yushchenko’s Bloc Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc moved to the Yanukovych coalition, which then expected to have the constitutional majority of 300 of the 450 members of parliament soon and be able to vote down the president’s vetoes and amend the Constitution. To prevent this, Yushchenko dissolved parliament and called elections. This was the start of a protracted political crisis, which ended with the elections in September 2007. It was a great victory for Yulia Tymoshenko, who won 27 seats, and a minor defeat for Viktor Yushchenko’s bloc, which expanded with the party National Self-Defense went back by nine mandates. Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions won 11 seats and was still the largest party in parliament. Together, however, the blocs in the orange coalition could muster 228 seats and thus a majority of three. However, it took more than two months before the orange partners could agree to form a government with Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister. She was approved by Parliament on 18.12.2007 by a majority of one vote. However, the Orange Coalition lost its majority in June 2008,South Ossetia. Yushchenko sharply distanced himself from Russia’s actions towards Georgia, while Tymoshenko failed to criticize Russia. When parliament convened in early September 2008, the orange coalition disintegrated, with a majority of the Regions’ party, Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc, parts of Yushchenko’s bloc and the Communist Party voting in favor of significant cuts in the president’s powers. As a new parliamentary majority was not established within the given deadlines, Yushchenko called for an 8/10 election on December 7, 2008. However, it was not held.

Following Yushchenko’s accession, relations with the West improved and Ukraine reiterated its desire to join NATO and the EU. Both NATO and the EU reacted very positively to this reorientation in foreign and security policy. In the agreement on national unity, the parties reiterated Ukraine’s desire to be integrated into both the EU and NATO, while there was nothing about either the CIS or Russia. However, EU membership is unlikely to be considered in the foreseeable future, and in 2006 only 20% of Ukrainians voted in favor of NATO membership, which is to be decided by referendum. In early 2008, Ukraine expressed a desire to have a NATO membership action plan, but at the NATO summit in April 2008, Ukraine was only offered the prospect of becoming a member once in the future. At the EU-Ukraine summit in September 2008, Ukraine was promised an association agreement, but not EU membership. Relations with Russia were based on a 1997 cooperation agreement and the agreement on the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s base facilities in Sevastopol and Crimea. from the same year. In 2003, the friendship was put to the test in the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov, and the dispute over the demarcation here was still the subject of negotiations at the beginning of 2006, to which there was renewed unrest about the Black Sea Fleet. In June 2008, Russian President Medvedev warned Ukraine on the “serious consequences” of a Ukrainian membership of NATO, adding that it would be a breach of the 1997 agreement. In August 2008, unrest over the Black Sea Fleet flared up again in the Russian-Georgian conflict as parts of the fleet became relocated to the waters off Georgia, and Yushchenko spoke in favor of not extending the agreement on the naval base in Sevastopol, Crimea, when it expires in 2017. Russia also plays a crucial role as an energy supplier to Ukraine, which can only cover 20% of its oil. and gas needs. This was evident from the gas crisis between the two countries around the turn of the year 2005-06, when the Russian gas company Gazprom in January 2006 briefly closed gas supplies to Ukraine due to disagreement over the price.

Ukraine was hit hard by the international financial crisis in 2008. Exports of steel, the country’s main export commodity, collapsed and led to a crisis for the Ukrainian currency. In the 2010 election, Viktor Yanukovych succeeded in regaining the presidency. He immediately briefed Ukraine’s foreign policy in a more pro – Russian direction. Later in 2010, Yulia Tymoshenko resigned after losing a vote of confidence in parliament and was soon after charged and subsequently jailed for abuse of power – the charges are widely believed to have been politically motivated and drew international criticism. In June 2010, Parliament decided to abandon plans to seek NATO membership, but Ukraine continued its efforts to become closer to the EU.

In 2012, however, Yanukovych surprisingly decided – presumably after Russian pressure – not to conclude a near-negotiated association agreement with the EU. The decision provoked widespread protests in the streets of Kyjiv, reminiscent of the Orange Revolution. In February 2014, the situation worsened when it came to shootings and extensive unrest. A large number of opposition supporters were killed by the security forces and parts of the opposition also took up arms, developing the protests into a real uprising. It succeeded in getting a peace agreement negotiated in place with the assistance of EU representatives. The protests continued, however, and immediately after, Yanukovych fled to Russia. The opposition pointed to a new government and called elections on 25/3. Russia responded promptly. Most of Crimea was taken over by Russian-minded militias and by Russian troops, and the local, Russian-minded government called a referendum on the future affiliation of the Crimean peninsula, which gave a large majority for affiliation with Russia. In the eastern part of the country, during 2014, after fierce fighting by pro-Russian militias, large areas around Donetsk and Luhansk, which were declared independent people’s republics, were liberated. The militias received extensive materiel support from Russia, and actual combat units from Russia also participated in the battles. A serious setback came when a pro-Russian militia accidentally shot down a Malaysian passenger plane and killed all 298 on board a Russian missile. Russia rejected any knowledge of the shooting. A serious setback came when a pro-Russian militia accidentally shot down a Malaysian passenger plane and killed all 298 on board a Russian missile. Russia rejected any knowledge of the shooting. A serious setback came when a pro-Russian militia accidentally shot down a Malaysian passenger plane and killed all 298 on board a Russian missile. Russia rejected any knowledge of the shooting.

In an election in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko won. He has tried to win Western support as well as conclude a peace agreement.