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Chapter 29

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

History of the Ukraine
By Dmytro Doroshenko

printed by
The Institute Press, Ltd.
Edmonton, Alberta,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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 p630  Chapter XXX

 * * * *

(The numbers link directly to the sections.)

(201) Ukrainian Hetman State of 1918. (202) Foreign and Home Policy of the Hetman. (203) Uprising against the Hetman Skoropadski. (204) The Directory. Second Ukrainian-Russian War. (205) West Ukrainian Democratic Republic. (206) Ukrainian-Polish War of 1918‑1919. (207) Polish-Ukrainian Campaign Against Kiev in 1920 and the Peace of Riga. (208) "Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic", in the Russian Soviet Union. (209) Ukrainians in Poland, Rumania and Czechoslovakia. (210) Ukrainian Political Refugees.

 * * * *

201. Ukrainian Hetman State of 1918.

After his election Hetman Skoropadski published a Universal cancelling the law of land socialization passed by the Central Rada and announced an election for a Parliament (Seim), thus actually introdu­cing a Constitutional Monarchy. Owing to the fact that representatives of the moderate Ukrainian parties refused to accept offices offered to them by the Hetman he called men who, though Ukrainian by origin, had for the most part not taken an active part in the Ukrainian national movement but belonged to Russian political parties, chiefly to that of the Russian Constitutional Democrats. Fedor Lizohub became Prime Minister. He was a well-known man and an active representative of the Provincial Self-government (Zemstvo) and belonged to an old Ukrainian family of merit in Ukrainian history. All the Ukrainian parties immediately went into opposition against the Hetman and his government and, late in the summer of 1918, they formed the "Ukrainian National Union" (Natsionalny Soyuz) at the head of which stood Vinnichenko, former Head of the Ukrainian Secretariat. The National Union included all the socialist elements in opposition to Hetman Skoropadski and endeavored to create, parallel to the Hetman government, another unofficial government thoroughly nationalist in spirit.

 p631  202. Foreign and Home Policy of the Hetman.

The members of the Hetman government at once found themselves in a false position: they were the official government of the Ukrainian State but the majority consisted of men who had done nothing to win political independence for the Ukraine, and were opposed by the Ukrainian parties which wore the Ukrainian national colors. Supported exclusively by the land­owners and rich peasants and immediately adopting a very ultra-conservative line, Hetman Skoropadski soon became very unpopular among the mass of the population, peasants, workmen and democratic intelligentsia, who were mostly socialist and disappointed in their hopes of realizing socialist ideals. Already in the summer of 1918 small peasant uprisings began to take place throughout the Ukraine, supported by the Bolsheviks. The German and Austrian troops had to carry on exhausting guerilla warfare against them. The German and Austrian authorities, though they had officially recognized Hetman Skoropadski as Sovereign of the Ukraine at whose court diplomatic representatives of the Central Powers, Turkey and Bulgaria were accredited, nevertheless long retained the decisive voice in all Ukrainian affairs of State, the North-east of Ukraine with Kiev being occupied by the Germans and the South-west, including Odessa, by the Austrians. Until the autumn of 1918 the Austro-German military authority prevented the formation of a Ukrainian regular army, thus depriving the Ukrainian government of the possibility of carrying out any active policy. They indefinitely postponed the surrender to the Ukrainian government of the Black Sea fleet seized by them; hindered all their attempts to enter into relations with the Allied Powers and interfered in economic and commercial questions having only one object in view, namely, the fulfilment by the Ukrainians of their promise to furnish grain. The Ukrainian Hetman government was faced by a series of very complicated international and domestic problems. They had to emancipate  p632 themselves gradually from Austro-German influence and obtain first of all the recognition of the Allied and neutral Powers. They had to deal with the settlement of war relations with Soviet Russia and the establishment of relations with the States newly created out of the non‑Russian provinces of the former Russian Empire; Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, White Russia, Don, Kuban, Georgia and Armenia. Even more difficult was the task before them of stabilizing home affairs, where it was necessary to restore the normal functioning of a vast country shaken to its foundations by war, revolution, and the Bolshevik invasion. It was necessary to organize a regular army, to reorganize the administrative and juridical machinery disordered by frequent changes of power and to re‑adjust the economic life of the country, especially in view of the heavy obligations undertaken by the government of the Central Rada towards Austria and Germany in return for their military help against the Bolshevik invasion. There were urgent reforms to be made in almost all spheres of social and economic life in order to secure peaceful conditions in which the new State might develop its material and spiritual powers.

The Hetman government very energetically endeavored to solve all these problems. They obtained the ratification of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria. To open direct relations with Berlin, Hetman Skoropadski went to Germany in September, 1918, and established friendly relations with Emperor William II. After this the German authorities withdrew their objections to the formation of a regular Ukrainian army and surrendered the Black Sea fleet to the Ukrainian government. Diplomatic relations were established with most of the neutral States: all the Boundary States created out of the former Russian provinces sent their representatives to Kiev, and entered into friendly relations with the Ukraine. The settlement with Austria and Poland presented the greatest difficulties. When the Polish population actually became aware of  p633 the conditions of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, according to which the ancient Ukrainian province of Kholm with the Ukrainian population which for a few centuries had been united to Poland was now attached to Ukraine, they were very indignant calling this the "Fourth Partition of Poland". The Poles were still further disturbed when the existence of the secret treaty between Austria and the Ukraine became known to them. This contained the promise of the Austrian government to divide Galicia into two parts, the Eastern Ukrainian and the Western Polish. The Austrian government attributed great importance to the opinion of the Poles continuing to dream of an "Austro-Polish solution of the Polish problem", and gave way to the pressure of Polish public opinion, especially as it was supported by the Hungarians. Contrary to the obligations of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk the Austrian government did not allow the introduction of a Ukrainian administration into the part of the Kholm province occupied in the war by Austrian troops and in July 1918, through the Austrian Minister in Kiev, Count Forgách, declared the annulment of the secret treaty of Brest-Litovsk regarding the division of Galicia. The protests of the Ukrainian government were of no avail, especially as this time the Germans did not support them. In spite, however, of the conflict the Ukrainian government maintained friendly relations with the Council of Regency or the Polish government established by the Germans in the Polish provinces formerly belonging to the Russian Empire.

Endeavoring to unite in the Ukrainian State all the territories populated by Ukrainians, the Hetman Skoropadski's government announced their claim to the Kuban, Crimea, and Bessarabia. The Crimea of whose population the Tatars formed only 15%, the rest being Ukrainians, Greeks, and other nationalities, was linked to the Ukraine by its economic interests; the Ukrainian State especially wished to possess Sebastopol as the chief military port and base for the Black Sea fleet. In the spring of 1918 Ukrainian troops, expelling the Russians,  p634 advanced as far as Simferopol and were greeted joyfully by the population. But the Germans compelled the Ukrainians to stop their advance and evacuate the peninsula. They also hindered the Tatars from forming a government but gave over the power into the hands of the few remaining Russian officials, who formed a Provisional Crimean government in the hope of maintaining "Crimean independence" until it could again be united to the "restored Russian Empire". As the negotiations started by the Ukrainian government about the question of uniting the Crimea to the Ukraine gave no positive results, the Ukrainian government in September 1918, was compelled to declare an economic blockade of the peninsula. After a fortnight of blockade, the Crimean Russian government capitulated and the Crimea was united to the Ukraine with an autonomous Seim, territorial army and a State Secretary for Crimea in the Ukrainian Council of Ministers.

The Hetman government endeavored to obtain a similar union with the Kuban territory which, after expelling the Bolsheviks, had declared its independence. The Kuban territory which, since the end of the Eighteenth century (see Chapter 24) had formed the Kuban Cossack Army, was a purely Ukrainian land populated by descendants of the Zaporogian Cossacks. The government of the independent Kuban territory was in the hands of the Cossacks who wished to enter into relations with the Hetman government, but it happened that some of the Russian White (Tsarist) armies, those of General Alexeyev and Denikin, fleeing from the Bolsheviks, took refuge on Kuban territory. Being numerically stronger, they compelled the Kuban Cossack government to direct its policy according to their interests. Here also, as everywhere in the Ukraine, the Germans played a double game. When in the summer of 1918, the Kuban government asked the Ukrainian government to send them military help, the Germans prevented the sending of a Ukrainian expeditionary force to Kuban and at the same time enabled the Tsarist Generals to  p635 occupy Katerinodar, the capital of Kuban, and then declared they would not tolerate an armed conflict on Kuban territory between Ukrainians and Tsarist Generals. The delegation from the Kuban government was very cordially received in Kiev and both sides expressed their wish for union; in the meantime a series of treaties covering finance, commerce and transit were concluded as well as various other conventions which practically created a state of economic union between Kuban and Ukraine. The Ukrainian government also sent transports of arms and munitions into Kuban.

The question of Bessarabia was more difficult. The population of the country was very mixed: in the north and in the south Ukrainians lived in a compact mass forming about 30% of the total population of the country; Rumanians constituted about 40%; the rest were Bulgars, Jews, Russians and other nationalities. The country was intimately connected, materially and culturally with the Ukraine and the population expressed itself in favor of Union with the Ukrainian State. But during the Bolshevik invasion of the Ukraine the Rumanians had occupied Bessarabia with their forces and the Germans, when concluding peace with Rumania in the spring of 1918, recognized this occupation. In spite of appeal from the Bessarabia population which suffered under the harsh Rumanian regime, the Ukraine was not able to give them armed help, being prevented by the Austrian and German authorities. The Ukrainian government limited their action to diplomatic intervention and at last was compelled to have recourse to economic blockade. This last measure was effective: pressed on all sides by the hard peace terms of the Central Powers, Rumania was able to get the necessary products only from the Ukraine. A Rumanian diplomatic mission arrived in Kiev, asking for the renewal of trade relations. The Ukrainian government, without renouncing their claim to Bessarabia, accepted a provisional commercial treaty. Both countries established diplomatic relations  p636 postponing the solution of the Bessarabia problem to a more favorable moment.

Home affairs, however, presented the greatest difficulties to the Hetman government. On the arrival of Austro-German troops in the Ukraine, the land­owners had organized a reaction against the violence and disorder committed by the peasants during the Bolshevik invasion. The landed proprietors began to organize private armed detachments called "punitive detachments" (karni viddily) in order to recover from the peasants their stolen possessions, and exact from them a contribution for the damages committed. The creation of the Hetman government was seized by the land­owners as a suitable moment to intensify the operations of the "Punitive detachments", extorting contributions and endeavoring to return to pre‑revolution conditions. The Hetman government made every effort to put an end to the arbitrary action of the "Punitive detachments" but, nevertheless, it had to bear the whole odium of their violence which contributed to its unpopularity.

The Hetman government showed great energy in planning order and a return to normal conditions. It accomplished outstanding work in the sphere of legislation, organization of the administration and judiciary and the revival of industry and trade, in addition to passing financial measures. The highest judicial authority, the Senate, was created entirely afresh; the Province and Municipal self-governing bodies were reorganized according to more liberal principles than under the Russian Tsarist regime eliminating, however, all the extreme innovations of the revolutionary period. The railway traffic, shaken during the war and the revolution, was put in order in a comparatively short time; the production of coal mines and of the various factories was increased; in the realm of national finance the Ukrainian exchange was put on a firm basis; two Ukrainian Universities were founded in Kiev and in Kamianets in Podolia, and the three Russian Universities existing  p637 already of Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa, as well as Polytechnic Schools, were gradually Ukrainized; a Ukrainian Academy of Sciences was founded in Kiev; 150 Ukrainian secondary schools (Gymnasiums) were founded and all the primary schools were reorganized according to Ukrainian national ideas. A Ukrainian National Opera and a State Dramatic Theatre were founded in Kiev, as well as a national Picture Gallery and the National Library and a number of other cultural institutions. The Hetman government gave generous subsidies to all national cultural needs.

Although the personal national autonomy accorded by the Central Rada government to national minorities was cancelled by the Hetman government, national minorities such as Russians, Poles, Jews and others, were given complete freedom of cultural development. For example, secondary schools and Universities which existed under the Tsarist regime were left untouched and the necessary time was granted them for transformation into Ukrainian, while completely new Ukrainian secondary schools and Universities were founded.

The Russian language was left on an equality with the Ukrainian, which was declared the official language of the Ukrainian State. No differences of sex, race or religion were made between the citizens of the Ukrainian State: for example, the portfolio of Minister of Trade was given to a Jew.

203. Uprising Against the Hetman Skoropadski.

All these liberal reforms, however, did not satisfy the bulk of the population. In the most burning question of landowner­ship, the Hetman government passed merely palliative measures which in a peaceful normal time would have aided in the solution of agrarian difficulties but now, after most extreme revolutionary solutions had been proposed, the former seemed to be only pale and insignificant and gave no satisfaction to the masses among whom the Bolsheviks and extreme Ukrainian parties carried on extravagant propaganda. On the eve of his downfall,  p638 Hetman Skoropadski confirmed the radical law drawn up by his government regarding the compulsory sale to the State of all important landed property and its redistribution among the peasants with the aid of the State Land Bank, but it was too late.

In the same way the government did not consider it necessary to take into account the feelings of the Ukrainian intelligentsia, wrought to a high pitch of enthusiasm at witnessing their dreams fulfilled, and the national revival actually leading to the creation of a Ukrainian independent State. The Hetman government was too complaisant to Russians: it gave responsible posts in the administration to persons indifferent or even hostile to the Ukrainian national movement, officials who neither knew nor respected the Ukrainian language and who often, under pretext of controlling the Bolsheviks, arrested Ukrainians. All this created an atmosphere of reciprocal distrust between the Hetman and the Ukrainian intelligentsia and strengthened opposition currents. According a generous welcome to Kiev to anti-Soviet refugees from Russia, the Hetman government contrived to make the capital a hot‑bed of Russian plots and conspiracies, not so much against the Russian Soviet regime as against the independent Ukrainian State and the Hetman himself. All this brought the Ukrainian national parties of Socialist tendency to the point of uprising against the Hetman even with the help of the Bolsheviks. Under these circumstances, Hetman Skoropadski was quite isolated and was actually supported only by the Germans.

In the summer of 1918, the resistance of Germany on the Western Front was clearly weakening and nearing an end. The Germans no longer put hindrances in the way of the Hetman government seeking to establish relations with Allied Powers and also gave way in the question of the formation of a Ukrainian regular army. The Hetman opened negotiations with the "National Union" and formed a new Cabinet including several Ukrainian patriots to replace those of his former ministers,  p639 who were clearly unpopular for their Russian sympathies. But all this did not save the situation. In the meantime Germany entirely broke down and revolution broke out in the Reich early in November, 1918. The Hetman then hoped to rescue the Ukrainian State by getting the support of the Allied Powers, and in order to obtain this support decided to seek help from reactionary Russian circles. He dissolved his Cabinet consisting of Ukrainians, and formed a new one composed exclusively of conservatives and Russophils and published on the 14th of November, 1918, a manifesto declaring that the Ukrainian must first of all throw over the Bolshevik power in Russia and then unite with Russia in a Federation. But on the very day of the manifesto the long prepared uprising of the "National Union" against the Hetman broke out.

The insurgents won over the brigade of Ukrainian troops composed of Galician Volunteers, who became the nucleus of the insurgents' army which was joined, one after the other, by all the other Ukrainian forces. The uprising was conducted by a newly constituted government "Directory" consisting of five members, presided over by Vinnichenko. German troops, demoralized by the revolution in the Reich, could not give the Hetman any help and his only supporters were volunteers formed of Russophil Ukrainian elements and of forcibly mobilized officers of the old Tsarist army. After a month spent in defending Kiev, and seeing the complete hopelessness of his position, Hetman Skoropadski abdicated, and with the help of Germans secretly sought refuge in Germany. The army of the Directory entered Kiev.

204. The Directory. Second Ukrainian-Russian War.

The uprising of the Directory again revolutionized the whole of the Ukraine which had hardly calmed down, and led to another sweeping tide of Bolshevik ideas among the lower classes of the population. The poorer peasants eagerly joined the uprising but not in order to defend national ideals of political independence, but in order to get rid of the hated regime of "landlords",  p640 whom in their eyes Hetman Skoropadski represented. The army of the Directory rapidly grew to several hundred thousand men but as rapidly melted when the Hetman was overthrown. The Directory restored the Ukrainian Democratic Republic but was imprudent enough to destroy the whole governmental machinery organized under the Hetman. At the same time the extreme Socialists in the Directory again flooded the population with demagogic appeals, which only led to general anarchy.

The Allied Powers had, at the last moment, decided to support Hetman Skoropadski, seeing in him an advocate for the restoration of the old Russia but it was too late. A French fleet landed at Odessa a contingent of Greek and French colonial troops and for some time Odessa became the refuge of Russian anti-Soviet refugees now still further embittered against the Ukrainians. They succeeded in persuading the representatives of the Allied Powers in Odessa, in Jassy, in Paris and everywhere, that the Ukrainians were the same as Bolsheviks.

In the meantime the Soviet government in Moscow, which had sympathized with the revolt against the Hetman, now decided to try to get the Ukraine again into their power. Having declared that they were going to help the Ukrainian "workers" to get a "Ukrainian Socialistic Soviet Republic", they began in December, 1918, to advance their forces into the Ukraine. Thus began the second Ukrainian-Russian war. The army of the Directory, consisting of former Hetman troops and volunteers being reduced to quite an inadequate force, was not able to defend the Directory amidst the indifference of the masses fallen a prey to extremist demagogic agitation. Early in February, 1919, the Directory was compelled to leave Kiev. Shortly before leaving on the 22nd of January, 1918, the "Working Congress" (Trudovi kongres) assembled by the Ukrainian government took place, and renewed all the Socialist declarations of the Central Rada, including the Union with Galicia: this latter remained a declaration and was not put into effect.

 p641  205. West Ukrainian Democratic Republic.

Before the outbreak of the German revolution, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had ceased to exist. On the 16th of October, 1918, Emperor Carl published a manifesto to his peoples about the transformation of Austria into a Union of National States. Two days following this manifesto the "Ukrainian National Council" (Ukrainska Natsionalna Rada) assembled in Lvov and proclaimed the formation of a separate Ukrainian State out of all the Ukrainian provinces of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy; East Galicia, North Bukovina and Carpathian Rus, with Lvov as its capital. But East Galicia was also the object of Polish pretensions based on the secular Polish domination of Galicia (1340‑1772). On the 1st of November, 1918, Ukrainians occupied Lvov with their military forces and began to organize Ukrainian administration in the country and to form a Ukrainian army. The Ukrainian forces were, however, insufficient to hold Lvov with its preponderant Polish population. A Polish uprising against the Ukrainians soon broke out, desperate fighting taking place in the streets. The Poles received reinforcements from Cracow and after three weeks of stubborn fighting in the streets of Lvov, the Ukrainians left the city. Soon, however, they also received reinforcements from the Directory and laid siege to Lvov, bombarding the city. At the same time a Ukrainian-Polish fighting front was formed along the ethnographical frontier between the Eastern or Ukrainian and Western or Polish parts of Galicia. The "Ukrainska Natsionalna Rada" (Ukrainian National Council) after the evacuation of Lvov, transferred its seat to Stanislaviv and there formed the government called "West Ukrainian Democratic Republic", with President Eugen Petrushevich at its head. Though the Ukrainian National Council through their delegates at the "Working Congress" (Trudovi Congres) in Kiev on the 22nd of January, 1919, had proclaimed the Union of West Ukrainian territories with Great Ukraine, their government was practically independent, conducting  p642 their policy independently of the Directory. The position of this government was very difficult. The best Ukrainian forces, about 100,000 men, in the former Austrian army, were still at the Italian front and separated from Galicia by Hungary, where a Communist government had seized the power. In the south, the Ukrainians were menaced by the Rumanians who had already occupied the Ukrainian part of Bukovina. The Directory of Great Ukraine could not send more help as they were themselves retreating from the pressure of the Bolsheviks and were daily losing ground. A Galician army organized in haste, fought very courageously but were soon short of munitions, transport, clothing, medicaments and even food supplies.

206. Ukrainian-Polish War of 1918‑1919.

A Ukrainian Delegation sent by the Directory and the Galician Ukrainian government arrived early in 1919 at the Peace Conference in Paris, demanding recognition for the independent united Ukraine. Ukrainians hoped that President Wilson's Fourteen points declaring the rights of peoples to self-determination would also be applied to them. They were, however, bitterly disappointed. The Allies and especially Clemenceau, could not forgive them the separate peace concluded early in 1918 with the Central Powers in Brest-Litovsk. Moreover, the former Russian Tsarist statesmen had an important influence with the statesmen of the Allied Powers and succeeded in persuading them of the identity of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic with the Bolsheviks. Thus the Ukrainian conflict with the Poles found no sympathy in Paris at the Peace Conference. France, considering Poland her natural ally in the East and a bulwark against the Communists in Moscow, armed six divisions formed from American Poles and Polish war prisoners taken by the Allied armies, and sent them under the command of General Haller into Poland to help the Poles against the Bolsheviks. These fresh forces, armed and provided with all the new technical devices,  p643 instead of being used by the Poles against the Bolsheviks, were thrown against the Ukrainians on the Ukrainian-Polish front in Galicia and decided the issue of the Ukrainian-Polish war. Early in May, 1919, the Ukrainian army in Galicia was driven back from their positions as far as Bukovinian frontier on the south-west. Lvov was relieved from Ukrainian siege. It is true that the Ukrainian army, led by General Hrekov, by a hardy offensive in June of the same year recovered most of the lost territory, but complete lack of arms and munitions compelled them to interrupt their advance. The Poles took the offensive, pressing them again. The Ukrainian Galician army then decided to cross the frontier and go over on the territory of Great Ukraine in order to rest and, having helped the forces of the Directory against the Bolsheviks, to recommence the struggle for Galicia with united forces. At the moment of crossing the river Zbruch — the former frontier between Russia and Austria and now separating the Ukrainian Democratic Republic from its Western part, Galicia — in mid July, 1919, the Galician army numbered 60,000. The Galician government with Petrushevich, who was at that time proclaimed dictator, together with the army, crossed into the Eastern Ukraine.

207. Polish-Ukrainian Campaign Against Kiev in 1920 and the Peace of Riga.

In the meantime the Directory had lost almost all the territory of the Ukraine, where terrible anarchy broke out. Independent insurgent detachments were formed everywhere under individual leaders who left the Directory in order to join the Bolsheviks and vice versa, terrorized the population and massacred the Jews. The government of the Directory, torn between different political parties, was helpless to restore order. The Head of the Directory, Vinnichenko, a Social Democrat, after the first mishaps deserted his post and sought refuge somewhere abroad. His post was taken by the second member of the Directory, also a Social Democrat, Simon  p644 Petlura, who shouldered the whole burden of the struggle against the Bolsheviks. He had taken the town of the Supreme Leader of the Ukrainian army (Holovny Otaman) and practically became dictator. Petlura enjoyed enormous popularity with the masses of the Ukrainian population for his perseverance and courage. With the loss of Kiev, Kamenets in Podolia became for a time the capital of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic where the Galician government of Petrushevich had also settled down. Having with united forces driven the Bolsheviks out of Podolia, the united armies of Petlura and Petrushevich set out in August, 1919, toward Kiev. In a month's time the whole Ukraine of the Right Bank was freed of the Bolsheviks and, on the 31st of August, the Ukrainian army entered Kiev.

But simultaneously with the operations of the Ukrainian army against the Bolsheviks, Russian anti-Soviet troops under the lead of the Tsarist General, Denikin, also began an offensive against the Bolsheviks. During the summer of 1919 they occupied the Ukraine of the Left Bank and held Odessa. Denikin and the Russian political circles backing him would not hear of an independent Ukraine; in their eyes Ukrainians were the "Separatists" whom they hated as much as they hated the Soviet government. Their object was the restoration of a "united and indivisible Russia", and they wished no understanding with the government of Petlura. They did not even try to co‑ordinate their military operations with those of the Ukrainians. Thus Kiev was simultaneously occupied by the Ukrainians who entered the city from the West and by Denikin's army from the East; street fighting between the two anti-Bolshevist forces had already begun, and the Ukrainians, not wishing to ruin their capital, evacuated Kiev. This was the crucial moment in the successes of the Ukrainian army: the Bolsheviks very skilfully took advantage of the lack of understanding between their enemies and began by attacking the Ukrainians who were at the same time pressed from the south by Denikin's detachments coming from  p645 Odessa. A terrible epidemic of typhus broke out at that time among the Ukrainian troops, against which it was impossible to do anything as there were no medical supplies to be had. Receiving no help from anywhere, being faced by equally hostile Russian reactionary, and Russian Bolshevik, forces, completely cut from Europe, Petlura decided to enter into an understanding with the Polish government, seeing in Poland the natural ally against Moscow. But Petrushevich and the Galician government would not hear of any understanding with the Poles and preferred to enter into an understanding with Russians, Red or White. In consequence of the divergence of policy of the Galician and Great Ukrainian governments, the Galician army, decimated by typhus, went over to Denikin at the same time as the government of Petlura started negotiations with Poles. But Denikin, in spite of munitions and support he received from the Allied Powers, was completely defeated by the Soviet forces and, in February 1920, the remnants of the Galician army were absorbed in the Russian Red army. Their former three corps had melted down to three brigades, about 18,000 men, the rest having perished in battle or from disease. They did not long remain with the Bolsheviks and, irritated by their terrorist tactics, partly joined Petlura who at that time had formed a new army already in alliance with Pilsudski and the Polish government, and partly surrendered to the Poles. The Galician Ukrainian army thus ceased to exist.

Petlura, after the Galician army joined Denikin was left in a very difficult position. His immediate objective was to obtain active help from the Polish government against the Soviets. He started the formation of a new army on Polish territory. At the same time his army, under the lead of General Omelianovich Pavlenko, continued guerilla warfare against the Bolsheviks, going sometimes as far as the Dnieper and even crossing the river and inflicting on the Red troops a series of defeats and considerable losses, as for instance during his well known "Winter campaign" of 1919‑1920. In the spring  p646 of 1920, General Omelianovich Pavlenko rejoined the main forces of Petlura reorganized on Polish territory. On the 21st April, 1920, Petlura concluded, in the name of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic, in Warsaw, a treaty with the Polish government according to which he renounced Galicia. In return Poland recognized the Ukrainian Democratic Republic as being a Ukrainian independent State and promised active help in the struggle against the Bolsheviks. A few days after the treaty was signed the Polish Ukrainian forces began their campaign against Soviet Russia and entered Kiev early in May, 1920.

The allies did not, however, hold Kiev more than a month, and were obliged to retreat, pressed by the superior forces of the Soviet army. The Polish troops retreated as far as Warsaw, whereas the Ukrainian army by their stubborn resistance, hindered the Red forces from turning the Polish troops from the south-east and defended Galicia from Bolshevik pressure. The campaign was decided in battles near Warsaw, where Marshal Pilsudski succeeded in turning both flanks of the Red armies and utterly defeated them. In the autumn of 1920, Poland concluded a treaty with the Soviet government in Riga, having obtained Volynia, and the government of Ukrainian Democratic Republic was thus completely isolated. The small Ukrainian army holding western Podolia continued for some time to resist the Bolshevik forces, but when the Soviets, having defeated the Tsarist General Wrangel energetically supported by the Allied Powers, and forced him to evacuate the Crimea, threw all their armies against the Ukrainians, they were forced to retreat on to Polish territory where the Ukrainian army was disarmed and interned. The government of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic with the whole staff of the Ministries and a great number of civilians escaping from Bolshevik terror, became refugees. The Ukrainian government and the army did not at once lay down their arms. In the Ukraine of the Right Bank the peasants who now understood the whole ruinous  p647 significance of the Soviet government for them, carried on for several years guerrilla warfare against the Bolshevik occupation. Whole detachments of the former Ukrainian army secretly, but with cognizance and help of the Polish military circles, for some years were accustomed to cross the frontier and take part in the guerrilla war which distinguished itself by a number of highly dramatic moments. Ukrainians showed often very great heroism, but the forces were too unequal and after two or three years the armed resistance of the peasants was broken. Soviet power established itself in Ukraine, ruined and drenched in blood.

208. "Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic", in the Russian Soviet Union.

At the beginning, in consideration for the feelings of the population, the Moscow Soviet government proclaimed the "Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic" as a federate member of the Union of Soviet Republics. A separate Ukrainian Soviet government was formed with the Bulgarian Communist Rakovski as President. This government even had separate diplomatic representation and its own military forces, and took part in the conclusion of the Treaty of Riga. The activity of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences was renewed, the Ukrainian language was declared the State language and the teaching in the schools was continued in Ukrainian. The Soviet authorities began to invite Ukrainian intelligentsia who had left the country, to return, promising them freedom of educational and cultural work in the national spirit. Between 1924 and 1926 many Ukrainian scholars, including Professor Hrushevsky, literary men and journalists and a great number of teachers, etc., returned to Ukraine, and took part in the reconstruction of the economic and cultural life ruined by long years of revolution and wars. They adapted themselves as best they could to the conditions of the Soviet regime in the hope of evolution to more civilized ways. But the Soviet Moscow government feeling themselves more and more firmly in  p648 the saddle in the Ukraine, began to curtail the would‑be "independence" of the Ukraine Socialistic Soviet Republic more and more, until it became a fiction. The Ukraine became an ordinary province of Soviet Russia, and only nominally continues to be called a separate Republic in the Russian Soviet Union. Parallel to this curtailment the Soviet authorities began the collectivization of the agricultural production. This was a great blow and disappointment to the Ukrainian peasants who are profound individualists by nature, and are deeply attached to and imbued with the idea of private property in land. The Ukrainian peasants stubbornly resisted collectivization, but the Soviet government suppressed all revolts and opposition; for many years they continued to exile thousands of the more wealthy and independent peasants to Siberia and to the far North of Russia, and in order to utterly crush the resistance of the Ukrainian peasants, the Soviet authorities allowed millions of the population to perish from terrible hunger in 1932.​a Parallel to the persecution of the Ukrainian peasants, the Russian Soviet authorities started a campaign against the Ukrainian intelligentsia. Under the pretext of a struggle against the "nationalism" and "Petlurism" all Ukrainian institutions, including the Academy of Sciences, were completely abolished; monstrous political trials were staged resulting in the imprisonment and exile of thousands of Ukrainian scholars, literary men, etc., many being shot or exiled without any trial at all. During the last years when political terror in Soviet Russia has been fiercely raging, the forms it takes in Ukraine are particularly terrible and sweeping: under the name of "nationalism" and "Petlurism" all manifestations of Ukrainian cultural distinction and the most timid aspiration to a minimum of political freedom are destroyed.

[image ALT: A political map of most of Europe, cutting off only northern Scandinavia, western and southern Iberia, and the southernmost parts of Sardinia, Italy (none of Sicily is shown), and Albania, and most of Greece. The capitals of the larger countries are shown, as well as the Rhine, the Danube, and the Dnieper rivers, but not the Rhone, the Niemen, the Don, or the Volga. A portion of the land mass, corresponding to the present Ukraine, southeastern Poland, and small fringes of today's Belarus, Russia, Romania, and Slovakia, is heavily shaded: the area where ethnic Ukrainians lived. The borders of Belarus and Ukraine are indicated within the Soviet Union.]

Europe, 1923‑1939,
showing Ukrainian Ethnographic Territory

[A larger version, in which the placenames are more easily readable, opens here.]

209. Ukrainians in Poland, Rumania and Czechoslovakia.

After the occupation of Galicia by the Polish military forces and the loss of the Galician army, the Galician government with the dictator Petrushevich sought refuge  p649 in Vienna, from where they developed considerable diplomatic activity, endeavoring to make the Allied Powers recognize the independence of the Ukrainian Galician State. Indeed, the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers at first decided, on 21st November, 1919, that Poland was to hold Galicia only as a mandated territory for 25 years, according to a special Statute which guaranteed autonomy to Galicia, and to Ukrainians complete equality with the Poles. A little later the Council of the League of Nations confirmed this Statute, on the 23rd February, 1921, repeating that Poland was only to hold a provisory mandate of Galicia in the name of the Allied Powers. But on the 15th of March, 1923, the Council of Ambassadors of Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan, in order to stabilize conditions in Eastern Europe, definitely recognized the sovereign rights of Poland over the Ukrainian part of Galicia. The Ukrainian population of Galicia were long in relinquishing the hope that the Allied Powers would help them in one way or another, and refused to recognize their dependence on the Polish government. They refused all the compromises proposed by the Polish authorities, and boycotted the elections to the Seim in Warsaw. Petrushevich continued his activities in the press and before the League of Nations; but finally losing hope he entered into negotiations with the Soviets, in consequence of which many Ukrainian political refugees from Galicia went to Soviet Ukraine. The Galician population began to build hopes on the Soviets. Several years of the tactics of not recognizing the Polish authorities and boycotting brought detrimental consequences for the Ukrainians in Galicia. Polish political circles being constantly refused understanding, ceased to attempt it: the Polish government undertook a series of reforms in the administration of economic and especially educational matters, which strengthened the predominant position of the Poles in Galicia, and the Polish Seim in which there were no Ukrainian members from Galicia, confirmed all the decisions. Ukrainians did take part in the following elections and elected a number of Ukrainian  p650 members to the Seim and the Senate. These members, however, declared that the formation of an independent State was the ultimate object of Ukrainians, and continued to use sharp oppositional tactics. At the same time an "Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists" having its headquarters abroad, developed in Poland terroristic activity to which the Polish authorities on their side answered with reprisals. Ukrainian terrorists then murdered the Minister of the Interior and a number of other high officials. The situation seemed to be without a solution when among a part of Ukrainians disappointed in the tactics of implacable opposition, a certain inclination to a conciliatory attitude towards the Polish State was to be noticed. The sharp anti-Ukrainian policy in Soviet Russia introduced in 1930‑32 had considerably contributed to this since Galician Ukrainians lost every hope of any help from the Soviet government. The so‑called "normalization" (adjustment) of Polish-Ukrainian relations was initiated by the Polish government, according to which Galician Ukrainians in the elections of 1935 to the reformed Seim in Warsaw received 15 seats and 5 seats in the Senate. Ukrainian members who were elected on a "normalization" ticket declared their complete loyalty to the Polish State, voted for the budget and military credits, declaring that a strong Polish army was in the interests of the Ukrainian population in view of the extermination policy of the Russian Soviet government towards Ukrainians. However, long years of tension and hostile relations between the Polish and Ukrainian population had created a very heavy atmosphere of mutual distrust and the "normalization" of their relations is only very slowly advancing. The Polish government is bound to reckon with the public opinion of the majority of Polish population, especially of Poles in Galicia, who are brought up in traditions of rivalry with Ukrainians and the Warsaw government does not dare to make any more or less important concessions to Ukrainians. On the other hand, the Ukrainian population cannot forget their lost post‑war possibilities and have a sober appreciation of the  p651 realities of the situation. In these conditions the problem of Polish-Ukrainian understanding is still awaiting its solution.

Somewhat different are the Ukrainian-Polish relations in Volynia, which Poland annexed in accordance with the Treaty of Riga, 1920. One million Ukrainians here, not having had the advantage of a constitutional regime, which Galician Ukrainians had enjoyed under Austria, are considerably lacking in education and very backward in political development. Nevertheless, in 1923, Volynia succeeded in electing twenty members to the Seim. At first very revolutionary in their attitude, the action of the population of Volynia was reminiscent of the then recent Russian revolution. The Volynian members in the Seim at once took an irreconcilable attitude, and some of them even entered the Communist faction. This led to violent misunderstanding between the Polish government and the population. In recent times more moderate elements among the Volynian population have taken the lead and the situation seems to be getting quieter. In the last elections for the Seim of 1935 the Volynian members took a strictly loyal attitude towards Poland. They form a group separate from the Galician Ukrainians and represent above all the local interests of the Volynian population. One of the most important questions of Volynia is the Church: Volynian Ukrainians being all Orthodox demand the Ukrainization of their Church, completely Russianized under the Russian Tsarist government; one of the chief items being the introduction of the Ukrainian language into the Church service. They have succeeded in obtaining Ukrainian bishops in the two Volynian bishoprics and are gradually realizing their wishes concerning the Church. Ukrainian cultural life in Volynia as well as in Kholm is developing only very slowly owing to the lack of intelligentsia among them.

After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the Ukrainians of Bukovina taking advantage of their rights to national self-determination, founded in  p652 Czernowitz, on the 25th of October, 1918, their Provincial Ukrainian Committee (Ukrainski Kraevy Komitet) and the general meeting (viche) assembled a few days later and voted for the union with the Ukraine of the four Ukrainian districts in Northern Bukovina. But Bukovina was soon occupied by Rumanian troops who dispersed the Ukrainian volunteers and established a military government which has lasted until recent times. The Rumanian authorities destroyed all Ukrainian institutions and schools which were obtained under Austrian rule: such as Ukrainian chairs at the University of Czernowitz, and Ukrainian secondary and elementary schools. The Orthodox Church was completely Rumanianized. From time to time Ukrainians in Bukovina succeed in electing one or two members in the Rumanian parliament, but their votes carry no weight.

In 1918‑1919 one of the most backward Ukrainian territories, the Carpathian Rus, expressed a desire to be united to the main body of the Ukrainian State. After the declaration of the independence of the West Ukrainian (Galician) territory, the population of the Carpathian Rus began to take steps to unite with them. The Hungarian government then made haste to proclaim the autonomy of the Carpathian Rus and accorded certain concessions of the use of Ukrainian language in schools in the University of Budapest. But Hungary soon fell a prey to a Communist revolution and Galicia became the theatre of the Polish-Ukrainian war. The southern part of the Carpathian Rus was occupied by Rumanians, the rest with Uzhorod, capital of the private, was occupied by the Czechs who led a struggle against the Hungarian Communists. The population of the Carpathian Rus then decided to endeavor to unite with Czechoslovakia. In the United States of America, Ukrainian emigrants from Carpathian Rus declared the same wish, at the end of 1918, to Professor Masaryk and concluded, in Scranton, an agreement with him about the union and autonomy for the Carpathian Rus. But having occupied Carpathian Rus the Czechoslovaks were not in a great hurry to fulfil  p653 this promise of autonomy and the country was ruled by Czech officials. Taking advantage of the existence of two currents among the local intelligentsia concerning the use of the Ukrainian language or of an artificial adaptation of Russian, and of the differences and discussions between these two camps, Czech officials actually supported the Russophils which brought still more unrest into local affairs. In spite of this and of the unfavorable economic situation of the province having suddenly been cut off from its natural economic base, the Hungarian plain and united to the geographical distant Czechoslovakia, the Carpathian Rus began gradually to revive and from a Hungarian province completely neglected, both economically and culturally became under Czechoslovakian rule, a country which is rapidly progressing in all spheres of political, cultural and national life. In 1937, the Czechoslovakian government began gradually introdu­cing autonomy into Carpathian Rus, having increased the powers of the local administration bodies and founded a Provincial Seim. It is probable that the life of the Ukrainian population of Carpathian Rus will develop normally and that in a short time they will be the equals of their brothers in Galicia in culture and national development.

210. Ukrainian Political Refugees.

The revolution and the loss of the struggle for political independence have caused Ukrainian political refugees to cross the frontiers of their native country in numbers never before known. Both Ukrainian governments, the Ukrainian Democratic Republic and the West Ukrainian Democratic Republic, with their numerous ministerial staffs and State institutions, the army, and a great number of intelligentsia, were all compelled to seek refuge from the Red terror. The greatest number of refugees landed in the neighboring countries: Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Austria, also Germany and France. Petlura's army was, as we have said, interned in Poland where his government also found refuge; the refugees from Galicia  p654 mostly fled to Austria. Czechoslovakia received the Ukrainian refugees most hospitably: during the years 1922‑1932 thousands of Ukrainian youths were given the opportunity to study, the Czechoslovakian government paying the expenses of a Ukrainian University and a Pedagogical Institute in Prague and an Agricultural Academy in Podebrady. Prague became for a certain time the centre of Ukrainian cultural life in exile. This relief action of Czechoslovakia included all Ukrainian refugees, from Great Ukraine, Galicia and Bukovina. The Polish government also gave certain help to refugees from Petlura's party, their former allies. Among other things, the Polish government contributed to found a Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Warsaw in 1930. Ukrainian refugees also received an important help from Germany where a Ukrainian Scientific Institute was founded, in 1926, in Berlin.

Ukrainian political refugees in exile make it their national duty to continue working for their national cause by spreading propaganda in Europe and elsewhere and making known the Ukrainian problem and the idea of Ukrainian political independence as its solution. The government of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic continues to exist to this day and is recognized by most of the Ukrainian refugees as the lawful government of Ukraine; they have their groups and organizations of refugees in all the more important centres of Europe. When, in 1926 the head of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic, Simon Petlura, was murdered in a street in Paris by a fanatical Jew, behind whom (more than probably) stood the Russian Soviet government, his post was taken by Andrew Livitsky. Parallel to the government of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic, a group of Ukrainian monarchists, led by the talented historian and politician, Viacheslav Lipinsky, have united themselves around the person of the former Hetman Pavlo (Paul) Skoropadski, as the lawful pretender to the party of Supreme Head of Ukrainian State. There are also other Ukrainian political groups and organizations which conflict  p655 with one another on account of divergences in their political views, thus considerably impairing the progress of the Ukrainian cause abroad. However, they all, without distinction of political ideology, hold fast to the principle of Ukrainian political independence.

Ukrainian political refugees take an active part in the national cultural work of their countrymen and countrywomen in Galicia, Volynia, in Carpathian Rus, Bukovina and Bessarabia forming parts of Poland, Czechoslovakia and Rumania, as well as among the numerous Ukrainian emigrants on other continents, America and Asia. About 700,000 Ukrainians enjoy the rights of citizens of the United States, and about 300,000 those of the British Empire (Canada). These having unlimited freedom for national development, give considerable financial and moral support to their countrymen and countrywomen in Europe sharing vital interests in common with them.

In spite of their dispersion throughout the whole world, Ukrainians everywhere retain a consciousness of their national unity and live a common life of joy and woe, sharing also the unfailing hope that sooner or later the Ukrainian State will arise on the banks of the Dnieper with its historical capital of Kiev, and insure freedom of national development to the whole Ukrainian people.

Thayer's Note:

a Not a casual throwaway line: this refers to the Holodomor, a concerted genocidal campaign by Soviet Russia to exterminate Ukrainians by starvation. Full details are given by Manning, Ukraine under the Soviets, Chapter 10 "The Famine", and by the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, supported by a massive bibliography.

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Page updated: 14 Jun 22