Daily Archives: September 24, 2006

AUR#762 Sep 24 We And The Empire: Ukraine’s Existence Within Empires & Some Enduring Historical Myths; Outstanding Concert, Sunday, Sep 24, 2006, 3 PM

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                             “WE AND THE EMPIRE”
    Ukraine’s existence within empires and some enduring historical myths.
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
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               –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
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1.                                    “WE AND THE EMPIRE”
      Ukraine’s existence within empires and some enduring historical myths.
      “An analysis of Ukraine’s existence in the Soviet empire prompts one
      banal conclusion: one should never place one’s country in dependence
      of decisions that are made outside its borders. In other words, one
      should never become a part of an empire. Unfortunately, the validity of
      this banal conclusion has yet to be proven to some of our compatriots.”

ARTICLE: By Stanislav Kulchytsky, Doctor of Historical Sciences,
Professor, Deputy Director, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest in English, Kyiv, Ukraine
#2 Tuesday, January 31, 2006; #3 Tuesday, 7 February 2006
#4 Tuesday, 14 February, 2006

                Sunday, September 24, 2006, Alexandria, Virginia, 3 p.m.
Chrystia Sonevytsky, Publicity Chair
The Washington Group Cultural Fund
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dr. Marko R. Stech, Managing Director, CIUS Press
Project Manager, Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine (IEU)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 2006

The Ukrainian Quarterly, New York, New York, September 2006

Dr. Marko R. Stech, Managing Director, CIUS Press
Project Manager, Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine (IEU)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August, 2006
                             “WE AND THE EMPIRE”
     Ukraine’s existence within empires and some enduring historical myths.

     “An analysis of Ukraine’s existence in the Soviet empire prompts one
     banal conclusion: one should never place one’s country in dependence
     of decisions that are made outside its borders. In other words, one
     should never become a part of an empire. Unfortunately, the validity of
     this banal conclusion has yet to be proven to some of our compatriots

ARTICLE: By Stanislav Kulchytsky, Doctor of Historical Sciences,

Professor, Deputy Director, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest in English, Kyiv, Ukraine,
#2 Tuesday, January 31, 2006; #3 Tuesday, 7 February 2006
#4 Tuesday, 14 February, 2006

I am writing a different foreword than the one I initially planned. I must
respond to a diplomatic scandal that broke out in the last days of the “gas
war.” When First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteiko was on Channel 5,
a viewer called and said, “You have an unfriendly attitude toward Russia
because you wrote in a newspaper that it is an empire that will fall apart.”

After Buteiko pointed out reasonably that he was not taking his words back,
since empires tend to fall apart sooner or later, the Russian foreign
ministry reacted instantly. The Ukrainian diplomat was officially accused of
an unfriendly attitude to Russia.

Should a person be offended when he is told that sooner or later he will
die? Should a government feel offended by a statement that its country will
one day exist in a different form? Both questions are identical. I believe
that this scholarly problem should not be instantly turned into a political

The only justification is that everyone in Russia and Ukraine was edgy
during the New Year celebrations. Although it was a gas war, it was
nevertheless a war.

I will summarize the originally planned introduction, because it is
necessary. A team of Ukrainian scholars is working on an eight-volume
Encyclopedia of the History of Ukraine. It is an analytical publication
rather than a reference source, a survey of modern knowledge about
Ukraine’s past against the background of world history.

After I prepared a series of articles for the third EHU volume, for the
entries “imperialism,” “emperor,” [imperator] “imperium,” and “empire,”
I decided to rewrite them in newspaper format for The Day. I am
convinced that the imperial problem is a topical one.


Arguments often arise because of vague concepts. We listen to our opponent
but do not hear him; we do not pay attention to the precise content of a
concept and lose track of the line between the identical roots of terms.
When this concerns history, which is not only an academic subject and
science but also a significant part of our consciousness, unpleasant
consequences may arise.

The historical awareness of influential politicians is crammed with myths
that prevent them from responding adequately to events. This also applies
to the imperial topic in which quite a few myths have accumulated.

We should start with the key concept of empire, or imperium. The existence
of this term simultaneously in the Ukrainized and original, i.e., Latin,
form indicates that it is seldom used. It is used mostly in its transformed
appearance, as a legal term.

Imperium is the right of a state to wield exclusive juridical power within
the limits of its national territory, including territorial waters and
airspace over land.

This term is absent in everyday language, although it has a precise meaning:
unlimited authority, including the right to dispose of citizens’ lives and
property. The point at issue is power, not the individual vested with it.
Everyday thinking is concretized, and we are interested not in an abstract
property but in the carrier of this unlimited power.

That is why the concept of imperium has not become part of our daily
vocabulary. Instead, a number of other, nearly synonymous, concepts, have
appeared, which indicate the carrier of power: dictator, autocrat, monarch,


A short and precise definition of the term “emperor” is: one who has an
imperium. The first emperors appeared in republican Rome, i.e., they were
not monarchs. The Senate of the Roman Republic bestowed this honorary
title on military leaders after a great victory.

Some military leaders were emperors several times. They had unlimited
authority over their armies, not only by virtue of their positions but as a
result of their personal authority.

The Roman Republic was becoming an empire while preserving the outward
signs of a republic. Octavian turned the military title of emperor into a
hereditary one for the head of state, and Vespasian expanded the content
with which it was filled (the carrier of unlimited power) to civilians.

This meant that the emperor was entitled to dispose of the lives and
property of his subjects. The Roman emperors went even further and
proclaimed themselves living gods.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the title of emperor was
retained by the head of the Byzantine Empire. In Western Europe, it was
reinstated by Pope Leo III who crowned Charlemagne (Charles the Great)
emperor in 800. After the fall of Charlemagne’s empire the title was
transferred to Germany.

Its rulers identified themselves as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the
German nation, a state formation that existed only on paper. Starting in the
15th century, this title was held almost continuously by the Austrian

In the new European history Peter I and Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to become
emperors. After signing a victorious peace agreement with Sweden in 1721,
the Russian Senate and Synod conferred on Peter I the title of emperor and
the appellations “Great” and “Father of His Native Land.”

Some countries protested the appearance of another emperor in Europe. The
Rzeczpospolita recognized the Russian emperor only in 1764.

Napoleon was crowned emperor of France in 1804. In 1806, when the Holy
Roman Empire of the German nation was liquidated, German emperor Franz
II became Austrian emperor Franz I.

In 1852, Napoleon’s nephew Napoleon III became emperor of France. He lost
power after the defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, and France once again
became a republic. In contrast, Prussian king Wilhelm I, after defeating
France in 1871, united Germany, proclaimed it the Second Reich, and donned
the German emperor’s crown.

Five years later Queen Victoria of Great Britain became the empress of
colonial India; a year later the Turkish sultan proclaimed himself the
Ottoman emperor. The monarchs of China, Japan, Siam, Brazil, Mexico,
Abyssinia, and several other countries began calling themselves by the
European title of emperor. The Japanese empire perished in the fires of
WWII, but the emperor’s title is still held by the head of state. No other
emperors exist in the 21st century.

3. EMPIRE —–

Empires are states that have fundamentally increased in size by
incorporating originally independent countries and/or stateless territories.
It is difficult to grasp the typology of empires because each empire was a
closed world with its own forms of life.

Perhaps the only common denominator was the presence of an emperor, who
wielded supreme power in every region of the motley conglomerate of formerly
independent states and stateless territories.

However, even here there were exceptions. Russia was an empire long before
Peter I was proclaimed emperor. The British Empire had no emperor and the
head of state was the king (queen). Japan is not an empire but has an

There are at least seven systemic signs by which an empire may be
distinguished from other types of states.

[1] First, the authority of the emperor, which had a sacred character. State
bodies were called upon to implement the sacred will of the head of state,
expressed in the form of laws and edicts.

[2] Second, the policy of imperialism, i.e., expansion, whose goal was to
add territory. As a rule, this policy was aimed at subjugating countries
that were weaker in military, economic, and cultural terms in order to
exploit their human and material resources and/or to colonize them by its
own population. Expansion could be implemented through conquest or
peaceful means.

[3] Third, the poly-ethnicity of a population alongside a politically
dominant ethnos.

[4] Fourth, the presence of a centralized government and hierarchically
constructed stratum of privileged state officials.

[5] Fifth, the existence of a state religion, ideology, and language.

There are two types of empires: traditional and colonial. The Roman and
Chinese empires were classic examples of traditional empires.

The Roman Empire represented a separate phase in the existence of a
civilization known at the time as Mediterranean, which is now called
Euro-Atlantic. The ancient Roman heritage has played an important role in
the history of the Euro-Atlantic civilization, even though the empire
disappeared 1,500 years ago.

The destiny of the Chinese empire took an essentially different course.
Nearly 35 centuries elapsed from the emergence of the Qing dynasty in the
Huang He river valley until the proclamation of the republic in 1912. During
that period hundreds of peoples inhabiting the subcontinent were being
transformed into a single people that had developed an original and advanced

So the fall of the last imperial Qing dynasty did not cause the country to
fall apart. Even the millions of Chinese living in the diaspora in various
countries remain true to the traditions of their forefathers.

The modern People’s Republic of China is not an empire but an almost
monoethnic country that displays an amazing ability to adapt the
achievements of global scientific and technological progress.

In the distant past, empires fell apart from the blows of other conquerors.
The last traditional empires collapsed during and after the Great War of
1914-1918. However, that war only strengthened the inner factors of
instability of imperial-type states, which had been accumulating in previous

Here I am specifically talking about the disappearance of the imperium in
the course of transforming absolute monarchies into constitutional ones,
and, more importantly, about the formation of nations. Nations are cramped
within imperial frameworks.

Colonial empires began to arise in the age of great geographical
discoveries. Within a couple of hundred years Spain, Portugal, England,
Holland, France, Belgium, Russia, and Germany turned practically the entire
world into colonies or spheres of influence.

Unlike traditional empires, which are composed of provinces with more or
less identical status, colonial empires were divided into a mother country
and colonies. In fact, the expression “colonial empire” is not very
accurate. It would be more accurate to say that states with colonies were
not empires as such; they possessed colonial empires.

There are two exceptions from this rule: in the case of Germany, it is
formal; but in the case of Russia, essential. Germany appropriated the
status of the former Holy Roman Empire of the German nation but remained a
nation-state, as a federation of German-speaking territories, except for
Austria. Russia became a colonial empire after conquering Transcaucasia and
Central Asia, but remained a traditional one.

Countries that owned colonies used them in a variety of ways. If colonies
had large populations with a highly developed culture, the colonialists
exploited their manpower and material resources in their own interests.

The Spanish and Portuguese aristocracies squandered the wealth of the
colonies, but in other Western European countries they became an important
factor in accumulating capital and laid the foundations of their economic

If the population of a colony was in the early stages of development and had
a small population, the newly ceded territory was settled by colonists from
the mother country

The North American colonies of Great Britain won independence in a war with
the mother country, after which the settlement of the continent by people
from many European countries acquired its own dynamics.

From the outset the development of the United States did not have an
imperial character, and it proceeded according to democratic principles,
despite the tragic lot of the aboriginal population and the existence of
slavery in the southern states until the mid-19th century. The Russian
empire demonstrated a different type of progress.

The colonization of Siberia and the Far East (by Ukrainians, among others)
resulted only in the huge territorial expansion of the empire.

The colonial states (which were joined by Italy between the two World Wars)
got rid of their colonies after the Second World War as a result of a
powerful national-liberation movement on the part of oppressed peoples and
the continuing democratization of the mother countries’ social and political
systems. In many cases the second factor was crucial.

The collapse of the British Empire proved to be the longest and at the same
time comparatively painless. This official name was given in the 1870s to
the totality of possessions of Great Britain throughout the world (colonies,
protectorates, mandated and trust territories) on which the sun never set.

At first the overseas territories settled mostly by British colonists lost
their colonial nature. Canada acquired the status of a dominion, i.e., a
self-governing territory, in 1867, the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901,
and New Zealand in 1907.

With time Ceylon (today: Sri Lanka) and several other colonies with their
local populace became dominions. In 1931, a separate act of parliament
replaced the term “empire” by “commonwealth.”

The British Commonwealth of Nations was being formed, i.e., a union of
formally equal states, based on “a common allegiance to the Crown.”
Substantial changes were made in the structure of the Commonwealth in
1949-52, which were aimed at asserting the sovereignty of its members.

The modifier “British” was dropped from the name of the Commonwealth, and
the principle of allegiance to the Crown was no longer mandatory. After 1965
the ruling organ of the Commonwealth became the conferences of its member

A permanent secretariat was formed at the office of the Commonwealth
Secretary, which took over the responsibilities of the British Cabinet of
Ministers and the Ministry of Commonwealth Affairs, the latter having been
abolished after the creation of the secretariat.


Interest in the imperial type of political organization and culture has
revived in modern journalism and history studies. Perhaps this may be
explained by the expansion of the European Union. Although everyone
understands the principal difference between the EU and an empire, certain
political scientists are beginning to ponder categories that so far exist
only in theory: post-national identity and post-sovereign nation.

On the other hand, the nation-states that were formed in Central Europe
after the Great War of 1914-1918 are no longer regarded as the only possible
type of political existence of human communities.

The American historian Mark von Hagen, who headed the International
Association of Ukrainian Studies until 2005, explained this by the awakening
of nostalgia for certain multinational, dynastic empires that could regulate
interethnic relations better than modern nation-states.

He is referring first and foremost to the Austrian Empire, which lasted
until 1918. Its nonexistence for almost a century is giving rise to a vacuum
in modern social thought; hence, the presence of idealized views on
inter-national relations in the Habsburg empire. In any case, this
idealization is clearly apparent in Ukrainian diasporic and post-Soviet

The Austrian Empire had a territory about the same size as modern Ukraine
(676,000 and 603,000 sq. km, respectively). Just as the Dnipro crosses
Ukraine, the Danube bisected Austria. Its population was roughly the same
size (over 51 million), which placed it third in Europe at the beginning of
the 20th century, after the Russian and German empires.

Not coincidentally, the Austrian monarchy was described as a patchwork
quilt. Over a period of several centuries the Austrian Habsburgs pieced it
together from many countries with different historical destinies.

It was inhabited by 12 million Germans, 10 million Hungarians, 6.5 million
Czechs, 5 million Poles, over 4 million Ukrainians, 3.5 million Croats and
Serbs, more than 2 million Romanians, 2 million Slovaks, and over 1 million

The country consisted of two separate states divided by a border along the
river Leitha: Cisleithania (the lands of the Austrian crown) and
Transleithania (the lands of the Hungarian crown), as well as Bosnia and
Herzegovina, which were annexed in 1908. Cisleithania comprised the
Principality of Galicia and Lodomeria and the Principality of Bukovyna,
where 3.7 million Ukrainians lived. Transleithania was inhabited by 470,000
Ukrainians (mostly in Transcarpathia).

The formation of nations in Central- Eastern Europe was delayed by at least
one century in comparison with Western Europe.

Transcarpathian, Bukovynian, and Galician Ukrainians practically did not
communicate. They were an ethnographic mass deprived of a political and
economic ruling class. Imperial bureaucrats did not deal with them but with
their masters-Polish, Hungarian, and German aristocrats.

Changes began with the Spring of Nations, as Western historians call the
revolution of 1848-1849. The clergy, as the only educated Ukrainian social
stratum, demanded that the ethnic lands be united into a single crown land
and granted autonomy. From then on this was the key demand of all Ukrainian
political forces until the end of the empire.

Emperor Franz Josef, who ruled from 1848 to 1916, had a long rule as
absolute and constitutional monarch. He was very flexible in his treatment
of his subjects representing various nationalities, which gave rise to the
legend about the wondrous tolerance of the Austrian Empire with respect to
the national question.

However, he made concessions only to the Hungarians, who were especially
insistent in their demands for political rights. In 1867 the empire was
divided into two separate multinational states: Austria and Hungary.

Czech demands for identical rights to the lands of the crown of Saint Vaclav
(Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia) were ignored. Slavs made up about one-half
of the empire’s motley population but did not form a single front of the
liberation struggle.

Moreover, Ukrainian and Polish interests were at odds. Both peoples claimed
the same territory. The Principality of Galicia and Lodomeria was formed out
of the eastern part of Galicia (Halychyna) with the center in Lviv (until
1772 it was known as Ruske voievodstvo) and the western, predominantly
Polish, part with its center in Krakow.

In 1997 Roman Szporluk, the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research
Institute, published an article in the journal Daedalus, in which he shed
new light on the historical destiny of Ukrainians in the Austrian Empire.

Before, historians stressed only one aspect of the changes in the Ukrainian
way of life after the transition from Poland to Austria: serfs were now
legal subjects and de jure human beings. Szporluk proved that Vienna created
a new dimension in the process of forming the Ukrainian nation.

Indeed, socioeconomic reforms, beginning with the abolition of serfdom,
created only the prerequisites for the formation of the nation. The attitude
of the state was important. The state, which was personified not by the
Polish king but the Austrian emperor, could create more favorable conditions
for the Ukrainians’ national rebirth. After all, the Habsburg Empire had no
reasons to impede the national rebirth of both the Ukrainians and Poles.

In his article Szporluk emphasized that the better organized Poles took
greater advantage of Vienna’s tolerant national policy. After 1772,
Polonization of the former Ruske voievodstvo in the Rzeczpospolita was
carried out more intensively than during the four preceding centuries, from
1370 to 1772.

The imperial government was more willing to make concessions in the national
question to the consolidated Polish forces than the disorganized Ruthenians.

In 1861, Galicia and Lodomeria acquired autonomy with a local sejm and
government, but both were dominated by Poles. Beginning in 1867, Polish
became the official language in the principality. All attempts to divide the
territory into Ukrainian and Polish parts failed. Polish organizations had
no desire to share territory.

As in the case of Galicia and Lodomeria, Bukovyna acquired autonomy in 1861,
but the Bukovynian Ruthenians also failed to obtain sufficient cultural and
ethnic rights. German remained the official language in Bukovyna.

A separate Ruthenian district was created in Zakarpattia in 1849. It was
dominated by Ukrainians, who were now able to enjoy broad autonomy in
education and self-government. However, after the formation of
Austro-Hungary the gains of the 1848-1849 revolution were destroyed.

The Hungarian government refused to recognize the Ruthenians as a separate
ethnic group. In 1868 the sejm in Budapest proclaimed the entire population
of the state the Hungarian nation.

The empire’s Ukrainian lands were in dire economic condition. Raw-material
industries (salt and oil extraction, lumber industry) were the leading ones.
Oil processing and woodworking lacked investments. Entrepreneurs did not go
where there was no qualified labor force. Most industries existed as petty
cottage industries.

The rural population suffered increasingly from agrarian overpopulation, the
inevitable result of the concentration of the greater part of arable lands
in the hands of landlords. In search of a better life peasants headed across
the ocean.

Nearly 300,000 emigrated from Halychyna and Bukovyna in 1900-1910, and
over 40,000 from Zakarpattia in 1905-1914. This became the foundation of the
powerful Diaspora in the US and Canada.

Socioeconomic conditions, historical memory, and the entire way of life of
the Ukrainian communities in the Russian and Austrian empires were markedly
different. Analyzing the amazing, at first glance, phenomenon of the
formation of one Ukrainian nation in empires that were hostile to one
another, Professor Szporluk noted two crucial circumstances.

[1] First, the Ukrainian lands in the Russian Empire had cultural resources
that allowed the Galicians to compensate for their cultural and social
backwardness; they made them competitive with regard to the Polish milieu.

[2] Second, in joining a unified Ukraine, the Galicians were becoming part
of a national community that was larger than Poland. Not coincidentally,
they called the Ukrainian lands in Russia “Great Ukraine.” Beyond the
borders of that Ukraine the Galician ethnic community was the numerical
equivalent of the Lithuanians or Slovaks.

On Jan. 22, 1919, two Ukrainian national republics that had emerged from the
ruins of toppled empires united in a single, independent state. This
historic event was preceded by decades of instructive work on the part of
Ukrainian intellectuals, who convinced their fellow countrymen that they
were one people. The intelligentsia followed in the footsteps of such giants
of the Ukrainian renaissance as Mykhailo Hrushevsky and Ivan Franko.

Learned Ukrainians were especially impressed by Hrushevsky’s article
“Ukraine and Halychyna,” published by the Literaturno-naukovyi visnyk
(Literary-Scientific Herald) in 1906.

In it the scholar warned his fellow countrymen against following the road of
the Serbs and Croats, two different nations that had one ethnic basis. He
argued that commonality of ethnic origin does not guarantee the emergence
of a single nation.

PART II ———-

In this second installment of Stanislav Kulchytsky’s study of world empires
and their role in Ukraine’s history, the historian focuses on the Russian


The concept of Russian history should be called Moscow-centric. It was
Moscow-centric from the very outset, even though the earliest mention of
Muscovy appears in a chronicle only in 1147. The works of the outstanding
Russian historians Tatishchev, Karamzin, Kliuchevsky, and Solovev draw an
equal sign between the history of the Russian Empire and Russian national

Together with the tsars these four did everything possible to distort the
historical memory of the Ukrainian nation and dissolve Ukraine among the
five dozen gubernias of European Russia.

Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s multivolume History of Ukraine-Rus’ revived national
history for the Ukrainians. However, neither Hrushevsky nor other
pre-revolutionary Ukrainian historians moved beyond the bounds of national

Meanwhile, for all Soviet historians the history of the USSR had become
their national history with the concept of Russian history inherited from
the works of Tatishchev and his followers and amended insignificantly
(Kyivan Rus’ as the cradle of three fraternal nations).

Only in the past decade have we started to gain a new perspective on the
problems of the formation of the Russian Empire, which has become possible
owing to the works of the German researcher Andreas Kappeler and Harvard
University scholars, primarily Edward Keenan and Roman Szporluk.

Russia was proclaimed an empire in 1721, but became one much later. Those
who share the widespread belief that the Russian state should be considered
an imperial one from the moment it annexed Ukraine in 1654 do not take into
account the events of the preceding centuries.

Finally, there are not enough grounds to say that the empire’s age should be
reckoned from the moment that great prince Ivan IV was formally proclaimed
tsar in 1547.

The word “tsar” is etymologically related to the Russian term “kesar,” which
is derived from the name of Ancient Rome’s first emperor Gaius Julius
Caesar. The Latin word “rex” is also translated as “tsar” in Russian. “Rex”
was the name of the legendary Roman rulers in the pre-republican period,
while its translation is a matter of habit.

We should look for the roots of Russian imperialism not in etymology but in
real historical circumstances. Andreas Kappeler dates the origins of the
formation of the Russian Empire to the 15th century.

A favorable historical condition for the emergence in Eastern Europe of a
new imperial state formation was created in the process of the gradual
disintegration of the Mongolian Empire of the Chinggisids and its separate
part, the Golden Horde. The Muscovite princes took the first steps toward
creating an empire of their own while they were still part of the Horde.
They did so by adopting a slogan that called for “gathering the lands of

The possibility for such an expansion was provided by the khans of the
Golden Horde, who from the time of Ivan I Kalita entrusted Muscovy with
collecting tributes from all the Rus’ lands that were under the rule of the
Golden Horde.

The biggest success of the Muscovite princes was the annexation of the lands
of Great Novgorod, which stretched from the Baltic and White Seas to the
Ural Mountains. The conquest of “fraternal” Novgorod by Ivan III was
accompanied by atrocious acts of genocide.

The Golden Horde broke up into six independent states: the Khanates of the
Crimea, Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia (these four were ruled by the
Chinggisids), the Nogai Horde, and the Great Muscovite Principality. After
securing independence in 1480, Ivan III continued his policy of “gathering
the lands of Rus’,” this time targeting the lands that were part of the
Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

The Muscovite-Lithuanian wars started in the late 15th century. Lithuania’s
inability to withstand Muscovite expansion forced it to unite with the
Polish Kingdom and create the Rzeczpospolita, a federation in which the
political positions of the Lithuanian gentry were subordinated to those of
the Polish nobility.

One of the most enduring historical myths is a belief that since the times
of Ivan III Muscovy had pursued a policy of reviving the Orthodox Byzantine
Empire, which had collapsed under pressure from the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Those who attempt to substantiate this foreign policy of Ivan III cite his
marriage in 1472 to Sofia Paleolog, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor,
and the adoption of the Byzantine double eagle as the emblem of the
Muscovite state.

However, it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that the return of the
Byzantine emperors’ heritage began to be used by the Russian Empire as an
ideological justification for its policy aimed at absorbing an already
weakened Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, in the 15th and 16th centuries
Muscovy’s goal was first and foremost to take over the heritage of another
empire – the Golden Horde.

Facts confirm that from the days of Muscovite Prince Ivan I (1325 – 1340)
the statehood of future Russia had been forming along the lines of the
Golden Horde. Feudal relations involving the dependence of vassals in a
feudal hierarchy and certain obligations of the sovereign with respect to
his vassals had not formed in the Great Muscovite Principality. The great
prince, and later the tsar and emperor, drew his support from nobility.

Nobles received land to use and later on to own, along with the enserfed
peasants inhabiting it. Each owner of such land and of the peasants living
there was essentially a kholop, a feudal serf of the great prince,
regardless of the size of his estate and the position he occupied in the
official hierarchy. The Asian- style socioeconomic system enabled the tsar
to maintain a powerful army and use it in his aggressive policies along the
entire perimeter of the state borders.

Pre-revolutionary Russian and Soviet historiography uses exclusively
negative expressions (“Tatar yoke”) to convey the impact of the Mongolian
Empire on conquered Rus’ and the life of the Rus’ principalities under the
Golden Horde. Horrible portrayals of the Mongol-Tatar conquest span the
entire period during which Muscovy was part of the Golden Horde until the
Muscovite Principality obtained its independence.

There is no doubt that the tribute paid to conquerors for nearly two and a
half centuries took a heavy toll on the peasants, who were forced to pay
double taxes. Nonetheless, autonomous existence within the Horde reinforced
the state machinery of the Great Muscovite Principality.

As Kappeler rightly notes, Muscovy took full advantage of the Mongol-Tatars’
accomplishments in the sphere of military and administrative organization,
taxation system, communications, international trade, and cultural exchange.

The Russian Empire had been expanding for four centuries. In the mid-16th
century it conquered the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan, after which the
Great Muscovite Principality turned into a polyethnic Russian state. In the
mid-17th century the tsar established control of Left-Bank Ukraine and Kyiv,
after which the western vector became the dominant one in the further
expansion of the empire’s borders.

Understanding the West’s technical and economic superiority over Russia, the
18th-century rulers of Russia adopted a policy of Westernization. This
helped them defeat Sweden in the long-lasting Northern War, seize the coasts
of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov from the Ottoman Empire, and stop
Napoleon Bonaparte’s aggressive forays. By the early 19th century Russia had
almost entirely absorbed the colossal territory of the former

The defeat of the Siberian Khanate in the late 16th century marked the
beginning of the empire’s unstoppable eastward expansion. In the mid-17th
century Russian pioneers reached the Pacific Ocean and founded settlements
in Alaska, moving along the western coast of the North American continent
toward California. The pioneers were followed by troops, collectors of taxes
for the “white tsar,” and merchants.

Russia’s own population settled Northern Asia in the same way as the Western
European colonists settled the sparsely populated lands of North America,
Australia, and New Zealand. With greater or lesser success (and failure in
America: in 1867 Russia had to sell its North American lands to the USA as
they were too far removed from the empire’s centers), these sparsely
populated expanses became the continuation of the Russian Empire.

The process of settling new lands was portrayed in heroic terms, but the
reality was often far from that. Equipped with firearms, units of Cossacks
and sharpshooters mercilessly exterminated the indigenous population.

From the early 19th century Russia launched its expansion in the direction
of the densely populated countries of Transcaucasia and Central Asia, with
their centuries-long history and culture that were different from Europe’s.
The absorption of these countries turned Russia into a colonial empire.

In the mid-19th century Nicholas I made a decisive attempt to take over the
Byzantine heritage and put an end to the Ottoman Empire. The military defeat
of the Turkish army was a foregone conclusion.

Large European countries faced the prospect of an emerging super-empire that
could stretch from the Californian coast of North America across Northern
Asia and Eastern Europe to the Ottoman Sultan’s African territories. For
this reason they joined forces and defeated Russia in the Crimean War.

The ruling Russian elite realized that they could no longer limit themselves
to superficial Westernization. The country had to carry out profound
modernization and, first and foremost, abolish serfdom.

Reforms implemented in the 1860s-1870s helped the Russian Empire preserve
its status as a superpower. However, the country was not competitive in the
international arena. The empire could not withstand the strain of World War
I and collapsed in March 1917.


The systemic characteristics of an empire include the presence of a
politically dominant ethnos, a state region, ideology, and language. In
Russia all these characteristics were combined in one: membership in the
Orthodox faith. A German, Jew, or Tatar could occupy higher official posts
if he adopted the state religion.

All other subjects of the autocratic tsar were classed as
 “foreigners”-second-rate people. They suffered because of their different
language, religion, and national traditions. The empire treated them with
tolerance but did not trust them.

When scholars or columnists attempt to define the status of Ukrainians
within the Russian Empire, they most often forget about this main
peculiarity of the social system in the autocratic Orthodox empire. By
overlooking it, we risk invalidating our own statements about the oppressed
status of Ukrainians, which are based on objective, empirical evidence.

First of all, Ukrainians, unlike Germans, Jews, or Tatars, did not have to
prove their devotion to the empire by converting to Orthodoxy. They were
Orthodox from birth.

Second, the empire did not view Ukrainians as people of another nationality.
It considered itself an heir not only of the Riuryk dynasty, which turned
the small Muscovite Principality into a superpower, but of the entire
historical heritage of Kyivan Rus’, including the population of the
gubernias on both banks of the Dnipro. This population was even deprived
of its own ethnic name.

To nominally distance itself from the empire’s dominant nation, in the 19th
century the Ukrainian intelligentsia was forced to change the ancient Rus’
toponym “Ukraina” into an ethno-toponym.

It seems that the nature of the Ukrainians’ status in the empire was most
accurately defined by the famous Russian scholar Aleksandr Miller.

In his book entitled “The Ukrainian Question” in the Policy of the
Authorities and Russian Public Opinion (second half of the 19th century),
published in St. Petersburg in 2000, he writes: “The attitude of the
empire’s authorities and Great Russians toward Little Russians and
Belarusians envisioned integration founded on the principle of equality

of individuals with the simultaneous refusal to institutionalize these groups
as national minorities, whereas with respect to non-Slavs and western Slavs
(Poles) the principle of individual equality was rejected, but their national
minority status was not questioned.”

Translated into ordinary language, this scholarly formula means: if a Little
Russian adopted Ukrainian identity, which ruled out his membership in the
Russian nation, unlike the representatives of other ethnic groups he was
seen as a traitor and separatist in the eyes of imperial officials and
Russian patriots.

It follows from this that the Ukrainian intelligentsia could not expect to
be treated with tolerance, as it defended its nation’s right to its own
literary language, national history, and culture, which were different from
Russia’s. If it had not done this, it would have stopped being a Ukrainian

By its mere existence it asserted Little Russians as a nation separate from
the Russians, thereby challenging the imperial elite. An educated person who
did not switch to Russian in his speech evoked suspicion as a separatist and
a “Mazepite,” i.e., a separatist. Although Little Russians were not
foreigners, they nevertheless had no right to have an intelligentsia of
their own.

Nonetheless, Ukrainians did not remain an ethnographic mass. The
nation-building process was objective and irreversible. Among the Little
Russians there had always been people who had excelled economically or
spiritually, but had refused to give up their national identity.

Those who followed the path of Taras Shevchenko were outnumbered by those
who chose the path of Mykola Hohol. However, quantity was not a decisive

If Russia was simultaneously a traditional and colonial empire, this prompts
a question about the status of the Ukrainian lands: Were they part of the
metropolis or should they be considered a colony? This is not a formal
question. In our days it has become the subject of debate, even though no
subject for scholarly debate exists here.

In Ukrainian books and journalistic works Ukraine is often portrayed as
Russia’s colony. But before we make this statement, two questions must be
answered. [1] First, did the imperial elite consider Ukraine a geographic
entity, i.e., a territory with defined borders?

[2] Second, if the imperial elite did not recognize the existence of the
Ukrainian nation on a certain territory, how could they formulate their
policy toward it? For the reasons mentioned above, it is quite clear that
only the Ukrainian intelligentsia could be in the imperial elite’s field of

Thoughts about the country’s colonial status emerged only after the
revolution, when Ukraine became a geopolitical concept for the first time.
The historian Ivan Lysiak-Rudnytsky rightfully questioned this concept. In
his article “Ukraine’s Role in Modern History,” published in the journal
Suchasnist in 1966, he wrote: “Some historians and economists, who worked in
the early Soviet period (Slabchenko, Yavorsky, Ohloblyn, Volobuyev), used
the term ‘colonialism’ to define Ukraine’s status in the former tsarist

The choice of this notion borrowed from the Marxist arsenal was not entirely
successful. Tsarist Russia had real colonies, such as Transcaucasia and
Turkistan, but Ukraine can hardly be considered one of them. The
administration viewed Ukraine rather as belonging to the nucleus of
indigenous provinces of European Russia.”

Indeed, attempts to prove the thesis about Ukraine’s colonial status clash
with the facts. After the peasant reform of 1861 the empire’s most powerful
economic region, Donetsk-Dnipro, emerged in a matter of decades.

Two waves of railroad construction in the 1860s- 1870s and in the 1890s had
an especially significant impact on Ukraine. The prewar economic upturn of
1910-1914 was also felt especially strongly in Ukrainian cities (alongside
the industrial areas of St. Petersburg and Moscow).

The imperial elite did not view the nine gubernias and Kuban oblast, in
which Russia’s first census in 1897 revealed a predominance of Ukrainians,
as a region different from the central gubernias, in which a certain
nationality policy had to be conducted. In fact, the census did not even
include a question about nationality.

In defining Ukraine’s borders in 1917, the Central Rada was guided by
statistics on native language and confessional affiliation, which were
collected during this census. When the Provisional Government was forced to
face the reality of the Ukrainian liberation movement and Ukraine itself, it
defined its borders according to the historical, not ethnographic,
principle: based on the territory of Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s Cossack state that
had joined the Russian Empire.

According to the 1897 census, after several centuries of colonization of the
Black Sea and the Sea of Azov steppes Ukraine’s ethnographic territory was
nearly twice as large as the original territory.

The refutation of the statement about Ukraine’s colonial status means only
one thing: the Ukrainians’ oppressed status in the empire should be proved
in a different way. All available facts indicate that the empire did not
notice the presence of Ukrainians. Poles or Jews were foreigners unless they
converted to Orthodoxy, and numerous discriminatory norms were used
against them in administrative practice and at the legislative level.

However, these very norms were proof that the imperial administration
recognized the existence of Poles and Jews as national minorities, i.e., it
recognized their right to their own language and culture. Discriminatory
norms did not apply to Ukrainians only because the authorities did not
recognize their existence.

The revolution of 1905-1907 made it possible for all the nations to assert
their right to their own language and culture. When the Ukrainian political
forces attempted to implement the declarative provisions of the tsarist
manifesto of Oct. 17, 1905, this immediately revealed the painstakingly
hidden norms of the imperial elite’s policy toward Ukraine.

In May 1908, when several State Duma deputies from the Ukrainian gubernias
proposed a bill to introduce Ukrainian language in public schools, the Kyiv
Club of Russian Nationalists was outraged.

Its statement read: “The introduction of Ukrainized schools is about
destroying the popular belief in the unity of the Russian people, about
implanting in the minds of Little Russians the idea of a totally separate
Russian people, about instilling in them spiritual discord with Great
Russians, national and political separatism.”

Ukrainians responded no less sharply to statements by such “patriots,” who
were thus voicing the tacit policy of the authorities. Mykola Mikhnovsky’s
programmatic brochure Samostiina Ukraina [Independent Ukraine] contains a
harsh response to similar statements: “Even if it had been proven that we
are only a different version of the Russian nation, even then the Russians’
inhuman treatment of us sanctifies our hatred for them and our moral right
to kill the perpetrator of violence in self – defense.”

Discrimination against Ukrainians was especially pronounced during World War
I. After entering Galicia and Bukovyna in 1914, Russian troops in a matter
of weeks destroyed the entire cultural infrastructure that had taken the
Ukrainians decades to build.

German and Polish schools continued to function, but Ukrainian schools were
immediately converted into Russian schools, even though the children did not
speak Russian. All Ukrainian periodicals were abolished. During the retreat
of the tsarist army in 1915 gendarmes deported Ukrainian intellectuals and
Greek Catholic priests to remote areas in Russia.


This installment concludes the publication of Stanislav Kulchytsky’s study
on Ukraine’s existence within empires and some enduring historical myths.


Alain Besancon, one of the West’s most authoritative researchers of Soviet
communism, made an observation that provides a key to understanding the
mechanism by which the Russian empire was transformed into the Soviet Union.

In his article published in the book The Concept of Empire, which appeared
in Paris in 1980, he pointed out that before the First World War of
1914-1918 Russia had serious prospects for resolving its social and economic
problems, but it had no chance whatsoever of resolving the national

A liberal, democratic, and modernizing policy of the imperial regime could
become a key to resolving socioeconomic problems. Only this kind of policy
could earn Russia the status of superpower among the Western democratic
nations, and no alternative existed. At the same time, such a policy would
result in a revival of oppressed nations, which would inevitably undermine
the empire from within.

To preserve the Russian empire in a world that had changed completely, the
empire needed to be given a different form and substance. If we begin to be
surprised by the foundations from which the Soviet Union emerged, we must
remember Besancon’s profound observation.

The architects of the Soviet Union had only one overriding goal: to prolong
the empire’s existence, possibly within its boundaries, and better yet in a
much larger territory. The form and even substance of this multinational
state formation were secondary to this goal.

The world truly changed after the First World War. This war accelerated the
objective transition from a traditional society founded on a medieval
hierarchy to a democratic society that was founded on citizens’ equality
before the law and did not recognize such a notion as empire. Empires became
an anachronism, while the changed world order brought nation-states into the

However, the civilizational crisis that materialized as the First World War
and the Great Depression of 1929-1933 spawned social mutations in countries
with especially high levels of social tension. Such countries did not
develop into democracies in which societies would control the state and
elect its leaders in free elections.

Instead, forces from the lower ranks of the popular masses came to the
surface of political life, forming nontraditional hierarchical structures,
taking control of the country, and exterminating their rivals. The state
established total control over their citizens, depriving them of any real
influence on political processes.

The first country to witness the triumph of totalitarianism was Soviet
Russia. The Russian revolution was marked by the almost immediate overthrow
of autocracy and spontaneous emergence of councils (“soviets”) of workers’
and soldiers’ deputies. While adapting to the councils’ demands, the
Bolshevik Party gained control of them from the inside and established its

On the heels of Russia a totalitarian regime was established in Italy.
Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Party came to power on the wave of a mass
movement and started building an Italian colonial empire.

Using revanchist slogans, Adolph Hitler’s National Socialists secured a
mandate of state power in an electoral struggle against the Communists and
Social Democrats. They proceeded to establish a single-party dictatorship,
proclaiming the Third Reich and attempting to spread their “new order” in
the rest of Europe.

Soviet communism was completely unlike fascism or Nazism, although it was a
totalitarian form of government just like them. The communist state had much
greater vital strength and capabilities because it not only dominated
society, but also merged with it in an integral system.

Designed by Vladimir Lenin, the unique political regime was characterized by
a symbiosis of state party dictatorship with the completely real power of
the Soviet organs.

The Soviets and their executive committees directly controlled social life.
For this reason the communist regime became nominally associated with Soviet
power. In reality, in every segment of the administrative-territorial system
Soviet government organs were subordinated to a corresponding Communist
Party committee.

Owing to the principle of “democratic centralism” that was at the core of
the state party and its subordinate organizational structures, power was
entirely in the hands of the top communist-Soviet leadership. This political
regime had unusual properties.

On the one hand, it reached deep into the masses through a system of
councils (soviets). Millions of people were invested with real, albeit
limited, administrative or controlling functions. This created the illusion
of a popular government.

On the other hand, the country was dominated by an invisible dictatorship of
Communist Party committees, i.e., one that was not reflected in the
constitution. These committees controlled everything, from elections to
Soviet organs of power.

In the tandem that was called “Soviet power,” Communist Party committees
and executive committees of councils had different organizational
structures. The nature of the state created by the Bolsheviks was determined

by the constitutionally invisible dictatorship of their party.

The party had an external camouflage in the form of a multimillion-strong
membership, but its nomenklatura was structured as a dictatorial
hierarchical structure. Therefore, in each country where Soviet power
prevailed, this country became part of a unitary state with a highly
centralized government.

Conversely, the Soviet organs of power were structured quite democratically,
in line with the constitution. The world’s most democratic Soviet
constitutions camouflaged totalitarian pressure on society, which was
generated by the Communist Party dictatorship.

While “gathering” the empire that had broken up, Lenin not only tried to
avoid a head-on collision with the national-liberation movement, but even
tried to use the protest potential of oppressed peoples in his own
interests. This strategy proved more effective than the primitive, coercive
method of restoring the “single and undivided” Russia, which was chosen by
the main adversaries of the Bolsheviks, the White Guard generals.

To restore the multinational empire, the Bolsheviks used the advantages of
the dual construction of Soviet power. Almost simultaneously with the
introduction of Soviet statehood in Russia, Lenin started to build a
national Soviet statehood. Ukraine became the main testing ground for
implementing a corresponding policy.

The nature of national statehood created by the Bolsheviks will become clear
once we analyze the statutory rights of the republican organizations of the
Communist Party. Their official names created the misleading impression of
independent political parties.

However, the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine was in fact a regional
organization of the unitary Russian Communist (Bolshevik) Party. It had a
central committee of its own, and party committees of Ukrainian gubernias
were subordinated to it.

However, the statutory rights of the Central Committee of the CP(B)U did not
exceed the rights of party committees in Russian gubernias, which were
directly subordinated to the CC RCP(B).

After the CC RCP(B) formed the Politburo, which concentrated absolute power
in its hands, ambitious Ukrainian communists succeeded in securing the same
title for the leading organ of the CC CP(B)U, while all other republics
simply had bureaus, not political bureaus or a Politburo.

When the CC RCP(B) introduced the post of General Secretary, Ukrainian
communists secured the same title for the head of the CC CP(B)U. (The post
of Ukrainian General Secretary existed until 1934.)

However, under the RCP(B)’s statute, the Politburo and Secretary General of
the CC CP(B)U had no more powers than the bureau and secretary of any
gubernia committee in the Russian Federation.

Even during 1917-1922, when the Russian empire, restored by the Bolsheviks,
existed as a country without a name, it remained a unitary, centralized

The conglomerate of the nine formally independent states (Russia, Ukraine,
Belarus, the Far Eastern Republic, the republics of Transcaucasia, Bukhara,
and Khorezm) were linked to the imperial capital in two ways: the main one –
via the dictatorship of the governing elite of the RCP(B); and an additional
one – through the direct subordination to the Soviet center in Moscow of all
uniformed services and some economic structures situated on the periphery.

National Soviet statehood functioned within the rigid parameters of a system
defined by dictatorship.

With the establishment of Soviet control over the Far East in 1922, the Far
Eastern Republic, which had previously functioned as a buffer zone, was
abolished. At the same time, the leadership in Moscow decided that it was
awkward for the state to carry on without a name. After the Civil War ended,
the victors viewed the independent national republics as an anachronism.

Combining the country with the state could be effected by “absorbing” the
national republics into the Russian Federation, i.e., by turning them into
autonomous republics. Scholars generally consider Stalin to be the author of
the idea to turn the “independent” republics into autonomous republics.

There is no doubt that he presented this project in his capacity as the
People’s Commissar of Nationalities of the Russian Socialist Federated
Soviet Republic and Secretary General of the CC RCP(B).

However, the central communist-Soviet apparatus considered such
autonomization as the only possible and quite logical way out of the
situation. The only alternative could be the further existence of the
republics as nation-state formations that were “independent” of Russia.

In analyzing the events of 1922, we should forget for a moment about another
alternative, which was Lenin’s brainchild and had not occurred to any other
politician before he voiced it.

In the absence of Lenin, who had just experienced the first onset of his
terminal illness, the organizing bureau of the CC RCP(B) approved a decision
to autonomize the national republics. It turned out, however, that this
decision was disputed by individual republican leaders, primarily CC RCP(B)
member Khristian Rakovsky.

This opposition should not be viewed as an attempt to preserve the
sovereignty of the Soviet republics, a sovereignty that did not exist to
begin with. They viewed the proposed demotion of republican status as a blow
to their prestige.

Lenin considered it best not to encroach on the interests of fellow party
members in the national republics to which he ironically referred as
“independents.” Moreover, he preferred to abandon the “infamous question of
autonomization,” as he declared in his Dec. 30, 1922, letter to the RCP(B)
leadership, and insisted on leaving the format of relations with the
republics unchanged.

While the leadership could put up with the dissatisfaction of fellow party
members, much greater danger would come from a wave of popular outrage in
the republics that were being deprived of their sovereignty.

Is there a conflict between this statement and the statement in the previous
paragraph that the national Soviet republics did not have any sovereignty
from the very outset? If there is such a conflict, it is hidden in the very
concept of national Soviet statehood developed by Lenin himself. It makes it
possible to understand how cunning and deceitful Lenin’s nationality policy
really was.

The leadership of the state party considered the autonomization of national
republics, I repeat, as a completely logical and the only possible way to
complete the process of “gathering” the lands of the former empire. However,
in his above-mentioned letter to the RCP(B) leaders Lenin called this idea
an “incorrect and untimely trick.” The autonomous republics were not states.

Autonomization would destroy constitutional national statehood, while
preserving only Soviet Russian statehood. This would revive a de facto
“single and undivided” Russia, which would be different from
pre-revolutionary Russia only in that some of its gubernias would become
autonomous national republics.

The Soviet Russian government was facing the specter of a
national-liberation struggle. Squeezed into the narrow frameworks of
autonomies, the nations that had gone through the crucible of national
revolutions would sooner or later rise to defend their rights.

Lenin proposed a fundamentally different way out of this situation. He chose
to build a centralized state not along Soviet lines, i.e., by abolishing the
national states, but along Communist Party lines. In these conditions the
sovereignty of national states was provided for in the Soviet constitutions,
but vanished in the invisible force field generated by the state party

The party chief agreed that the existence of a single country with several
states was inconvenient, that was why he offered a simple way out of this
inconvenient situation, one that no one before him had ever proposed: all
the Soviet states as of 1922 – the Russian and Transcaucasian Federations,
Ukraine, and Belarus – formed another federated state on equal terms, a
“second tier” federation.”

He also proposed a name for the newly created federation: the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics of Europe and Asia. Each of the republics making
up the Soviet Union had the constitutional right to secede freely from the

The unification of the Soviet republics into a single multinational state
would have been a noteworthy historical event if it were not for the state
party. In reality, the signing of the union treaty on Dec. 30, 1922, was
merely a ceremonial event that was planned in advance in the agenda of the
CC RCP(B) organizing committee.

This event was significant in that it only made the autonomization of
national republics impossible. In other words, national Soviet statehood was
not terminated.

Although Stalin occasionally accused Lenin of a liberal approach to the
national question, he fully appreciated the benefits of preserving national
Soviet statehood. Preserved in the 1936 Constitution of the USSR, which
Stalin could edit as he pleased, was a clause on the republics’ right to
secede freely from the union.

As long as the force field of Communist Party dictatorship was in place,
similar constitutional norms could not undermine this empire-like unitary

At the whim of state party leaders, the nations of the Soviet Union formed a
multilevel hierarchy. [1] The Russians occupied the top rung. [2] On the
rung lower were representatives of the nations that had given their names to
the union republics. In this connection the concept of “titular nation”

The [3] third rung from the top was occupied by the peoples in the national
autonomies within the union republics. The [4] fourth rung was occupied by
the “non-titular” nations, which did not have their own union or autonomous
republics. Thus, the USSR was structured on the basis of ethnocratic

Despite the limited powers of the republican centers, the Politburo of the
CC RCP(B) decided it was dangerous to form a full-fledged center in the
Russian Federation. Only the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR

was created in Moscow, which controlled secondary enterprises. Larger
enterprises were subordinated directly to union organs. There was no party
center in Russia, while gubernia party committees were subordinated to the

Thus, the Russians’ top spot in the hierarchy of nationalities was combined
with the absence of national statehood. Soviet Russian statehood was not
national but imperial.

Immediately after the creation of the USSR the Kremlin introduced the policy
of “indigenization”, which took the form of Ukrainization in Ukraine.
Although its main goal was to enroot Soviet power in the periphery, it
fostered a revival of national languages and cultures. Ukrainization was
implemented even in areas outside the Ukrainian SSR, which were densely
populated by Ukrainians.

In particular, the population of the Kuban, two-thirds of which was
comprised of ethnic Ukrainians, gained the opportunity to send their
children to Ukrainian schools, read Ukrainian books and magazines, and
listen to local radio broadcasts in their native language. With time
“national communists” started to hint that it would be fair to transfer the
Kuban district of the North-Caucasus Territory to Ukraine.

The national revival in Soviet Ukraine had a profound impact on the
political community of Western Ukraine. Dmytro Levytsky, the leader of the
most influential party of national democrats, wrote in the newspaper Dilo in
February 1925: “We are firmly convinced that, much like abstract communism,
the Soviet form of government is alien to the mindset of the Ukrainian

But as we register facts, we cannot make note of certain facts while
ignoring others. Therefore, we state the well-known and unquestionable fact
that the national idea is growing, strengthening, and developing in Soviet
Ukraine. As this idea is growing, the foreign shell of fictitious Ukrainian
statehood is filled with the native content of genuine statehood.”

The Kremlin chiefs valued the propagandistic merits of the demagogical
Soviet constitutions, but feared the prospect of a decorative national
statehood developing into real statehood, which could happen if the central
government became weaker.

For this very reason they deprived Russia of the attributes of national
statehood. For this very reason Ukraine, as the largest national republic,
from 1929 found itself at the epicenter of repressions designed to prevent
possible future manifestations of separatism.

This fear explains the organization of the famine-genocide of 1932-1933
under the guise of a grain procurement campaign. This fear also explains the
ban on Ukrainization outside the Ukrainian SSR and the colossal campaign to
exterminate the Ukrainian intelligentsia, which continued almost without
interruption until 1939.

In an attempt to conceal the anti-Ukrainian nature of the repressions, the
Stalinist regime with marked enthusiasm took pains with the flowering of
Ukrainian culture that was “socialist in content and national in form.” In
1934 the capital of the Ukrainian SSR was transferred from Kharkiv to the
national center of Ukraine – Kyiv.

The repressions of the 1930s defused for many decades the “ethnic bomb” that
was embedded in the foundation of the Soviet empire during the creation of
the USSR. However, the most discerning researchers in the West (much like
the mastermind behind these preventive repressions – Stalin) never forgot
that the Soviet Union could exist only within the force field created by the
state party dictatorship.

In his book [Weberian Sociological Theory – Ed.] published in New York in
1986 the sociologist Randall Collins spoke with certainty about the imminent
collapse of the Soviet Union. He predicted the outcome of the ethnocratic
principle on which this new type of empire was built: “The formal mechanism
of withdrawing from the Soviet Union is ready.

Fifteen most ethnically diverse regions are officially autonomous states
with a local mechanism of government. Now this autonomy is ineffective,
since the armed services, the monetary system, and economic planning are
controlled by central government organs, while political control is
administered by the single national Communist Party.

However, the significance of an autonomous- ethnic state structure is that
it contains ethnic definitions along with organizational structures that can
form the basis of truly separate states, if the central government becomes
significantly weaker.”

Collins predicted not only the collapse of the USSR but also the political
force that would accomplish this. This conclusion was self-evident: there
could be no civil society in a totalitarian country, and the communists had
always been the only organizationally established political force: “The
possible disintegration of the Soviet Union will most likely take place
under the leadership of former communist politicians. Taking into account
the communists’ present monopoly in the political sphere in the Soviet
Union, it will be difficult for political changes to occur in any other way,
at least initially.”

In convulsive efforts to overcome the socioeconomic crisis, Mikhail
Gorbachev set about improving the political mechanisms of the Soviet system
of government, which had not changed since Lenin’s time. The constitutional
reform that he initiated liberated the Soviet organs of power from the
dictatorship of the Communist Party.

The force field in which the union republics and Central and Eastern
European countries had existed suddenly vanished. The reformers could not
predict the resulting situation: the fictitious and propagandistic norms of
Soviet constitutions became operative.

The Baltic states and the Russian Federation, which had been politically
marginalized by the Kremlin, immediately took advantage of this situation,
followed by the remaining union republics. Divesting the CPSU of its state
party status brought about the collapse of the Soviet empire. Perestroika
spun out of the Kremlin’s control and turned into a revolutionary process.

At the core of the anti-communist revolution in the USSR, much like in any
other revolution, was the strongly expressed refusal of the popular masses
to be content with what they had. The Soviet political system along with its
command economy appeared to be an anachronism against the background of
accelerated scientific, technical, and socioeconomic progress in the West.

However, unlike during earlier social cataclysms, the driving force behind
the anti-communist revolution was the Communist Party and the Soviet
nomenklatura. This was due not only to the fact that other political forces
had begun to emerge in the USSR only during the perestroika period.

A no less, if not greater, role in the mass emergence of so-called sovereign
communists was played by the fact that the revolution was not so much an
upsurge of social energy as a self-disintegration of a system that had
exhausted its historical lifespan.



I will start by mentioning two indisputable facts. [1] First, Soviet
practice knew federations of the first order (the Russian Socialist Federated
Soviet Republic, and the Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic)
and second order (USSR).

[2] Second, unlike the overwhelming majority of federated countries in the
world, the Soviet federation envisioned the right to secede, i.e., its
subjects could withdraw from the federation. The question is: Did the Soviet
people have the experience of living in a federated state?

In answering this question, we should try to make a careful reading of the
union and republican constitutions, which were quite numerous. Strikingly,
the word “federation” appears only in the titles of the countries.

No clause mentions any rights of the federation’s subjects, which the
federative center could not contest. The only exception was the right to
secede. Although it was proclaimed, the mechanism of secession was kept in
total secrecy.

The reason why the specifics of life in a federated state were ignored in
the constitutions is quite simple: from the very outset the Soviet Union and
the Russian Federation were not federated states. Federalism involves a
distribution of administrative powers between the center and the periphery.
Is any division of power at all possible in a dictatorship? This is a
rhetorical question.

Why and when, exactly, did the Bolsheviks arm themselves with such a

notion as federation, which was by definition alien to them?

In August 1917 Lenin sensed that his party could seize power if for a
certain period of time it abandoned the communist agenda, which was
unpopular among the masses. The Bolsheviks renounced the idea to turn the
imperialist war into a civil war and began demanding that a separate peace
treaty be concluded with the Central Powers. They abandoned the idea of
creating Soviet farms on estates seized from landowners and began
campaigning for the egalitarian distribution of land among the peasants.

Finally, they gave up the idea of a centralized state and began popularizing
the creation of a Soviet federation of free peoples. In other words, they
adopted Soviet slogans. When Lenin’s party came to power on the backs

of the soviets and established its dictatorship, it returned to its communist

Then the empire revived by the Bolsheviks saw everything: a civil war,
soviet farms and collective farms, a “federation of free peoples,” etc.
Soviet federalism proved to be a camouflage for the ethnocratic principle,
which the “proletarian internationalists” at the helm of the state party
considered to be the most convenient for building a multinational
empire-like state.

After the elimination of the communist dictatorship, Russia turned on the
spur of the moment into a real federation. However, relations between the
center and periphery were not constitutionally regulated. For a long time,
therefore, regional elites attempted to secure as much sovereignty as

Nonetheless, President Boris Yeltsin’s efforts at the negotiating table to
eliminate the threat of disintegration resulted in a compromise. In 1994 all
federal subjects except Chechnya signed an agreement with the center,

which stated that the realization of their rights is possible only if Russia’s
state integrity is preserved, along with its political, economic, and legal

All the post-communist countries are going through a transition period from
a directed to market economy, from dictatorship to democracy.
Transformational processes in Russia have a third dimension: a transition
from empire to nation-state. The imperial cast of mind, which had formed
during centuries, remains a prominent factor in Russia’s political life.

In his book Empire and Nations (Dukh i Litera Publishers, 2000), Roman
Szporliuk quotes Geoffrey Hosking’s famous aphorism coined in 1995:
“Britain had an empire, but Russia was an empire – and perhaps still is.”

A civil society can develop only after communist dictatorship has been
toppled. Therefore, traditionally strong state institutions have the final
say in the transformational processes in the Russian Federation. However,
the state’s prospects to direct economic processes are limited by two
factors: the spontaneous collapse of the directed economy and the need to
integrate into the global economy on its terms.

The state’s possibilities for establishing a strong government are much
greater, but they are also limited by the presence of the free market, which
is linked to the global economy by thousands of tiny threads.

To revive a dictatorship, Russia would once again have to separate itself
from the rest of the world with an iron curtain. However, the country has no
influential political forces that could propose such an agenda.

However, the state in Russia can afford to slow down the process by which
the country is losing its imperial traits. It can do so owing to rich
natural resources, which fill the state coffers with foreign currency. It
draws an adequate amount of support from a significant percentage of
citizens whose historical mindset has an imperialist bent.

Many Russian citizens do not see any danger in the ethnocratic principle of
the structuring of a multinational country with a hierarchy of
nationalities. Soviet experience has not taught them anything, and they tend
to seek the use of this ethnic bomb in their national state building.

In particular, the Russian Orthodox Church persistently promotes the idea of
building a hierarchy of ethnic- confessional communities in the following
order: the state-forming Orthodox people; traditional religions (Islam,
Buddhism, Judaism); nontraditional religions (Catholicism and
Protestantism); “totalitarian sects” and the ethnic communities that are
associated with them. Doing so, it ignores the constitutional norm
concerning the equality of all ethnic and confessional communities of the
multinational peoples of Russia.

With increasing frequency the Russian press has been discussing the
unfolding demographic catastrophe, which boils down to the changing ratio
between Russians and non-Russians in favor of the latter. The threat to the
welfare and security of the indigenous population is constantly discussed in
connection with the influx of multiethnic emigrants (“profiteers,”
“terrorists,” etc.).

Ethnic minorities in Russian society are very often seen as a threat to its
stability. Even Valeriy Tishkov, director of the Institute of Ethnology at
the Russian Academy of Sciences, who was once renowned for his liberalism,
says that it is time “not only to defend oppressed minorities, but also
defend the majority from the radicalism and aggressiveness of the minority.”

President Vladimir Putin of Russia is pursuing a rather balanced policy
within Russia, respecting the constitutional rights of all citizens.
Meanwhile, in the post-Soviet space both Russian presidents adopted a policy
of reviving the USSR in various forms: the Commonwealth of Independent
States, the Slavic Union, the European-Asian Economic Commonwealth, the
Single Economic Space, etc.

Since 2000, when Putin took over the reins of power, Russia adopted a
systematic and persistent approach to dealing with Ukrainian issues. With
the emergence of the idea to form the SES, pressure on Ukraine to force it
to integrate has become simply unbearable.

In 1990 Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote a small book entitled Rebuilding
Russia: Reflections and Tentative Proposals. His final thesis is an
emotionally charged conclusion that stems from the author’s many years of
researching Russian history: “We have no strength for an Empire! And we do
not need one. May it fall from our shoulders. It is crushing and exhausting
us, and speeding up our destruction.” Perhaps it is worth heeding the
opinion of this great thinker.


The final chapter has the same heading as the article title. The repetition
is no accident. In the past we were an ethnographic mass exploited by the
rulers of empires for their own interests. Now we can independently define
our purpose and defend our national interests.

Books about contemporary Ukrainian-Russian relations can be written, and
they have been written. I have also written one. Here I should confine
myself to a general conclusion: if we survived under empires for hundreds of
years, if we are now an independent state on the European continent with a
territory of 603,000 square kilometers, then we will be here tomorrow and a
thousand years later.

I hit upon the subject of empires accidentally. Analyzing it on the basis of
familiar material, I spent many thrilling hours. I had to reconsider several
well-known scenarios and imagine versions of the past that never happened. I
would like to share with The Day’s readers my impressions of analyzing this

I kept thinking of the Chinese – not the contemporary Chinese who are proud
of their Celestial Empire, but those who are long gone and not mentioned in
the imperial chronicles. We do not even know their names. So we should
congratulate ourselves that in our empire there was not enough time for us.

If there had been, nobody would know anything about us, and we ourselves
would not know anything about our people. Recall that many of us did not
know our own history until 1991. Many still don’t know it.

Occasionally I read in the papers or hear on television: “Our rights are
being violated, give us a second state language!” These are my fellow
countrymen speaking, and I understand that they have the right to say this.
But I yearn to tell them that they are we, Ukrainians, and we have one
language for all.

I keep thinking about the regional breakup of Ukrainian society, which
manifested itself during the presidential elections of 2004: the west and
center versus the east and south. This is partly due to economic
circumstances that are tightly interwoven with political manipulations.

There are profounder reasons, since Ukraine is situated on a civilizational
fault line. However, regional differences should not undermine national
unity. We must remember that our ancestors in the two empires extended their
hands across the state border and became a single nation.

Finally, I will touch on the subject of the famine of 1932-1933, which is
mentioned only once in this article. This is because I revealed the
mechanism of the genocide in my series of articles entitled “Why did Stalin
exterminate the Ukrainians?” which The Day published in October and
November 2005.

An analysis of Ukraine’s existence in the Soviet empire prompts one banal
conclusion: one should never place one’s country in dependence of decisions
that are made outside its borders. In other words, one should never become a
part of an empire.

Unfortunately, the validity of this banal conclusion has yet to be proven to
some of our compatriots.                         -30-
PART I:     http://www.day.kiev.ua/156533/
PART II:    http://www.day.kiev.ua/156964/
PART III:   http://www.day.kiev.ua/157433/

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                     Sunday, September 24, 2006, Alexandria, Virginia

Chrystia Sonevytsky, Publicity Chair
The Washington Group Cultural Fund
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Washington Group Cultural Fund, in cooperation
with the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, is about to embark on its 6th
season of high quality concerts at the Lyceum in Old Town, Alexandria,

The first concert of the season will feature opera Diva honoree of the NYC
Opera, Oksana Krovytska, on Sunday, Sept 24th, 2006 at 3 pm.

She will perform operatic arias by Verdi, Puccini, Dvorak and art songs by
Barvinsky, Ludkevych and Kolessa. She will be accompanied by pianist
Oksana Skidan.

The Lyceum is located at 201 S.Washington St., Alexandria, VA. There is
a suggested donation of $20.00


Ukrainian soprano Oksana Krovytska, honored with New York City Opera’s
coveted ‘Diva Award,’ remains ‘…the object of our admiration.’ says the
New York Times.

With the New York City Opera, she performs to critical acclaim in roles such
as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Musetta and Mimi in La Bohème, Violetta in
La Traviata, Liu in Turandot, Magda in La Rondine, Yaroslavana in a new
production of Borodin’s Prince Igor, and numerous appearances as

Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly including a new production by Mark Lamos.

The New York Post says, ‘Oksana Krovytska was both impassioned and
vulnerable in the title role and delivered a sweetly modulated `Un bel di,’
that prompted the audience’s vigorous approval.’

In addition, Ms. Krovytska is praised worldwide in portrayals at the Florida
Grand Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal, San Francisco Opera, Florentine Opera,
Bolshoi Theatre in Russia, Arizona Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City,
Santiago Opera, as well as with symphony orchestras in Tokyo, the Colorado
Symphony, Opera Orchestra of New York, Milwaukee Symphony, Baltimore
Symphony, the RTVE Symphony Orchestra in Madrid, and the New Jersey

Symphony in Dvorak’s Requiem with Maestro Zdenek Macal, which was
recorded on Delos Records and received a Grammy award.

Most recently, Ms. Krovytska performed Renata in Fiery Angel with the
Bolshoi Theatre Tour in Ljublijana, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera with the
Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Senta in The Flying Dutchman with Anchorage
Opera and the Tokyo National Orchestra, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly

with Florida Grand Opera, and the title role in Suor Angelica with Opera Santa
Barbara. In 2006, she reprises the roles of Senta in The Flying Dutchman
with Arizona Opera and New Jersey Opera Theatre, and the title role in Suor
Angelica with Opera Santa Barbara.

European engagements have included Margherita and Elena in Boito’s
Mefistofele with the Casals Festival, Elvira in Ernani with Santiago Opera,
Marguerite in Faust with Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico, Marie in Smetana’s
Bartered Bride with Opera de Monte Carlo, and Agnes in Tchaikovsky’s Maid

of Orleans at the Bard Festival. Shehas appeared frequently at the Opern Air
Festival in Austria as Liu in Turandot, Mimi in La Bohème, and Micaela in
Carmen.   (http://www.pinnaclearts.com/artist.php?id=394).
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Dr. Marko R. Stech, Managing Director, CIUS Press
Project Manager, Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine (IEU)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 2006

An important movement in painting that arose in France in the late 1860s
and is linked with artists such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, August
Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, impressionism had a strong influence on
Ukrainian painting. The first Ukrainian impressionists appeared at the end
of the 19th century and were graduates of the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts.

Impressionism remained a major trend in Ukrainian painting until the early
1930s and it gave rise to Neo-impressionism, which attempted to base
painting on scientific theory; Postimpressionism, which cultivated the
esthetics of color; and Pointillism, which broke down colors into their
elementary hues and distributed them in mosaic-like patterns.

Learn more about the influence of the impressionist movement on Ukrainian
art and the major representatives of this style in Ukraine by visiting:
http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/featuredentry.asp or by visiting:
http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com and searching for such entries as:

IMPRESSIONISM. The original French impressionist painters sought to capture
with short strokes of unmixed pigment the play of sunlight on objects. The
name of the movement was derived from Claude Monet’s “Impressions: Sunrise”
(1872). Oleksa Novakivsky, who later embraced symbolic expressionism, was
one of the first Ukrainian impressionists. Ivan Trush, who preferred to
work with grayed colors, adopted impressionism only partly.

Mykola Burachek captured the sunbathed colors of the Ukrainian steppe, while
Mykhailo Zhuk and Ivan Severyn introduced decorative elements into their
impressionist works. Other leading exponents of Ukrainian impressionism were
Oleksander Murashko, Vasyl Krychevsky, Petro Kholodny (landscapes and
portraits), Mykola Hlushchenko, and Oleksii Shovkunenko…

OLEKSANDER MURASHKO, b 7 September 1875 in Kyiv, d 14 June 1919
in Kyiv. Painter. He studied at the Kyiv Drawing School (1891-4), under Ilia
Repin at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts (1894-1900), and in Munich

and Paris (1902-4). In 1907 he settled in Kyiv, where he taught painting at the
Kyiv Art School and at his own studio. In 1909 he exhibited his canvases in
Paris, Munich, and Amsterdam, and in 1910 at the international exhibition
in Venice and at one-man shows in Berlin, Koln, and Dusseldorf.
From 1911 he exhibited with the Munich Sezession group. In 1916 he joined the
Peredvizhniki society and became a founding member of the Kyiv Society of
Artists. He was a cofounder of the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts in 1917
and served there as a professor and rector. Murashko’s style evolved from
the realism of the Peredvizhniki school into a vivid, colorful

KRYCHEVSKY, VASYL, b 12 January 1873 in Vorozhba, Lebedyn county,
Kharkiv gubernia, d 15 November 1952 in Caracas, Venezuela. Outstanding
art scholar, architect, painter, graphic artist, set designer, and a master
of applied and decorative art. Working as an independent architect and artist,
he achieved a national reputation by the time of the outbreak of the First
World War.

During the revolutionary period he was a founder and the first
president of the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts. After the war he lived
briefly in Paris before immigrating in 1947 to South America. As a painter
Krychevsky was deeply influenced by French impressionism. The pure and
harmonious colors of his south-Ukrainian landscapes or Kyiv cityscapes
(done in oils and watercolors) convey a lyrical atmosphere…

BURACHEK, MYKOLA, b 16 March 1871 in Letychiv, Podilia gubernia,

d 12 August 1942 in Kharkiv. Impressionist painter and pedagogue. Burachek
studied in Kyiv and graduated from the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts in 1910.
His first exhibit was held in 1907. In 1910-12 he worked in the studio of
Henri Matisse in Paris.
In 1917-22 he served as professor at the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts in
Kyiv and then at the Kyiv State Art Institute and the Lysenko Music and
Drama School in Kyiv. From 1925 to 1934 he was rector of the Kharkiv Art
Institute and then returned to the Kyiv State Art Institute. A master landscape
painter, he rendered Ukrainian landscapes in a colorful, impressionist style.

HLUSHCHENKO, MYKOLA, b 17 September 1901 in Novomoskovske,
Katerynoslav gubernia, d 31 October 1977 in Kyiv. Artist. A graduate of the
Academy of Art in Berlin (1924), from 1925 he worked in Paris where he
immediately attracted the attention of French critics. From the Neue
Sachlichkeit style of his Berlin period he changed to postimpressionism.

Besides numerous French, Italian, Dutch, and (later) Ukrainian landscapes, he
also painted flowers, still life, nudes, and portraits. At the beginning of the 1930s,
Hlushchenko belonged to the Association of Independent Ukrainian Artists
and helped organize its large exhibition of Ukrainian, French, and Italian
paintings at the National Museum in Lviv. In 1936 he moved to the USSR, but
was allowed to live in Ukraine only after the war.             -30-
The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries associated with
the Ukrainian impressionist painters was made possible by the financial
ABOUT IEU: Once completed, the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine will
be the most comprehensive source of information in English on Ukraine, its
history, people, geography, society, economy, and cultural heritage. With
over 20,000 detailed encyclopedic entries supplemented with thousands of
maps, photographs, illustrations, tables, and other graphic and/or audio
materials, this immense repository of knowledge is designed to present
Ukraine and Ukrainians to the world.

At present, only 10% of the entire planned IEU database is available on the
IEU site. New entries are being edited, updated, and added daily. However,
the successful completion of this ambitious and costly project will be
possible only with the financial aid of the IEU supporters. Become the IEU
supporter and help the CIUS in creating the world’s most authoritative
electronic information resource about Ukraine and Ukrainians!
Dr. Marko R. Stech, Managing Director, CIUS Press
Project Manager, Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine
Project Manager, Hrushevsky Translation Project
Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Toronto
20 Orde Street, Rm. 124, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1N7
tel: (416) 946-7326; fax: (416) 978-2672; m.stech@utoronto.ca
www.utoronto.ca/cius; www.encyclopediaofukraine.com
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


The Ukrainian Quarterly, New York, New York, September 2006

NEW YORK – The new Summer 2006 issue of The Ukrainian Quarterly is

now available.  The English-language scholarly journal includes such
interesting articles as:

   [1] OUN-Between Collaboration and Confrontation with Nazi Germany;
   [2] The Political Prisoner’s Dilemma: Evidence from the Great Terror in

         the Soviet Union;
   [3] The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 as Genocide in the Light of the
         UN Convention of 1948; and,
   [4] The Emergence of State Polity and National Aspirations in Ukraine –
        Two Coins or Two Sides of One Coin?

To purchase a copy of The Ukrainian Quarterly, please send check or money
order in the amount of $8USD to:

The Ukrainian Quarterly, 203 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003. E-mail:

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    Send in names and e-mail addresses for the AUR distribution list.

Dr. Marko R. Stech, Managing Director, CIUS Press
Project Manager, Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine (IEU)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August, 2006

Ukraine and Belarus were the only countries where Orthodox lay brother-
hoods came into being. Although structurally similar to their western
European counterparts, the Eastern-rite brotherhoods developed their

unique features and their activities coincided with a period of crucial
social and cultural change in early modern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian brotherhoods assumed the task of defending the Orthodox
faith and Ukrainian nationality by counteracting Catholic and particularly
Jesuit expansionism, Polonization, and later conversion to the Uniate

The schools attached to the Orthodox brotherhoods in several larger cities
disseminated European humanist ideas and introduced generally accessible
post-humanist education, while the brotherhood presses promoted the
development of scholarship and literature.

Learn more about the brotherhoods and their crucial influence on education
and culture in early modern Ukraine by visiting:
http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/featuredentry.asp; (a comprehensive
study of the brotherhood movement can also be found in the book:
or by visiting: http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com and searching for
such entries as:

BROTHERHOODS. Fraternities affiliated with individual churches in Ukraine
and Belarus that performed a number of religious and secular functions. The
origins of brotherhoods can be traced back to the medieval bratchyny, which
were organized at churches in the Princely era. Brotherhoods as such
appeared in Ukraine in the mid-15th century, with the rise of the burgher

They began to play a historical role in the second half of the 16th
and at the beginning of the 17th century. The brotherhoods endeavored to
reform the Orthodox church from within by condemning the corrupt practices
of the hierarchy and of individual clergymen. They brought about a revival
in the life of the church by promoting cultural and educational activity.
They founded brotherhood schools, printing presses, and libraries.

BROTHERHOOD SCHOOLS. Schools founded by religious brotherhoods
for the purposes of counteracting the denationalizing influence of Catholic
(Jesuit) and Protestant schools and of preserving the Orthodox faith began
to appear in the 1580s. The first school was established in 1586 by the
Lviv Dormition Brotherhood. The school served as a model for other
brotherhood schools in various towns of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,
most of them in Ukraine and Belarus. In the first half of the 17th century even

some villages had brotherhood schools.
The most prominent schools were the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School and
Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood School. In 1631, the latter was merged with the
Kyivan Cave Monastery School to form the Kyivan Mohyla College, which
later became the Kyivan Mohyla Academy.

LVIV DORMITION BROTHERHOOD. An Orthodox religious association
founded in the 15th century by Lviv merchants and tradesmen at the Dormition
Church in Lviv. It is the oldest and one of the leading Ukrainian
brotherhoods, andit served as an example to other brotherhoods. There are

historical references to it dating back to 1463.

According to its charter, which was confirmed by Patriarch Joachim V of
Antioch in 1586 and Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople in 1589, the
brotherhood was independent of the local bishops (right of stauropegion) and
subject directly to the Patriarch of Constantinople. It had the right to
oversee the activities not only of secular members of the church but also

of the clergy and even the bishops.

KYIV EPIPHANY BROTHERHOOD. A church brotherhood established ca
1615 at the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood Monastery in the Podil district by
wealthy burghers, nobles, clerics, and Cossacks to defend the Orthodox faith
from the onslaught of Polish rule and Catholicism. Hetman Petro
Konashevych-Sahaidachny gave it a great deal of support and joined it ‘with
the entire Zaporozhian Host’ in 1620.

That same year the Orthodox Kyiv metropoly was restored and the brotherhood
acquired stauropegion status and the right to establish a ‘brotherhood for young
men’ from the visiting patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophanes III. The Polish king
Sigismund III Vasa granted the brotherhood a royal charter in 1629.

renowned Orthodox brotherhood founded in 1617 in Lutsk by H. Mykulych,
 the hegumen of the Chernchytsi monastery located near the city. The Lutsk
Brotherhood included monks, priests, bishops, nobles, aristocrats, and
members of the middle class from Lutsk and Volhynia.

It received a charter from the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa in 1619 and was
granted the status of stauropegion by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1623.
It ran the Lutsk Brotherhood of the Elevation of the Cross School and
operated a printing press in the monastery. After Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s era
the brotherhood entered a period of steady decline.                       -30-
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the Action Ukraine Report (AUR).

                        PUBLISHER AND EDITOR – AUR
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director, Government Affairs
Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer

Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group
P.O. Box 2607, Washington, D.C. 20013, Tel: 202 437 4707
Mobile in Kyiv: 8 050 689 2874
mwilliams@SigmaBleyzer.com; www.SigmaBleyzer.com
    Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. 
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