January 26, 1918: Ukraine declares its independence

2022-04-24 0 By

The former Russian state of Ukraine declared full independence shortly after the Bolsheviks took control of vast and troubled Russia in November 1917 and began negotiating peace with the Allies.A separate peace agreement with Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria was signed on February 8, 1918 in the small town of Brestlitovsk.One of the most prosperous regions of Russia before the war, the vast flat Ukraine (its name can be translated as border or frontier) was one of Europe’s main wheat-producing regions and rich in mineral resources, including large deposits of iron and coal.After the second partition of Poland in 1793, most of Ukraine was absorbed into the Russian Empire, while the rest — the principality of Galicia — remained part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was an important battleground on the Eastern front of World War I.Following the overthrow of the Czar in February 1917, Ukraine immediately established a provisional government and declared itself a republic within the structure of the Russian Federation.After Vladimir Lenin and his radical Bolsheviks came to power in November, Ukraine — like its former Russian property, Finland — went one step further and declared full independence in January 1918.However, the Rada government established after independence was unable to impose its rule on the people in the face of Bolshevik opposition and domestic counter-revolutionary activities.Germany and Austria to Ukraine as a hungry haunted people’s ideal and urgently needed food source, therefore sent troops to keep order, forcing the occupation of the country’s Russian troops according to Brest – stand, left, treaty provisions, signed in March 1918, actually annexed the area, at the same time allegedly granted independence to Ukraine.In the words of Wilhelm Groner, commander of the German forces in Kiev, “the administrative structure [in Ukraine] is completely disorganized, completely incompetent, and there will be no immediate results.Use the Ukrainian government as cover and let us do the rest ourselves.”In April 1920, Ukraine formed an alliance with Poland against Soviet Russia.The defeat of the Central Powers and the signing of the Armistice in November 1918 forced Germany and Austria to withdraw from Ukraine.At the same time, with the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an independent republic of Western Ukraine was proclaimed in the Galician city of Lviv.The two Ukrainian states declared their union in early 1919, but independence was short-lived, as they immediately found themselves locked in a three-way struggle with Polish and Russian forces.The Ukrainian government was briefly allied with Poland, but could not withstand a Soviet attack.In 1922 Ukraine became one of the original constituent republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR);It would not regain its independence until 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.(From left center: Simon Petrula, Voladimir Vinnichenko and Mihaylo Hrushevsky (white beard) during the Third Ukrainian Military Congress in Sopovska Square, Kiev, November 1917.)