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History of Ukraine

The history of the country is very ancient. People settled here in the early Paleolithic age. Big settlements of Trypillia culture appeared some centuries B.C. and in 7th century A.D. Scythian tribes established their state at this territory. Kievan Rus appeared here some centuries later on. Kievan Rus was a great state uniting East Slavonic tribes on the territory from Baltic to Black Sea and from Volga river to Tisza river. The name “Ukraine” as a geographical notion to mark the boarders of Rus was introduced in chronicles since XII century.

Ruling of the Great Prince Vladimir and Prince Yaroslav the Wise was the golden age of Kievan Rus. In 988-89, the Great Prince Vladimir introduced Christianity in Kievan Rus. These times the population in Kyiv was 50 thousand inhabitants (compare: the population of London was 20 thousand people). There were 400 churches, 8 markets, etc. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery, the main hearth of Christianity and church art, was founded in the year of 1051.
In XII-XIII centuries, as a result of wars between local princes and under the pressure of Mongol and Tartar invasion, Kievan Rus collapsed. Part of its lands became the ownership of Moscow Princedom and the Great Princedom of Lithuania. In XIII-XIV centuries Galytsko-Volynske Principality was established at the West of Ukraine.
Zaporizka Sich greatly contributed to the development of Ukraine as a state and played very important role in the history of Ukrainian people. Appearance of Ukraine at the political map of Europe was a result of the continuous struggle for independence and the victory in the national liberation war of 1648-1654. Hetmans of the Ukrainian Cossacks - Petro Sahaidachnyi, Bogdan Khmelnytskyi, Ivan Mazepa were the outstanding politicians of this historical period. The union concluded with Russia in 1654, in Pereyaslav, made Ukraine dependent on Russia for a long time. Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) - genius poet, artist and thinker - became the exponent of the new age of the Ukrainian national independence, people's wishes and feelings. Despite the tsarism oppression, birth and development of many distinguished talents in the field of Ukrainian culture marked XIX century as a whole. Grygoriy Kvitka-Osnovianenko proved that highly artistic literary works could be written in Ukrainian: in 1834 his "Malorosiyski Povisti" was published. This book brought him the glory of the "Father of the Ukrainian Prose". During 1845-1847 Kyrylo-Mefodiyvske Bratstvo (Cyril and Methodiy Fraternity) commenced its activity (M.Kostomarov, M.Gulak, P.Kulish, T.Shevchenko, A.Navrotskyi and others) and posed a question about the national originality of Ukrainians.
In the second half of XIX century P.Kulish creates the Ukrainian Grammar - "kulishivka". This grammar became the basis for the modern orthography; ethnographer P.Chubynskyi writes the words of the National Anthem of Ukraine (1862); M.Grushevskyi works out the Ukrainian scientific language and historical concept aimed to define political direction for the supporters of Ukraine's independence.
Revolutionary processes in February and October 1917 have ruined the Russian Empire. During the Civil War in Ukraine (1917-1920) Bolsheviks took the full power in their hands and the Ukrainian government was reorganized in accordance to the Soviet model. Hundreds of plants, destroyed by the First World War and Civil War, were revived during the years of reconstruction. This process took Ukraine to the level of developed industrial countries. But at the same time the 30s were a true tragedy in the history of Ukraine. Moscow government in the persons of Stalin, Kaganovych, Molotov, Postyshev followed a policy, which resulted into agrarian crisis and hunger in 1932-1933 (by different sources 3 to 10 million people died, mainly in East Ukraine). Huge losses in manpower were also caused by violent collectivization, great terror of 1937-1938, the Second World War and by post-war repression.


In its history Ukraine has overcome all adversities and became independent. On July 16, 1990, Verkhovna Rada (the Supreme Counsel - Parliament of Ukraine) adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine, and on August 24, 1991, - the Act of Independence and the Law on Succession was proclaimed. On December 1, 1992, at the referendum the independence of Ukraine was proved by more than 92% votes of Ukrainian people. Since 1995 Kuchma Leonid Danylovych remains the President of Ukraine. At the election in 1999, he was elected for the second term.





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