Friday, December 13, 2013

Ukraine vs the United States (revolution vs resignation)

© Warren Pollack
Ukraine vs the United States (revolution vs resignation)
Dec 13, 2013 | wepollock

In 1922, Ukraine became one of the Soviet Union's founding republics. The first Bolshevik republic in Ukraine was proclaimed following the Russian revolution in 1917; however it dissolved a year after. In 1919, the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was proclaimed on the territory of east Ukraine, claiming Kharkiv as its capital. Meanwhile the Bolshevik forces continued hostilities towards the Ukrainian People's Republic with the heart in Kyiv. When the latter fell, its territories were also incorporated into the Soviet Ukrainian republic.

In 1928, Soviet government introduced the so called policy of collectivization with an aim to strip country's peasants of their private property and foods produced and consolidate it into the collective farms. Not a single national entity of the USSR opposed the collectivization as vehemently as Ukrainians, traditionally used to individual farming and unwilling to give up their land and possessions to the Soviet "kolkhoz" communities. The rich peasants who were openly sabotaging grain and food collection were the main obstacle for the Soviet rulers that had continuously raising grain production quotas in order to finance the almost unrealizably ambitious industrialization plans.

By 1932 the heavy-handed collectivization policies multiplied by the repressive measures towards the Ukrainian peasantry, which were forcibly stripped of their crops and forbidden to leave the villages, resulted in the worst national catastrophe in history of modern Ukraine, the Great Famine. The aftermath of artificially created famine, the Holodomor (literally "death inflicted by hunger") was terrible: according to the rough estimation from 3.5 to 5 million people starved to death in the Soviet Ukraine. Total losses, including the decrease in the birth rate, amounted to the insufferable blow to the Ukrainian population and nation as the whole, the core of which at that time was peasantry.

On September 1, 1939, the attack of Poland by Adolf Hitler marked the beginning of the Second World War. According to The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed in August of 1939, the Soviet Union increased its geographical borders by adding previously Polish lands, which now became Western Bielorussia and Western Ukraine. In June 1940, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovyna was annexed from Romania. After the reunification of the Ukrainian SSR and Western Ukraine, the population of Ukraine estimated over the 41 million people and the republic territory made for 560 thousand square miles. The crude Soviet policies introduction with totalitarian style repressions and persecutions began in Western Ukraine.

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