Found in the net.Long article worth the read.The political consciousness is complex but the western barbarians have no problem in instigating revolutions among 'lesser people' for their imperial ambitions.
A sovereign and independent Ukraine only appeared on world and European maps fairly recently, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. No one in Europe had prepared the event and no one was prepared for it. No one understood the nature of the Ukrainian nation either. The Europeans did not have any experts on Ukraine or even Ukrainian translators, although the same is true for Kazakhstan, Belarus and Moldavia. The West only had Sovietologists, Kremlinologists and Russia specialists. Europeans could much better understand the independence of smaller countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and even Armenia and Georgia. Ukraine suddenly became the biggest European country in terms of territory. It had a smaller population than Germany, France, Britain and Italy, but larger than Spain or Poland. Yet it was way behind Europe in terms of economic might, living standards and the maturity of national consciousness. As far back as in the mid 1990s, several European foundations sent researchers to Ukraine to produce a clearer picture of the past, present and future of the new neighbor, which had sprung up so unexpectedly. The research proved to be immensely complicated as the results of polls differed tremendously in Kiev and Odessa, Kharkov and Sevastopol, Lvov in the country’s west and Donetsk in the east. The problem was that the differences affected basic values of national history and religion, as well as Ukraine’s relations with Russia and Western countries.
Yet the West did not have any special interest in Ukraine: there was a general decline in attention toward anything related to Russia and the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. The number of university students studying Russian dropped by dozens of percent, and only a few showed interest in studying Ukrainian, Georgian or Kazakh. Interest in Ukraine skyrocketed all of a sudden only during the ‘orange revolution’ in November and December 2004. That event propelled the names of Yulia Tymoshenko and Victor Yushchenko to worldwide acclaim. When Yushchenko addressed a joint session of both houses of the U.S. Congress as the newly elected Ukrainian president, U.S. representatives and senators welcomed him as a hero, with more than a hundred of them lining up to shake hands with him.
However, later developments puzzled and disappointed Western political analysts and policymakers. Over the past year, the Western mass media dropped virtually any comments on what was happening in Ukraine. Russian newspapers, too, drastically cut their Ukrainian coverage. The Ukrainian equation has proven to be overly complex due to the presence of many unknown elements in it.
The authoritarian regimes of the former Soviet Union and the Russian Empire had many more drawbacks, apart from checks on openness, but while they shackled progressive processes, they also weeded out the seeds of discord scattered around the Imperial lands. As the Soviet Union disintegrated, those seeds sprouted out in the South Caucasus, North Caucasus, Central Asia, and Ukraine. The latter avoided an armed conflict, but the acute contradictions that surfaced in Ukrainian society continue to threaten its stability and are slowing down the country’s development.
THE UKRAINIAN JIGSAW
Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko made a critical address to the nation when he called for unity between Left-Bank Ukraine and Right-Bank Ukraine. At the same time, Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich promised to build a policy taking account of “Ukraine’s three cultural and economic spaces – the European, Eurasian and Mediterranean.” Former President Leonid Kuchma had claimed that Ukraine has twelve clearly shaped and distinct historical regions – the Sloboda region, Polesia, the Middle Sub-Dnieper region, the Dnieper Rapids region, the Donets Basin, Podolia, the Black Sea Littoral Area, the Crimea, Volyn, Galicia, Transcarpathia (known as Subcarpathia in the West – Ed.) and Bukovina (Leonid Kuchma. Ukraine Is Not Russia: A Return Into History, Moscow, 2003, p. 19. – Russ. Ed.).
I personally see no grounds to disagree with Kuchma on this classification, yet as a historian I would put these regions in a different order and specify the different paths that they followed over the past thousand years.
The historical destinies of Galicia, as well as neighboring Transcarpathia and Bukovina, are very specific. These parts of western Ukraine were the least affected by the Tatar-Mongol invasion compared with the other principalities of Kievan Rus. In later centuries, they were regions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rzeczpospolita, Hungary, and Austria-Hungary. They were never subordinate to the Russian Empire and during World War I conscripts were drafted there to fight in the Austro-Hungarian army, not the Russian army. The Treaty of Versailles split these lands among three countries – Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia. They were incorporated into Soviet Ukraine de facto only after 1945. The people in these regions have always felt a strong influence from the Roman Catholic Church, but both the Polish Kingdom and the Hapsburg monarchy regarded them as provinces. People in Galicia did not know anything about Alexander Pushkin, yet equally enough they knew nothing about Taras Shevchenko, the prominent nineteenth-century Ukrainian poet. Thus, the nationalist idea that budded there at the end of the 19th century was centered on obtaining autonomy for Ukraine within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Sloboda region (whose name is derived from the Russian word ‘sloboda’ – a non-serf settlement of peasants and/or craftsmen) is historically a part of Russia. The border separating the Russian state and Rzecz Pospolita at the beginning of the 17th century was far to the west of the modern cities of Izyum, Kharkov, Sumy and Rylsk. This underdeveloped area attracted peasants from Rzeczpospolita, who were fleeing oppression, as well as fugitive Russians. Russian servicemen settled there, as well as Cossacks from Ukraine who had lost battles to Polish troops. The Russian government would deploy the new Cossack regiments there that would make up the Belgorod defense line protecting Moscow from incursions by the Crimean Tatar khans. Kharkov, founded in 1656, developed as a Russian city. After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, it was the industrially advanced Kharkov that became the first capital of Soviet Ukraine. It remained the capital until 1934. [According to a census taken in 1989, ethnic Russians accounted for up to 30 percent of the population in the Sloboda region of Ukraine. Ukrainians made up another 65 percent, but most of them spoke Russian as their native language.
From the historical, ethnic and cultural point of view, Ukraine’s foundation was formed out of three historical regions that were officially called Malorossia (Little Russia) in the Russian Empire. Today this area encompasses the City of Kiev, the Zaporozhye, Zhitomir, Vinnitsa, Kiev and Kirovograd regions on the right bank of the Dnieper, and also the Chernigov and Poltava regions on the river’s left bank. The Russian classical novelist Nikolai Gogol, the linguist and ethnographer Vladimir Dahl, as well as numerous other Russian and Ukrainian writers devoted their writings to Malorossia. The word was included in the full title of the Russian emperors.
In the mid-17th century, hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky led a national revolt for the liberalization of the Ukrainian people in this region. By 1650, the three districts had singled themselves out of the whole territory and had formed a state ruled according to the habits and traditions of Cossack life. In 1654, when these lands joined Russia, their aggregate territory was even smaller than it was originally. The areas that can be called Bogdan Khmelnitsky’s Ukraine went over to Russia only after the Andrusov Treaty of 1667 and the so-called ‘treaty of eternal peace.’ As a nation and state, Ukraine took shape around this central territory. Only a part of Malorossia was integrated into the Malorossian General Governorship. Soviet-era historiography discarded the term Malorossia as capitalist and nationalistic, while today’s nationalists condemn it as an asset of “Russian imperialism.” The common people did not reject it, however, and even Zaporozhye Cossacks mention “our Malorossian fatherland” in their documents. Ukrainian publicist Leonid Berest said: “Yes, we are Malorossians, Little Russians. The so-called national democrats hate the word bitterly. But what’s so bad about it? It was here in Kiev, in Malorossia, that Rus, which was destined to become Great Russia, took its origins. Malorossia is called this way because it is the original Russia. Contrary to the fantasies of our nationalists tormented by the inferiority complex, the name does not humiliate anyone.” (2000 weekly, October 6, 2006, p. F3).
Novorossia, which incorporates the regions of the Black Sea northern littoral area, is another large and very special part of the country. Most of the territory lies within the so-called ‘Wild Field’ zone of southern steppes, from where the Crimean Tatars and Turks made incursions into Russia and Rzeczpospolita. Russia acquired this area under peace agreements signed with Turkey in 1739, 1774, 1791 and 1812. One of the first cities founded by Catherine II in the area was Yekaterinoslav (currently Dnepropetrovsk). It was meant to become the capital of the entire new territory, but its actual development only began in the 19th century when railways and industrial facilities were built there. At the same time, the coastal cities of Kherson, Nikolayev and Odessa developed at a fair pace. The resettlement of people to Novorossia only began after its annexation to Russia, with a population made up of Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Jews, Bulgarians and Germans. Nationalistic ideas have never been very popular in Novorossia. As journalist from Odessa said, his hometown is “a commercial center, where the majority of people consider money to be the matter of primary, secondary and tertiary importance. This is the way it has always been there, even during the Soviet era. Odessites may hold the Ukrainian state in disrepute, but they will never be so desperate and irrational as to instigate any sort of revolution against it.” (Russia and Ukraine, Moscow, 1997, p. 240).
The Donets Basin (Donbass) plays a huge role in Ukraine’s current political and economic life. Development there began much later than in other parts of the country. Coal deposits were discovered there as early as at the beginning of the 19th century, yet the production of coal only began after the Crimean War, when the first railway lines were built. The discovery of giant iron ore deposits in Krivoy Rog gave a huge impetus to the region’s development. Coal production in Donbass stood at around 25 million tons a year in 1913 and iron production was around 3 million tons. The region turned into an “all-Union steamshop” during the Soviet era. Ethnic Russians and native Russian speakers dominated its population. Even after the Soviet Union’s disintegration, Miners’ Day is still a major holiday there. The Donetsk and Lugansk regions have a combined population of 8 million, making them the most densely populated regions in Ukraine and they have the biggest concentration of the working class in the post-Soviet Union.
The Crimea stands apart from all other areas of the country. Its formal integration into the Russian Empire took place in 1783 and the city of Sebastopol (Sevastopol) was founded the same year. Soon after that the Crimea became part of the Tauride province, with its capital in Simferopol. Throughout the 19th century, the authorities conducted a policy of pressuring the indigenous Tatar population to leave for Turkey. Tatar emigration to the Ottoman Empire reached its peak during the Crimean War from 1853-1856 and afterwards. To replace the Tatars in the Crimea, the czarist Russian authorities resettled Russian and Ukrainian farmers, German and French colonists, Jews, Bulgarians and Greeks. The southern coast of the peninsula soon turned into a seaside resort for the Russian aristocracy and wealthy people. A territory known as the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic emerged as a region of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) at the end of 1921. Its entire population was a mere 720,000 at the time, including about 144,000 Tatars. It is well known that the Tatars were deported from the region in 1944. By the end of the Soviet era, the Crimea had a population of 2 million, 67 percent of which were Russians and 26 percent were Ukrainians.