Why was the capital of Ukraine moved in 1934?

Why was the capital of Ukraine moved in 1934?

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The Russian Revolution is fairly famous for moving the capital from Petrograd (St. Petersburg) to Moscow. But I was surprised to learn that the capital of Ukraine was Kharkiv until it was switched to Kiev in 1934.

Why was this done? The only sliver of explanation I've found was on wikipedia's History of Kiev page, where it says:

The goal was to fashion a new proletariat utopia based on Stalin's blueprints.

Kind of a brief ambiguous sentence there. Exactly which of Stalin's "blueprints" is it talking about? What exactly was it about Kharkiv that made this impossible?

Prior to the formation of the Soviet Union, Bolsheviks had established Kharkiv as the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in opposition to the Ukrainian People's Republic which had its capital in Kiev (the historic capital of Ukraine).

The Bolsheviks won.

Following the 1921 Treaty of Riga, the Soviet Union extended control over what would ultimately become the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and a founding member of the Soviet Union.

With control over Ukraine established, Stalin was able to return the capital to its historic location in Kiev in 1934 as part of the Soviet restructuring and industrialisation of Ukraine.

The Bolsheviks moved back the national capital from St Petersburg to Moscow in 1918. (They did this to differentiate themselves from the Tsarists. Likewise, moving the Ukrainian capital to Kharkov in 1918 was "revolutionary." It was also practical because using Kharkov, a workers' city as a base, made it easier to "pacify" the Cossack lands of the lower Don and Volga.

By 1934, the Bolsheviks were no longer the "revolutionaries," but rather the establishment. They had crushed the (agricultural) "kulaks" in 1932-1933, as related in e.g. "The Harvest of Sorrow." and established the ascendency of the urban proletariat. Then it was possible (and it made sense) to move "back" the Ukrainian capital to Kiev for the following reasons:

  1. Kiev was a far older, more "traditional" and established city, having been around for about 1000 years, versus less than 300 for Kharkov (in 1934).
  2. Kiev is closer to the center of the Ukraine, a better vantage point from which to govern the whole province. Kharkov is closer to the (north) eastern edge. More to the point, Kiev is the spiritual "heart" of the Ukraine for reason 1 above.
  3. There was (in 1934) no immediate fear of a German attack on Kiev (or the former St. Petersburg, then Leningrad) as there was in 1918. There was a period of "amity" between Germany and the Soviet Union that started with the Treaty of Rapallo, and continued under Hitler (to the 1939 Pact). Certainly, the situation was much more stable in 1934 than in 1918, and Stalin hoped to deflect Germany "elsewhere."

It's hard to answer this question with provision of sources. I studied history in the Ukraine, and I cannot remember that this question was payed more attention than just "the capital was moved in 1934".

As a theory I can suggest, that this definitely was not "accidental", this decision had substantial reasons, and it was related to the hype about the so-called "Ukrainian question" before WW2.

Before WW2, territories of the present-day Ukraine with people speaking similar languages* were divided between the USSR, Poland, Czech-Slovakia, Hungary, Romania. And with the accession to power in Germany of Adolf Hitler and his party, with their claims for Lebensraum at east, this "Ukrainian question" gained traction in the international affairs. There were numerous claims outside the USSR, that there had to be created "the Great Ukraine" (by taking its main part from the USSR) and so on. This was augmented by various terrorist activities of Ukrainian "nationalists", supported by Germany, not only in the USSR, but in Poland also. Long story short, the was a struggle going between various powers in Europe for territories of the present-day Ukraine. This struggle had a necessary ideological part: the German Nazis and their Ukrainian ideological brothers had claims, that the Ukraine was being occupied by Communist Russia, and the fact that the capital of the Soviet Ukraine was elsewhere, not in Kiev, the city which historically (since the second half of the 19th century, when all this Ukrainian nationalism started with support of Germany and Austria-Hungary) was considered the center of the Ukraine and without any doubt was definitely the most important city on the territories in question, that fact of the capital not being situated in Kiev was not in support of the Bolshevik's claims, that the true Ukraine was the Soviet Ukraine, because it even had a different capital from "the true" one.

There might have been a chance, that the transition of the capital in 1934 was related to the more significant control of the area by the Bolsheviks in 1934, in comparison to, for instance, 1919, (this is not a trivial question, because the position of the capital, especially in a such "big-government" state, as the USSR and its republics were, the capital situation has a direct relation on which side the government employees' sympathies, loyalty etc. would be and so on) but I don't think so.

It looks, that the main reason of the transition was the galvanization of "the Great Ukraine" theme in the West since 1933 and the Soviet desire to buttress their claim of "the true" Ukraine.

And in order to show some grounds for my opinion, I would like to give an excerpt from a Ukrainian history text-book of 2006, by O. Boyko, in my translation (the text-book itself, the excerpt's original should be searched by the words "Ініціатором рішучих дій у вирішенні українського питання напередодні", because the pages in the file have no appropriate numbering):

Germany became the spearhead of decisive moves in the solution of the Ukrainian question at the eve of WW2. After several months after the Nazi's accession to power, in March-May 1933 Rozenberg makes semi-official visits to Locarno and London, where during secret meetings with Italian and British politicians substantiates "a plan of division of Russia by breaking off the Ukraine from the Soviets". Then in June of 1933 at the international economic and financial conference in London a demand to pass the Ukraine to Germany for "more rational use of this abundant land" is made openly. This demand was in the memorandum, declared by the head of the German delegation Gugenberg. And though in response to a Soviet diplomatic note on this the German side claimed that the statements in the memorandum were personal ones of Gugenberg - this was just a diplomatic maneuver. Ukrainian goalposts was becoming more discrete in the Nazi's plans of foreign expansion. In 1936, while giving a speech in Nuremberg, Hitler declared, that if the Ukraine, Ural and Siberia were conquered, "every German housewife would felt how her life has become easier".

At March 10th, 1939, while giving a speech at the XVIII Party Congress, Stalin noted, that the unquenchable loud campaign in the West about "the Ukrainian question" has as its goal "to infuriate the Soviet Union against Germany, poison the atmosphere and provoke a conflict with Germany without any visible grounds for it". [This was said after the Soviet-German rapprochement in 1939 had started to gain traction] Then he warned: "Of course, it might be absolutely possible, that in Germany there are lunatics, who are dreaming to attach the elephant, that is the Soviet Ukraine, to a fly, that is to the so-called Carpathian Ukraine. And if indeed there are such idiots, be sure, that in our country will be enough strait jackets for such lunatics"

So, as one can see there was a struggle about which Ukraine was "true" and to "which one" the other parts should have been "attached". So the transition of the capital, I think, somehow additionally substantiated the claim that the real Ukraine was the Soviet one.

The original words of the citation, so that anyone could check the translation even in Google translate:

Ініціатором рішучих дій у вирішенні українського питання напередодні Другої світової війни стала Німеччина. Через декілька місяців після приходу фашистів до влади, у березні - травні 1933 р., Розенберг здійснює напівофіційні візити до Локарно і Лондона, де під час таємних нарад з італійськими та англійськими політичними діячами обґрунтовує "план поділу Росії шляхом відриву від Рад України". Уже в червні 1933 р. на міжнародній економічній і фінансовій конференції у Лондоні відкрито висувається вимога про передання гітлерівцям України "для раціональнішого використання цієї родючої території". Ця вимога міститься у меморандумі, проголошеному главою німецької делегації Гугенбергом. І хоча у відповідь на радянську ноту з цього приводу німецька сторона заявила, що зазначені в меморандумі твердження належать особисто Гугенбергу і не погоджені з урядом, - це був тільки дипломатичний маневр. Українські орієнтири стають дедалі чіткішими у фашистських планах зовнішньополітичної експансії. У 1936 p., виступаючи в Нюрнберзі на з'їзді нацистської партії, Гітлер заявив, що якби завоювати Україну, Урал і Сибір, то "кожна німецька господарка відчула б, наскільки її життя стало легшим".

10 березня 1939 року, виступаючи на XVIII з'їзді ВКП(б), Сталін зазначив, що невщухаюча галаслива кампанія на Заході навколо "українського питання" має на меті "розлютити Радянський Союз проти Німеччини, отруїти атмосферу і спровокувати конфлікт із Німеччиною без видимих на те підстав". Далі він застерігав: "Звичайно, цілком можливо, що в Німеччині є божевільні, які мріють приєднати слона, тобто Радянську Україну, до комашки, тобто до так званої Карпатської України. І якщо справді є такі навіжені, можна не сумніватися, що в нашій країні знайдеться необхідна кількість гамівних сорочок для таких божевільних".

* the present-day Ukraine with people speaking similar languages This is my personal opinion as a native. I don't consider the Ukrainian language in Easter Galicia, for instance, and the one near Kharkov as the same language. And near Donetsk, for example, no variant of Ukrainian has ever be spoken by any substantial part of the people. I know, that in today's depiction of the events in the Ukraine western media show this picture: the unified people of the Ukraine stand against Russian aggression, and that they always wanted to be "free" and all this BS. But in reality the present-day Ukraine is a post-colonial state with artificial borders (the great thank you to the Bolsheviks), where even many people in the Zakarpattia Oblast (let alone Donetsk) have strong sentiments against "the Ukrainians" from the Lvov Oblast (a Wiki article about the Rusyns , not to mention the Galician/Transcarpathian schism in emigration).


Holodomor is the name given to the mass starvation in the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33. Occurring between the Russian Revolution and the Second World War, the Holodomor was denied by the Soviet Government until only a few years before the collapse of the Soviet Union. This state controlled secrecy kept Western historians in the dark about the starvation, and only until the 1980’s did the West take scholarly interest in the history of the Ukrainian Famine, and the idea that the Famine was, at least in part, man-made.

But the history of the Holdomor is still contested. Census data and Soviet records have been analyzed since the initial look at the situation in the 1980’s, and still no conclusion is accepted by all sides. Records are inconsistent and the number of people who died as a result of the famine varies between historians, ranging from 3 million to 14 million dead. Causes of the starvation are debated, and the nature of the Famine as a weapon of Stalin’s regime against the Ukrainians is central to the debate. Many parties in modern Ukraine want to define the Holodomor as an act of genocide, while Russia today opposes that point of view, as do many modern historians.

Another photo from the 1935 publication "Muss Russland Hungern?" (Must Russia Starve?)

Kraków as capital of Poland

In 1038, Casimir I the Restorer moved the capital of Poland to Kraków. The Wawel Cathedral was first constructed in the eleventh century.

Krakow became capital of Poland in 1038 and remained the political front of the country until 1596.

In 1596, Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1587 to 1632, transferred the capital to Warsaw.

During the thirteenth century, the city was destroyed by various Mongol invasions, the first in 1241 and then eighteen years later, in 1259. Kraków was rebuilt practically the same as it had been.

Kraków was deeply influenced by the Germans during this period, and in 1257, the king gave the city internal autonomy based on the Magdeburg rights.

A few decades later, in 1291, the Polish population elected Wenceslaus II as king of the country. He had been monarch of Bohemia since 1278 and was proclaimed king of Poland in 1300. Since then, Kraków depended on a Czech dynasty.

Between 1311 and 1312, the inhabitants of Kraków rebelled against the duke Władysław I, but were defeated and consequently lost the city of Gdańsk. In 1320 Władysław the Short was crowned King of Poland.

From 1333 until 1370, the country was governed by Casimir III the Great. He is known as the great reformer of Poland, transforming it from a depleted kingdom to a prosperous and rich one. During this period, Kraków became an important commercial, political, cultural and scientific hub. In 1364, the king established the Kraków Academy, the second university in that part of the world after the University of Prague.

The Lithuanian-Polish Jagiellon dynasty ruled the kingdom from 1368 to 1572. It is considered to be the most influential dynasty. The union of Polish Queen Hedwig, daughter of Louis the Great, and Jogaila, Lithuania’s Grand Duke, formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The dualistic state was one of the greatest European powers of the sixteenth and seventeenth century that spread from the Baltic Sea to the Caucasus. During this period, Kraków was made the political center.

In 1440 Władysław III was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in Kraków. Poland became a Catholic state surrounded by countries dominated by Ottoman Turkey, Orthodox powers and Germanists.

Kraków was continuously attacked by the Germanic power. These battles weakened Poland and, although the Polish could stop the Germans, another enemy arouse: Imperial Russia.

In 1596 Sigismund III Vasa moved the capital to Warsaw, in the center of the country, for the following two reasons: firstly, Poznan had gradually become Poland’s economic power, and secondly, the region of Pomerania grew until it reached the Baltic Sea.

Even after Kraków was no longer capital, it remained an extremely prominent city, as is demonstrated by the fact that the Polish kings were crowned in Wawel Cathedral.


The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian (Ukrainian: українська мова , [ukrajin’s’ka mova]). In the 2001 census, about 29% of people in Ukraine said that they consider Russian to be their main language. These two East Slavic languages are similar in some ways but different in other ways. [8]

Ukraine is divided into 24 oblasts and one Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

The largest cities in Ukraine are:

    (from the late 9th century was the capital of Kyivan Rusthe capital of Ukraine since the restoration of independent Ukrainian state in 1919) (was the capital of Ukraine in 1919—1934)

The name "Ukraine" (u-krayina) is variously interpreted as "edge" or "borderland", but this was proved false. Language specialists are still searching for the true meaning of the word. [9]

It was first used in reference to a core part of the territory of Kyivan Rus in the 12th century. In English, Ukraine was usually used as "the Ukraine". But after 1991, adding "the" is no longer correct.

Ancient times Edit

Many different tribes lived on the territory of modern Ukraine since pre-historical times. Most historians believe that the Great Steppe at the North of the Black Sea was a homeland of all Indo-European and Indo-Iranian languages. Some believe it was also a birthplace of the whole Caucasian race. Wends, Goths, Huns, Sclaveni, Avars and other tribes and tribal groups fought among themselves, joined unions, terminated and assimilated each other.

By the middle of 4th century AD Antes joined other tribes and established a state under their rule. Their state fell under the pressure of Avars in 602 AD and their name was longer mentioned. Since the 7th century over 10 tribal groups joined under the name "Slavs" and made their own state named Rus. The chronicles mention three centers which formed this state: Kuyavia (Kyiv land with Kyiv itself), Slavia (Novgorod land) and Artania (exact location unknown).

Historians still argue about whether Kyiv was founded by Slavs themselves, or they just captured the Khazar fortress which was located on the bank of the Dnieper river, but since the 10th century, it became the capital of the largest and most powerful state in Europe.

Kyivan Rus Edit

Kyivan Rus, is the medieval state of Eastern Slavs. [10] Established by the Slavic with the help of the Varangian squads whose force was used to integrate separate tribes and their lands into one powerful state. Varangian princes, who ruled Rus from its first years were gradually assimilated by natives, but the dynasty started by semy-legendary Ririk survived and continued to govern their separate principalities even after the collapse of Rus.

At an early stage of its existence Rus destroyed such powerful states as the Khazar Khaganate and Old Great Bulgaria. Rus princes successfully fought against the Byzantine Empire, whose emperors had to pay tribute to them. Rus' finally disintegrated into separate principalities.

In the reign of Volodymyr the Great (980-1015) the Kyivan State almost finished its expansion. It occupied the territory from Peipus, Ladoga and Onega lakes in the north to the river Don, Ros, Sula, Southern Bug in the south, from the Dniester, the Carpathians, the Neman, Western Dvina River in the west to the Volga and the Oka River in the east, its area became about 800,000 km 2 . Although some of his predecessors already accepted Christianity for themselves, Vladimir decided to convert the entire population of the state to the new religion. Partially with the help of Byzantine missionaries preachers, partly by the brutal violence, he finally made all Kyiv population to be baptized. For this action, the Ukrainian, and later the Russian Orthodox Churches canonized him under the name of Vladimir the Baptist.

During the reign of Yaroslav the Wise, (1019–1054), Rus reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power. Rus raised the prestige of Eastern Slavs in Europe, improved the international significance of Kyiv. Rus influenced the political relations in all of Europe, Western Asia, and in the Middle East. Kyivan princes supported the political, economic, dynastic relations with France, Sweden, England, Poland, Hungary, Norway, Byzantium.

The Rus state also ruled non-Slavic people (Finno-Ugric population of the North, Turkic of the East and South, Balts of the West etc.). Those people gradually assimilated with the Slavs, and with each other, establishing a framework for the future emergence of three new Eastern-Slavic peoples.

The Kyivan State was an eastern outpost of European Christendom, it kept the movement of nomad hordes to the West, and reduced their onslaught against Byzantium and Central European countries.

After the death of Mstyslav Volodymyrovych (1132), Rus lost its political unity and finally was divided into 15 principalities and lands. Among them Kyiv, Chernygiv, Volodymyr-Suzdal, Novgorod, Smolensk, Polotsk, and Halycian lands and principalities were most large and powerful.

Major political conditions of fragmentation were:

  • The succession among the princes of Kyivan State was different: in some regions lands passed from father to son, in others from the older to the younger brother etc.
  • The political relationship between individual fiefdoms and private lands was weakened, and the better development of certain lands led to the formation of local separatism
  • In some regions the local aristocracy required a strong prince to rule, in order to protect their rights. On the other hand, while the feudal princes and boyars real power increased, and the power of the Grand Prince decreased, more and more of nobles felt priority of their local interests above national ones
  • There was not created their own dynasty in the Kyiv principality, because all the princely families struggled with each other for possession of Kyiv
  • Nomads dramatically intensified their expansion to Kyivan lands.

While Kyiv was the center of all social, economic, political, cultural and ideological life in the country for a long time before, other centers have competed with it from the mid-12th century. There were old powers (Novgorod, Smolensk, Polotsk), as well as new ones..

Numerous princely feuds, large and small wars between different lords, were tearing Rus. However, the ancient Ukrainian state did not fall apart. It only changed the form of its government: The personal monarchy was replaced by the federal one, Rus came to be co-ruled by the group of the most influential and powerful princes. Historians call this way of governing "the collective suzerainty." The Principality of Kyiv remained a national center, and the residence of bishops.

In 1206 the new powerful military-feudal Mongolian state headed by Genghis Khan started the war of conquest against his neighbors. In 1223 in the battle near the Kalka river 25,000 Tatar-Mongols won a crushing victory over the squads of Southern Rus Princes, who were unable to come together even in the face of grave danger. Under the leadership of Batu, Genghis Khan's grandson, from 1237-1238, they conquered Riazan, Volodymir, Suzdal, and Yaroslavl lands.

In 1240, they attacked Kyiv. The city was plundered and destroyed. According to the legend, the enemy saved governor Dimitri's life for his personal courage in the battle. Then Kamenetz, Iziaslav, Volodymyr, and Halych lost against invaders. Batu was able to attach most of Rus to his empire, the Golden Horde, which covered the whole territory from the Urals to the Black Sea,

After the fall of Kyivan State, the political, economic and cultural center of Ukrainian lands was transferred to the Halycian-Volyn Land. In 1245 Prince Danylo of Halych had to admit his dependence on the Golden Horde. Hoping to get help from Catholic Europe in his the struggle for independence, he also made a secret alliance with Poland, Hungary, Masovia and the Teutonic Knights. In 1253 he received the crown from Pope Innocent IV and became a King of Rus. In 1259, due to the lack of military aid from the West, the king was forced to re-recognize the supremacy of the Horde. His successor, Lev I had to take part in theTartar campaigns against Poland and Lithuania.

In 1308 the government moved to Danylo's grandchildren - Andrew and Lev II, who started the new struggle against the Golden Horde allied with the Teutonic knights and princes of Mazowia. However, after their death the last monarch Yuri II again had to claim himself as the Golden Horde vassal. He was murdered in 1340 and his death gave the rise to Poland and Lithuania (the neighbors who had a dynastic right for the throne of Rus) to start a war for the Halycian-Volyn heritage. In 1392 Galicia, with Belz and Chelm Lands were finally icorporated to the Kingdom of Poland and Volhynia to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

At the end of the 14th century, Ukrainian territories were divided between different states. Lithuania seized Kyiv, Chernihiv and Volyn Lands. Poland ruled in Halycian and Podolian. The Southern Ukraine was under the rule of the Crimean Khanate (formed in 1447) and the Eastern under the power of Muscovy. In 1569 Lithuania and Poland merged to the united state called Commonwealth (Polish: Rzecypospolyta) to deal with neighbors, as a result, the central Ukrainian lands of Lithuania came under Polish control.

Etymology Edit

Rus, or The Kyivan State, Latin: Ruthenia, Greek: Ρωσία often misspeled as "Kievan State" or even "Kievan Rus", using Russian spelling of its capital Kyiv (Russian: Киев [ˈkiɛf]).

As for the origin and definition of the name "Rus" there is no consensus among researchers. Several versions exist:

    (Vikings), tribes who called themselves Ruses, and founded a state among Slavs, which naturally was called 'Rus Land'. This theory originated in the 17th century and was called the 'Norman theory'. Its authors are German historians G. Bayer and G. Miller, their followers and associates are called 'Normanists'
  • Ruses were a Slavic tribe which lived in the middle reaches of the Dnieper
  • Rusa - the Proto-Slavic language word which means 'river'

Ukrainian historians generally adhere to anti-Norman opinion, while not denying the contribution Varangians in the process of formation of Rus state system. Russ, or The Rus Land in their opinion means:

  • The name of the territory where Kyiv, Chernigov and Pereiaslav located (Polans, Severians, Drevlians tribes)
  • The name of the tribes who lived on the banks of the rivers Ros, Rosava, Rostavytsia, Roska etc.
  • The name of the Kyivan state itself since 9th century.

Cossackian State Edit

At the end of the 15th century, the groups of warriors who called themselves Cossacks appeared on the territory between the borders of Lithuania, Muscovy and the Crimea, in the "wild steppes" of Zaporizhia. From the 16th century the Sich became their military centre. Zaporizhian Cossacks participated in the wars on the side of the Commonwealth: the Livonian War (1558-1583), the Polish-Muscovite War (1605-1618), Khotyn war (1620-1621), and Smolensk war (1632-1634). Cossacks also organized their own campaigns in Moldavia, Muscovy, and Crimea, on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and in Asia Minor for looting. They willingly became mercenaries, particularly during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).

Due to the legal and social oppression of the nobility Cossacks repeatedly revolted. The largest rebellions were raised under the guidance of: Kosynskiy (1591-1593), Nalyvaiko (1594-1596), Zhmaylo (1625), Fedorovych (1630), Sulima (1635), Pavlyuk (1637) and Ostryanin (1638). Cossacks again and again defended the rights of the Ukrainian population in the Commonwealth who experienced religious and national oppression regularly.

For the conflict in the 1850s see Crimean War.

20th century Edit

In 1917 an independent Ukrainian People's Republic was established. The Red Army freed it and made it into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Soviet Russia in the 1920s encouraged the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture. In the 1930s this policy changed to making the Ukrainians into Russians. There were mass repressions of Ukrainian poets, historians and linguists. As in other parts of the Soviet Union millions of people starved to death in 1932 and 1933.

During the first years of World War II Ukrainian nationalists collaborated with Nazis against Soviet Union hoping to reestablish Ukrainian independence or to get autonomy under the authority of Germany. Nationalists took part in mass murders of Jews, Roma people and other victims of Nazi regime. However hopes of independence was ruined and Ukrainian nationalists created Ukrainian Insurgent Army which fought against Nazi Germany but against the Soviet Union (mainly Soviet partisans) for the most part. They failed to get independence. Most Ukrainians fought on the side of the Soviet Union and participated in the liberation of Ukraine from Nazi Germany.

In 1986, the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded as a result of an improper test. The accident contaminated large portions of northern Ukraine and southern Belarus with uranium, plutonium, and radioactive isotopes. It was one of only two INES level 7 accidents (the worst level) in the history of nuclear power, the other being the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Under the second Soviet occupation repressions against Ukrainian nationalists continued and lasted till dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In the Soviet epoch Ukraine was renamed to so-called a "Soviet Socialist Republic" incorporated into Soviet Union. Independence day — 24 August 1991

Modern independence Edit

President elections: 1 December 1991, July 1994, October-November 1999, October-December 2004, January 2010

Parliament elections: March 1994, March 1998, March 2002, March 2006, September 2007 (prematurely), October 2012

Constitution of Ukraine was adopted by Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) 28 July 1996 with changes 8 December 2004.

The political demonstrations in autumn-winter 2004 after the Presidential elections gathered millions of people all over the country. On November 26, 2004, Victor Yuschenko lost the Ukrainian presidential election (Viktor Yanukovych was declared winner). However, Yuschenko and his followers argued that the election had been corrupted. They argued that the election results had been falsified by the Ukrainian government, in support of the opposing candidate Victor Yanukovych. [11] They organized political demonstrations in autumn-winter 2004 that gathered millions of people all over the country. They called the demonstrations The Orange Revolution (Ukrainian: Помаранчева революція ). Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was an important ally of Victor Yuschenko during the demonstrations. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine ordered a second round of elections, which Yuschenko won.

Big pro-European Union protests called Euromaidan (Ukrainian: Євромайдан ) began in November 2013 and made the President go away in February.

In March 2014, Russia occupied Crimea, made a pseudo-referendum which proclaimed the Crimea independence and annexed it. Most countries did not recognize the referendum. The EU, OSCE, USA and Ukraine demanded that Crimea be returned. Several countries sought to use economic sanctions to punish Russia's leaders for this. [12]

In April, 2014 Ukraine military attack against people in Donbass in eastern Ukraine, which has many Russian-speaking people. This began a war to control Donbass.

In 2016, the New Safe Confinement was built to cover the remains of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and prevent radiation from escaping.

Moscow vs. Kiev

Ukrainian Orthodoxy was under the jurisdiction of the Russian church for over 300 years, until 2019.

The reasons for this were pragmatic.

Ukraine's position as a borderland between Western and Eastern Christianity placed Ukrainian Christians between the authority of Moscow, Rome, and Constantinople.

After Kiev's fall to the Mongols in the 13th century, Ukraine was caught between two powerful neighbors with opposing religious identities: to the East, Orthodox Russia, and to the West, Catholic Poland-Lithuania.

In the 1600s, Ukraine found itself under pressure from Catholic neighbors intent on converting Orthodox Ukrainians to Catholicism. For Constantinople, this made the value of protection from a powerful Orthodox neighbor apparent, and it turned to Moscow for help. In 1686, Constantinople placed Ukrainian Orthodoxy under Moscow's authority.

The Racial Segregation of American Cities Was Anything But Accidental

It’s not surprising to anyone who has lived in or visited a major American metropolitan region that the nation’s cities tend to be organized in their own particular racial pattern. In Chicago, it’s a north/south divide. In Austin, it’s west/east. In some cities, it’s a division based around infrastructure, as with Detroit’s 8 Mile Road. In other cities, nature—such as Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia River—is the barrier. Sometimes these divisions are man-made, sometimes natural, but none are coincidental.

A narrative of racially discriminatory landlords and bankers—all independent actors—has long served as an explanation for the isolation of African-Americans in certain neighborhoods in large cities. But this pervasive assumption rationalizing residential segregation in the United States ignores the long history of federal, state and local policies that generated the residential segregation found across the country today.

In The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, aims to flip the assumption that the state of racial organization in American cities is simply a result of individual prejudices. He untangles a century’s worth of policies that built the segregated American city of today. From the first segregated public housing projects of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, to the 1949 Housing Act that encouraged white movement to the suburbs, to unconstitutional racial zoning ordinances enacted by city governments, Rothstein substantiates the argument that the current state of the American city is the direct result of unconstitutional, state-sanctioned racial discrimination. 

Smithsonian.com spoke with Rothstein about his findings and his suggestions for change.

Your book aims to turn over misconceptions on how American cities came to be racially segregated. What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have, and how did they influence your research and writing of this book?

There’s one overall misconception. And that is that the reason that neighborhoods in every metropolitan area in the country are segregated by race is because of a series of accidents driving prejudice and personal choices.

Income differences, private discrimination of real estate agents, banks and all of these come under the category of what the Supreme Court called, and what is now generally known as, de facto segregation, something that just happened by accident or by individual choices. And that myth, which is widespread across the political spectrum, hobbles our ability to remedy segregation and eliminate the enormous harm that it does to this country.

The truth is that segregation in every metropolitan area was imposed by racially explicit federal, state and local policy, without which private actions of prejudice or discrimination would not have been very effective. And if we understand that our segregation is a governmentally sponsored system, which of course we’d call de jure segregation, only then can we begin to remedy it. Because if it happened by individual choice, it’s hard to imagine how to remedy it. If it happened by government action, then we should be able to develop equally effective government actions to reverse it.

Why do you think there is this national amnesia about the history of these policies?

When we desegregated the buses, people could sit anywhere on the bus they wanted. When we desegregated restaurants, people could sit anywhere in the restaurant that they wanted. Even when we desegregated schools, if the ruling was enforced, the next day, children could go to the school in their neighborhood. But residential segregation is a much more difficult thing to do. If we prohibit the effects of residential segregation, it’s not as though the next day people can up and move to suburbs that once excluded them by federal policy.

So given how difficult it is and how disruptive it would be to the existing residential patterns in the country, people avoid thinking about it, rather than having to confront something that’s very difficult. And once people start to avoid thinking about it, then fewer and fewer people, as time goes on, remember the history at all.

How did the Great Depression contribute to the problem?

In the Great Depression, many lower-middle class and working-class families lost their home. They couldn’t keep up with their payments. So the Public Works Administration constructed the first civilian public housing ever in this country. Initially, it was primarily for white families in segregated white projects, but at some point, a few projects were built for African-Americans in segregated African-American projects. This practice often segregated neighborhoods that hadn’t previously been that way.

In Langston Hughes’ autobiography, he describes how he lived in an integrated neighborhood in Cleveland. His best friend in high school was Polish. He dated a Jewish girl. That neighborhood in Cleveland was razed by the WPA, which built two segregated [ones], one for African-Americans, one for whites. The Depression gave the stimulus for the first civilian public housing to be built. Were it not for that policy, many of these cities might have developed with a different residential pattern.

How did the Roosevelt administration justify these New Deal policies, like the WPA, if segregation wasn’t constitutional?

The main justification they used was that segregation was necessary because if African-Americans lived in those neighborhoods, the property values of those neighborhoods would decline. But, in fact, the FHA had no evidence of this claim. Indeed, the opposite was the case. The FHA had research that demonstrated that property values rose when African-Americans moved into white neighborhoods, but it ignored its own research.

African-Americans had fewer options for housing. African-Americans were willing to pay more to purchase homes than whites were for identical homes, so when African-Americans moved into a white neighborhood, property values generally rose. Only after an organized effort by the real estate industry to create all-black suburbs and overcrowd them and turn them into slums did property values decline. But that was the rationale and it persisted for at least three decades, perhaps more.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

"Rothstein has presented what I consider to be the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation." ―William Julius WilsonIn this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Roths.

How did the Housing Act of 1949 contribute to the issue of segregation?

President Harry Truman proposed the act because of an enormous civilian housing shortage. At the end of World War II, veterans returned home, they formed families they needed places to live. The federal government had restricted the use of building materials for defense purposes only, so there was no private housing industry operating at that time.

Conservatives in Congress in 1949 were opposed to any public housing, not for racial reasons, because most housing was for whites. But they opposed any government involvement in the private housing market, even though the sector wasn’t taking care of the housing needs of the population.

So they decided to try to defeat the public housing bill by proposing a “poison pill amendment” to make the entire bill unpalatable. It said from now on that public housing could not discriminate, understanding that if northern liberals joined conservatives in passing that amendment, southern Democrats would abandon the public housing program and along with conservative Republicans, defeat the bill entirely.

So liberals in Congress fought against the integration amendment led by civil rights opponents [resulting in a] 1949 housing program that permitted segregation. When the civilian housing industry picked up in the 1950s, the federal government subsidized mass production builders to create suburbs on conditions that those homes in the suburbs be sold only to whites. No African-Americans were permitted to buy them and the FHA often added an additional condition requiring that every deed in a home in those subdivisions prohibit resale to African –Americans.

Eventually, we had a situation everywhere in the country where there were large numbers of vacancies in the white projects and long waiting lists for the black projects. The situation became so conspicuous that the government and local housing agencies had to open up all projects to African-Americans. So these two policies, the segregation of public housing in urban areas and the subsidization of white families to leave urban areas and to the suburbs, created the kind of racial patterns that we’re familiar with today.

How did the Supreme Court decision in Buchanan v. Warley set the U.S. on a path of racial housing segregation?

In the early 20th century, a number of cities, particularly border cities like Baltimore, St. Louis, and Louisville, Kentucky, passed zoning ordinances that prohibited African-Americans from moving onto a block that was majority white. In 1917, the Supreme Court found in Buchanan v. Warley that such ordinances were unconstitutional, but not for racial reasons. The Court found it unconstitutional because such ordinances interfered with the rights of property owners.

As a result, planners around the country who were attempting to segregate their metropolitan areas had to come up with another device to do so. In the 1920s, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover organized an advisory committee on zoning, whose job was to persuade every jurisdiction to adopt the ordinance that would keep low-income families out of middle-class neighborhoods. The Supreme Court couldn’t explicitly mention race, but the evidence is clear that the [Commerce Department’s] motivation was racial. Jurisdictions began to adopt zoning ordinances that were exclusive on economics, but the true purpose was, in part, to exclude African-Americans. So they developed ordinances that for example, prohibited apartment buildings from being built in suburbs that had single-family homes. Or they required single-family homes to have large setbacks and be set on multiple acres, all as an attempt to make the suburb racially exclusive.

Even though the Buchanan decision was handed down in 1917, many cities continued to have racial ordinances in flagrant violation of the decision. Richmond, Virginia, passed an ordinance that said people couldn’t move on to a block where they were prohibited from marrying the majority of people on that block. And since Virginia had an anti-miscegenation law that prohibited blacks and whites from marrying, the state claimed that this provision didn’t violate the Buchanan decision. Many of these devices were used to evade the Court’s decision. Some cities adopted ordinances that prohibited African-Americans from living on a block that was majority white. So the Buchanan decision wasn’t totally effective, but it did stimulate the drive for economic zoning to keep African-Americans out of white neighborhoods.

People say that housing segregation happens because African-Americans simply can’t afford to live in middle class neighborhoods, but you argue that this is overly simplistic.

For one thing, when these practices of public segregation were most virulent, many African-Americans could afford to live in white suburbs. Large subdivisions developed with FHA support like Levittown, New York, were built on conditions that they be all white. The homes in those places sold, in today’s dollars, about $100,000 apiece. They cost twice the national median income and were easily affordable to African-Americans as well as whites, but only working-class whites were permitted to buy into those homes.

In the next several generations, those homes sell for seven-to-eight times the median national income – unaffordable to working-class families. So the segregation that took place when the homes were first built created a permanent system that locked African-Americans out of it as appreciation grew. White families gained in home equity, in wealth, from the appreciation of their homes. African-Americans who were forced to live in apartments and not be homeowners gained none of that appreciation.

The result is that today African-American average incomes are about 60 percent of white incomes, but African-Americans’ average wealth is about 5 percent of white wealth. That enormous difference is almost entirely attributable to unconstitutional federal housing policy in the mid-20th century.

How did reverse-redlining impact the African-American community in the financial crisis of 2008?

Reverse-redlining is a term used to describe the targeting by banks and mortgage lenders of minority communities for exploitative loans, called subprime loans. They were typically loans designed to induce African-American and Latino homeowners to refinance their homes at a low-interest rate that then exploded into a very high rate once they’re locked into the mortgage. In many cases, these subprime loans were issued to African-American families who qualified for conventional loans, but they were denied those mortgages. The result was that foreclosure [rates] in minority communities far-exceeded that in white communities. Federal regulators were certainly aware of the fact that banks they supervised were targeting African-American communities with these loans. This was their job. So the federal government was complicit in this reverse-redlining in the period leading up to 2008. The result was devastation of middle-class and lower-middle-class African-American communities.

If the federal government was complicit in this, what is the obligation of the federal government now as the nation continues to recover from that crisis and the legacy of residential discrimination?

The obligation is under our constitution. If it’s a constitutional violation, it’s the obligation of our government to fashion a remedy. It’s not as though simply saying “we’re no longer segregating” creates a situation where segregated families can pick up and move to integrated neighborhoods. But there is an obligation to remedy segregation.

That’s the reason why learning this history is important. If people believe that this all happened without government direction, then there is no constitutional obligation to desegregate. It might be a good policy, but there’s no obligation.

There are many remedies. For example, Congress could prohibit the use of exclusionary zoning ordinances in suburbs that were segregated and prohibit those ordinances from being enforced until such time the suburb became diverse. That would permit developers to create townhouses and modest apartment buildings or single-family homes in all-white suburbs that currently prohibit all of those things. There are many policies we could follow, but we’re not likely to have the political support to develop them without understanding the role of government in creating the segregation in the first place.

Assorted References

The Estonians are first mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus (1st century ad ) in Germania. Their political system was patriarchal, based on clans headed by elders. The first invaders of the country were Vikings, who from the mid-9th century passed through Estonia and…

…signed by Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia on Sept. 12, 1934, that laid the basis for close cooperation among those states, particularly in foreign affairs. Shortly after World War I, efforts were made to conclude a Baltic defense alliance among Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, all of which had recently…

…(1918–20), military conflict in which Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania fended off attacks from both Soviet Russia and Germany. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had been part of the Russian Empire since the end of the 18th century, but after the Russian Revolution of 1917 they became independent states. After World War…

Latvia, and Estonia—declined to join the new organization.) The CIS formally came into being on December 21, 1991, and began operations the following month, with the city of Minsk in Belarus designated as its administrative centre.

Similarly, the cyberattacks against Estonia in 2007 were conducted in the context of a wider political crisis surrounding the removal of a Soviet war memorial from the city centre of Tallinn to its suburbs, causing controversy among ethnic Russians in Estonia and in Russia itself.

…governments within the Russian Empire: Estonia (i.e., the northern part of ethnic Estonia), Livonia (i.e., the southern part of ethnic Estonia and northern Latvia), and Courland. After the October Revolution in Russia (1917), Latvia and Estonia proclaimed their independence they were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940, though under…

(1999) Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia (2004) Albania and

…and social domination over the Estonians and Latvians. The young Slavophile and landowning nobleman Yury Samarin, a junior official in Riga, was severely reprimanded by the emperor for his anti-German activities.

…step he negotiated with the Estonian nobility, which agreed to Swedish rule in 1561 and thereby laid the foundation for a Swedish Baltic empire. His aspirations led to conflicts with Denmark and Lübeck, which, up to the 16th century, had been the leading powers in this region. Control of the…

…became the capital of independent Estonia from 1918 to 1940. (Estonia was annexed to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from 1940 to 1991.) The city was occupied by German forces from 1941 to 1944 and was severely damaged. After the Supreme Soviet of Estonia declared independence in 1991, Tallinn…

Soviet Union

The Bolsheviks had also invaded Estonia only to be met by local troops, a British naval squadron, Yudenich’s Russian nationalists, and even General Rüdiger von der Goltz’s German veterans seeking to maintain German authority on the Baltic. Against these disparate and uncoordinated forces the Bolsheviks deployed the Red Army under…

Lithuania, and Estonia. On the 50th anniversary of the pact, August 23, an estimated 1,000,000 Balts formed a human chain linking their capitals to denounce the annexation as illegal and to demand self-determination. In September the Hungarian government suspended its effort to stave off the flight of…

Estonia and Latvia joined Lithuania by declaring independence, and this time the United States immediately extended recognition. On August 24 Ukraine declared independence, Belorussia (Belarus) the next day, and

World War I

Finns, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Poles were, by the end of 1917, all in various stages of the dissidence from which the independent states of the postwar period were to emerge and, at the same time, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis were no less active in…

republics of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were annexed by the Soviet Union and were organized as Soviet republics in August 1940. The Nonaggression Pact became a dead letter on June 22, 1941, when Nazi Germany, after having invaded much of western and central Europe, attacked the Soviet Union without warning…

World War II

on October 10, 1939, constrained Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to admit Soviet garrisons onto their territories. Approached with similar demands, Finland refused to comply, even though the U.S.S.R. offered territorial compensation elsewhere for the cessions that it was requiring for its own strategic reasons. Finland’s armed forces amounted to about…

>Estonia had been forced to accept Soviet occupation. When Finland resisted Soviet demands for border rectifications and bases, Stalin ordered the Red Army to attack on November 30. He expected a lightning victory of his own that would impress Hitler and increase Soviet security in…

Why was the capital of Ukraine moved in 1934? - History

  • 2,300 - Early Bronze Age cultures settle in Poland.
  • 700 - Iron is introduced into the region.
  • 400 - Germanic tribes such as the Celts arrive.

Brief Overview of the History of Poland

The history of Poland as a country begins with the Piast dynasty and Poland's first king Meisko I. King Meisko adopted Christianity as the national religion. Later, during the 14th century, the Polish kingdom reached its peak under the rule of the Jagiellonian dynasty. Poland united with Lithuania and created the powerful Polish-Lithuanian kingdom. For the next 400 years the Polish-Lithuanian union would be one of the most powerful states in Europe. One of the great battles of Poland occurred during this time when the Polish defeated the Teutonic Knights at the 1410 Battle of Grunwald. Eventually the dynasty ended and Poland was divided up in 1795 between Russia, Austria, and Prussia.

After World War I, Poland became a country again. Polish independence was the 13th of United States President Woodrow Wilson's famous 14 points. In 1918 Poland officially became an independent country.

During World War II, Poland was occupied by Germany. The war was devastating to Poland. Around six million Polish people were killed during the war, including around 3 million Jewish people as part of the Holocaust. After the war, the Communist Party took control of Poland and Poland became a puppet state of the Soviet Union. Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union Poland began to work towards a democratic government and a free market economy. In 2004 Poland joined the European Union.

If you can handle the negatives, Ukraine still has a lot to offer. I prefer to live here than in the states mostly due to the general sense of Freedom and economic and political advantages. Remember I feel safer here than in any large U.S. city late at night! It’s surely something to keep in mind!

I hope you enjoyed reading: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of Living in Ukraine. For more information about retiring in the Ukraine, please contact us HERE. Please enjoy a little extra reading!

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