First Came Ukraine
… both nations trace their roots back to the first East Slavic state, Kievan Rus, which stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea from the 9th century to the mid-13th century. This medieval empire was founded, oddly enough, by Vikings — “Rus” is the Slavic word given to the red-haired Scandinavians — who swept down from the north in the 9th century, conquered the local Slavic tribes, and established their capital at Kiev.
… But in the 13th century Kiev was devastated by Mongol invaders, and power shifted north to a small Rus trading outpost called Moscow. __ The Week
Viking raiders defeated the Turkic Khazars and united the Slavs in the Kievan Rus. Kiev ruled the lands between the Baltic and the Black for hundreds of years, until the Mongols.
More on the early period of Ukraine:
In the 9th cent., a Varangian dynasty from Scandinavia established itself at Kiev… The land and people of Ukraine formed the core of Kievan Rus.
Following Yaroslav’s reign (1019–54), which marked the zenith of Kiev’s power, Kievan Rus split into principalities, including the western duchies of Halych (see Galicia) and Volodymyr (see Volodymyr-Volynskyy and Volhynia). These and the rest of the western region, which included Podolia, had separate histories after the conquest of Kievan Rus (13th cent.) by the Mongols of the Golden Horde. __ Infoplease Ukraine:History
The Mongols began to favour Moscow in the early half of the 14th century.
Uzbeg Khan began backing Moscow as the leading Russian state. Ivan I Kalita was granted the title of grand prince and given the right to collect taxes from other Russian potentates. The Khan also sent Ivan at the head of an army of 50,000 soldiers to punish Tver. Aleksander was shown mercy in 1335, however, when Moscow requested that he and his son Feoder be quartered in Sarai by orders of the Khan on October 29, 1339. __ Golden Horde Wikipedia
By the 15th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had come to dominate much of “Ukraine.” And finally, in 1480, “Russia” freed itself from the Horde. At the dawn of the 16th century, “Russia” and “Ukraine” found their fortunes reversed. Newly freed from the domination of the Golden Horde, Russia was far enough from European power struggles to seek its own destiny. Ukraine, on the other hand, found itself trapped between the Polish-Lithuanian powerhouse, hungry Russian bear, and the Ottoman-backed Tatars to the South.
After the [13th cent.] Mongol invasion of Rus the histories of the Russian and Ukrainian people’s started to diverge. The former, having successfully united all the remnants of the Rus’ northern provinces, swelled into a powerful Russian state. The latter came under the domination of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Within the Commonwealth, the militant Zaporozhian Cossacks refused polonization, and often clashed with the Commonwealth government, controlled by the Polish nobility. _Wikipedia: Russia-Ukraine Relations
When the Mongol tide receded, Ukraine came under the control of Lithuania, and after that the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. The clashes of languages, cultures, and religions — Roman Catholic vs. Eastern Orthodox — led to a Ukrainian rebellion from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Ukraine sought alliance with Russia against the Commonwealth, but in true form, Russia violated the Treaty of Pereyaslavl, and “absorbed” Ukraine over time. Ukraine attempted repeatedly to break away from Russia but was unsuccessful until 1917.
By the terms of the treaty [1654 Treaty of Pereyaslavl], Ukraine was to be largely independent; but Russia soon began to encroach upon its rights (the czars contemptuously referred to the Ukrainians as “Little Russians,” as contrasted with the “Great Russians” of the Muscovite realm). Through a treaty with Poland in 1658, Ukraine attempted to throw off Russian protection. The ensuing Russo-Polish war ended in 1667 with the Treaty of Andrusov, which partitioned Ukraine.
Russia obtained left-bank Ukraine, east of the Dnieper River and including Kiev; Poland retained right-bank Ukraine. Hetman Ivan Mazepa, presiding over a diminished Cossack state, sought once again to free Ukraine from Russian domination; he thus joined Sweden against Russia in the Northern War, but their defeat at Poltava by Czar Peter I in 1709 sealed the fate of Ukraine. Mazepa’s fall crushed the last hopes for Ukrainian independence and further curtailed Ukrainian autonomy. __ Ukraine History Infoplease
The first successful modern Ukrainian state had a very short existence. In 1917, after World War I, Kiev was ready again to declare independence. But Poland invaded, and then the Russian Bolshevik revolutionary government rolled over Ukraine in bloody fighting that left Ukraine once again enslaved. The way was paved for genocide, ethnic cleansing, widespread corruption, and an ugly brutality that continues to this day.
The first independent Ukrainian state was declared in Kiev in 1917, following the collapse of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires at the end of World War I. That independence was short-lived. The new country was invaded by Poland, and fought over by forces loyal to the czar and Moscow’s new Bolshevik government, which took power in Russia’s 1918 revolution. By the time Ukraine was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922, its economy was in tatters and its populace starving. Worse was to come. When Ukrainian peasants refused to join collective farms in the 1930s, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orchestrated mass executions and a famine that killed up to 10 million people. Afterward, Stalin imported millions of Russians and other Soviet citizens to help repopulate the coal- and iron-ore-rich east. This mass migration, said former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, helps explain why “the sense of Ukrainian nationalism is not as deep in the east as it is in the west.” World War II exacerbated this divide. _Theunis Bates
In World War II, many Ukrainians were ready to try to break away from the genocidal and ethnic-cleansing Soviet tyranny — to the point that they were willing to side with Nazi Germany to throw off their brutal Soviet occupiers.
But with the help of massive US aide and assistance, the USSR was able to survive WWII — and to occupy not only Ukraine, but all of Eastern Europe in the postwar period. This was a dark time for the long-suffering people of Eastern Europe, but in 1989 — at long last — with the coming of the peaceful revolutions against the USSR in the Warsaw Pact nations, sunlight was finally coming into view for the occupied, brutalised republics of the USSR.
The Ukrainian parliament passed a declaration of sovereignty in July, 1990, and in Aug., 1991, declared Ukraine independent of the Soviet Union. Ukraine became a charter member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Dec., 1991. Leonid Kravchuk, a former Communist turned nationalist, became Ukraine’s first president. Parliamentary and presidential elections were held in 1994, and Kravchuk was defeated by Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma.
Kuchma implemented a few market reforms, but the economy remained dominated by huge, inefficient state-run companies and did not improve significantly. Ukraine, briefly the world’s third largest nuclear power, also ratified the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1994) and turned its nuclear arsenal over to Russia for destruction (completed 1996); in return, Ukraine received much-needed fuel for its nuclear power plants. The country’s economic reforms and cooperation in disarmament helped it gain substantial Western aid and loans.
Tensions continued over the Crimean peninsula, a former Russian territory with a majority Russian population that was ceded to Ukraine in 1954. In 1995, after Crimea challenged the Ukrainian government’s sovereignty and threatened to secede, Ukraine placed Crimea’s government under national control; its regional assembly, however, was retained. Another contentious issue was the division between Russia and Ukraine of the former Soviet Black Sea fleet, based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. A basic agreement, under which four fifths of the fleet would fall under Russian control, was reached in 1995, and in 1997 it was agreed that Russia would be allowed to base its fleet at Sevastopol for 20 years.
After such a long and violent relationship, you wouldn’t expect things to end with a happy dissolution. The two countries have been locked in a love-hate relationship for a long, long time. They are tied together too tightly for an amicable divorce to be possible.
The two neighboring countries have been intertwined for over 1,000 years of tumultuous history. Today, Ukraine is one of Russia’s biggest markets for natural gas exports, a crucial transit route to the rest of Europe, and home to an estimated 7.5 million ethnic Russians — who mostly live in eastern Ukraine and the southern region of Crimea. __ The Week: Brief History of Ukraine’s relationship with Russia
Russia is too long the wife-beater, and Ukraine too long the beaten wife. Their economies and industries were interwoven in the Soviet years — more than most outside observers comprehend. Much of the critical military industrial infrastructure of the USSR was located inside Ukraine.
The equipment includes the motors that keep all of Russia’s combat helicopters flying and many of the engines that power Russian naval ships. It also includes about half of the air-to-air missiles carried by Russian fighter planes.
… The integration of the Russian and Ukrainian military industries dates to the Soviet Union, when Moscow planners deliberately located key manufacturing plants in various Soviet republics to strengthen national unity. Since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Moscow has sought to create its own entirely domestic military industry in a declared policy of self-reliance.
But Russia’s self-reliance program remains far from complete.
… The Ukrainian facilities which are most important for Russia’s military are Motor Sich in Zaporizhzhya, which produces helicopter engines, Yuzhmash in Dnipropetrovsk, which manufactures rockets and missiles, and the Russian company Antonov’s plant in Kyiv, which makes planes.
… Some of the most important ties between the two countries’ military industries concern Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.
Most of Russia warheads are delivered by rockets which were entirely produced or designed by factories in Soviet-era Ukraine or contain key components from them.
… The essential components include targeting and control systems, most importantly for Russia’s keystone ICBM, the RS-20B Voyevoda, known by NATO as the SS-18 Satan. The guidance system was produced in Kharkiv at a factory known as “Elektropribor” in the Soviet era and as “Khatron” today. __ Made in Ukraine
This is only the tip of the iceberg. A deep co-dependency goes both ways.
Inside greater Russia, population density is very low, and scheduled to shrink significantly over the coming decades. Yet, for all of that, Russia may be vastly OVER-populated. Apparently Russians themselves agree, since hundreds of thousands of Russia’s best are fleeing the country yearly. Conditions inside Russia often seem fit mainly for producing drug addicts, alcoholics, violent criminals, human traffik, abortions, and unwanted babies.
According to Russia’s statistics office, more than 203,000 people left the country in the first 9 months of 2014, compared with 186,382 in the whole of 2013 and just 33,578 in 2010. _Reuters
These are not the type of things one reads about from RT, Russian Insider, or the Russophillic anolingus press. These days, it is impossible to even get a good read on the Russian population numbers. With the massive cutbacks in Russia’s public health spending, authentic and reliable numbers for abortions, disease rates, death rates, and other vital statistics will be impossible to come by.
Mark Adomanis, famous for carrying Putin’s water, has begun to publish articles that reveal some of the darker reality within Russia today. He doesn’t delve too deeply — he doesn’t want to be shot down in the street, after all. But some of the news gets out.
After reading some of the early history of Ukraine / Russia, it may be easier for many readers to understand the average Russian’s fear of allowing Ukraine to achieve prosperity by joining peacefully with Europe.
The World Health Organization reports that the life expectancy of the average 15-year-old male is three years lower in Russia than in Haiti.
Dawisha describes how, at the moment of the “formidable and historic collapse” of the Soviet system, the control of a “vast mountain of foreign money fell to KGB agents who had access to foreign operations and accounts.” This money was available for “investments” by those who controlled the accounts. “Thus were born, it is estimated, most of Russian’s oligarchs and commercial banks,” she writes. Helping the oligarchs were KGB and Communist Party veterans including “the rather more junior official Vladimir Putin.”
Dawisha notes that the country is not only seeing a capital flight but a brain drain of its young and talented who are alienated from Putin’s system of control, not their country. “An increase in the sense of political hopelessness on the part of the vast majority occurred at the same time that Moscow vied with New York and London as the billionaire capital of the world,” she writes. __ Russia’s Criminal Government is Incomparable
The bloody imprint of the corrupt Siloviki who rule today’s Russia, is impregnated with a deadly mind-virus of mass dementia. The mind-virus is spreading across the motherland, and no portion escapes its deadly impact.
Ukraine is suffering most openly from the bloody hand of the Siloviki. But it is Russia herself that will finally feel the impact of the agonal, suicidal blows.
So when it comes to the bloody divorce of Ukraine and Russia, the question is not whether either country can be saved. The question is how large are the remnants of either country that might be saved?
Putin and the Siloviki are set and determined on their course of destruction. What can the rest of the world salvage from the coming devastation?
More — Brief history of ongoing Russian war against Ukraine:
Russia implemented what could be called “Plan B” in July. This involved sending in more Spestnaz to keep the rebels from completely falling apart, along with thousands of Russian combat troops to halt the Ukrainian advance and push them back. Russia brought in more armored vehicles (often repainted to look like captured Ukrainian stuff), many of them more modern vehicles than Ukraine had. These were often not repainted to appear Ukrainian. In addition artillery (guns and rocket launchers) and anti-aircraft missile systems just across the border in Russia were used to fire at Ukrainian forces in Ukraine. The Ukrainian troops did not expect such heavy artillery fire nor the surface-to-air missiles that were suddenly shooting down Ukrainian aircraft. The Ukrainians pulled back and once they halted the Russian advance there was a ceasefire in September. Russia kept violating the ceasefire and in January brought in more troops and advanced again. It was clear from the rebel prisoners and dead bodies that a lot of the “rebel” fighters were actually Russian troops. This could be confirmed on the Internet where Russian language social media was full of Russian conscripts reporting on their adventures in Donbas.
From all this it appears that Russia has brought in over 40,000 combat and support troops from over a hundred different units. These troops are usually brought in for a few months, or as many as six months, then sent back to their home base and replaced by another unit. This is causing problems in Russia because many of the troops involved are conscripts and when these are killed the official story is that they died from something other than combat. The bodies are shipped home in sealed caskets which are often, in violation of government instructions, unsealed. When that happens the parents discover that their son died in combat and that gets around via the Internet and some of the more daring mass media. Most Russian mass media is government controlled, but the Internet dilutes the news monopoly that control of mass media used to confer. The situation has gotten worse as Russia has begun using special units of Interior Ministry Police to work behind units in combat and arrest any troops, usually conscripts, who try to run away. This harkens back to the World War II practice of having groups of KGB men behind the front line with orders to shoot on sight any troops they saw moving away from the fighting.
Russia still pushes the official line that they have no troops in Ukraine and call any evidence to the contrary another example of how clever and insidious the NATO plot against Russia is. _Nefarious NATO Plot Against Russia