Ukrainian Revolution, 1917-1923
In Russia, the February Revolution of 1917 led to the collapse of the monarchy, the formation of the Provisional Government in Petrograd, and the end of tsarist restrictions on free speech, assembly, and the rights of minorities. Multiple Ukrainian political parties and organizations joined together in March 1917 to form the Central Rada in Kyiv, led by Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, which declared itself the highest representative body in Ukraine and called for Ukrainian autonomy within a democratic, federated Russia. The Central Rada opposed the Bolshevik overthrow of the Provisional Government in November 1917 and the Bolsheviks’ declaration of a Ukrainian soviet republic at the All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets that December.
On January 22, 1918, the Central Rada declared the independence of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), and in February it signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers, who drove Bolshevik soldiers out of Ukraine in exchange for food and resources from the Ukrainians. However, Germany did not support the socialist policies of the Rada, instead backing a coup by Pavlo Skoropadskyi in April 1918 to overthrow the Rada and establish a Hetmanate government supported by pro-Russian landowners. When World War I ended with the Central Powers’ defeat in November 1918, Skoropadskyi lost his German support, and, following a revolt against him, he abdicated in December 1918, thereby restoring the UNR, with Volodymyr Vynnychenko as chair.
As Austria-Hungary collapsed, western Ukrainians also formed an independent state, the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR), in October 1918. An Act of Union between the UNR and ZUNR was officially proclaimed on January 22, 1919, but due to ongoing wars with Russia in the east and Poland in the west, as well as political differences between the two governments, full integration of the two states did not occur.
In February 1919, following Vynnychenko’s inability to establish peace with the Bolsheviks, Symon Petliura became chair of the UNR and tried to negotiate support from French forces in Odesa in opposition to the Bolsheviks. Instead, clashes between Bolsheviks, White (pro-tsarist) Russians, the UNR, and other Ukrainian groups continued through 1919. Among these other groups was the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine, an anarchist army led by Nestor Makhno. In April 1920, Petliura signed the Treaty of Warsaw with the Polish Chief of State Józef Piłsudski, surrendering Ukraine’s claim to Galicia and western Volhynia in exchange for Polish military support against the Bolsheviks. The Polish-Ukrainian forces had limited success against the Bolsheviks, and in March 1921 Poland and Russia signed the treaty of Riga, which recognized Galicia and Volhynia as part of Poland and the land east of there as part of Soviet Ukraine.
A brief questionnaire addressing five points of the land law issued on January 18, 1918 by the Ukrainian Central Rada on the socialization of land.
An outline of the history of the Sich Riflemen regiment and its connection to the Ukrainian People's Republic throughout the two year struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom and independence.