sovereign state in eastern Europe

Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна) is a country in Eastern Europe. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. It has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within the European subcontinent.

In Ukraine, you don't build a democracy; it already exists. You just defend it. ~ Petro Poroshenko
If the country controlled by Kyiv didn’t fracture in 2014, when the government and army were weak, polarization was high, and Putin could have invaded with impunity, it won't. ~ Alexander J. Motyl


  • Ukraine has always aspired to be free: but being surrounded by Muscovy, the states of the Sultan, and Poland, a protector had to be sought, and consequently a master in one of these three states. She first put herself under the protection of Poland, who treated her too much as subject. She then gave herself to the Muscovite, who governed her as a slave as much as he could. At first the Ukrainians enjoyed the privilege of electing a prince under the name of general; but soon they were stripped of this right, and their general was appointed by the court of Moscow. (L’Ukraine a toujours aspiré à être libre : mais étant entourée de la Moscovie, des états du grand-seigneur, et de la Pologne, il lui a fallu chercher un protecteur, et par conséquent un maître dans l’un de ces trois états. Elle se mit d’abord sous la protection de la Pologne qui la traita trop en sujette : elle se donna depuis au Moscovite, qui la gouverna en esclave autant qu’il le put. D’abord les Ukrainiens jouirent du privilège d’élire un prince sous le nom de général ; mais bientôt ils furent dépouillés de ce droit, et leur général fut nommé par la cour de Moscou.)
    • Voltaire 1731, Histoire de Charles XII (History of Charles XII), p 161.
  • In carrying out the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic solemnly proclaims
    the independence of Ukraine and the creation of an independent Ukrainian state - Ukraine.
    The territory of Ukraine is indivisible and inviolable.
    From now on in Ukraine only the Constitution and laws of Ukraine are in force.
    This act takes effect from the moment of its approval.
    • Original: здійснюючи Декларацію про державний суверенітет України, Верховна Рада Української Радянської Соціалістичної Республіки урочисто проголошує
      незалежність України та створення самостійної Української держави — України.
      Територія України є неподільною і недоторканною.
      Віднині на території України мають чинність виключно Конституція і закони України.
      Цей акт набирає чинності з моменту його схвалення.
    • Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine (1991). Text of the act.
  • This ignorance of Ukraine has always been aggravating, but no one regarded it as a national security threat until the start of the Kremlin’s hybrid war against Ukraine. All that changed when “little green men” began appearing in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. It soon became clear that disinformation would play a key role in the Kremlin’s hybrid war, with Russia’s information offensive relying heavily on outside ignorance of Ukraine. Ukrainians watched in horror as the country’s complex relationship with its Tsarist and Soviet past was reduced to the tribal binary of Russian-speakers versus Ukrainian-speakers. Ukraine was depicted as a fascist junta, a Nazi dictatorship, and a failed state. These nightmarish visions gained remarkable levels of traction in the international media, largely because Ukraine was such an unknown quantity.
  • It is enlightening to see how pugnacious the U.S. establishment...has been in dealing with the Ukraine crisis. The crisis arguably began when the Yanukovich government rejected an EU bailout program in favor of one offered by Russia. The mainstream media (MSM) have virtually suppressed the fact that the EU proposal was not only less generous than the one offered by Russia, but that, whereas the Russian plan did not preclude further Ukrainian deals with the EU, the EU plan would have required a cut-off of further Russian arrangements. And whereas the Russian deal had no military clauses, that of the EU required that Ukraine affiliate with NATO. Insofar as the MSM dealt with this set of offers, they not only suppressed the exclusionary and militarized character of the EU offer, they tended to view the Russian deal as an improper use of economic leverage, “bludgeoning,” but the EU proposal was “constructive and reasonable” (Ed., NYT, November 20, 2014). Double standards seem to be fully internalized within the U.S. establishment. The protests that ensued in Ukraine were surely based in part on real grievances against a corrupt government, but they were also pushed along by right-wing groups and by U.S. and allied encouragement and support that increasingly had an anti-Russian and pro-accelerated regime change flavor.
  • The sniper killings of police and protesters in Maidan on February 21, 2014 brought the crisis to a new head. This violence overlapped with, and eventually terminated, a negotiated settlement of the struggle brokered by EU members that would have ended the violence, created an interim government, and required elections by December. The accelerated violence ended this transitional plan, which was replaced by a coup takeover along with the forced flight of Victor Yanukovich. There is credible evidence that the sniper shootings of both protesters and police were carried out by a segment of the protesters in a false-flag operation that worked exceedingly well, “government” violence serving as one ground for the ouster of Yanukovich. Most telling was the intercepted phone message between Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, and EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Upton, in which Paet regretfully reported compelling evidence that the shots killing both police and protesters came from a segment of the protesters. This account was almost entirely suppressed in the MSM... There is also every reason to believe that the coup and establishment of a right-wing and anti-Russian government were encouraged and actively supported by U.S. officials.
  • If the country controlled by Kyiv didn’t fracture in 2014, when the government and army were weak, polarization was high, and Putin could have invaded with impunity, it won’t in 2016.
  • Last spring the hoopla about Russia invading Ukraine died an ignominious death when nothing happened. This autumn, the latest Russia-will-invade boogeyman was already on life-support when the pro-western Ukrainian president decided to goose it November 26 with the breathless proclamation that Moscow intended to overthrow him “next week.” When that didn’t happen, on December 4, the Washington Post hyperventilated about Russia igniting a war, like, any day, in an anonymously sourced piece of exemplary CIA stenography, worthy of the fantasies published in the run-up to the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq.... So Russia hesitates and the U.S. screams. What else is new? Don’t get me wrong: NATO and the U.S.’s idiotic brinksmanship on Russia’s borders could yet cause real damage. But wild-eyed speculation about the Kremlin’s intentions has so far run aground on Russia’s apparent reluctance to engage in a shooting war that could spiral into a full-on nuclear holocaust.... In early November CIA chief William Burns trekked to the Kremlin amid worries about a Russian troop buildup. As if Russia can’t move its military around WITHIN ITS OWN BORDERS without catapulting the west to high alert.
  • How likely is doomsday? Well back to Ukraine, regarding which, on December 1, Russian President Putin asked the west for legal guarantees that it would cease eastward expansion. This request, made because Washington’s word is worthless (vide just for starters, the Iran nuclear pact, and President George H.W. Bush’s promise that NATO would never, ho, ho, expand to Russia’s borders) and met with scoffs by the white house, comes amid complicated tensions. The Kiev military recently claimed it used Turkish attack drones “in combat against ethnic Russian rebels,” Finian Cunningham reported October 28 in Information Clearing House. This is not good. Turkey is in NATO. If Turkey gets tangled up in the Ukraine imbroglio, that substantially escalates things. According to Anatol Lieven in Responsible Statecraft on November 24, “Moscow is especially alarmed by Ukraine’s acquisition of Turkish Bayraktar combat drones,” used to such deadly effect by Azerbaijan in its 2020 conquest of Armenian territory. Unlike the F-35, these things actually work.
  • Ukraine is showing Belarus an example of how one should fight for freedom. I am sure that our countries have a common future in Europe, where neither Ukrainians nor Belarusians will die.
  • These days in Europe, many countries are sympathetic towards Ukraine and the situation here - of course, this touches a lot of people from different states. The fact that volunteers and government organizations work together on this and these kinds of humanitarian actions happen - is not unique, but it proves, that there are a lot of regular folks out there who care about Ukraine and its future
  • Ukrainian society is less ambiguous today and Ukrainian identity is becoming increasingly civic rather than ethnic, and increasingly incompatible with a supra-ethnic, non-civic, quasi-religious, East Slavonic identity. While civic unity and civic identity are on the rise, Ukrainian attitudes toward Russians remain rather positive, in contrast to the highly negative Russian attitudes toward Ukrainians. First, Ukrainian media do not practice hate speech and propagandistic brainwashing on the scale of the Russian media. And second, Ukrainians are much less inclined to identify the people with the state; their loathing of Putin has not translated into a similar attitude toward common Russians. Many Ukrainians still want open borders and good relations with Russia, even though that’s increasingly impossible at a time of war.
  • Hitler and Stalin rose to power in Berlin and Moscow, but their visions of transformation concerned above all the lands between. Their utopias of control overlapped in Ukraine. Hitler remembered the ephemeral German eastern colony of 1918 as German access to the Ukrainian breadbasket. Stalin, who had served his revolution in Ukraine shortly thereafter, regarded the land in much the same way. Its farmland, and its peasants, were to be exploited in the making of a modern industrial state. Hitler looked upon collectivization as a disastrous failure, and presented it as proof of the failure of Soviet communism as such. But he had no doubt that Germans could make of Ukraine a land of milk and honey. For both Hitler and Stalin, Ukraine was more than a source of food. It was the place that would enable them to break the rules of traditional economics, rescue their countries from poverty and isolation, and remake the continent in their own image. Their programs and their power all depended upon their control of Ukraine’s fertile soil and its millions of agricultural laborers. In 1933, Ukrainians would died in the millions, in the greatest artificial famine in the history of world. This was the beginning of the special history of Ukraine, but not the end. In 1941 Hitler would seize Ukraine from Stalin, and attempt to realize his own colonial vision beginning with the shooting of Jews and the starvation of Soviet prisoners of war. The Stalinists colonized their own country, and the Nazis colonized occupied Soviet Ukraine: and the inhabitants of Ukraine suffered and suffered. During the years that both Stalin and Hitler were in power, more people were killed in Ukraine than anywhere else in the bloodlands, or in Europe, or in the world.
    • Timothy D. Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. E-book, New York: Basic Books, 2010

Interview With Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on Ukraine (May 1994)Edit

by Paul Klebnikov, in the (9 May 1994), issue of Forbes magazine

  • Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, [historian] Richard Pipes and many other American politicians... are frozen... with unchanging blindness and stubbornness they keep repeating... this theory about the supposed age-old aggressiveness of Russia, without taking into consideration today's reality.
  • Imagine that one not very fine day two or three of your states in the Southwest, in the space of 24 hours, declare themselves independent of the U.S... declare themselves a fully sovereign nation, decreeing that Spanish will be the only language. All English-speaking residents, even if their ancestors have lived there for 200 years, have to take a test in the Spanish language within one or two years and swear allegiance... Otherwise they will not receive citizenship and be deprived of... (their) rights. Today Russia faces precisely this scenario.
  • In 24 hours she lost eight to 10 purely Russian provinces, 25 million ethnic Russians who have ended up in this very way--as "undesirable aliens." In places where their fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers have lived since way back--even from the 17th century--they face persecution in their jobs and the suppression of their culture, education and language.
  • Russia today is terribly sick... But even so, have a conscience and don’t demand that–just to please America – Russia throw away the last vestiges of her concern for her security and her unprecedented collapse. After all, this concern in no way threatens the United States.
  • Why does the (U.S.) State Department decide who should get Sevastopol?
  • If one recalls the tactless declaration of President Bush about supporting Ukrainian sovereignty even before the referendum on that matter, one must conclude that all this stems from a common aim: to use all means possible, no matter what the consequences, to weaken Russia.
  • If one looks far into the future, one can foresee in the 21st century such a time when the U.S. together with Europe will be in dire need of Russia as an ally.

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