Olga Kaczmar | Kievan Rus Was Not Russia

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Part 3 of 4. Part 2 appeared July 8. 

Russia tried to erase Ukrainian history while they ruled over the Ukrainians. Ukrainians weren’t allowed to teach their history. 

Kievan Rus reached the height of its power in the 10th century. Under Volodymyr the Great, the first Ukrainian state was expanded and consolidated. In 988 Volodymyr adopted Christianity. He began a massive church and school building program in Kiev. Kiev became a place of splendor and beauty. His successor, Jaroslav the Wise, expanded Christianity and the many monasteries, etc. The first written code of laws in the Slavic world was Ruska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth). The royalty of Europe sent their sons to the Ukrainian universities of learning. 

At this time Moscow was a land of barbarians. In 1169 Andrew Bogolubsky sacked Kiev and everything of value was transported out. In 1240 Kiev was sacked again by the Mongolian Genghis Khan. 

Three nationalities emerged: Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Russians. In the 12th century Galicia and Volynia combined and retained the name Rus. In the 14th century Galicia was conquered by Poland, while Lithuania annexed Volynia and took control of Kiev. (This had nothing to do with current Russia.)

After the decline of Mongol power, the rise of the Cossack organization helped preserve Ukrainian heritage in eastern Ukraine. The Mongols retreated from Kiev. The principality of Muscovy grew in the 14th and 15th centuries. 

In 1648 Ukrainian forces defeated Poland and established a separate Ukrainian state. Ukrainian ruler Khmelnitsky agreed to a treaty with Muscovy (big mistake), which started Muscovy troops’ migration to Ukraine. In 1649 Khmelnitsky’s successor Vyhovsky defeated the Russian armies at the Battle of Konotop.  

Poles and Russians were opposed to an autonomous Ukraine and partitioned Ukraine along the Dnieper River. Ukraine aligned with Sweden but was defeated by Czar Peter I at the Battle of Poltava. The Ukrainian Cossacks provided their people with renewed hope for an independent Ukraine. For the next 122 years Ukraine was ruled by two imperial powers: Russia and Austria.  

Peter the Great rebranded his country and appropriated Kiev Rus’ noble history. His 1721 order appeared using the name “Russia” instead of Muscovy. History books were removed all over Ukraine and the whole history was brutally rewritten to deny Ukrainians their national identity. 

When Russia took over the Rus name and legacy, Ukrainians adopted “Ukraine,” which means “edge, borderland; our land.”

In 1876 Czar Alexander II’s proclamation forbid the publication of all books and materials in the Ukrainian language. This continued throughout Russian occupation. 

Ukraine is full of riches, best agricultural land in Europe and minerals beyond belief. That’s why every country around Ukraine wanted to capture it and invaded it from time to time, making serfs out of the people. In treaties (1919, 1920, 1921, 1923) the U.S. and European nations partitioned Ukraine further to Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Poland and USSR. 

Even now, Ukrainian war history is not allowed to be told. The winners get to write the history now, calling Ukraine corrupt. The U.S. supported Russia and Poland. During World War II, Ukraine fought a three-front war against Russia, Poland and Germany. 

The Nazis promised a free Ukraine but reneged and brutalized the Ukrainian people from 1940 until the Russians expelled them. 

The Ukrainian insurgent army fought both Soviet and Nazi troops to keep Ukraine independent. Both Nazis and Russians had a “scorched earth” policy when retreating and killed (millions) during their occupation. Joseph Stalin claimed this loss as Russian casualties. One million Ukrainian followers fought for a free and independent nation.  

Ukraine asked the U.S. numerous times for assistance, but the U.S. helped divide Ukraine between Poland and Russia along the Curzon Line after World War I and World War II. The CIA/ Obama /Biden administrations ransacked Ukraine, filling their pockets with oligarch cash, promised support and provided blankets instead of ammo. President Donald Trump provided weapons. Hillary Clinton was very complicit in giving Ukraine a current reputation that the Ukrainian government is corrupt. 

God have mercy on the Ukrainian souls — for wanting freedom from all oppressors.  

 Olga Kaczmar

Santa Clarita

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