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History

Known as an independent state for about 20 years, Ukraine can boast a millennial history of just its name; the first known written reference dates back to 1187 and was written in regards to the lands belonging to Pereyaslav Principality—one of the core principalities of Kyivan Rus. Within a hundred years more principalities were associated with “Ukraine” including western Galicia and Volhynia.

There are serveral arguments in regard to the meaning of the name “Ukraine”. While canonical “borderland” is still widespread in foreign historiography, mainly developed under the watchful eye of the Soviet propaganda. The contrasting opinion of the Ukrainian historians is becoming more well-known, since their explanation of the name’s etymology is by far the closest to the Ukrainian language meaning: “Land”, “country”, or more literally—”in the country”.

Modern Ukrainian historiography outlines several main periods in the history of Ukraine when the state was close to claiming its independance. Apart from medieval Kyivan Rus, which was considered a proto-Ukrainian state, these times include the Cossacks struggle, first against Poles, and then against the growing Russian Empire and the beginning of the 20th century period of national liberation movements, which followed the World’s War I disintegration of Austria-Hungary Empire and Russian Empire collapse in the chaos of Bolshevik revolution of 1917. In 1922, the eastern part of Ukraine, which whad been under Russian domination since the 17th century, became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. Unified with Western Ukraine in 1939, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic declared its independence in 1991.