Today In History : January 26, 2022
On This Day In History
On January 26, 1918, Ukraine declared its independence from Russia.
Soon after the Bolsheviks seized control in immense, troubled Russia in November 1917 and moved towards negotiating peace with the Central Powers, the former Russian state of Ukraine declares its total independence.
Most of the vast, flat Ukraine (which can be translated as “borderland”) was incorporated into the Russian empire after the second partition of Poland in 1793. It had been one of the major wheat-producing regions of Europe. It is also rich with mineral resources, including iron and coal. A section of Ukraine – the principality of Galicia—remained part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and turned out to be a key battleground on World War I’s Eastern Front.
Immediately after the overthrow of the czar in February 1917, Ukraine set up its own provisional government and proclaimed itself a republic within the structure of a federated Russia. After Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks rose to power in November, 1917, Ukraine declared its complete independence in January 1918.
Faced with Bolshevik opposition and other counter- revolutionary activity, Ukraine’s Rada government had serious difficulty imposing its rule on the people. Seeing Ukraine as a much-needed source of food for their people, Germany and Austria brought in troops to preserve order, and they forced the Russian troops to leave. Germany and Austria virtually annexed the region, while recognizing Ukrainian independence.
World War 1 ended with the defeat of the Central Powers. The armistice, signed in November 1918, forced Germany and Austria to withdraw from Ukraine. At the same time a second West Ukrainian republic was proclaimed in the Galician city of Lviv. The two Ukrainian states proclaimed their union in united in early 1919.
Ukrainian independence ended in 1922, after an assault by the Russians. Ukraine became one of the original constituent republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.). It regained its independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.