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The Historical Conflict between Ukraine and Russia

The bitter relationship between the two countries dates much older than the formation of the Soviet Union. In the 10th century various tribes in Eurasia came together to form “Kyivan Rus” which established itself as the local ruler. This dynasty, based near modern day Kyiv, was plagued with troubles. Approximately 300 years later, the dynasty fell and Mongols took over the region. A part of the leftover dynasty stayed in modern day Ukraine and the rest marched towards Moscow and later established the infamous Tsardom of Russia.

During the 17th century, Polish-Lithunian Commonwealth and Tsardom of Russia entered a War, the price of which had to be paid by Ukraine. Ukraine was split into two parts between the two states planking the country. The eastern part adjoining Russia was controlled by Russia and the western part touching Poland and Lithuania came under its Governance. Thus a cultural rift got built and both western and eastern parts of Ukraine segregated in terms of culture and language.

This divide was dissolved in 1793 when the Tsardom of Russia annexed western Ukraine calling it a reunification of the Kyivan Rus. This plunged Ukraine into a century of “Russification”, though Ukrainians were not considered equals to Russians but rather subjugated to them. 

The tremors of the Russian Revolution were not conducive for Ukraine and its long standing aspiration for independence.

During the years of the Russian Revolution, Ukraine remained in civil war.During this time though, it remained independent as the Ukrainian Central Rada( the council of Ukraine) but not for long. In 1922, it was absorbed into the Soviet Union. 

The Holodomor Genocide

History reveals that like most of the former Soviet Countries, Ukraine was not a willing participant. It wanted to exist independently after years of subjugation.A proof of this was the Holodomor Genocide where an estimated 7.5 million Ukrainian peasants were killed by Joseph Stalin in order to terrorise them to undertake collective farming. Collective farming was regarded as an effective way to mobilize resources and increase farm output so that food security could be achieved on a large scale. The well fed people could then labor in Soviet factories and would eventually fit in the grand scheme of Soviet economic growth.At the same time a large number of Russians were penetrated into the east to bolster up all the Soviet satellite states, which includes Ukraine.

The liberation and Budapest Memorandum

During the late 80s a wave of disparity arose across the eastern Europe and all through the Soviet Block. Ukraine was no alien to it. Anti communist protests which first began in Poland caught up in the rest of the satellite states including Ukraine. In July 1990, there was a vote in favor of Ukraine’s freedom, but it couldt be legitimized as the Soviet was still actively in control. When a failed coup was organized to oust the then Russian President,Mikhail Gorbachev, it was perceived as a tell sign of a weakened Soviet. Ukraine was quick to take advantage of this situation and declared independence in 1994. Ukraine emerged victorious in the deal with the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in Budapest in its armor.

In 1994, Ukraine in partnership with the USA, UK, and Russia signed the Budapest agreement which forced Ukraine to trade away its nuclear arsenal in exchange for sovereignty and independence.Ukraine has ever since been under harassment and pressure from the big players of the region but has always voiced its concerns in face of peril. 

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