Ukrainians of all linguistic backgrounds have united behind the government of President Viktor Zelensky. His approval rating has increased since the war began. This has led many to believe that a foreign invasion is the catalyst for nation-building. Yet this is far from the truth. Zelensky’s policies have led many to think differently. Here are his four recommendations. Read them carefully. And then decide if they’re right for you.
Ukraine is bordered by Russia and Belarus to the north. It shares borders with the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in the south. To the west, it borders the countries of Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. The country is connected to the Black Sea by the Kerch Strait. The country has a large number of rivers and lakes, so getting around by water can be a breeze! But if you’re planning to travel across Ukraine by air, make sure you read this primer before you travel.
The Russian Empire ruled Ukraine for 120 years. During this time, Ukrainian nationalist sentiments were suppressed and latent, but gained traction after the Holodomor, the devastating famine of 1932-33. The Holodomor also wiped out three to five million people, largely because of Stalin’s poor agricultural policies. After the Russian Empire collapsed, Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union. The newly independent Poland occupied the western portions of the country, where Ukrainians were predominant. Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, which gave it its independence from the Russian Empire.
The Russians have long sought to draw Ukraine closer to Western Europe. In the past, both countries shared similar historical origins. During the Soviet era, the Ukrainians resisted any ‘ethnic cleansing’ by ethnic minorities. In fact, Russian language is widely spoken. This has resulted in a deep cultural division in the country. Moreover, in the wake of the Russian invasion, the west Ukraine has begun to integrate with its European neighbors.
Before the Russian invasion in 1718, most of what is now Ukraine was ruled by Polish and Lithuanian nobility. Most of the people were Orthodox, and the Cossacks formed semi-autonomous nations. While the Cossacks had an affinity for Muscovite Russia, they wished to maintain their autonomy. In the 16th century, the Zaporizhian Cossacks achieved a modicum of control over the area. They later moved to the Russian-controlled portion of the country.
The soils of Ukraine are characterized by three distinct aggregations. The chernozems, which cover more than two-thirds of the country, are the deepest. They are five feet deep and contain a great deal of humus. The prairie chernozems, on the other hand, are three feet thick and have much less humus. Despite their richness, these soils are often prone to gullying and erosion, which make them unsuitable for farming.
The current war in Ukraine has unified the people of Ukraine. Yet, it has also reinforced the divide between Ukrainian and Russian identities. While the war has brought Ukraine closer together, it is unlikely to end with the Russians gaining lasting control over the country. The only certainty is that Ukrainians will resist any Russian demands. So how can we be sure that the Russians won’t be successful? This question will be answered in a national referendum, which will be held in the near future.