Category Archives: History of Ukraine

Inside The Ukrainian ‘Hacktivist’ Network Cyberbattling The Kremlin

November 02, 2016

Christopher Miller

KYIV — Dressed in a black sweater and equally nondescript turtleneck, with wisps of raven hair corkscrewing from under a black baseball cap, the lanky Ukrainian introduces himself in accented English as “Sean.” Sean Townsend is his chosen pseudonym on Facebook, complemented by images of the notorious Guy Fawkes mask of hacker group Anonymous and the Ukrainian coat of arms. Before Sean, he was “Ross Hatefield,” until the world’s leading social network banned that account for impersonation.

In hacker circles, he is better known as RUH8 — pronounced “roo-hate” to express his aversion to all things Russian. RUH8 agreed to speak with RFE/RL on condition that we avoid publishing his real name, which he only uses with friends unaware of what he does outside his day job as a Kyiv-based security researcher. He provided details of the cyberwar that has been raging — parallel to the shooting war between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine over the past 30 months — between the respective sides’ patriotic hackers using digital subterfuge. Continue reading

Princess Olha of Kyiv: a golden page in Ukrainian history

kn_olga Princess Olha’s origin and chronology remain a mystery. Historians are only sure of the date of her death, recorded in ancient church chronicles. Several versions of her ancestry have been put forth by different scholars: Bulgarian, Varyngian, Kyiv, Halychyna, Pskov, Tmutarakan and others, but none of them have been historically confirmed.

In the “Tale of Bygone Years” (Primary Chronicles), chroniclers write that a woman named Olha was brought from Pskov in 903 to be married to Ihor, son of Rurik (first ruler of Kyivan Rus-Ed.). She must have been about 14 years old at that time, so it allows scholars to suppose that Princess Olha was born Continue reading

In Memory of Orest Subtelny, historian of the Ukrainian state


Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

The historian Orest Subtelny gave us Ukraine. Not the one that was. But the one that will be. Actually he did what Mykhailo Hrushetsky did for his generation.

For most young people today, the figure of Orest Subtelny is naturally placed among other prominent Ukrainian historians who studied the past of our country.

The history of Ukraine has been written both before and after Subtelny. Why is it that he and his work, Ukraine: A History, created such a stir among his Continue reading

Archives show Stalin was ready to give Hitler Ukraine and the Baltics


German Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop (left), Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and his Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (right) in the Kremlin signing the pact dividing Europe between Hitler's and Stalin's regimes on August 23, 1939.German Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop (left), Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and his Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (right) in the Kremlin signing the pact dividing Europe between Hitler’s and Stalin’s regimes on August 23, 1939. A few days after Hitler broke his alliance with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union, the Soviet dictator used a diplomatic back channel to explore whether the Nazi leader would be prepared to end the war if Stalin agreed to hand over to German rule Ukraine, the Baltic republics and perhaps even more.

That is the conclusion of a Friday article by historian Nikita Petrov in “Novaya gazeta,” an article that undercuts both:

  • Stalin’s carefully cultivated stance as someone who was prepared to fight the invader to the end and
  • Vladimir Putin’s use of World War II as a legitimizing and mobilizing tool in Russia today. Continue reading

‘Winter on Fire’ tracks the 93 days Ukraine fought for its identity


Streets are scattered with stones and shell casings. Winter fog mixes with the last wisps of tear gas. The wounded and the dead have been carried away, and those who are left hunker at the barricades. Police advance. Snipers take to rooftops. Bodies fall and the Ukrainian revolution, as brutal as it is cinematic, enters a new day in the battered capital of Kiev.

Evgeny Afineevsky’s “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” is a documentary from the front lines, a visceral portrait of a nation’s battle for its identity. The film tracks the 93 days — between November 2013 and February 2014 — when tens of thousands of protesters rallied in frigid Independence Continue reading

Ukraine’s Complicated History

From Alexander J. Motyl’s Blog

The following is an interview with George Liber, a professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


MOTYL: Your forthcoming book, Total Wars and the Making of Modern Ukraine, 1914–1954, promises to revise much of the conventional wisdom about Ukraine. What are your main arguments?

LIBER: Between 1914 and 1954, the Ukrainian-speaking territories in East Central Europe suffered almost 15 million “excess deaths” as well as numerous large-scale evacuations and forced population transfers. These losses were the consequences of two world wars, the Holodomor, the Holocaust, violent upheavals, and revolutions. Continue reading

Ukraine’s decentralization and Donbas “special status”: what you need to know

Protesters clash with riot police outside Ukrainian Parliament after decentralization vote. Photo: Vladislav Sodel.Protesters clash with riot police outside Ukrainian Parliament after decentralization vote. Photo: Vladislav Sodel. 

On Monday, August 31, clashes erupted at a protest against decentralization law outside Ukraine’s parliament. Key opposition figures and parliamentary coalition parties protested the reform, claiming it would legalize Kremlin’s proxies in Ukraine. Experts admit Poroshenko’s administration failed to convey the true meaning of this reform to the public. This, in turn, lead to politicians capitalizing on the ensuing uncertainty, which culminated with 1 dead and over 100 wounded (mostly policemen due to a grenade attack at the Rada).

We looked through the decentralization laws to find out what they really mean.


Since independence Ukraine has suffered from the Soviet legacy of an extremely centralized system. The concentration of power and finances in the capital Continue reading

Fifth myth of Krymnashism – Ukrainian statehood is ‘artificial’ – demolished by Popov

A Crimean Tatar woman holds a sign "Crimea Is Ukraine" in protest to the "referendum" imposed by force by Moscow in March 2014.A Crimean Tatar woman holds a sign “Crimea Is Ukraine” in protest to the “referendum” imposed by force by Moscow in March 2014. 

The Kremlin’s insistence that it has the right to take pieces of Ukraine because “Ukraine has no territorial integrity because it is not a real state” is the fifth myth of “Krymnashism,” one that has deep roots but that is even more absurd than the others, according to Moscow historian Arkady Popov.

As he has done with the first four of the eight “KrymNash” myths, Popov demolishesthis one in “Yezhednevny zhurnal.Continue reading

Paul Niland: ​EuroMaidan Revolution, myth and reality (part two of a three-part series)

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Aug. 6, 2015, 11:35 a.m. | Op-ed — by Paul Niland

A crowd of thousands march towards the main residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the outskirts of Kiev, on February 22, 2014. Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s parliament voted to hold early presidential elections on May 25, passing a resolution stating that Viktor Yanukovych had failed to properly fulfil his duties as president. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV

Paul Niland

Paul Niland is a longtime Kyiv resident and Founder of Statement Email Ltd.

The violent protests that took place in Kyiv that resulted in a democratically elected president fleeing from his country fearing for his life were a U.S. instigated coup, a regime change costing $5 billion.

Continue reading

Understanding the Ukrainians in WWII Part 3. Of German plans and German collaborators.


Article by: James Oliver

On May 22 Volodymyr Katriuk, a Ukrainian World War II veteran and a suspected participant in the massacre of the 186 inhabitants of the Belarusian village of Khatyn [1] passed away in Canada. For years his name had been at the center of a diplomatic row between Russia and Canada over Russian plans to extradite him to Moscow in order to stand trial for his role in the massacre. In 1999 a Canadian court had cleared Katriuk of war crimes, finding him guilty only of falsifying his name in 1951 to obtain Canadian citizenship. Later in 2008 NKVD documents surfaced further indicting Katriuk of having been complicit in the massacre. At the time of his death he remained no.2 on the Simon Wiesenthal Center‘s “List of Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals.”

It sometimes happens that Westerners know little about Ukrainians and Lithuanians except their reputation as anti-Semites and willing collaborators in the Holocaust Continue reading