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 →
In July 1910, a teenager named Myron Surmach left his village in Ukraine, boarded the ship Atlanta with a third-class ticket and headed across the ocean to an improbably big city called New York. For 21 days, Mr. Surmach sucked on a lemon to stave off seasickness until he reached Ellis Island. There, he told an interviewer decades later, he was shocked to find an American guard welcoming him to the United States in perfect Ukrainian.
Mr. Surmach began his new life in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., but within a few years, he made it back to New York. Eager to preserve his native culture, he opened a small shop on Avenue A in Manhattan where he sold records, books, clothes and other Continue reading →