Ukrainian People's Republic: Wikis


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Українська Народня Республіка
Ukrayins’ka Narodnia Respublika
Ukrainian National Republic





Flag Coat of arms
Ще не вмерла Україна  (Ukrainian)
Shche ne vmerla Ukraina (transliteration)
Ukraine's glory has not perished
Map of Ukraine with provisional borders in 1919.
Capital Kiev
Language(s) Ukrainian, Russian
Religion Eastern Orthodox~85%
Roman Catholics~4%
Government Parliamentary Republic
 - 1918 Mykhailo Hrushevsky
 - 1918-1919 Volodymyr Vynnychenko
 - 1919-1925 Symon Petliura
 - 1926-1954 Andriy Livytskyi
 - 1954-1965 Stepan Vytvytskyi
 - 1965-1989 Mykola Livytskyi
 - 1989-1992 Mykola Plaviuk
Legislature Central Rada (until April 1918)
Labor Congress
Constituent Assembly
Historical era World War I
 - Independence January 22, 1918
 - Sack of Kiev February 9, 1918
 - Ukrainian State April 29, 1918
 - Directorate of Ukraine November 13, 1918
 - War declaration January 16, 1919
 - Peace of Riga March 1921
 - 1897 477,021 km2 (184,179 sq mi)
 - 1897 est. 23,430,407 
     Density 49.1 /km2  (127.2 /sq mi)
Currency Karbovanets, hryvnia

The Ukrainian National Republic (Ukrainian: Українська Народня Республіка, Ukrayins’ka Narodnia Respublika; abbreviated UNR (УНР)) was a republic that was declared in part of the territory of modern Ukraine after the Russian Revolution, eventually headed by Symon Petliura.




Revolutionary Wave

February 1918 article from The New York Times showing a map of the Russian Imperial territories claimed by Ukraine National Republic at the time, before the annexation of the Austro-Hungarian lands of the West Ukrainian People's Republic

On June 23, 1917 (June 10 by Old Style) the Tsentralna Rada declared its autonomy as part of the Russian Republic by its First Universal at the All-Ukrainian Military Congress. The highest governing body of the Ukrainian National Republic became the General Secretariat headed by Volodymyr Vynnychenko. The Prime-Minister of Russia Alexander Kerensky recognized the Secretariat appointing it as the representative govering body of the Russian Provisional Government and limiting its powers only to five guberniyas: Volyn Governorate, Kiev Governorate, Podolie Governorate, Chernigov Governorate, and Poltava Governorate. At first Vynnychenko protested and left his post of the Secretariat leader, but eventually returned to reassemble the Secretariat after the Tsentralna Rada accepted the Kerensky Instruktsiya and issued the Second Universal.

Texts of the Tsentralna Rada Universals

After the October Revolution the Kievan faction of Bolshevik instigated the uprising in Kiev on November 8, 1917 in order to establish the Soviet power in the city. The Kiev Military District forces attempted to stop it, but after the Tsentralna Rada threw its support behind the Bolshevik the Russian forces were eliminated out of Kiev. After expelling the government forces, the Rada announced a wider autonomy for the Ukrainian Republic, still maintaining ties to Russia, on November 22, 1917. The territory of the republic was proclaimed by the Third Universal (November 20, 1917)[1] of the Tsentralna Rada encompassing the Volyn Governorate, Kiev Governorate, Podolie Governorate, Chernigov Governorate, Poltava Governorate, Kharkov Governorate, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Kherson Governorate, Taurida Governorate (not including Crimea). It also stated that the people of the Voronezh Governorate, Kholm Governorate, and Kursk Governorates are welcome to join the republic through a referendum. Further the Tsentralna Rada in its Universal stated that because there is no Government in the Russian Republic after the October Revolution it proclaims itself the Supreme governing body on the territory of Ukraine until the order in the Russian republic will be redtored. The Central Rada called all the revolutionary activities such as the October Revolution a civil war and expressed its hopes for the resolution of the chaos.

(Ukrainian)Text of the III Universal

After a brief truce, the Bolsheviks realized that Rada has no intention to support the Bolshevik Revolution. They re-organized into an All-Ukrainian Council of Soviets in December 1917 in an attempt to seize power. When that failed due to the Bolsheviks' relative lack of popularity in Kiev, they moved to Kharkiv. The Bolsheviks of Ukraine declared the government of the Ukrainian National Republic outlaw and proclaimed the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic with capital in Kiev, claiming that the government of the People's Secretaries of Ukraine is the only government in the country. The Bolshevik Red Army entered Ukraine from the Russian SFSR in support of the local Soviet government. As the relationships between the members of the Tsentralna Rada soured, series of regional Soviet republics on the territory of Ukraine proclaimed their independence and allegiance to the Petrograd sovnarkom (Odessa Soviet Republic (southern Ukraine), Donetsk-Krivoi Rog Soviet Republic (eastern Ukraine)). The Donetsk-Kryvoi Rog Republic was created by a direct decree of Lenin as part of the Russian SFSR with its capital in Kharkiv. That decree was successfully implemented by Fyodor Sergeyev who became the chairman of the local government as well joining the Soviet government of Ukraine, simultaneously. Unlike the Fyodor Sergeyev's Republic, the Odessa Republic was not recognized by any other Bolshevik governments and on its own initiative has entered a military conflict with Romania for the control over the Moldavian Democratic Republic, the territory of which it was contesting.


A stamp of the Ukrainian National Republic. 1918.

On January 25, 1918, the Tsentralna Rada issued its Fourth Universal (dated January 22, 1918), breaking ties with Bolshevik Russia and proclaiming a sovereign Ukrainian state. Less than a month later, on February 9, 1918, the Red Army seized Kiev.

Besieged by the Bolsheviks and having lost much territory, the Rada was forced to seek foreign aid, and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on February 9, 1918 to obtain a military help from the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Germany helped the Ukrainian Army to force the Bolsheviks out of Ukraine. On February 20, 1918 the council of the Kuban People's Republic accepted the resolution for a federal union of Kuban with Ukraine as Bolshevik forces pushed towards Ekaterinodar. It was agreed to forward the resolution for ratification to the Ukrainian government.

After the treaty of Brest-Litovsk Ukraine became virtually a protectorate of the German Empire which at that time seemed more favorable than being overrun by the Soviet forces that were spreading havoc in the country. Germany was anxious of losing the war and trying to speed up the process of food extraction from Ukraine, so it decided to install its own administration in the person of Generalfeldmarschall von Eichhorn who replaced the Colonel General Alexander von Linsingen. On April 6 the commander of the Army group Kijew issued an order in which he explained his intentions to execute the conditions of the treaty. That, of course, conflicted with the laws of the Ukrainian government that annulled his order. The Germans arrested and disbanded the Tsentralna Rada on April 29, 1918 to stop the social reforms that were taking place and retarding the process of food supply transfer to Germany and Austria-Hungary. The German authorities also arrested the Ukrainian Prime-Minister, Vsevolod Holubovych, on terrorist charges, and thus disbanded the Council of People's Ministers. Prior to this, the Rada had approved the Constitution of the Ukrainian National Republic.


In the coup, the Rada was replaced by a conservative government of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, the Hetmanate, and the Ukrainian National Republic by a "Ukrainian State" (Ukrayins’ka derzhava). Skoropadsky, a former officer of the Russian Empire, established a regime favoring large landowners and concentrating power at the top, although it was merely a puppet of Germany. The government had little support from Ukrainian activists, but unlike the socialist Rada, it was able to establish an effective administrative organization, established diplomatic ties with many countries, and concluded a peace treaty with Soviet Russia. In a few months, the Hetmanate also printed millions of Ukrainian language textbooks, established many Ukrainian schools, two universities, and the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.

The Hetmanate government also supported the confiscation of previously-nationalized peasant lands by wealthy estate owners, often with the help of German troops. This led to unrest, the rise of a peasant partisan (guerrilla) movement, and a series of large-scale popular armed revolts. Negotiations were held to garner support from previous Rada members Petliura and Vynnychenko, but these activists worked to overthrow Skoropadsky. On July 30, a Russian Left Socialist-Revolutionary Boris Mikhailovich Donskoy with help of the local USRP succeeded in the terrorist act against von Eichhorn, blowing him up in the downtown Kiev at a broadlight.

Due to the impending loss of World War I by Germany and Austria-Hungary, Skoropadsky's sponsors, the Hetman formed a new cabinet of Russian Monarchists and committed to federation with a possible future non-Bolshevik Russia. In response, the Ukrainian socialists announced a new revolutionary government, the Directorate, on November 14, 1918.


The Government of UNR 1920 - Symon Petlura sitting in the centre.
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The Directorate gained massive popularity, and the support of some of Skoropadsky's military units including the Serdiuk Division. Their insurgent army encircled Kiev on November 21. After a three week long stalemate Skoropadsky abdicated in favor of the Council of Ministers who surrendered to the Revolutionary forces. On December 19, 1918, the Directorate took control of Kiev.

The Bolsheviks invaded Ukraine from Kursk in late December 1918 where the new Ukrainian Soviet government was reestablished earlier in November of the same year. On January 16, 1919 Ukraine officially declared a war on Russia while the Russian Soviet government continued to deny all claims of invasion. On January 22, 1919, the Directorate was officially united with the West Ukrainian People's Republic, although the latter entity de facto maintained its own army and government. In February 1919, the Bolsheviks captured Kiev.

Throughout 1919, Ukraine experienced chaos as the armies of the Ukrainian Republic, the Bolsheviks, the Whites, the foreign powers of the Entente, and Poland, as well as anarchist bands such as that of Nestor Makhno vied for power. The subsequent Kiev Offensive, staged by the Polish army and allied Ukrainian forces, was unable to change the situation, and in March 1921, the Peace of Riga sealed a shared control of the territory by Poland, the Russian SFSR, and the Ukrainian RSR.

As the result, the lands of Galicia (Halychyna), the western part of the traditional territory of Ukraine, as well as a large part of the Volhynian territory were incorporated into Poland, while the larger central parts of traditional Ukrainian territory, as well as eastern and southern areas became part of Soviet Ukraine.

After its military and political defeat, the Directorate continued to maintain control over some of its military forces. Preempting a planned invasion by its rival Archduke Wilhelm of Austria,[2] in October 1921 the Ukrainian National Republic's government-in-exile launched a series of guerrilla raids into central Ukraine that reached as far east as Kiev Oblast. On November 4, the Directorate's guerrillas captured Korosten and seized much military supplies. But on November 17, 1921, this force was surrounded by Bolshevik cavalry and destroyed.

International recognition

The Ukrainian National Republic was recognized de jure in February 1918 by the Central Powers of World War I (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria)[3] and by Bolshevist Russia, the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and the Holy See. De facto recognition was granted by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Persia.[4]

Later in 1918 Russia chose to unrecognize independent Ukraine justifying that by the protocols of Versailles Treaty. In 1920 Symon Petliura and Józef Piłsudski signed the Warsaw Treaty where the both countries established their borders that would lay along the Zbruch River.


According to the latest census that was taken 1897, the republic was accounted for over 20 million population in seven former Russian guberniyas, plus three uyezds of the Taurida Governorate that were located on the mainland.

National composition

Romanians include Moldavians as the notion of a Moldavian nation distinct from Romanian was not yet invented by the time of the Russian Empire. It was only the Soviets that created it later.

Administrative division

On March 4, 1918 the Ukrainian government accepted the law about the administrative-territorial division of Ukraine. The law stated that Ukraine is divided into 32 zemlia (land) which are administrated by their respective zemstvo. This law was not fully implemented as on April 29, 1918 there was the anti-socialist coup in Kiev, after which Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky reverted the reform back to the guberniya-type administration.

  1. Kiev, including the suburbs to Irpen, Stuhna, and 20 versta beyond Dnieper.
  2. Drevlian, with capital in Korosten and consisting of following uyezd: Radomyshl, Ovruch, and northern parts of Rivne and Kiev.
  3. Volyn, with capital in Lutsk and consisting of following uyezd: Volodymyr-Volynsky, Kovel, Lutsk, and northern parts of Dubno.
  4. Trans-Horyn, with capital in Rivne and consisting of following uyezd: Rivne, Ostroh, Zaslavl, Kremenets, sothern parts of Dubno, and western parts of Starokostiantyniv.
  5. Bolokhiv, with capital in Zhytomyr and consisting of following uyezd: Zhytomyr, Novhorod-Volynsky, also parts of Vinnytsia, Litychiv, and western parts of Berdychiv.
  6. Trans-Ros, with capital in Bila Tserkva and consisting of following uyezd: Vasylkiv, Skvyr, Tarascha, southern parts of Kiev, and eastern parts of Berdychiv.
  7. Cherkasy, with capital in Cherkasy and consisting of following uyezd: Cherkasy, Kaniv, Chyhyryn, and parts of Zvenyhorodka.
  8. Trans-Buh, with capital in Uman and consisting of following uyezd: Uman, Haisyn, and parts of Lypovetsk, Balta, and Yelyzavethrad.
  9. Podillia, with capital in Kamyanets-Podilsky and consisting of following uyezd: Kamyanets, Proskuriv, Ushytsia, parts of Mohilev, and eastern parts of Starokostiantyniv.
  10. Bratslav, with capital in Vinnytsia and consisting of following uyezd: Bratslav, and parts of Vinnytsia, Litychiv, Mohilev, Lypovetsk, Yampil.
  11. Trans-Dnister, with capital in Balta and consisting of following uyezd: Olhopil, Tiraspol, and parts of Balta, Yampil, and Ananyivsk.
  12. Pomorya, with capital in Mykolaiv and consisting of following uyezd: parts of Odessa, Ananyivsk, Yelyzavethrad, and Kherson.
  13. Odessa, including the territory near the Dniester Lyman.
  14. Lower Dnipro, with capital in Yelyzavethrad and consisting of following uyezd: parts of Yelyzavethrad, Oleksandrivsk, Verknedniprovsk.
  15. Sich, with capital in Katerynoslav and consisting of following uyezd: Katerynoslav, and parts of Verkhnedniprovsk, Kherson, Oleksandrivsk, and Novomoskovsk.
  16. Zaporizhia, with capital in Berdiansk and consisting of followong uyezd: Berdiansk and Melitopol.
  17. Nove Zaporizhia, with capital in Kherson and consisting of following uyezd: Dnipro and parts of Kherson.
  18. Azov, with capital in Mariupol and consisting of following uyezd: Mariupol, Pavlohrad, and parts of Oleksandrivsk.
  19. Polovtsi, with capital in Bakhmut and consisting of following uyezd: Bakhmut, Starobilsk, and Slavyanoserbsk.
  20. Donetsk, with capital in Slavyansk and consisting of following uyezd: Zmiiv, Izium, Vovchansk, Kupyansk, and parts of Korocha and Bilhorod.
  21. Trans-Don (contesting territory), with capital in Ostrozhsk and consisting of following uyezd: Ostrozhsk, Boguchar, Novyi Oskol, Biriuchansk, and parts of Korocha and Starobilsk.
  22. Siveria, with capital in Starodub and consisting of following uyezd: Starodub, Mhlyn, Surazh, Novozybkiv, and Novhorod-Siversky.
  23. Chernihiv, including following uyezd: Chernihiv, Oster, Sosnytsk, Horodniansk, and parts of Kozletsk, Nizhyn, and Borza.
  24. Pereyaslav, with capital in Pryluky and consisting of following uyezd: Pryluky, Pereyaslav, Pyriatyn, parts of Kozletsk, Nizhyn, Borza, and Zolotonosha.
  25. Trans-Seim, with capital in Konotop and consisting of following uyezd: Konotop, Putivl, Hlukhiv, and Krolovetsk.
  26. Trans-Sula, with capital in Romny and consisting of following uyezd: Romny, Hadiach, Lokhvytsia, parts of Lubny and Myrhorod.
  27. Poltava, including following uyezd: Poltava, Kostiantynohrad, Zinkiv, parts of Myrhorod, Khorol, Valky, Okhtyrka, and Bohodukhiv.
  28. Samara, with capital in Kremenchuk and consisting of following uyezd: Kremenchuk, Kobeliaky, parts of Zolotonosha, Khorol, and Novomoskovsk.
  29. Sloboda, with capital in Sumy and consisting of following uyezd: Sumy, Lebedyn, Sudzhansk, Haivoron, parts of Okhtyrka, and Bohodukhiv.
  30. Kharkiv, including following uyezd: Kharkiv, parts of Valky and Bilhorod.
  31. Translechia, with capital in Brest and including the Kholm Governorate.
  32. Drehovychi (contesting territory), with capital in Mozyr and consisting of following uyezd: Mozyr, Gomel, Pinsk.

Armed Forces

The headquarters of the republic's armed forces was called the General Bulawa and was considered to be located in Kiev. Of course, due to constant intervention from the Petrograd sovnarkom and the German Empire the physical location of it was changing (Kamyanets-Podilsky, Bila Tserkva, others).

Main military formations (UPR)

The following three Zaporizhian infantry regiments and the 3 Haidamaka Regiment of the biggest Ukrainian military formation, the Zaporizhian Corps, later were reorganized into the 1 Zaporizhian Division.

  • Zaporizhian Corps
    • 1 Zaporizhian Infantry Regiment (Hetman Doroshenko IR)
    • 2 Zaporizhian Infantry Regiment
    • 3 Zaporizhian Infantry Regiment (Hetman Khmelnytsky IR)
    • 3 Haidamaka Infantry Regiment
    • 1 Zaporizhian Regiment of Haidamaka Cavalry (Kosh Hordienko Cavalry)
    • 1 Zaporizhian Engineer Regiment
    • 1 Zaporizhian Artillery Regiment
    • 1 Zaporizhian Auto-Armor Division
    • Cavalry-Mountainous Artillery Division
    • Zaporizhian Air-Floating Squadron
    • Black Zaporizhians (1 Cavalry Regiment of Black Zaporizhians)
  • Ukrainian Steppe Division (Anti-Bolshevik revolutionary-military unit)
  • Ukrainian Marines
    • 1 Hutsul Marines Regiment
    • 2 Hutsul Marines Regiment
    • 3 Marines Regiment
  • 1 Riflemen-Cavalry Division (Gray-Coats)
  • Blue-Coats
  • Sloboda Ukraine Haidamaka Kosh
    • Black Haidamaka Kurin
    • Red Haidamaka Kurin
  • 3 Iron Riflemen Division
    • Sich Riflemen Light Artillery Regiment
    • Don Cossack Regiment (mounted)
  • Ukrainian Navy

Main military formations (WUPR)

Money and Banking

There were numerous banks in the republic among the most popular ones were the Ukrainabank and the Soyuzbank that were created by Khrystofor Baranovsky, the leader of a cooperative movement.


See also


  1. ^ The Third Universal in the archives of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian)
  2. ^ Timothy Snyder (2008). Red Prince: the Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke. New York: Basic Books, pp.138-148
  3. ^ TERMS OF PEACE MADE BY UKRAINE; New Republic Gets Increased Territory at Expense of Rest of Russia, The New York Times, February 12, 1918 (PDF)
  4. ^ (Talmon 1998, p. 289)



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