Romanians in Ukraine

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This article is about the history of Romanians in Ukraine, including those Romanians of Northern Bukovina, Zakarpattia Oblast, Budjak in Odessa Oblast but also those Romanians in the territory between the Dniester River and the Southern Bug River, who traditionally have not belonged to any Romanian statal entity (nor to Transnistria), but have been an integral part of the history of modern Ukraine, and are considered natives to the area.

History of the Romanian Presence in the Area[edit]

Middle ages[edit]

Beginning with the 10th century, the territory was slowly infiltrated Slavic tribes (Ulichs and Tivertsy) from the north, by Romanians (Vlachs) from the west, as well as by Turkic nomads such as Pechenegs, Cumans and (later) Tatars from the east. Vlachs and Brodniks are mentioned in the area in the 12th and 13th century. As characterised by contemporary sources, the area between the Southern Bug and Dniester had never been populated by a single ethnicity, or totally controlled by Kievan or other rulers. Ukrainian historian Volodymyr Antonovych writes: "Neither the right bank, nor the left bank of the Dniester have ever belonged to Galician or other Ruthenian princes."

Since 14th century, the area were intermittently ruled by Lithuanian dukes, Polish kings, Crimean khans, and Moldavian princes (such as Ion Vodă Armeanul). In 1681 Gheorghe Duca's title was "Despot of Moldavia and Ukraine", as he was simultaneously Prince of Moldavia and Hetman of Ukraine. Other Moldavian princes who held control of the territory in 17th and 18th centuries were Ştefan Movilă, Dimitrie Cantacuzino and Mihai Racoviţă.

In the 17th century, in a letter to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Stefan Batory, the Prince of Transylvania stated that "The lands between the Bug and Dniester are populated by a mix of races composed of Lithuanian Poles, Muscovites, and Romanians. The Cossacks are raised from the Muscovites and Romanians". While the Ruthenian ethnic element is fundamental for Cossacks, there was also a considerable number of Romanians among the hetmans of the Cossacks (i.e. Ioan Potcoavă, Grigore Lobodă (Hryhoriy Loboda), who ruled in 1593–1596), Ioan Sârcu (Ivan Sirko), who ruled in 1659–1660, Dănilă Apostol (Danylo Apostol), who ruled in 1727–1734, Alexander Potcoavă, Constantin Potcoavă, Petre Lungu, Petre Cazacu, Tihon Baibuza, Samoilă Chişcă, Opară, Trofim Voloşanin, Ion Şărpilă, Timotei Sgură, Dumitru Hunu), and other high-ranking Cossacks (Polkovnyks Toader Lobădă and Dumitraşcu Raicea in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy, Martin Puşcariu in Poltava, Burlă in Gdansk, Pavel Apostol in Mirgorod, Eremie Gânju and Dimitrie Băncescu in Uman, Varlam Buhăţel, Grigore Gămălie in Lubensk, Grigore Cristofor, Ion Ursu, Petru Apostol in Lubensk).

Historically, the Orthodox Church in today's Transnistria and Ukraine was subordinated at first to the Mitropolity of Proilava (modern Brăila, Romania). Later, it belonged to the Bishopric of Huşi. After the Russian annexation of 1792, the Bishopric of Ochakiv reverted to Ekaterinoslav (modern Dnipropetrovsk). From 1837, it belonged to the Eparchys of Kherson with its seat in Odessa, and Taurida with its seat in Simferopol.

Early Modern Times[edit]

The end of the 18th century marked Imperial Russia's colonization of the region, as a result of which large migrations into the region were encouraged, including people of Ukrainian, Russian, and German ethnicity. The process of Russification and colonization of this territory started to be carried out by representatives of other ethnic groups of the Russian Empire.

The Soviet Union[edit]

The population of the former Moldavian ASSR, as a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Ukrainian SSR), had also suffered the Holodomor, the famine of the 1930s that caused several millions deaths in Ukraine.

Autonomous Moldavian Republic in Soviet Ukraine[edit]

Main article: Moldavian ASSR
Moldavian ASSR (in orange) and Romania

At the end of World War I in 1918, the Directory of Ukraine proclaimed the sovereignty of the Ukrainian People's Republic over the left bank of the Dneister. After the Russian Civil War ended, in 1922, the Ukrainian SSR was created.

The geopolitical concept of an autonomous Transnistrian region was born in 1924, when Bessarabian-Russian military leader Grigore Kotovski founded, under the auspices of Moscow, the Moldavian Autonomous Oblast, which on 12 October 1924 became the Moldavian ASSR of the Ukrainian SSR.

The intention of Soviet policy was to promote Communism in recently lost Bessarabia and surroundings, and eventually to regain the former province from Romania. (Soviet authorities declared the "temporarily occupied city of Kishinev" as de jure capital of the ASSR.) The area was 8,100 km² and included 11 raions by the left bank of Dniester.

Moldavian SSR[edit]

Main article: Moldavian SSR

In 1940, under duress from a Soviet ultimatum issued to the Romanian ambassador in Moscow and under pressure from Italy and Germany, Romania ceded Bessarabia to the USSR. As many as 90,000 died as the Red Army entered and occupied the territory on June 28. The official Soviet press declared that the "peaceful policy of the USSR" had "liquidated the [Bessarabian] Soviet-Romanian conflict". The Moldavian SSR was created from Bessarabia and the western part of the Moldavian ASSR. Bessarabian territory along the Black Sea and Danube, where Romanians were in the minority, was merged into the Ukrainian SSR to ensure its control by a stable Soviet republic.[1]

Transnistria (WWII)[edit]

Romania occupied (August 19, 1941 - January 29, 1944) the "Transnistrian" region between Dniester, Southern Bug rivers and Black Sea coast.

Having allied with Nazi Germany, and having recaptured the territories occupied by the Soviets in 1940, Romanian dictator Antonescu did not heed the counsel of his advisers and continued to wage war on the Soviets beyond Romania's pre-war boundaries, invading parts of Ukraine and occupying the territory between Dniester and Southern Bug rivers. During this period the Romanian and German authorities and units deported to this region 147,000 Bessarabian and Bukovinian Jews, 30,000 Romanian Roma, and exterminated the largest part of the local Jewish population of this region. In 1944, the Soviets re-conquered the area.

Today[edit]

In line with common practice, Ukrainian, the language of the historical ethnic/linguistic majority, is constitutionally the sole state language, and the state system of higher education has been switched to Ukrainian.[2]

In June 1997 Romania and Ukraine signed a bilateral treaty which included addressing territorial and minority issues.[3] By the terms of the agreement, Ukraine guaranteed the rights of Romanians in Ukraine and Romania guaranteed the rights of Ukrainians in Romania. There are schools teaching Romanian as a primary language, along with newspapers, TV, and radio broadcasting in Romanian.[4]

Language and demographics[edit]

Persons counted as Romanians and Moldovans in Ukraine (censuses 1989 and 2001)

According to the Soviet 1989 census, Romanian speakers accounted for just under one percent of Ukraine’s total population: 134,825 Romanians, and 324,525 Moldovans with the largest minority in Chernivtsi (approximately one fifth of the region's population).
 

Romanian communities[edit]

Romanians in Ukraine - Oblast level (2004)[5]
Region Population
Chernivtsi Oblast 181,800 Romanian speaking population (19.78% of the region's population) out of which 114,600 (12.5%) declared to be of Romanian ethnical minority and 67,200 Moldavians
Zakarpattia Oblast 32,152 Romanian ethnics—mainly living in Teaciv rayon with 21,300 (12.4% of the rayon population) and Rahiv with 10,300 (11.6% of the rayon population)
Odessa Oblast 724 declared to be Romanian, 123,751 Moldavian [includes historically Ukrainian and eastern Bessarabian territories]
Total 338,427
Romanians in Ukraine - Raion level (2001)[6]
Raion Population
Hertsa Raion 32,316, of which 91.4% Romanians
Hlyboka Raion 72,676, of which: Ukrainians: 34,025, Romanians: 32,923, Moldovans: 4,425, Russians: 877, and other: 426
Novoselytsia Raion 87,461, of which: 50,329 Moldovans, 29,703 Ukrainians, 5,904 Romanians, 1,235 Russians, 290 other
Reni Raion 40,680, of which: 49% Moldovan, 18% Ukrainian, 15% Russian, 8.5% Bulgarian and 8% Gagauz
Romanians in Ukraine - settlement level
Settlement Population
Boiany It has 4,425 inhabitants, mostly Romanian (Moldovan).
Chernivtsi In 2001, population was 236,700, of which 189,000 (79.8%) are Ukrainians; 26,700 (11.3%) Russians; 10,500 (4.4%) Romanians; 3,800 (1.6%) Moldovans; 1,400 (0.6%) Polish; 1,300 (0.6%) Jews; 2,900 (1.2%) other nationalities.
Hertsa The town has a large Romanian community.
Hlyboka According to the 1989 census, the number of Romanians/Moldovans was 20.11%.
Krasnoilsk according to the 2001 Ukrainian census, the town had 9,142 people, out of which almost all are Romanians.
Novoselytsia The city has a population of 8,166 people, mainly Ukrainians, with an important Romanian community.
Reni It has 19,947 inhabitants, of which Romanians (Moldovans) are comprising half of the population, the rest being Russians, Gagauz, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, etc.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Charles King, The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the politics of culture, Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, 2000. ISBN 0-8179-9792-X.
  2. ^ INCONSISTENT LANGUAGE POLICY CREATES PROBLEMS IN UKRAINE, Oleg Varfolomeyev, EURASIA DAILY MONITOR, Volume 3, Issue 101 (May 24, 2006), available online at [1]
  3. ^ [2] U.S. Department of State
  4. ^ Dominique Arel, "Interpreting 'Nationality' and 'Language' in the 2001 Ukrainian Census," Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 18 No. 3, July–September 2002, pp. 213-249, available online in JRL #6535 at [3]
  5. ^ Center for the Prevention of Conflicts and Early Warning, Nr. 704R/June 19, 2004
  6. ^ File:EthnicChernivtsi 2001UkrCensus.png

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]