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Novorossia (Russian: Новоро́ссия, Ukrainian: Новоросія, Romanian: Noua Rusie; literally New Russia) was a historical term of the Russian Empire in 1764-1873 denoting an area north of the Black Sea, presently part of Ukraine.
The region was conquered by the Russian Empire at the end of the 18th century from the Ottoman Empire and remained under its control until the October Revolution and the collapse of the empire in 1917. In modern terms this historic territory overlaid what is now Donetsk Oblast, small portions of Luhansk Oblast, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Zaporizhia Oblast, Mykolaiv Oblast, Kherson Oblast, Odessa Oblast and Crimea in Ukraine; Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, Rostov Oblast, and the Republic of Adygea in Russia.
When the Russian Empire annexed the northern coast of Black Sea from the Ottomans in the 18th century after the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774, Russian officialdom established the Novorossiysk Governorate there, administered from Kremenchuk. Historically, it was known as the Wild Fields (Dykra) or Devastated Fields, as several centuries of wars had driven off agriculture and urban settlement. The Wild Fields had covered roughly the southern territories of modern Ukraine; some[who?] say they extended into Russia.
After the fall of the Golden Horde, the eastern portion was claimed by the Crimean Khanate (one of its multiple successors), while its western regions were divided between Moldavia and Lithuania. With the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, the whole Black Sea northern littoral region came under the control of Crimean Khanate that in its turn became vassal of the Turks. Sometime in the 16th century Crimean Khanate allowed to settle in the Black Sea steppes the Nogai Horde which were displaced from its native Volga region by Muscovites and Kalmyks.
The Russian Empire gradually gained control over the area, signing peace treaties with the Cossack Hetmanate and with the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish Wars of 1735–39, 1768–74, 1787–92 and 1806–12. Saint Petersburg forcefully liquidated the Free lands of the Zaporizhian Sich in the 18th century, thus eliminating the independent rule of the area by ethnic Ukrainian Cossacks, as they became inconvenient for Russian colonization. Prince Grigori Potemkin (1739-1791) directed the Russian colonization of the land at the end of 18th century - the Russian Empress Catherine the Great granted him the powers of an absolute ruler over the area from 1774. Administratively the newly incorporated area became known as the Novorossiysk Governorate with Novorossiysk (present-day Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, not to be confused with present-day Novorossiysk, Russian Federation) as its capital. The new rulers of Novorossiya gave out land generously to the Russian dvoryanstvo (nobility), and the enserfed peasantry - mostly from Ukraine and fewer from Russia - immigrated to cultivate the then sparsely populated steppe. According to the Historical Dictionary of Ukraine:
The population consisted of military colonists from hussar and lancer regiments, Ukrainian and Russian peasants, Cossacks, Serbs, Montenegrins, Hungarians, and other foreigners who received land subsidies for settling in the area.
In the 19th century Novorossiya was the name of the General Government centered in Odessa, a major port on the north-west coast of the Black Sea. When it was taken from the Ottomans, the region was sparsely populated and home to several ethnic groups, of which the most numerous were Romanians and Ruthenians (Ukrainians). According to the first Tsarist census of the Yedisan region conducted in 1793, after the expulsion of the Nogai Tatars, 49 villages out of 67 between the Dniester and the Southern Bug were Romanian. East of the Southern Bug, in the so-called New Serbia region, in 1757 the largest ethnic group were Romanians at 75%, followed by Serbs at 12% and 13% others. The Russian authorities commenced a program of colonization of the region when they acquired it, encouraging large migrations into the region, including Romanians from Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania, as well as Ukrainians, Russians and Germans; in 1792 the Russian government declared that the region between the Dniester and the Bug was to become a new principality named "New Moldavia", under Russian suzerainty.
Catherine the Great also invited European settlers to these newly conquered lands: Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Greeks, Macedonians, Albanians, Germans, Poles, Italians, and others. Inhabitants of the former New Russia commonly speak the Russian language in cities and some areas outside, while Ukrainian generally predominates in rural areas, smaller towns, and villages.[clarification needed] With its history, the ethnic composition varies.[clarification needed] Apart from ethic Russians and Ukrainians, the population includes communities of Greeks, Armenians, Tatars, and many others. Novorossiya changed during the beginning of the 19th century due to the intensive movement of colonists of various nationalities, who rapidly created towns, villages and agricultural colonies in the area. During the Russo-Turkish Wars, the major Turkish fortresses of Ozu-Cale, Akkerman, Khadzhibei, Kinburn and many others were conquered and destroyed. New cities and settlements were established in their places.
Multiple ethnicities participated in the founding of the cities of Novorossiya.[clarification needed] For example:
- Zaporizhzhya started as a Cossack fort
- Odessa, founded in 1794 on the site of a Romanian or Tatar village by a Spanish general in Russian service, Jose de Ribas, had a French mayor, Richelieu (in office 1803-1814)
- Donets'k, founded in 1869, was originally named Yuzovka (Yuzivka) in honor of John Hughes, the Welsh industrialist who developed the coal region of the Donbass
The 1897 All-Russian Empire Census statistics show that Novorossiya included some areas where people spoke Ukrainian as their mother tongue (especially in rural areas), with Great Russians and Jews dominating in city areas.
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Integration into Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
After the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, Novorossiya ceased to exist as an administrative component of the Russian Empire. For several years, the rule of the region was uncertain as the area was enmeshed in war. It was claimed as a part of the Ukrainian People's Republic as well as the Communist Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets. Theaters of the Russian Civil War also occurred in this region between the Red Army and the White Army, as well as the Black Army (Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine) of anarchist Nestor Makhno which was based in Yekaterinoslav. Moreover, both the Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic and the Odessa Soviet Republic were declared on the territory of Novorossiya, although neither lasted for more than two months. Eventually, the Soviet forces gained control to the exclusion of all others.
In 1922, most of the former region of Novorossiya was added to the newly formed Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union, as part of the then-prevailing policy of Korenization or "putting down roots," in which territories of the Soviet Union were allocated based upon the ethnic composition of those territories. Because this area historically had a majority Ukrainian population, the Soviets allocated it to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic under this policy, which emphasized building up the nations of the new Soviet Union.
After Joseph Stalin came to power in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s, he reversed the policy of Korenization. The former territory of Novorossiya, which was now the southeastern part of Ukraine, was a prime target of Stalin's reforms, and suffered significant population loss during the Holodomor (artificial famine) of 1932-33 and the Great Purge of 1937-38. The region also experienced significant population loss during World War II (1941-1945) (called the Great Patriotic War by the Soviet Union), and its Jewish population was nearly destroyed in the Holocaust. After the war, it was redeveloped and its industry increased. Many settlers came in from other regions of the Soviet Union to replace the population lost due to these earlier events. After Ukraine obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the territory remained as an integral part of Ukraine's territory.
In a 1994 interview, the head of the separatist state of Transnistria in Moldova stated that the state was "an inalienable part of the Russian state's southern regions" including Odessa, Crimea, and other Ukrainian oblasts, which were collectively part of the Novorossiya region. Dmitry Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center wrote that in 2003 some Russian academics discussed the idea of a pro-Russia Novorossiya state being formed out of southern Ukraine in response to moves towards bringing Ukraine into NATO.
On April 17, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin used the term during his annual call-in show for residents of the Russian Federation, in connection to Novorossiya administrative area (Russian: Новороссийская область) that existed during Russian Empire and after that in civil war from 1919 until it was given in a march of 1920 to Ukrainian Soviet Republic and was never before part of Ukraine. Putin admitted Crimea troops were his and called Eastern Ukraine 'new Russia'. Protesters in eastern Ukraine also used the term for south and east ("South-East") of Ukraine. Polish defense minister Tomasz Siemoniak worried that Putin might be pursuing a new doctrine aimed at a recreation of the Soviet Union as "New Russia". Putin's definition of Novorossiya, however, was historically inaccurate in that it conflicted with and was more expansive than the original definition; he seemed to include the cities of Kharkiv and Luhans'k in his definition of "Novorossiya," while they were never part of its original territory. Also, he claimed during the call-in show that "only God knows" why Novorossiya was incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR in 1922.
On 24 May 2014, a day before the Ukrainian presidential elections, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic signed a document announcing their intention to unite as the Union of Peoples Republics also referred to as the Union of Novorossiya, the Novorossiya Union or simply as Novorossiya. This would not constitute a single state immediately as the two republics would continue to function as two independent/ autonomous republics until practical issues of everyday government were resolved. They also invited other regions of South Eastern Ukraine to join Novorossiya in the future.
List of founded cities
Many of the cities that were founded during the colonial period are major cities today.
- Yelisavetgrad (Kirovohrad) (1754)
- Aleksandrovsk (Zaporizhia) (1770)
- Yekaterinoslav (Dnipropetrovsk) (1776)
- Kherson (1778)
- Mariupol (1778)
- Sevastopol (1783)
- Simferopol (1784)
- Melitopol (1784)
- Pavlohrad (1784)
- "Historical Dictionary of Ukraine". Ivan Katchanovski, Zenon E. Kohut, Bohdan Y. Nebesio, Myroslav Yurkevich (2013). p.392. ISBN 081087847X
- E. Lozovan, Romanii orientali, "Neamul Romanesc", 1/1991, p.32.
- Olga M. Posunjko, Istorija Nove Srbije i Slavenosrbije, Novi Sad, 2002, page 36.
- E. Lozovan, Romanii orientali, "Neamul Romanesc", 1/1991, p.14]
- Шмидт А. "Материалы для географии и статистики, собранные офицерами генерального штаба. Херсонская губерния. Часть 1". St. Petersburg, 1863, p. 465-466
- Brzezinski, Zbigniew; Sullivan, Paige (1997). Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Documents, Data, and Analysis. M.E. Sharpe. p. 639. ISBN 1563246376.
- Kinstler, Linda (7 April 2014). "Protesters in Eastern Ukraine Are Chanting "New Russia," an Old Term That's Back in Vogue". The New Republic. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- Poland Fears Putin’s ‘New Russia’ Doctrine