Western Ukraine or West Ukraine (Ukrainian: Західна Україна) is a geographical and historical relative term used in reference to the western territories of Ukraine. Important cities are Lviv, Halych (hence - Halychyna), Chernivtsi, Uzhhorod, others.
Western Ukraine is not an administrative category within Ukraine. It is mentioned mainly in the context of European historiographes pertaining to the 20th century conflicts and the ensuing period of annexations. The current oblast administration borders are almost perfectly aligned with the administrative divisions of Second Polish Republic before the 1939 invasion of Poland and the incorporation of Western Ukraine into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (УРСР) by the Soviet Union. Unlike the rest of Ukraine, Western Ukraine was never a part of the Russian empire.
The term is important as it closely associated with a history of following lands and states:
- Eastern Galicia or Halychyna - geo-political sense
- West Ukrainian National Republic (1918-1919) - historical sense
- Carpatho-Ukraine (1939)
- Polish unofficial term Kresy (Borderlands) that includes the West Belarus
- Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
- Red Ruthenia
- General Government of Galicia and Bukovina
- Ținutul Suceava (Kingdom of Romania)
|Overlaping 1918–1939 regions of
the Second Polish Republic
|Chernivtsi Oblast||922.8||Kingdom of Romania (see map)||8,097|
|Khmelnytskyi Oblast||1,430.8||USSR since 1921 Treaty of Riga||20,645|
|Lviv Oblast||2,626.5||Lwowskie (north/east)||(tot.) 3,126.3||21,833|
|Rivne Oblast||1,173.3||Równe/Kostopol/Sarny counties||593.7||20,047|
|Volyn Oblast||1,060.7||Wołyńskie (western half)||(tot.) 2,085.6||20,144|
|Zakarpattia Oblast||1,258.3||Carpathian Ruthenia||12,777|
West Ukraine is the only territory which regions named after historic regions instead of their administrative centers. Note that sometimes Khmelnytsky region is considered a part of the central Ukraine as it is mostly lies within the western Podillya.
Cultural differences with rest of Ukraine
Unlike the rest of Ukraine, most of the Western Ukraine was never a part of the Russian empire. Until 1918 it was part of Austria-Hungary; that country did not persecute (political) Ukrainian organizations as severely as the Russian empire. Rather Austria-Hungary de facto encouraged Ukrainian organizations to counterbalance the influence of Polish culture in (Eastern) Galicia.
Ukrainian is the dominant language in the region (in the schools of the Ukrainian SSR learning Russian was mandatory; currently in modern Ukraine, at schools with Ukrainian as the language of instruction, classes in Russian and in the other minority languages are offered).
In terms of religion, the majority of adherents share the Byzantine Rite of Christianity as in rest of Ukraine, but due to the region escaping the 1920s and 1930s Soviet persecution, a notably greater church adherence is and religion's role in society is present. Due to the complex post-independence religious confrontation of several church groups and their fateful, the historical influence played a key role in shaping the present loyalty of Western Ukraine's faithful. In Galician provinces, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has the strongest following in the country, and the largest share of property and faithful. In the remaining regions: Volhynia, Bukovina and Transcarpathia the Orthodoxy is prevalent. Outside of Western Ukraine the greatest in terms of Church property, clergy, and according to some estimates, faithful, is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). In the listed regions (and in particular among the Orthodox faithful in Galicia), this position is notably weaker, as the main rivals, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, have a far greater influence.
Noticeable cultural differences in the region (compared with the rest of Ukraine except Southern Ukraine) are more "negative views" on the Russian language and on Joseph Stalin and more "positive views" on Ukrainian nationalism. Calculating the yes-votes as a percentage of the total electorate reveals that a higher percentage of all (possible) voters in Western Ukraine supported Ukrainian independence in the 1991 Ukrainian independence referendum than in the rest of the country. During elections voters of Western (and Central Ukrainian) oblasts (provinces) vote mostly for parties (Our Ukraine, Batkivshchyna) and presidential candidates (Viktor Yuschenko, Yulia Tymoshenko) with a pro-Western and state reform platform.
Western Ukraine during the interbellum and World War II
The 1921 Treaty of Riga divided Western Ukraine among Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary and gave the Soviet Union control over the rest of (current) Ukraine (which became the Ukrainian SSR). Most of the territory (till World War II) belonged to Poland. Territories such as Bucovina and Subcarpathian Rus belonged to Romania and Czechoslovakia, respectively. During World War II Western Ukraine at first became part of the Soviet Union (passed to the Ukrainian SSR) and Hungary, but after the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany, it became incorporated into one of territories of the Third Reich mostly as the General Governorate, while its northern regions (Volhynia) were left after to the Reichskommissariat Ukraine and Bucovina was returned to Romania. In May 1945 the Soviet Union incorporated all territories of current Western Ukraine into the Ukrainian SSR.
Notes and references
- Jan T. Gross (2002). "Western Ukraine". Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western Ukraine. Princeton University Press. pp. 48 / 99 / 114. ISBN 0691096031. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- Myron Weiner, Sharon Stanton Russell (June 1, 2001). "Western Ukraine". Demography and National Security. Berghahn Books. pp. 313 / 322. ISBN 157181339X. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- Philipp Ther, Ana Siljak (2001). "Forced Migration from Poland's Former Eastern Territories". Redrawing Nations. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 136–. ISBN 0742510948. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- Serhy Yekelchyk Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, Oxford University Press (2007), ISBN 978-0-19-530546-3
- The Educational System of Ukraine, Nordic Recognition Network (April 2009)
- The language question, the results of recent research in 2012, RATING (25 May 2012)
- (Ukrainian) Ставлення населення України до постаті Йосипа Сталіна Attitude population Ukraine to the figure of Joseph Stalin, Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (1 March 2013)
- Who’s Afraid of Ukrainian History? by Timothy D. Snyder, The New York Review of Books (21 September 2010)
- Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith by Andrew Wilson, Cambridge University Press, 1996, ISBN 0521574579 (page 128)
- Ivan Katchanovski. (2009). Terrorists or National Heroes? Politics of the OUN and the UPA in Ukraine Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association, Montreal, June 1–3, 2010
- Центральна виборча комісія України - WWW відображення ІАС "Вибори народних депутатів України 2012"
CEC substitues Tymoshenko, Lutsenko in voting papers
- Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe by Uwe Backes and Patrick Moreau, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-36912-8 (page 396)
- Ukraine right-wing politics: is the genie out of the bottle?, openDemocracy.net (3 January 2011)
- Eight Reasons Why Ukraine’s Party of Regions Will Win the 2012 Elections by Taras Kuzio, The Jamestown Foundation (17 October 2012)
UKRAINE: Yushchenko needs Tymoshenko as ally again by Taras Kuzio, Oxford Analytica (5 October 2007)
- Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States: 1999, Routledge, 1999, ISBN 1857430581 (page 849)