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Ukrainophilia is the love of or identification with Ukraine and Ukrainians; its opposite is Ukrainophobia. The term is used primarily in a political and cultural context. "Ukrainophilia" and "Ukrainophile" are the terms used to denote pro-Ukrainian sentiments, usually in politics and literature. Ukrainophilia was severely persecuted by the imperial Russian government. Ukrainian-language books and theater were banned.

History of Ukrainophilia[edit]

Ukrainophilia arose as a movement in Poland in the first half of the 19th century, among Polish writers of the so-called "Ukrainian school" and later among ethnic Poles in Ukraine, who wrote poems and songs in the Ukrainian language. The Ukrainophile movement also developed among ethnic Ukrainian intellectuals in the Russian Empire and Galicia in the second half of the 19th century. Ukrainophiles sought to preserve and develop the Ukrainian language, literature and culture. They called for the introduction of the Ukrainian language in Ukrainian schools and the autonomy from the Russian Empire, that would allow for national self-determination of Ukrainians and free development of Ukrainian culture.

Ukrainophilia in the 19th century included various degrees of intensity, from the simple love of one's people all the way to passionate nationalism and independence.

The Ukrainophile movement in Russian literature led to the publishing of books and textbooks in the Ukrainian language. Ukrainophile intellectuals published a number of journals: Osnova in St. Petersburg (1861–62), Chernigovskiy Listok, Samostaine Slovo, Hromadnytsia, Pomyinytsia. They also sought to popularize the Ukrainian language by publishing pamphlets in Ukrainian. Ukrainophiles of the Russian Empire also created a network of Ukrainophile organizations, the most important of which were in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Poltava and Odessa, which actively sought to organize Ukrainian-language instruction in schools.

After the Russian Empire crushed the Polish uprising of 1863, the Russian government put intense pressure on the Ukrainophile movement (Valuyev Circular in 1863, Ems Ukaz in 1876), but the movement continued flaring up, especially in early 1870s and late 1880s. After the movement was repressed, most of its members turned their attention away from political organizing to literary work, such as creating Ukrainian dictionaries, writing Ukrainian books, developing the discipline of Ukrainian studies. During the Soviet period the Ukrainophile movement was characterized as a "burgeois-national" movement.

Ukrainophilia today[edit]

Ukrainophilia exists among the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia, North America and elsewhere.


The population of the Caucasian nation of Azerbaijan has a very positive attitude towards the Ukrainian people and independent Ukraine was one of the first countries that Azerbaijan established relations with.


Canada has shown many Ukrainophile tendencies, owing in part to a large Ukrainian diaspora. Canada, for example, was the first nation in the world to recognize national independence of modern Ukraine.[1]


In the 1990s many Jewish people emigrated from the former Soviet states, especially from Ukraine, to Israel. Jewish Ukrainians had lived in Ukraine for centuries, having partially assimilated, intermarried and adopted the culture of the people that they lived among. Even today many Ukrainian Jews in Israel feel a sense of connection to and pride with Ukraine, and are still influenced by Ukrainian culture, language and food.


Some European nations are also quite Ukrainophilic today. A notable example is Poland, as it has become the closest Ukrainian ally in the EU. Poland was also one of the first countries in the world to recognize the national independence of modern Ukraine (the first being Canada).[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ukraine and Russia: The Post-Soviet Transition by Roman Solchanyk, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0742510182 (page 100)
    Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol 30, 1992, University of British Columbia Press, 1993, ISBN 9780774804387 (page 371)
    Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union by Roman Szporluk, Hoover Institution Press, 2000, ISBN 0817995420 (page 355