Ukrainian People's Republic

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Ukrainian People's Republic

Українська Народня Республіка
Ukrajinśka Narodnia Respublika
April–December 1918: Ukrainian State
Anthem: Ще не вмерла Україна  (Ukrainian)
Shche ne vmerla Ukraina   (transliteration)
Ukraine's glory has not perished
Ukrainian People's Republic in Europe.svg
StatusSelf-proclaimed autonomy within the Russian Republic (1917–1918)
Partially-recognized state (1918–1921)
Common languages Ukrainian
Crimean Tartar
Government Provisional government
Mykhailo Hrushevskyi
Directorate of Ukraine
Andriy Livytskyi
Stepan Vytvytskyi
Mykola Livytskyi
Mykola Plaviuk
Legislature Central Rada (to April 1918)
Labor Congress
Historical era World War I
7 November 1917
22 January 1918
 Sack of Kiev
9 February 1918
29 April 1918
13 November 1918
 Soviet invasion
16 January 1919
18 March 1921
1897477,021 km2 (184,179 sq mi)
Currency Karbovanets
ISO 3166 code UA
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Russia.svg Southwestern Krai
Flag of Ukraine.svg West Ukrainian People's Republic
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Flag of the Ukrainian SSR (1919-1929).svg
Second Polish Republic Flag of Poland.svg
General Command of the Armed Forces of South Russia Flag of Russia.svg
Today part of
Part of a series on the
History of Ukraine
Lesser Coat of Arms of Ukraine.svg
Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraineportal

The Ukrainian People's Republic, or Ukrainian National Republic [lower-alpha 1] (abbreviated to УНР, UNR), a predecessor of modern Ukraine, was declared on 10 June 1917 following the February Revolution in Russia. It initially formed part of the Russian Republic, but proclaimed its independence on 25 January 1918. [1] During its short existence the republic went through several political transformations - from the socialist-leaning republic headed by the Central Council with its general secretariat to the national republic led by the Directorate and by Symon Petliura. [1] Between April and December 1918 the Ukrainian People's Republic did not function, having been overthrown by the Ukrainian State of Pavlo Skoropadsky. [1] [2] [ need quotation to verify ] From late 1919 the UNR operated as an ally of the Second Polish Republic, [1] but by then the state de facto no longer existed in Ukraine. [1] The 18 March 1921 Treaty of Riga between the Second Polish Republic, Soviet Russia (acting also on behalf of Soviet Belarus) and of Soviet Ukraine sealed the fate of the Ukrainian People's Republic. [1]

Ukraine Sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.

Various factions fought over Ukrainian territory after the collapse of the Russian Empire following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and after the First World War ended in 1918, resulting in the collapse of Austria-Hungary, which had ruled Ukrainian Galicia. The crumbling of the empires had a great effect on the Ukrainian nationalist movement, and in a short period of four years a number of Ukrainian governments sprang up. This period was characterized by optimism and by nation-building, as well as by chaos and civil war. Matters stabilized somewhat in 1921 with the territory of modern-day Ukraine divided between Soviet Ukraine and Poland, and with small ethnic-Ukrainian regions belonging to Czechoslovakia and to Romania.

Russian Republic March-November 1917 short-lived republic in Europe and Asia

The Russian Republic was a short-lived state which controlled, de jure, the territory of the former Russian Empire after its proclamation by the Russian Provisional Government on 1 September 1917 in a decree signed by Alexander Kerensky as Minister-President and Alexander Zarudny as Minister of Justice.


After the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917, many governments formed in Ukraine [1] – most notably the Ukrainian People's Republic (based in Kiev) and the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets (1917–1918, based in Kharkiv) and its Soviet successors. These two entities, plus the White Movement, Poland, Green armies and the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, fought constantly with each other, which resulted in many casualties among Ukrainians fighting in a Ukrainian War of Independence (1917-1921) as part of the wider Russian Civil War of 1917-1922. The Soviet Union would (after the 1921 Treaty of Riga) extend control over what would ultimately become the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and (in 1922) a founding member of the Soviet Union. [1]

October Revolution Bolshevik uprising during the Russian Revolution of 1917

The October Revolution, officially known in Soviet historiography as the Great October Socialist Revolution and commonly referred to as the October Uprising, the October Coup, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Bolshevik Coup or the Red October, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin that was instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917–23. It took place through an armed insurrection in Petrograd on 7 November 1917.

Kiev City with special status in Kiev City Municipality, Ukraine

Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine, located in the north-central part of the country on the Dnieper. The population in July 2015 was 2,887,974, making Kiev the 7th most populous city in Europe.

Ukrainian Peoples Republic of Soviets

The Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets (1917–1918) was a short-lived Soviet republic of the Russian SFSR that was created by the declaration of the Kharkiv All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets "About the self-determination of Ukraine" on 25 December [O.S. 12 December] 1917 in the Noble Assembly building in Kharkiv. The republic was later united into the Ukrainian Soviet Republic and, eventually, liquidated, because of a cessation of support from the government of the Russian SFSR when the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed.


Revolutionary wave

February 1918 article from The New York Times showing a map of the Russian Imperial territories claimed by Ukraine People's Republic at the time, before the annexation of the Austro-Hungarian lands of the West Ukrainian People's Republic. Dismembered Russia -- Some Fragments (NYT article, Feb. 17, 1918).png
February 1918 article from The New York Times showing a map of the Russian Imperial territories claimed by Ukraine People's Republic at the time, before the annexation of the Austro-Hungarian lands of the West Ukrainian People's Republic.

On 10 June 1917, the Ukrainian Central Council 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 People's Republic became the General Secretariat headed by Volodymyr Vynnychenko. The Prime Minister of Russia Alexander Kerensky recognized the Secretariat, appointing it as the representative governing body of the Russian Provisional Government and limiting its powers to five governorates: Volyn, Kiev, Podolie, Chernigov, and Poltova. At first Vynnychenko protested and left his post as Secretariat leader, but eventually returned to reassemble the Secretariat after the Tsentralna Rada accepted the Kerensky Instruktsiya and issued the Second Universal.

General Secretariat of Ukraine

The General Secretariat of Ukraine was the autonomous Ukrainian executive government of the Russian Republic from June 28, 1917 to January 22, 1918. For most of its existence it was headed by Volodymyr Vynnychenko.

Volodymyr Vynnychenko Ukrainian writer, playwright, artist, political activist, revolutionary, politician, and statesman

Volodymyr Kyrylovych Vynnychenko was a Ukrainian statesman, political activist, writer, playwright, artist, who served as 1st Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Alexander Kerensky Russian politician

Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky was a Russian lawyer and revolutionist who was a key political figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the February Revolution of 1917, he joined the newly formed Russian Provisional Government, first as Minister of Justice, then as Minister of War, and after July as the government's second Minister-Chairman. A leader of the moderate-socialist Trudovik faction of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, he was also vice-chairman of the powerful Petrograd Soviet. On 7 November, his government was overthrown by the Lenin-led Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. He spent the remainder of his life in exile, in Paris and New York City, and worked for the Hoover Institution.

After the October Revolution the Kievan faction of the Bolshevik Party instigated the uprising in Kiev on 8 November 1917 in order to establish Soviet power in the city. Kiev Military District forces attempted to stop it, but after the Tsentralna Rada threw its support behind the Bolsheviks, the Russian forces were eliminated from Kiev. After expelling the government forces, the Rada announced a wider autonomy for the Ukrainian Republic, still maintaining ties to Russia, on 22 November 1917. The territory of the republic was proclaimed by the Third Universal 20 November 1917 (7 November by Old Style) [3] of the Tsentralna Rada encompassing the governorates: Volyn, Kiev, Podolie, Chernigov, Poltava, Kharkov, Yekaterinoslav, Kerson, Taurida (not including Crimea). It also stated that the people of the governorates: Voronezh, Kholm, and Kursk were welcome to join the republic through a referendum. Further the Tsentralna Rada in its Universal stated that because there was no Government in the Russian Republic after the October Revolution it proclaimed itself the Supreme governing body of the territory of Ukraine until order in the Russian republic could be restored. The Central Rada called all revolutionary activities such as the October Revolution a civil war and expressed its hopes for the resolution of the chaos.

The Kiev Bolshevik Uprising was a military struggle for power in Kiev after the fall of the Russian Provisional Government due to the October Revolution. It ended in victory for the Kievan Committee of the Bolshevik Party and the Central Rada.

Kiev Military District former Russian military-administrative division

The Kiev Military District was a military district of the Imperial Russian Army and subsequently of the Red Army and Soviet Armed Forces. It was first formed in 1862, and was headquartered in Kiev for most of its existence.

Kharkov Governorate

Kharkov Governorate was a governorate of the Russian Empire founded in 1835. It embraced the historical region of Sloboda Ukraine. From 1765 to 1780 and from 1796 to 1835 the governorate was called the Sloboda Ukraine Governorate. In 1780-1796 there existed the Kharkov Viceroyalty.

After a brief truce, the Bolsheviks realized that the Rada had no intention of supporting 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 People's Republic outlawed and proclaimed the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets with capital in Kiev, claiming that the government of the People's Secretaries of Ukraine was 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 members within the Tsentralna Rada soured, a 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 as joining the Soviet government of Ukraine, simultaneously. Unlike Fyodor Sergeyev's Republic, the Odessa Republic was not recognized by any other Bolshevik governments and on its own initiative had entered a military conflict with Romania for control over the Moldavian Democratic Republic, whose territory it was contesting.

All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets Wikimedia disambiguation page

The All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets was the supreme governing body of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1917–22. From 1922 to 1938 the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR designated after the 1918 Russian Constitution mandated that Congress to be convened at least twice a year. The 1926 Constitution lowered the minimum to once a year.

Kharkiv City of regional significance in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine

Kharkiv, also known as Kharkov, is the second-largest city in Ukraine. In the northeast of the country, it is the largest city of the Slobozhanshchyna historical region. Kharkiv is the administrative centre of Kharkiv Oblast and of the surrounding Kharkiv Raion, though administratively it is incorporated as a city of oblast significance and does not belong to the raion. Population: 2,139,036

Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic one of fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1922 to 1991

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, also known as Soviet Ukraine, was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union from the Union's inception in 1922 to its breakup in 1991. The republic was governed by the Communist Party of Ukraine as a unitary one-party socialist soviet republic.

1919 Ukraine People's Republic Diplomatic passport issued for serving in Switzerland. 1919 Ukraine DIPLOMATIC pass. - Vienna.jpg
1919 Ukraine People's Republic Diplomatic passport issued for serving in Switzerland.


The following information is based on the exposition of the Museum of Soviet occupation in Kiev (Memorial (society) in Kiev) [4]

Memorial (society) Russian historical and civil rights society

Memorial is a Russian historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-Soviet states. It focuses on recording and publicising the Soviet Union's totalitarian past, but also monitors human rights in Russia and other post-Soviet states.

Spring 1917

Summer 1917

  • 10–15 June – the 1st All-Ukrainian Peasant Congress took place in Kiev in which 2,200 delegates participated
  • 11 June – extraordinary congress of the council of Ukrainian Military Society of Doroshenko in Simferopol decided to create a separate Ukrainian Regiment
  • 18–24 June – ignoring the prohibition of the Russian Provisional Government, the 2nd Ukrainian Military Congress took place in Kiev. The congress accepted the declaration of a detailed plan of Ukrainization of the Russian Army, leaving Symon Petlyura as the head of the Ukrainian General Military Committee. The congress showed its support to the Ukrainian Central Council. The council of Kharkiv Governorate recognized the Ukrainian Central Council as a government authority in Ukraine
  • 24 June – announcement of the 1st Universal (Declaration) of the Ukrainian Central Council at Sofiyivska Ploshcha (Sofia Square)
  • 28 June – the Ukrainian Central Council elects the General Secretariat of Ukraine as an authority of state power
  • 11 July – a delegation of the Russian Provisional Government (Kerensky, Tereshchenko, and Tsereteli) arrived in Kiev
  • 14 July – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted that Petty Council consisting of 40 representatives from Ukrainian and 18 from national minorities
  • 16 July – the Petty Council adopted the 2nd Universal (Declaration) of the Ukrainian Central Council
  • 29 July – the Petty Council adopted the Statute of the Highest Government of Ukraine
  • 8 August – a terrorist attack took place at the railroad station "Post-Volynsky" (Kiev) where the newly formed Bohdan Khmelnytsky Regiment was attacked by the Moscow cuirassiers and Don cossacks
  • 17 August – the Russian Provisional Government issued a temporary instruction (Instruktsia) for the General Secretariat of Provisional Government in Ukraine where it recognized the competency of the General Secretariat over five Governorates (Gubernias): Kiev, Volyn, Poltava, Chernihiv, and Podillia

Autumn 1917

  • 22 September – the Petty Council adopted the declaration about the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly. The representatives of national minorities in the Petty Council condemned the intentions of Ukraine to separate from Russia
  • 27 September – start of the State Democratic Convention in Petrograd
  • 13 October – by the petition of the Kiev Court Chamber the Russian Provisional Government initiates investigation against the General Secretariat for the intention to convene the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly
  • 7 November – October Revolution in Petrograd. Petty Council created of the Regional Committee in Protection of Revolution in Ukraine. The committee announced the extension of its powers over the nine Ukrainian governorates
  • 8 November – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted a resolution which condemned the revolution. In protest, the bolsheviks left the Regional Committee and the Ukrainian Central Council
  • 9 November – the commander of the Kiev Military District General Kvetsinsky refused to recognize the Regional Committee which in turn was dissolved transferring all its powers to the General Secretariat
  • 11 November – arrested bolsheviks of a revolutionary committee. The Ukrainian Central Council adopted a bill about elections to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly handing to the Petty Council to finalize the law and conduct the elections
  • 14 November – the Ukrainian Central Council and the General Secretary are recognized as state authorities. The General Secretary of Military Affairs Symon Petlyura subordinates the Kiev militia (law enforcement) to the Ukrainian government
  • 20 November – after the announcement of the 3rd Universal (Declaration) the deputies of Russian Cadets V. Krupkov and Polish Kolo V. Rudnytsky surrendered their mandates of the Ukrainian Central Council
  • 21 November – the General Secretary of Military Affairs Symon Petlyura appoints General Pavlo Skoropadsky a commander of the Right-bank Ukraine armed forces
  • 22 November – in the presence of the French, Italian, and Romanian diplomatic missions, the 3rd Universal (Declaration) was announced at Sofiyivska Ploshcha (Sofia Square)
  • 27 November – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted a resolution regarding the Kholm Governorate protesting its annexation by Poland
  • 30 November – General Secretariat announced that Sovnarkom is not a legal authority of Russia. The Petty Council adopted the Law "About the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly" where it was established its composition of 301 members:
    • Kiev Governorate – 45
    • Volyn Governorate – 30
    • Podillya Governorate – 30
    • Yekaterinoslav Governorate – 36
    • Poltava Governorate – 30
    • Kherson Governorate – 34
    • Kharkiv Governorate – 35
    • Tavria Governorate – 9
    • Chernihiv Governorate – 27
    • Ostrohozh district – 15

(Each deputy represents 100,000 of population, a right of vote have citizens of 20 years and older; established the Central Election Commission to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly)

Winter 1917–18

UPR postcard with national flag and anthem. November-December 1917. Propaganda UPR.jpg
UPR postcard with national flag and anthem. November–December 1917.
UPR postage stamp UNR postage stamp.JPG
UPR postage stamp
  • 14–15 December – the Petty Council adopted the Law about the General Court, the highest judicial institution of the Ukrainian People's Republic. International diplomatic missions transferred their offices from Mohyliv-Podilsky to Kiev. The government of France on 18 December announced its intention to have a diplomatic relationship with Ukraine, the same intention declared England
  • 19 – 1 December Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' deputies of Ukraine expressed its complete trust to the Ukrainian Central Council and General Secretariat and condemned the Ultimatum of Lenin-Trotsky
  • 22 December – the Petty Council adopted the Law on taxes and collections, with which all taxes and collections belonged to the State Treasury of Ukraine
  • 23 December – the General Secretariat determined the composition of the Ukrainian delegation to the peace talks in Brest-Litovsk
  • 25 December – the Peace Conference in Brest-Litovsk sent in a telegram for Ukraine to join the negotiations
  • 3 January – General Georges Tabouis was appointed the Commissar of French Republic to the Government of Ukrainian People's Republic
  • 6 January – start of the peace negotiations in Brest. The head of Ukrainian delegation Vsevolod Holubovych requests recognition of Ukraine as a sovereign state, adding of the Kholm Governorate, and conducting a plebiscite on the territory of Austria-Hungary where dominated the Ukrainian population to add that territory to Ukraine
  • 9 January – 171 delegates were elected to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly
  • 10–12 January – the Central powers recognized the Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Brest as a separate and plenipotentiary to conduct negotiations on the behalf of Ukrainian People's Republic
  • 16 January – the Petty Council adopted the law about creation of the Ukrainian National Army and its composition based on a militia principle
  • 22 January – the Petty Council adopted the law about the National-Individual Autonomy. For the last text of the 4th Universal (Declaration) voted: "for" – 39 voices, "against" – 4 voices, "abstained" – 6
  • 29 January – Battle of Kruty
  • 9 February – the Brest peace treaty was signed with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria
  • 10 February – Due to advance of the Russian Bolshevik forces the government of Ukraine was evacuated to Zhytomyr from Kiev
  • 21 February – the Ukrainian delegation issued a declaration about reasons for the arrival of German forces in Ukraine
  • 27 February – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted the law about the introduction in Ukraine a new style of calendar according which a time moves 13 days ahead. The Petty Council adopted the law about the new monetary system. The monetary unit became hryvnia that had 8.712 units of pure gold. Adoption of the law about the coat of arms of the Ukrainian People's Republic – Trident (Tryzub)

Spring 1918

In April 1918 troops loyal to the Ukrainian People's Republic take control of several cities in the Donbass region. [5]

  • 2 March – the Petty Council adopted the law about citizenship of Ukraine, the law about new administrative system. The Russian established gubernias were to be replaced by new administrative unit – zemlia (land)
  • 18 March – several perished student-veterans of Kruty were reburied in Kiev
  • 11 April – 12 May 1918 was designated as the first convocation of the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly
  • 13 April – Adoption of the Ukrainian Central Council resolution condemning the annexation of Bessarabia by Romania
  • 23 April – an economic treaty is signed between Ukraine and Germany with Austria-Hungary
  • 25 April – Adoption of the law about the Central Economic Council of Ukraine
  • 29 April – Adopted a bill on the Constitution of Ukraine. The All-Ukrainian Agrarian Congress elects Pavlo Skoropadsky the Hetman of Ukraine


Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (February 9, 1918):
Ukrainian People's Republic
Claimed territories (striped)
German troops in autumn, 1917
Soviet Russia
Don regional government
Kuban regional government
Crimea regional government
Polish council
Serbia UNR 2.1918 Brest-Litovsk.png
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (February 9, 1918):
  Ukrainian People's Republic
  Claimed territories (striped)
  German troops in autumn, 1917
  Soviet Russia
  Don regional government
  Kuban regional government
  Crimea regional government
  Polish council

Due to the aggression from Soviet Russia, on 25 January 1918, the Tsentralna Rada issued its Fourth Universal (dated 22 January 1918), breaking ties with Bolshevik Russia and proclaiming a sovereign Ukrainian state. [6] Less than a month later, on 9 February 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 9 February 1918 to obtain military help from the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Germany helped the Ukrainian Army force the Bolsheviks out of Ukraine. On 20 February 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 Yekaterinodar. It was agreed to forward the resolution for ratification to the Ukrainian government.

After the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Ukraine became a virtual 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 about losing the war and was 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 6 April 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, which annulled his order. By April 1918 the German-Austrian Operation Faustschlag offensive had completely removed the Bolsheviks from Ukraine. [7] [5] [8] [9] [10] The German/Austro-Hungarian victories in Ukraine were due to the apathy of the locals and the inferior fighting skills of Bolsheviks troops compared to their Austro-Hungarian and German counterparts. [10]

The Germans arrested and disbanded the Tsentralna Rada on 29 April 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 People's Republic. Concurrently with all these events and a few days prior to the change of powers in the country on 24 April 1918 the government of Belarus confirmed the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce in Kiev headed by Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky on the initiative of the Belarusian secretary of finance Pyotr Krechevsky. [11]


May-November, 1918:
Ukrainian State
Territories of Ukrainian Union (striped)
Crimean Regional Government
Kuban People's Republic
West Ukrainian People's Republic (Oct 19)
Don Republic
Belarusian People's Republic
Soviet Russia Ukrainian State 1918.5-11.png
May–November, 1918:
  Ukrainian State
  Territories of Ukrainian Union (striped)

After the coup, the Rada was replaced by the conservative government of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, the Hetmanate, and the Ukrainian People's Republic by a "Ukrainian State" (Ukrayinska derzhava). Skoropadsky, a former officer of the Russian Empire, established a regime favoring large landowners and concentrating power at the top. 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 30 July, a Russian Left Socialist-Revolutionary, Boris Mikhailovich Donskoy, with help from the local USRP succeeded in assassinating von Eichhorn, blowing him up in 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 14 November 1918.


Spring 1918

  • 29 April – All-Ukrainian Agrarian Congress elects Pavlo Skoropadsky as the Hetman of Ukraine
  • 30 April – Mykola Vasylenko was appointed the Chairman of Council of Ministers and tasked with the formation of government
  • 7 May – the Council of Ministers confirmed its intentions to add Crimea to the Ukrainian State
  • 15 May – Signing of a treaty between governments of Ukraine from one side and Germany and Austria-Hungary from another to provide a loan in amount of 400 million karbovanets for acquiring the Ukrainian food
  • 18 May – the Council of Ministers adopted the law about a creation of the State Guard
  • 23 May – started peace negotiations between representatives of Ukraine and Russia
  • 28 May – to Kiev arrived the plenipotentiary delegation of the Regional Council of Kuban headed by Mykola Ryabovol with proposition of unification of Kuban with Ukraine
  • 30 May – the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Doroshenko petitioned with a special letter to the Ambassador of Germany in Ukraine, baron Alfons Mumm von Schwarzenstein, to include Crimea to Ukraine

Summer 1918

  • 12 June – the Congress of Landowners and Agrarians of Tavria Governorate that took place in Simferopol supported the proposition to include Tavria to Ukraine
  • 20 June – the All-Ukrainian Church Council took place in Kiev
  • 1 July – adopted the decision about a creation of the Ukrainian university in Kamianets-Podilsky
  • 2 July – adoption of the law about citizenship of the Ukrainian State
  • 8 July – creation of the State Senate of the Ukrainian State as the supreme judicial institution
  • 9 July – creation of the Commission in development of project of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
  • 10 July – Kiev Orthodox clergy lifted the anathema on Hetman Mazepa
  • 24 July – Ukraine and Germany ratified the Brest Peace Treaty, adoption of laws about the general military obligation, criminal responsibility for exceeding the maximum established prices and speculation, appointments to government service
  • 27 July – due to the anti-Ukrainian policies of the Crimean government of Sulkevich the Ukrainian State established an economical blockade of the peninsula
  • 1 August – adoption of laws about supreme government and political position of military servicemen
  • 2 August – adoption of the law about the creation of fund of the National Library of Ukrainian State
  • 6 August – the All-Ukrainian Church Council called for the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church
  • 10 August – confirmed the statute of the Ukrainian State Bank and its base and reserve capitals
  • 17 August – adopted the law about a restriction on import of the Russian monetary units
  • 22 August – in Vienna Turkey and Ukraine exchanged documents that ratified the Brest Peace Treaty
  • 10 September – signing of an economic agreement between Ukraine, Germany, Austria-Hungary for the 1918–1919 fiscal years
  • 18 September – temporary stop of custom war with Crimea on the petition of the Sulkevich government
  • 5 October – in Kiev started negotiations between Ukraine and Crimea about the conditions of Crimea inclusion to Ukraine
  • 6 October – Kiev State Ukrainian University is opened
  • 16 October – Hetman of Ukraine issued declaration on the revival of cossackdom
  • 17 October – adopted a declaration about organization of volunteer militia on upholding the order of law
  • 21 October – Hetman of Ukraine met with the extraordinary mission of the Kuban regional government headed by Colonel V. Tkachov
  • 6 November – the German authorities transferred the ships of the Black Sea fleet to the Ukrainian State
  • 13 November – the Soviet Russia annulled the Brest Peace Treaty and refused to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian State
  • 13–16 November – signing of agreement about trade, consulate, and sea relationships, railway and financial treaties between the government of Ukraine and the extraordinary mission of the Kuban regional government
  • 14 November – anti-Hetman Uprising
  • 26 November – the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences is created chaired by Vladimir Vernadsky

Winter 1918

  • 5 December – signing of agreement of cooperation between Ukraine and Georgia
  • 14 December – Hetman of Ukraine surrender his powers and emigrated to Germany


The Government of UNR 1920 - Symon Petlura sitting in the centre. Rzad URL 1920.jpg
The Government of UNR 1920 - Symon Petlura sitting in the centre.
Proposed borders presented by the Ukrainian delegation at the Paris Conference. Map of Ukraine for Paris Peace Conference.jpg
Proposed borders presented by the Ukrainian delegation at the Paris Conference.
Language map published by the Imperial Russian Geographical Society in 1914 Dialektologicheskaia Karta 1914 goda.jpeg
Language map published by the Imperial Russian Geographical Society in 1914

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 21 November. After a three-week-long stalemate Skoropadsky abdicated in favor of the Council of Ministers who surrendered to the Revolutionary forces. On 19 December 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 16 January 1919 Ukraine officially declared a war on Russia while the Russian Soviet government continued to deny all claims of invasion. On 22 January 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 forces such as that of Nestor Makhno tried to prevail. 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) as well as a large part of the Volhynian territory were incorporated into Poland, while the areas to the east and south 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, [12] 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 4 November, the Directorate's guerrillas captured Korosten and seized much military supplies. But on 17 November 1921, this force was surrounded by Bolshevik cavalry and destroyed.


Winter 1918–19

  • 14 December – the Directorate of Ukraine received the state powers in Ukraine after the Hetman of Ukraine emigrated to Germany
  • 16 December – the Directorate renewed the law about National-Individual Autonomy
  • 19 December – the grand entry of Directorate to the capital of Ukraine. Military parade at Sofiyivska Ploshcha. Note of protest to the countries of Entente due to occupation of ports of the Southern Ukraine (Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War)
  • 26 December – Directorate published a basis of its economic-social policies and political system
  • 31 December – Directorate issued a note of protest to the Soviet Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine
  • 1 January – Directorate adopted the law about the Supreme body of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Cathedral Church
  • 2 January – order of the Chief Otaman Symon Petlyura to exile all enemies of Ukraine
  • 3–4 January – repeated notes of protest to the Soviet Russia due to its intervention
  • 4 January – Directorate adopted the law about Ukrainian monetary unit, hryvnia
  • 8 January – the government of Ukraine adopted the Land Law, based on the principles of socialism
  • 16 January – declaration of war with Moscow due to no results of peace negotiations
  • 22 January – declaration of Unification between Ukraine and West Ukraine at Sofiyivska Ploshcha
  • 23 January – session of Labor Congress initiated by Directorate was opened in Kiev. The congress attended over 400 delegates, out which 65 represented the West Ukraine. It expressed its trust in Directorate and adopted the law about the form of government in Ukraine
  • 2 February – due to the advance of Bolsheviks Directorate moved from Kiev to Vinnytsia
  • 13 February – Directorate changed the composition of the Council of National Ministers
  • 17 February – Directorate petitioned to the governments of Entente and the US for help in fight with Bolsheviks
  • 27 February – Chief Otaman met with Entente Commission in Khodoriv

Spring 1919

  • 15 March – the delegation of West Ukraine headed by Yevhen Petrushevych met with Directory in Proskuriv to further discuss development of joint operations
  • 4 April – plenipotentiary representative of Ukraine at the Versailles Peace Conference H.Sydorenko expressed his protest to the Polish military attack onto the Ukrainian territory and its political and materiel support by Entente
  • 9 April – Directory adopted the declaration on resignation of the Ostapenko government and appointing the new composition of the Council of National Ministers headed by Borys Martos
  • 15 April – the government of Ukraine appointed General Oleksandr Osetsky as the Otaman of the Army
  • 29 April – Volodymyr Oskilko Affairs
  • 9 May – Symon Petlyura was elected the head of Directory in Radyvyliv
  • 20 May – the peace negotiations of the diplomatic mission of Ukraine with the command of the Polish Army of Haller in Lublin showed no results

Summer 1919

  • 12 June – the government of Finland reestablished its diplomatic relationships with Ukraine
  • 16 June – the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri informed the Chairman of Directorate S. Petliura on the approval of Count Mykhailo Tyshkevych as the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Holy See
  • 18 June – the delegation of Ukraine at the Versailles Peace Conference together with the representatives of Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Northern Caucasus expressed its protest against recognition of the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace conference the government of Admiral Kolchak as the Supreme government of Russia
  • 20–21 June – signing of a temporary agreement of Ukraine with Poland in Lviv and establishment of demarcation line (Delwig line)

Anti-Bolshevik and other uprisings

The following is the list of numerous uprisings that took place during the formation of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Some of them were in opposition to the Petlyura's government (such as the Oskilko's Affair), some were against the establishment of the Soviet regime, some took place to eliminate the Entente forces. According to Cheka documentation, in Ukraine took place 268 uprisings from 1917 through 1932, where in over 100 raions the mutinied peasants were killing chekists, communists, and prodotryads that were requisitioning food by force which more resembled expropriation. [13]

International recognition

The Ukrainian People's Republic was recognized de jure in February 1918 by the Central Powers of World War I (Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) [16] and by Bolshevik 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. [17]

Later in 1918 Russia chose to withdraw its recognition of independent Ukraine, representing the protocols of the Versailles Treaty as justification for its action. In 1920 Symon Petliura and Józef Piłsudski signed the Warsaw Treaty in which both countries established their borders along the Zbruch River. [18] [19] [20]

Important diplomatic missions and results


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 (thousands)

Administrative division

On 4 March 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 29 April 1918 there was the anti-socialist coup in Kiev, after which Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky reverted the reform back to the guberniya-type administration.

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.

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.


Green indicates UPR-controlled territory, red indicates the Red Army control, light yellow for the White Army control, dark yellow for Germany, blue for Poland, and brown for Romania. Bold black line incidates the borders of modern Ukraine.

See also


  1. Украінська Народня Республіка, in modern orthography Ukrainian: Українська Народна Республіка, Ukrajinśka Narodna Respublika

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Coordinates: 50°27′N30°30′E / 50.450°N 30.500°E / 50.450; 30.500