Volhynia

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Volhynia

Волинь
Lutsk castle tower.jpg
Lubart's Castle (Lutsk) was the seat of the medieval princes of Volhynia.
Alex Volhynia.svg
Coat of arms
Ukraine-Volhyn-en.png
Volhynia (yellow) in modern Ukraine
Coordinates: 50°44′42.0″N25°21′13.7″E / 50.745000°N 25.353806°E / 50.745000; 25.353806 Coordinates: 50°44′42.0″N25°21′13.7″E / 50.745000°N 25.353806°E / 50.745000; 25.353806
CountryPoland, Belarus, Ukraine
Region Southeastern Poland, Southwestern Belarus, Western Ukraine
Parts Volyn Oblast, Rivne Oblast, Zhytomyr Oblast, Ternopil Oblast, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Lublin Voivodeship, Brest Region

Volhynia ( /vˈlɪniə/ ; Polish : Wołyń, Ukrainian : Волинь, romanized: Volýn), is a historic region in Central and Eastern Europe, situated between south-eastern Poland, south-western Belarus, and western Ukraine. While the borders of the region are not clearly defined, the territory that still carries the name is Volyn Oblast, located in western Ukraine. Volhynia has changed hands numerous times throughout history and been divided among competing powers. At one time all of Volhynia was part of the Pale of Settlement designated by Imperial Russia on its southwestern-most border.

Polish language West Slavic language spoken in Poland

Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish-language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.

Ukrainian language language member of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language. It is the official state language of Ukraine, one of the three official languages in the unrecognized state of Transnistria, the other two being Romanian and Russian. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script.

The romanization or Latinization of Ukrainian is the representation of the Ukrainian language using Latin letters. Ukrainian is natively written in its own Ukrainian alphabet, which is based on the Cyrillic script. Romanization may be employed to represent Ukrainian text or pronunciation for non-Ukrainian readers, on computer systems that cannot reproduce Cyrillic characters, or for typists who are not familiar with the Ukrainian keyboard layout. Methods of romanization include transliteration, representing written text, and transcription, representing the spoken word.

Contents

Important cities include Lutsk, Rivne, Volodymyr-Volynskyi (Volodymyr), Iziaslav, and Novohrad-Volynskyi (Zviahel). After the annexation of Volhynia by the Russian Empire as part of the Partitions of Poland, it also included the cities of Zhytomyr, Ovruch, Korosten. The city of Zviahel was renamed Novohrad-Volynsky, and Volodymyr became Volodymyr-Volynskyi.

Lutsk City of regional significance in Ukraine

Lutsk is a city on the Styr River in northwestern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Volyn Oblast (province) and the administrative center of the surrounding Lutsk Raion (district) within the oblast, though it is not a part of the raion. Lutsk has the status of a city of oblast significance, equivalent to that of a raion. Population: 217,103 (2015 est.)

Rivne City of regional significance in Rivne Oblast, Ukraine

Rivne is a historic city in western Ukraine and the historical region of Volhynia. It is the administrative center of Rivne Oblast (province), as well as the surrounding Rivne Raion (district) within the oblast. Administratively, Rivne is incorporated as a city of oblast significance and does not belong to the raion. Population: 247,356 (2017 est.)

Volodymyr-Volynskyi City of regional significance in Volyn Oblast, Ukraine

Volodymyr-Volynskyi is a small city located in Volyn Oblast, in north-western Ukraine. Serving as the administrative centre of the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Raion, the city itself is also designated as a separate municipality within the oblast as the city of regional significance. The city is the historic centre of the region of Volhynia and the historic capital of the Principality of Volhynia. Population: 39,074 (2015 est.)

Names and etymology

Volynia Ukrainian : Волинь, romanized: Volýn), Russian : Волы́нь, romanized: Volyn; Polish : Wołyń, Lithuanian : Voluinė or Volynė; Czech : Volyň, Hungarian : Volhínia, German : Wolhynien[vo.ˈlyː.ni̯ən] or Wolynien[vo.ˈlyː.ni̯ən] (Volhynian German: Wolhynien/Wolhinien[vo.ˈliː.ni̯ən] or Wolynien/Wolinien[vo.ˈliː.ni̯ən]), Yiddish : װאָלין, romanized: Volin)

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Romanization of Russian Romanization of the Russian alphabet

Romanization of Russian is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin script.

Lithuanian language Language spoken in Lithuania

Lithuanian is a Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Lithuanians and the official language of Lithuania as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.9 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 200,000 abroad.

The alternative name for the region is Lodomeria after the city of Volodymyr-Volynsky (previously known as Volodymer), which was once a political capital of the medieval Volhynian Principality.

Lodomeria

Lodomeria is a derivative name (Latinized) of Vladimir which was a name of the Ruthenian duchy, Volhyn a western Kievan Rus' principality founded by the Rurik dynasty in 987 centered in the region of Volhynia, straddling the borders of modern-day Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. The duchy of Vladimir arose in the course of the 12th century along with the duchy of Halitch (Halicz).

According to some historians, the region is named after a semi-legendary city of Volin or Velin, said to have been located on the Southern Bug River, [1] whose name may come from the Proto-Slavic root *vol/vel- 'wet'. In other versions, the city was located over 20 km (12 mi) to the west of Volodymyr-Volynskyi near the mouth of the Huczwa  [ pl ] River, a tributary of the Western Bug.

Southern Bug river in Ukraine

The Southern Bug, also called Southern Buh, and sometimes Boh River, is a navigable river located in Ukraine. It is the second-longest river in Ukraine.

Geography

Mezhyrich Abbey in Ostroh was endowed by the Ostrogski princes in the 15th century. Mezhirich.jpg
Mezhyrich Abbey in Ostroh was endowed by the Ostrogski princes in the 15th century.
Olyka Castle Olika1.jpg
Olyka Castle

Geographically it is located in the Volhynian-Podolian Upland and Polesian Lowland along the Prypyat valley as part of the vast East European Plain, between the Western Bug in the west and the Ovruch Ridge and Dnieper Upland in the east. Before the partitions of Poland, the eastern edge stretched a little west along the right-banks of the Sluch River or just east of it. Within the territory of Volhynia is located Little Polisie, a lowland that actually divides the Volhynian-Podolian Upland into separate Volhynian Upland and northern outskirts of Podolian Upland, the so-called Kremenets Hills. Volhynia is located in the basins of the Western Bug and Prypyat, therefore most of its rivers flow either in a northern or a western direction.

Volhynian-Podolian Upland is a system of uplands in West Ukraine and Right-bank Ukraine.

Polesian Lowland Part of the cross-border region of Polesia

The Polesian Lowland is a lowland in the southwestern portion of the East European Plain in the drainage basins of several rivers including the Dnieper, Prypiat and Desna. It stretches along the Belarus–Ukraine border. The eastern part of the lowland extends into Bryansk Oblast in the Russian Federation.

Pripyat River river in Belarus and Ukraine

The Pripyat River or Prypiat River is a river in Eastern Europe, approximately 761 km (473 mi) long. It flows east through Ukraine, Belarus, and Ukraine again, draining into the Dnieper.

Relative to other historical regions, it is northeast of Galicia, east of Lesser Poland and northwest of Podolia. The borders of the region are not clearly defined, and it is often considered to overlap a number of other regions, among which are Polesia and Podlasie.

The territories of historical Volhynia are now part of the Volyn, Rivne and parts of the Zhytomyr, Ternopil and Khmelnytskyi Oblasts of Ukraine, as well as parts of Poland (see Chełm). Major cities include Lutsk, Rivne, Kovel, Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Kremenets (Ternopil Oblast) and Starokostiantyniv (Khmelnytskyi Oblast). Before World War II, many Jewish shtetls (villages), such as Trochenbrod and Lozisht, were an integral part of the region. [2] At one time all of Volhynia was part of the Pale of Settlement designated by Imperial Russia on its southwesternmost border. [3]

History

The land was mentioned in the works of Arabian scholar Al-Masudi, who denoted the local tribe as "people of Valin". In his work of 947-948, Al-Masudi mentions the Valinians as an intertribal union ruled by their leader Madjak.

Volhynia may have been included (or was in the sphere of influence) in the Grand Duchy of Kiev (Ruthenia) as early as the 10th century. At that time Princess Olga sent a punitive raid against the Drevlians to avenge the death of her husband Grand Prince Igor (Ingvar Röreksson); she later established pogosts along the Luha River. In the opinion of the Ukrainian historian Yuriy Dyba, the chronicle phrase «и оустави по мьстѣ. погосты и дань. и по лузѣ погосты и дань и ѡброкы» (and established in place pogosts and tribute along Luha (лузѣ), the path of pogosts and tribute reflects the actual route of Olga's raid against the Drevlians further to the west, up to the Western Bug's right tributary Luha River.

As early as 983, Vladimir the Great appointed his son Vsevolod as the ruler of the Volhynian Principality. In 988 he established the city of Volodymer (Володимѣръ).

The first records can be traced to the Ruthenian chronicles, such as the Primary Chronicle, which mentions tribes of the Dulebe, Buzhan and Volhynian peoples in the year of 1077.

Volhynia's early history coincides with that of the duchies or principalities of Halych and Volhynia. These two successor states of the Kievan Rus formed Halych-Volhynia between the 12th and the 14th centuries.

Pochayiv Lavra, the spiritual heart of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Volhynia. Pochaev.jpg
Pochayiv Lavra, the spiritual heart of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Volhynia.
Zymne Monastery Zimnee.jpg
Zymne Monastery
Varash and Rivne Nuclear Power Plant Varash. RAES.jpg
Varash and Rivne Nuclear Power Plant
Great Synagogue, Lutsk Luts'kSinagogaGol.jpg
Great Synagogue, Lutsk
Tarakaniv Fort near Dubno Tarakanovskii fort.jpg
Tarakaniv Fort near Dubno

After the disintegration of the Grand Duchy of Halych-Volhynia circa 1340, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania divided the region between them, Poland taking Western Volhynia and Lithuania taking Eastern Volhynia (1352–1366). After 1569 Volhynia was organized as a province of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. During this period many Poles and Jews settled in the area. The Roman and Greek Catholic churches became established in the province. In 1375 a Roman Catholic Diocese of Lodomeria was established, but it was suppressed in 1425. Many Orthodox churches joined the latter organization in order to benefit from a more attractive legal status. Records of the first agricultural colonies of Mennonites, Protestants from Germany, date from 1783.

After the Third partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, Volhynia was annexed as the Volhynian Governorate of the Russian Empire. It covered an area of 71,852.7 square kilometres. Following this annexation, the Russian government greatly changed the religious make-up of the area: it forcibly liquidated the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, transferring all of its buildings to the ownership and control of the Russian Orthodox Church. Many Roman Catholic church buildings were also given to the Russian Church. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lutsk was suppressed by order of Empress Catherine II.

In 1897, the population amounted to 2,989,482 people (41.7 per square kilometre). It consisted of 73.7 percent East Slavs (predominantly Ukrainians), 13.2 percent Jews, 6.2 percent Poles, and 5.7 percent Germans. [4] Most of the German settlers had immigrated from Congress Poland. A small number of Czech settlers also had migrated here. Although economically the area was developing rather quickly, upon the eve of the First World War it was still the most rural province in Western Russia.

World War I and the German settlements in Volhynia

When World War I began in 1914, there were 1,621,000 Germans living in the Russian Empire. The number of German colonists living in the settlements of Russian Volhynia totalled 150,000. Russia's declaration of war against the German empire came as a great shock to all German Russians. Despite their repeated declarations of unconditional loyalty to Russia and its emperor, the ethnic Germans increasingly became objects of suspicion and even hate. They were a scapegoat for Russian military defeats, economic problems and administrative ineptness in pursuing the war.

The German Russians joined the army willingly, prepared to fight against their former ancestral homeland. Over 250,000 German colonists served in the Russian army during the war. Most German Russians, however, were not sent to the Western Front to fight against the German and Austrian armies, but to the Caucasus to fight on the Turkish front. Those who initially served in the West were subsequently removed and also sent to the Caucasus.

As Russia's war losses increased, so did anti-German hysteria. They were held responsible for the disastrous course of the war and were accused of being spies and saboteurs betraying Russia. Anti-German measures reached a nadir with the government's so-called Liquidation Laws, of February 1915, authorizing it to expropriate German properties in the Western border provinces, especially in Volhynia. Compensation was envisaged in the form of 25-year government obligations. The laws were not enforced immediately due to the concern over economic disruption. The passage of the decrees, however, caused great anxiety in many German villages, particularly in the province of Volhynia. Some people made panic sales or neglected the land in expectation that it would be appropriated.

Grand Duke Nicolas (who was still commander-in-chief of the Western forces), after suffering serious defeats at the hands of the German army, decided to implement the decrees for the German Russians living under his army's control, principally in the Volhynia province. The lands were to be expropriated, and the owners deported to Siberia. The land was to be given to Russian war veterans once the war was over. In July 1915, without prior warning, 150,000 German settlers from Volhynia were arrested and shipped to internal exile in Siberia and Central Asia. (Some sources indicate that the number of deportees reached 200,000). Ukrainian peasants took over their lands. The mortality rate from these deportations is estimated to have been 63,000 to 100,000, that is from 30% to 50%, but exact figures are impossible to determine.

The March 1917 revolution, and the Czar's abdication later in March of that year, put a stop to further confiscation measures against German colonists in Russia; they were never carried out. The liquidation decrees were suspended by the Provisional Government. The new government issued a declaration of human rights whereby all national minorities, including Germans, were given full equality. For the Volhynian Germans, however, these actions came too late. The greater part of the population had been deported. Although they were permitted to return and attempt to reclaim their land, it is estimated that only one-half of their number did so. Many found their houses destroyed and their farms occupied by strangers. [5]

At the end of the First World War, nationalists tried to form the Ukrainian National Autonomy. The territory of Volhynia was split in half by a frontline just west of the city of Lutsk. Due to an invasion of the Bolsheviks, the government of Ukraine was forced to retreat to Volhynia after the sack of Kiev. Military aid from the Central Powers brought peace in the region and some degree of stability. Until the end of the war, the area saw a revival of Ukrainian culture after years of Russian oppression and the denial of Ukrainian traditions. After German troops were withdrawn, the whole region was engulfed by a new wave of military actions by Poles and Russians competing for control of the territory. Ukraine was forced to fight on three fronts - Bolsheviks, Poles and a Volunteer Army of Imperial Russia.

Post World War I

Map of divided Volhynia (blue) between Ukrainian and Polish (Wolyn) part, and Eastern Galicia (orange) in 1939 East Galicia and Volhynia 1939.png
Map of divided Volhynia (blue) between Ukrainian and Polish (Wołyń) part, and Eastern Galicia (orange) in 1939
A card sent on the occasion of the Jewish New Year 5691 (September 1930) from Tel Aviv to Volhynia. The card shows a drawing of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and a photograph of the sender. The Hebrew inscriptions say: "A Good Happy New Year, the year of the redemption of our sanctuaries, Tel Aviv E.Y. (=Eretz Yisrael), year 5731 PikiWiki Israel 299 Jewish new year card 1930 SHnh tvbh trTSA.jpg
A card sent on the occasion of the Jewish New Year 5691 (September 1930) from Tel Aviv to Volhynia. The card shows a drawing of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and a photograph of the sender. The Hebrew inscriptions say: "A Good Happy New Year, the year of the redemption of our sanctuaries, Tel Aviv E.Y. (=Eretz Yisrael), year 5731

In 1921, after the end of the Polish–Soviet war, the treaty known as the Peace of Riga divided the Volhynian Governorate between Poland and the Soviet Union. Poland took the larger part and established Volhynian Voivodeship.

Most of eastern Volhynian Governorate became part of the Ukrainian SSR, eventually being split into smaller districts. During that period, a number of national districts were formed within the Soviet Ukraine as part of cultural liberalization. The policies of Polonization in Poland led to formations of various resistance movements in West Ukraine and West Belarus, including Volhynia. In 1931 the Vatican of the Roman Catholic Church established a Ukrainian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Volhynia, Polesia and Pidliashia (Wolhynien, Polissia und Pidliashia in German), where the congregation practiced the Byzantine Rite in Ukrainian language.

From 1935 to 1938 the government of the Soviet Union deported numerous nationals from Volhynia in a population transfer to Siberia and central Asia, as part of the dekulakization, an effort to suppress peasant farmers in the region. These people included Poles of Eastern Volhynia (see Population transfer in the Soviet Union).

Following the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 and the subsequent invasion and division of Polish territories between the Reich and the USSR, the Soviet Union invaded and occupied the Polish part of Volhynia. In the course of the Nazi–Soviet population transfers which followed this (temporary) German-Soviet alliance, most of the ethnic German-minority population of Volhynia were transferred to those Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany. Following the mass deportations and arrests carried out by the NKVD, and repressive actions against Poles taken by Germany: deportation to the Reich to forced labour camps, arrests, detention in camps and mass executions, by 1943 ethnic Poles constituted only 10–12 % of the entire population of Volhynia.

During the German invasion, around 40,000–60,000 Polish people in Volhynia were massacred by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The number of Ukrainian victims of Polish retaliatory attacks until the spring of 1945 is estimated at approx. 2,000−3,000 in Volhynia. [6] In 1945 Soviet Ukraine expelled ethnic Germans from Volhynia following the end of the war, because Nazi Germany had used ethnic Germans in eastern Europe as an excuse to invade those areas. The expulsion of Germans from eastern Europe was part of a mass population transfer after the war.

Soviet Ukraine annexed Volhynia after the end of World War II. In 1944 the communists in Volyhnia suppressed the Ukrainian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate. Most of the remaining ethnic Polish population were expelled to Poland in 1945. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Volhynia has been an integral part of Ukraine.

Important relics

Notable residents

See also

Related Research Articles

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With the arrival of the Hungarians into the heart of the Central European Plain around 899, Slavic tribes of Vistulans, White Croats, and Lendians found themselves under Hungarian rule. In 955 those areas north of the Carpathian Mountains constituted an autonomous part of the Duchy of Bohemia and remained so until around 972, when the first Polish territorial claims began to emerge. This area was mentioned in 981, when Vladimir the Great of Kievan Rus' claimed the area on his westward way. In the 11th century the area belonged to Poland, then reverted to Kievan Rus'. However, at the end of the 12th century the Hungarian claims to the principality turned up. Finally Casimir III of Poland annexed it in 1340–1349. Low Germans from Prussia and Middle Germany settled parts of northern and western Galicia from the 13th to 18th centuries, although the vast majority of the historic province remained independent from German and Austrian rule.

References

  1. E.M. Pospelov, Geograficheskie nazvaniya mira (Moscow, 1998), p. 104.
  2. Michael Jones (2000). The New Cambridge Medieval History. Cambridge University Press. p. 770. ISBN   0-521-36290-3.
  3. Oreck, Alden. "Jewish Virtual Library-The Pale of Settlement". Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library. Archived from the original on October 18, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  4. Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. 6th edition, Vol. 20, Leipzig and Vienna" 1909, pp. 744-745.
  5. Merten, Ulrich (2015). Voices from the Gulag: the Oppression of the German Minority in the Soviet Union. Lincoln Nebraska: American Historical Society. pp. 77, 78, 79, 80, 82. ISBN   978-0-692-60337-6.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-24. Retrieved 2014-12-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Literature