Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Russia, Ukraine and Pale of Settlement

Nadene Goldfoot                                                             

Russia is trying to take over Ukraine today, by taking the Crimea already.  They  have support from some pro Russian rebel separatists causing an uproar over a downed passenger plane holding 298 people, the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17,  that landed in this no man territory of the separatists.  Russia has a long history with Ukraine that most people know nothing about.
                                                 Flag of Ukraine

Did we know that "Last November, the Russian-aligned President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, defied the wishes of the majority of his people when he rejected an economic deal with the EU and instead opted to accept a new agreement from Russia, which included $15 billion in aid."   Like Russia, Ukraine uses the Cyrillic alphabet. However it has its own language (Ukrainian). About one in six Ukrainians speak Russian as their first tongue. These people are mostly in the east, which borders Russia. Many people in this region are ethnically Russian and still consider themselves part of Russia. It is in the eastern region that the separatists are based, and where MH17 was shot down.  Ukraine has 233,062 sq. miles.  Compare that to Israel's 8,000 sq. miles.  
                                Let's look at the history of Russia first.  
                                  1905 Russian Revolution

Russia was the  "Soviet Union  and was a communist state on the Eurasian continent that existed between 1922 and 1991.  The WWI lasted from 1914 to 1917.  

The Russian Empire  was a state that existed from 1721 until overthrown by the short-lived liberal February Revolution in 1917.

Before it was called the Russian Empire, it was known as "The Tsardom of Russia , also known as the Tsardom of Muscovy.  This was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 until Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.

Ukraine, an  Eastern European country recently  was "A former Soviet republic,.  Ukraine declared its independence on August 21, 1991.     In December 1991, Ukraine co-founded the Commonwealth of Independent States, made up of former Soviet republics that had become independent.  They were Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova and themselves.   They have been independent for the past 23 years, now breaking apart.  

Right now Ukraine's neighbors must be getting very nervous wondering if they will be next.  Those would be : Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and of course, Russia.  Ukraine also borders the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, so they have much to offer being that they are the largest European state.  

In 1791 Catherine the Great decided to move Jews out of Russia so she created the Pale of Settlement. The religion of Russia was Russian Orthodoxy, so unless they converted, they could not stay.  This was quite like the 1492 Spanish Inquisition when Jews had to leave Spain or convert, but Spain did not provide a different place to live.   This was a swatch of land made up of 20% of her Western European Russia and then she used the borders of the Polish-Lithuania commonwealth that she had taken over.  The Pale included Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova,  Ukraine, then Latvia. Jews could not live in Russia proper anymore but had to settle in the Pale.  This lasted till 1917, the end of WWI.  The other people who lived here besides Jews were Catholics.  The concentration of Jews in the Pale made them easy targets for pogroms and anti-Jewish riots by the majority population.  They were living in poverty.  

        The Jewish Peddler; of which my grandfather was one from Lithuania

"For generations the Jews in Russia had been considered a special problem.  The official view had come to be that they were enemies of Christianity, exploiters of the peasantry, and the fountain head of the revolutionary movement."[  Even though there were five million Jewish people, the Russians did not regard them as useful subjects of the empire, because of the Russians' general hatred towards them.  This was anti-Semitism.  Jews constituted only about 6 percent of the population, but were concentrated in the western borderlands.   Like other minorities in Russia, the Jews lived in "miserable and circumscribed lives, forbidden to settle or acquire land outside the cities and towns, legally limited in attendance at secondary school and higher schools, virtually barred from legal professions, denied the right to vote for municipal councilors, and excluded from services in the Navy or the Guards."  Life was hell whether you were living in Russia or the Pale.  

Catherine  "was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until her death in 1796 at the age of sixty-seven. Her reign was called Russia's golden age. She was born in StettinPomeraniaPrussia as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, and came to power following acoup d'état and the assassination of her husband, Peter III, at the end of the Seven Years' War. Russia was revitalized under her reign, growing larger and stronger than ever and becoming recognized as one of the great powers of Europe."

 Warfare ensued after the Russian Revolution of 1905 and 1917. The internationally recognized Ukrainian People's Republic emerged from its own civil war. The Ukrainian–Soviet War followed, in which the Red Army established control in late 1919.] The conquerors created the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which on 30 December 1922 became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union.

Reference:  http://www.infoplease.com/spot/countries1.html
Read more: Guide to New Nations: Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/countries3.html#ukr#ixzz38CtGDk00

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