Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Long Road to Ukrainian Independence

There is always something going on at náměstí Svobody.  Today there was an exhibition about the long road to freedom and Ukrainian history in the 20th century.

Ukraine was an independent country for a couple of years following WWI, but in 1992 it became a founding member of the USSR as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Under Stalin, Ukrainian nationalism was put down.  Due to Stalin, millions of Ukrainians starved to death during Holodomor, the Great Famine and another 7-8 million more people died during WWII.

Ukraine declared independence on 24 August 1991.  When the USSR broke up, the country was a nuclear power.  It surrendered all of its nuclear weapons to Russia in 1996 on condition that Ukrainian territory would be respected.  That hasn't exactly worked out so well for Ukraine.

While Ukraine wants to eventually join the EU and NATO, Russia wants the country to stay aligned to Moscow.  In 2014, Russia illegally annexed Crimea.  This is popular here because many Czechs see the resemblance of Russia annexing Crimea to Hitler annexing the Sudetenland in 1938 from Czechoslovakia.  Russia is also supporting separatists in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine.  

Brno, like Czech Republic, has a large Ukrainian population.  There are more Ukrainians here then there are Slovaks.  Signs of support for Ukraine are not uncommon here.  

Here's a short 5-minute video I found out on YouTube talking about Ukraine's history up to 2014.


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