a Little background. The territory of modern Ukraine before the First World war was part of two empires – the Russian (the main part) and Austria-Hungary (Eastern Galicia, Northern Bukovina and Transcarpathia). So that future Western Ukrainians were on different lines Ukrainians of Central Ukraine – the Russians in the First world. This division, unfortunately, will only increase the tragedy of the civil war in the Ukraine in 1918-21.

Soon after the October uprising at the end of 1917 in Kiev was proclaimed the so-called Ukrainian people’s Republic. In parallel, in Kharkov, the Bolsheviks created the Ukrainian people’s Republic of Soviets.

Both state formation and radical Bolshevik and the left in General, but less radical on the territory of Ukraine ceased to exist in connection with the offensive of the Austro-Hungarian troops in the spring of 1918. The occupation authorities immediately created a puppet “Ukrainian state”, and its Hetman was proclaimed former tsarist General Pavlo Skoropadsky. His name, by the way, he was fully justified, rules, to put it mildly, clumsy and short, and in the autumn of 1918 suddenly fled to Germany. Kiev then took the so-called troops of the UNR directory, the highest authority of the newly formed Ukrainian people’s Republic. This period, incidentally, talantlivye described in “Days of Turbin”. Read.

after a while, early in 1919 the directory was headed by the socialist and nationalist Simon Petliura.

Actually, what happened in Ukraine in those years, succinctly described by Mikhail Bulgakov’s feuilleton “Kyiv-city”. On an assignment in 1923 he went to Kiev. “That during this time happened in the famous city, it defies any description – was coined Bulgakov, If olsovsky anatomatically bomb burst under the graves of Askold and dir, and within 1000 days rattled and bubbled and blazed flame, not only in Kyiv, but in its suburbs…” For six years the people of Kiev have counted 18 coups, “I can report that there were 14, with 10 of them I have personally experienced,” claimed the author. Moreover, “the record broke the famous accountant, later serving the cities Alliance with semen Petlura Vasilich. Four times he was in Kiev, and four times he was fired,” wrote Bulgakov.

Here you need to mention the reasons “widely known in narrow circles” as a sad joke historians, the Polish-Soviet war 1919-21 years. The fact that by the end of the First world in principle was not clearly marked the Eastern boundary of the newly established (after more than a century-long break), the independent state of Poland – the one who had to share her with the former mother country – Russia. Who headed the government of Poland Jozef Pilsudski dreamed of, as expected, about the “good old days”, rather on the already quite old times – revivedAI great Poland “from sea to sea” within the borders of the Commonwealth in the early XVII century. That is, no matter how difficult it is today to believe, from the Baltic to the Black sea. In the spring of 1919 the government of Pilsudski (the total military, political and financial support, as expected, the United States, England and France) began to implement this fantastic plan.

the Polish army entered Vilna (now – Vilnius), and by August had gained control over the entire territory of modern Belarus, together with Minsk and part of modern Lithuania. By the way, since Poland began military action and made a direct formal aggressor, the war should be called Polish-Soviet (and not Vice versa, as in a strange coincidence, it was accepted in Soviet historical literature).


In April 1920, Pilsudski signed an agreement with the unraveling of the regime of Petliura. In exchange for help in re-establishing its authority in Kiev, Poland received “in perpetuity” the land of Western Ukraine. The offensive of Polish troops along the entire length of the Soviet border, the seizure of Kiev – it all looked extremely dangerous for the young Soviet state, just smashed the main army of Kolchak in Siberia and Denikin in southern Russia.

forces of the red Army were mobilized, reorganized and in the middle of may, 1920, began a large-scale counter-offensive.

by the Way, the glorification of Petliura in Ukraine is no surprise. He there erect monuments, open memorial plaques, call the streets in his honor. What he became famous as a “hero of Ukraine” and, besides, I was ready to officially pay part of the country Poland on the aforementioned agreement with Pilsudski? It is important to know. He is remembered for his anti-Semitism victims Petlura pogroms in the name of “Ukraine for Ukrainians”, according to conservative estimates were 50 thousand Jews. According to the official version, it was revenge for the pogroms was the reason for killing the Petliura on 25 may 1926 in Paris, his shot from the gun Samuel Shvartsburd, who called his victim “the culprit in the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews,” including his family. The trial Shvartsburd turned into a Tribunal over by Petliura. And there was unheard of: the French, the jury, the murderer was acquitted! Here’s how to treat Petliura contemporaries.

When we talk about Petliura as the Ukrainian socialist and nationalist, we understand – then, in 1920-e years these two words have not merged into one terrible phrase, but nevertheless…

so, Kiev was liberated by the red Army on 12 June 1920. Polish troops retreated to Lviv and Warsaw, leaving a bad memory. Leaving Kiev, they blew up three bridges across the Dnieper, including the Nicholas chain bridge, determined the architectural appearance of the “mother ��Irodov Russian.” In addition to bridges, the poles blew up the ancient Palace of the Governor-General. “All who had made the visit to Kiev left him for good, limited to a relatively harmless six-inch shooting in Kiev Svyatoshinsky positions. Our European cousins decided to show off their subversive means… But, poles, poles… ay, ay, ay!..”, – lamented the author soon published the novel “the White guard” (dedicated to the events of the Civil war in Ukraine).

Now the counter-offensive of the red Army in the summer of 1920 continued all the way to Warsaw. By the way, releasing in July, Vilna, Soviet Russia city immediately handed over to Lithuania. Poland has not abandoned its claims on him, and then, again seizing him, from 1922 to 1939, Vilna was the center of the Polish province and a temporary capital of independent Lithuania was… in Kaunas. The second time the Soviet leadership Lithuania regained its historic capital, Vilnius along with the Vilnius region in October 1939, and is long, almost 10 months before the entry of Lithuania into the USSR (!).

the Offensive of the red Army was extremely rapid and incredibly risky at the same time. The lack of rears, raskoordinatsiya actions of commanders of fronts Tukhachevsky and Yegorov (and included in the composition of armies), the unfulfilled hopes for “the fire of world revolution” led ultimately to the defeat of the red army almost at the walls of Warsaw and roll back to the East.

to Continue the war with Poland, behind which stood the Entente powers did not finish the fighting with a variety of “white”, “green” and other on its territory – the Bolsheviks, of course, could not, because went on a peace Treaty.

In the end, the Riga peace Treaty of 1921, Poland was passed on earth, which later got the name “Western Ukraine” and “Western Belarus” envisages the return of cultural objects removed from the Kingdom of Poland in 1772, and even the payment of reparations from Russia. However, the problems with compliance with the terms of the Riga Treaty began immediately after its signing, and some of its provisions have remained only on paper. But now not about it.

the Main thing – in the Polish-Soviet war there were no winners.

And for Poland and for Soviet Russia, this war has become a “victorious defeat”, in many ways foreshadowing the events of September 1939. And the question the death of tens of thousands of red army soldiers in Polish captivity is no less acute for the Russian-Polish relations than the Katyn issue. Let me remind you that, according to Russian scientists, the Polish forces had captured up to 150 thousand red army soldiers, of whom just came back Home only 75 thousand. The fate of the others is uncomfortable for Poland theme – the most (!) conservative estimates, in the Polish camps from hunger, disease and abuse killed 32 thousand prisoners of war.

the liberation by the red Army in Kiev in June of 1920, put the point in a series of endless revolutions on the territory of Ukraine – the city became part of the company previously proclaimed in Kharkov, the USSR, and in 1934 regained its status as the capital of Ukraine. Start a normal peaceful life. One of the most beautiful cities of Europe were revived.

something Happened that predicted Bulgakov: “But the thrill of new life I hear. It will build again boils its streets, and will be over the river, which Gogol loved, again, the Royal city…”