A Brief History of Russia and Ukraine: The Root of the Conflict

Russia and Ukraine have been on the radar for a number of years now. If you’re like us, you’ve probably been wondering what’s going on in both countries and why they seem to be in conflict with each other.

Take a look at this article to learn more about their history from the 1800s to today.

The 1800s

: A Time of Change

In the 1800s, both countries were under the rule of the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). Russia and Ukraine were two of the regions in which this Empire ruled. The Crimean War was a conflict between France, Britain and their allies against Russia, who was then an Imperialistic state. For a while, it seemed that both Russia and Ukraine would become independent from the Ottoman Empire – but that didn’t happen.

In 1855, Russia became an independent country with its own Czar – Alexander II. During this time, Ukrainian nationalists began to demand independence as well. In 1863, Tsar Alexander II passed a law granting some autonomy to Ukraine’s administrative system. He also agreed to protect religious minorities in Ukraine such as Jews and Catholic Poles. But despite these decrees, there was still unrest in both countries because many people wanted more than just some autonomy from Russia; they wanted complete independence from the Ottoman Empire instead.

The 1900s: World War I

Fast forwarding to 1914-1918: World War I breaks out after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia following a coup staged by Serbians against their government’s decision to join WW1 on Austria-Hungary’s side. This led to Germany joining forces with Austria-Hungary against Serbia leading other European nations like France, Italy and Russia joining efforts against them too.

Ukrainian nationalist groups joined forces with the Central Powers (Germany) by attacking Russian troops stationed in Ukraine

The Russian Revolution of 1917

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine goes all the way back to 1917. In this year, Russia’s first communist revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin. This revolution marked a significant shift in Russian history. It involved the overthrowing of the Tsar’s government by the Bolsheviks, or communists. The revolution also involved a change in power. Instead of being led by one person (the tsar), it was now led by a committee known as the Politburo.

Following the Russian Revolution, there was an increase in support for communism and socialist movements across Europe and other countries around the world. This was due to events like Russia’s communist revolution, which demonstrated what could happen if citizens were unhappy with their current system of government and wanted something new. These demonstrations had an impact not just on Russia but on other countries as well.

An event that occurred shortly after this revolution that impacted not just Russia but also Ukraine was World War I. It was during this war that many Ukrainians fought against Russians who were still loyal to the Tsar’s government or who were fighting for Germany (which helped supply troops). There were some Germans who supported Ukrainian independence following World War I, too. However, when Germany lost World War I, it became clear that German support for Ukrainian independence would be short-lived because they agreed to let Ukraine become part of Soviet Russia following the war’s end.

The next major event to occur between these two countries took place during World War II.

The Soviet Union and the Birth of Ukraine

The Soviet Union’s rule over Ukraine (and Russia) lasted from 1922 until 1991. It was the USSR’s final attempt at spreading communism and had the most success of any other communist revolution in the world. But as we all know, that was short-lived as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. That’s when Ukraine declared its independence, leading to a number of uprisings and civil wars throughout the 1990s.

In Crimea, there were two uprisings in 1990 and 1992. The first uprising began on February 20th, 1990 and ended on December 26th of that year. Throughout this time, tensions between ethnic Russians living in Crimea and Ukrainians living in Crimea continued to rise. Violent clashes broke out between these ethnic groups. The second uprising occurred on October 8th, 1992 in response to a new Ukrainian constitution that eliminated Russian language rights for some people living in Crimea. This second uprising leads too many casualties before finally ending on November 30th of that same year.

Ukraine’s Independence from Russia

Ukraine became an independent country in 1991 after the Soviet Union collapsed. It was at this time that Ukraine became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Not long after its independence, Ukraine began to experience what is now known as the Ukrainian Crisis. Russia believed that Ukraine would be better off if it were under Russian rule, but there was one problem: most Ukrainians didn’t want to be under Russian rule. As a result, tensions between Russia and Ukraine grew and eventually turned into protests. These protests were fueled by two major factors: (1) the Kremlin’s decision not to sign an association agreement with the European Union; and (2) President Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an EU-brokered trade deal with the European Union.

In response to these issues, Ukrainian citizens took to the streets in protest and demanded a new government where their voices would be heard. When their requests weren’t met, they decided it was time for them to take action on their own accord. So they took over public buildings and refused to leave until President Yanukovych stepped down from office.

Eventually, President Yanukovych’s administration fell apart and he fled his home country with his family on February 22nd, 2014 — which is when he officially stepped down from power in Ukraine.

After Yanukovych left office, Petro Poroshenko won a presidential election that was held on May 25th, 2014 in order to become president of Ukraine for five years starting on June 7th, 2014.

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