Ukrainian People's Republic

The Ukrainian People's Republic, or Ukrainian National Republic[a] (abbreviated to УНР, UNR), a predecessor of modern Ukraine, was declared on 10 June 1917 following the February Revolution in Russia. It initially formed part of the Russian Republic, but proclaimed its independence on 25 January 1918.[1] During its short existence the republic went through several political transformations - from the socialist-leaning republic headed by the Central Council with its general secretariat to the national republic led by the Directorate and by Symon Petliura.[1] Between April and December 1918 the Ukrainian People's Republic did not function, having been overthrown by the Ukrainian State of Pavlo Skoropadsky.[1][2] From late 1919 the UNR operated as an ally of the Second Polish Republic,[1] but by then the state de facto no longer existed in Ukraine.[1] The 18 March 1921 Treaty of Riga between the Second Polish Republic, Soviet Russia (acting also on behalf of Soviet Belarus) and of Soviet Ukraine sealed the fate of the Ukrainian People's Republic.[1]

After the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917, many governments formed in Ukraine[1] – most notably the Ukrainian People's Republic (based in Kiev) and the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets (1917–1918, based in Kharkiv) and its Soviet successors. These two entities, plus the White Movement, Poland, Green armies and the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, fought constantly with each other, which resulted in many casualties among Ukrainians fighting in a Ukrainian civil war (1917-1921) as part of the wider Russian Civil War of 1917-1922. The Soviet Union would (after the 1921 Treaty of Riga) extend control over what would ultimately become the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and (in 1922) a founding member of the Soviet Union.[1]

Ukrainian People's Republic

Українська Народня Республіка
Ukrajinśka Narodnia Respublika
April–December 1918: Ukrainian State
Anthem: Ще не вмерла Україна  (Ukrainian)
Shche ne vmerla Ukraina  (transliteration)
Ukraine's glory has not perished
Ukrainian People's Republic in Europe
StatusSelf-proclaimed autonomy within the Russian Republic (1917–1918)
Partially-recognized state (1918–1921)
Common languagesUkrainian, Russian, Yiddish
GovernmentProvisional government
• 1917–1918
Mykhailo Hrushevskyi
• 1918–1925
Directorate of Ukraine
• 1926–1954
Andriy Livytskyi
• 1954–1965
Stepan Vytvytskyi
• 1965–1989
Mykola Livytskyi
• 1989–1992
Mykola Plaviuk
LegislatureCentral Rada (to April 1918)
Labor Congress
Historical eraWorld War I
7 November 1917
• Independence
22 January 1918
• Sack of Kiev
9 February 1918
29 April 1918
13 November 1918
• Soviet invasion
16 January 1919
18 March 1921
1897477,021 km2 (184,179 sq mi)
• 1897
ISO 3166 codeUA
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Southwestern Krai
West Ukrainian People's Republic
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Second Polish Republic
General Command of the Armed Forces of South Russia
Today part of


Revolutionary wave

Dismembered Russia — Some Fragments (NYT article, Feb. 17, 1918)
February 1918 article from The New York Times showing a map of the Russian Imperial territories claimed by Ukraine People's Republic at the time, before the annexation of the Austro-Hungarian lands of the West Ukrainian People's Republic.

On 10 June 1917, the Ukrainian Central Council declared its autonomy as part of the Russian Republic by its First Universal at the All-Ukrainian Military Congress. The highest governing body of the Ukrainian People's Republic became the General Secretariat headed by Volodymyr Vynnychenko. The Prime Minister of Russia Alexander Kerensky recognized the Secretariat, appointing it as the representative governing body of the Russian Provisional Government and limiting its powers to five governorates: Volyn, Kiev, Podolie, Chernigov, and Poltova. At first Vynnychenko protested and left his post as Secretariat leader, but eventually returned to reassemble the Secretariat after the Tsentralna Rada accepted the Kerensky Instruktsiya and issued the Second Universal.

After the October Revolution the Kievan faction of the Bolshevik Party instigated the uprising in Kiev on November 8, 1917 in order to establish Soviet power in the city. Kiev Military District forces attempted to stop it, but after the Tsentralna Rada threw its support behind the Bolsheviks, the Russian forces were eliminated from Kiev. After expelling the government forces, the Rada announced a wider autonomy for the Ukrainian Republic, still maintaining ties to Russia, on November 22, 1917. The territory of the republic was proclaimed by the Third Universal November 20, 1917 (November 7 by Old Style)[3] of the Tsentralna Rada encompassing the governorates: Volyn, Kiev, Podolie, Chernigov, Poltava, Kharkov, Yekaterinoslav, Kerson, Taurida (not including Crimea). It also stated that the people of the governorates: Voronezh, Kholm, and Kursk were welcome to join the republic through a referendum. Further the Tsentralna Rada in its Universal stated that because there was no Government in the Russian Republic after the October Revolution it proclaimed itself the Supreme governing body of the territory of Ukraine until order in the Russian republic could be restored. The Central Rada called all revolutionary activities such as the October Revolution a civil war and expressed its hopes for the resolution of the chaos.

After a brief truce, the Bolsheviks realized that the Rada had no intention of supporting the Bolshevik Revolution. They re-organized into an All-Ukrainian Council of Soviets in December 1917 in an attempt to seize power. When that failed due to the Bolsheviks' relative lack of popularity in Kiev, they moved to Kharkiv. The Bolsheviks of Ukraine declared the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic outlawed and proclaimed the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets with capital in Kiev, claiming that the government of the People's Secretaries of Ukraine was the only government in the country. The Bolshevik Red Army entered Ukraine from the Russian SFSR in support of the local Soviet government. As the relationships between members within the Tsentralna Rada soured, a series of regional Soviet republics on the territory of Ukraine proclaimed their independence and allegiance to the Petrograd sovnarkom (Odessa Soviet Republic (southern Ukraine), Donetsk-Krivoi Rog Soviet Republic (eastern Ukraine)). The Donetsk-Kryvoi Rog Republic was created by a direct decree of Lenin as part of the Russian SFSR with its capital in Kharkiv. That decree was successfully implemented by Fyodor Sergeyev who became the chairman of the local government as well as joining the Soviet government of Ukraine, simultaneously. Unlike Fyodor Sergeyev's Republic, the Odessa Republic was not recognized by any other Bolshevik governments and on its own initiative had entered a military conflict with Romania for control over the Moldavian Democratic Republic, whose territory it was contesting.

1919 Ukraine DIPLOMATIC pass. - Vienna
1919 Ukraine People's Republic Diplomatic passport issued for serving in Switzerland.


The following information is based on the exposition of the Museum of Soviet occupation in Kiev (Memorial (society) in Kiev)[4]

Spring 1917

  • March 8–12 – February Revolution in the Russian Empire, victory of the democratic forces
  • March 17 – establishment of the Ukrainian Central Council
  • April 4 – recreation of Prosvita, establishment of the Ukrainian Cooperative Committee, and the Temporary Military Council, liberation of the people of Galicia, particularly Andrei Sheptytsky
  • April 9 – Mykhailo Hrushevsky returns from exile to head the Ukrainian Central Council
  • April 10 – the Ukrainian Central Council supported the convocation of the Ukrainian National Congress
  • April 11 – establishment of the Ukrainian Military Society of Hetman Polubotok headed by Mykola Mikhnovsky, organization of the 1st Ukrainian Volunteer Regiment of Bohdan Khmelnytsky
  • April 13 – a big demonstration took place in Kiev with over 100,000 people, establishment of the Ukrainian National Council in Petrograd
  • May 2–4 – the Ukrainian National Congress took place in Kiev, involving about 900 delegates, the Congress confirmed the composition of the Ukrainian Central Council of 150 members headed by Mykhailo Hrushevsky
  • May 17 – the commander of the Southwestern Front General Brusilov permitted the organization of the Bohdan Khmelnytsky Regiment which drafted 3,574 volunteers
  • May 18 – the 1st Ukrainian Military Congress took place in Kiev attended by over 700 delegates. The Congress elected the Ukrainian General Military Committee of 18 members headed by Symon Petlyura

Summer 1917

  • June 10–15 – the 1st All-Ukrainian Peasant Congress took place in Kiev in which 2,200 delegates participated
  • June 11 – extraordinary congress of the council of Ukrainian Military Society of Doroshenko in Simferopol decided to create a separate Ukrainian Regiment
  • June 18–24 – ignoring the prohibition of the Russian Provisional Government, the 2nd Ukrainian Military Congress took place in Kiev. The congress accepted the declaration of a detailed plan of Ukrainization of the Russian Army, leaving Symon Petlyura as the head of the Ukrainian General Military Committee. The congress showed its support to the Ukrainian Central Council. The council of Kharkiv Governorate recognized the Ukrainian Central Council as a government authority in Ukraine
  • June 24 – announcement of the 1st Universal (Declaration) of the Ukrainian Central Council at Sofiyivska Ploshcha (Sofia Square)
  • June 28 – the Ukrainian Central Council elects the General Secretariat of Ukraine as an authority of state power
  • July 11 – a delegation of the Russian Provisional Government (Kerensky, Tereshchenko, and Tsereteli) arrived in Kiev
  • July 14 – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted that Petty Council consisting of 40 representatives from Ukrainian and 18 from national minorities
  • July 16 – the Petty Council adopted the 2nd Universal (Declaration) of the Ukrainian Central Council
  • July 29 – the Petty Council adopted the Statute of the Highest Government of Ukraine
  • August 8 – a terrorist attack took place at the railroad station "Post-Volynsky" (Kiev) where the newly formed Bohdan Khmelnytsky Regiment was attacked by the Moscow cuirassiers and Don cossacks
  • August 17 – the Russian Provisional Government issued a temporary instruction (Instruktsia) for the General Secretariat of Provisional Government in Ukraine where it recognized the competency of the General Secretariat over five Governorates (Gubernias): Kiev, Volyn, Poltava, Chernihiv, and Podillia

Autumn 1917

  • September 22 – the Petty Council adopted the declaration about the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly. The representatives of national minorities in the Petty Council condemned the intentions of Ukraine to separate from Russia
  • September 27 – start of the State Democratic Convention in Petrograd
  • October 13 – by the petition of the Kiev Court Chamber the Russian Provisional Government initiates investigation against the General Secretariat for the intention to convene the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly
  • November 7 – October Revolution in Petrograd. Petty Council created of the Regional Committee in Protection of Revolution in Ukraine. The committee announced the extension of its powers over the nine Ukrainian governorates
  • November 8 – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted a resolution which condemned the revolution. In protest, the bolsheviks left the Regional Committee and the Ukrainian Central Council
  • November 9 – the commander of the Kiev Military District General Kvetsinsky refused to recognize the Regional Committee which in turn was dissolved transferring all its powers to the General Secretariat
  • November 11 – arrested bolsheviks of a revolutionary committee. The Ukrainian Central Council adopted a bill about elections to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly handing to the Petty Council to finalize the law and conduct the elections
  • November 14 – the Ukrainian Central Council and the General Secretary are recognized as state authorities. The General Secretary of Military Affairs Symon Petlyura subordinates the Kiev militia (law enforcement) to the Ukrainian government
  • November 20 – after the announcement of the 3rd Universal (Declaration) the deputies of Russian Cadets V. Krupkov and Polish Kolo V. Rudnytsky surrendered their mandates of the Ukrainian Central Council
  • November 21 – the General Secretary of Military Affairs Symon Petlyura appoints General Pavlo Skoropadsky a commander of the Right-bank Ukraine armed forces
  • November 22 – in the presence of the French, Italian, and Romanian diplomatic missions, the 3rd Universal (Declaration) was announced at Sofiyivska Ploshcha (Sofia Square)
  • November 27 – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted a resolution regarding the Kholm Governorate protesting its annexation by Poland
  • November 30 – General Secretariat announced that Sovnarkom is not a legal authority of Russia. The Petty Council adopted the Law "About the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly" where it was established its composition of 301 members:
    • Kiev Governorate – 45
    • Volyn Governorate – 30
    • Podillya Governorate – 30
    • Yekaterinoslav Governorate – 36
    • Poltava Governorate – 30
    • Kherson Governorate – 34
    • Kharkiv Governorate – 35
    • Tavria Governorate – 9
    • Chernihiv Governorate – 27
    • Ostrohozh district – 15

(Each deputy represents 100,000 of population, a right of vote have citizens of 20 years and older; established the Central Election Commission to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly)

Winter 1917–18

Propaganda UPR
UPR postcard with national flag and anthem. November–December 1917.
UNR postage stamp
UPR postage stamp
  • December 14–15 – the Petty Council adopted the Law about the General Court, the highest judicial institution of the Ukrainian People's Republic. International diplomatic missions transferred their offices from Mohyliv-Podilsky to Kiev. The government of France on December 18 announced its intention to have a diplomatic relationship with Ukraine, the same intention declared England
  • December 19 – the 1st Congress of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' deputies of Ukraine expressed its complete trust to the Ukrainian Central Council and General Secretariat and condemned the Ultimatum of Lenin-Trotsky
  • December 22 – the Petty Council adopted the Law on taxes and collections, with which all taxes and collections belonged to the State Treasury of Ukraine
  • December 23 – the General Secretariat determined the composition of the Ukrainian delegation to the peace talks in Brest-Litovsk
  • December 25 – the Peace Conference in Brest-Litovsk sent in a telegram for Ukraine to join the negotiations
  • January 3 – General Georges Tabouis was appointed the Commissar of French Republic to the Government of Ukrainian People's Republic
  • January 6 – start of the peace negotiations in Brest. The head of Ukrainian delegation Vsevolod Holubovych requests recognition of Ukraine as a sovereign state, adding of the Kholm Governorate, and conducting a plebiscite on the territory of Austria-Hungary where dominated the Ukrainian population to add that territory to Ukraine
  • January 9 – 171 delegates were elected to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly
  • January 10–12 – the Central powers recognized the Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Brest as a separate and plenipotentiary to conduct negotiations on the behalf of Ukrainian People's Republic
  • January 16 – the Petty Council adopted the law about creation of the Ukrainian National Army and its composition based on a militia principle
  • January 22 – the Petty Council adopted the law about the National-Individual Autonomy. For the last text of the 4th Universal (Declaration) voted: "for" – 39 voices, "against" – 4 voices, "abstained" – 6
  • January 29 – Battle of Kruty
  • February 9 – the Brest peace treaty was signed with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria
  • February 10 – Due to advance of the Russian Bolshevik forces the government of Ukraine was evacuated to Zhytomyr from Kiev
  • February 21 – the Ukrainian delegation issued a declaration about reasons for the arrival of German forces in Ukraine
  • February 27 – the Ukrainian Central Council adopted the law about the introduction in Ukraine a new style of calendar according which a time moves 13 days ahead. The Petty Council adopted the law about the new monetary system. The monetary unit became hryvnia that had 8.712 units of pure gold. Adoption of the law about the coat of arms of the Ukrainian People's Republic – Trident (Tryzub)

Spring 1918

In April 1918 troops loyal to the Ukrainian People's Republic take control of several cities in the Donbass region.[5]

  • March 2 – the Petty Council adopted the law about citizenship of Ukraine, the law about new administrative system. The Russian established gubernias were to be replaced by new administrative unit – zemlia (land)
  • March 18 – several perished student-veterans of Kruty were reburied in Kiev
  • April 11 – May 12, 1918 was designated as the first convocation of the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly
  • April 13 – Adoption of the Ukrainian Central Council resolution condemning the annexation of Bessarabia by Romania
  • April 23 – an economic treaty is signed between Ukraine and Germany with Austria-Hungary
  • April 25 – Adoption of the law about the Central Economic Council of Ukraine
  • April 29 – Adopted a bill on the Constitution of Ukraine. The All-Ukrainian Agrarian Congress elects Pavlo Skoropadsky the Hetman of Ukraine


UNR 2.1918 Brest-Litovsk
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (February 9, 1918):
  Ukrainian People's Republic
  Claimed territories (striped)
  German troops in autumn, 1917
  Soviet Russia
  Don regional government
  Kuban regional government
  Crimea regional government
  Polish council

Due to the aggression from Soviet Russia, on January 25, 1918, the Tsentralna Rada issued its Fourth Universal (dated January 22, 1918), breaking ties with Bolshevik Russia and proclaiming a sovereign Ukrainian state.[6] Less than a month later, on February 9, 1918, the Red Army seized Kiev.

Besieged by the Bolsheviks and having lost much territory, the Rada was forced to seek foreign aid, and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on February 9, 1918 to obtain military help from the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Germany helped the Ukrainian Army force the Bolsheviks out of Ukraine. On February 20, 1918 the council of the Kuban People's Republic accepted the resolution for a federal union of Kuban with Ukraine as Bolshevik forces pushed towards Yekaterinodar. It was agreed to forward the resolution for ratification to the Ukrainian government.

After the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Ukraine became a virtual protectorate of the German Empire which at that time seemed more favorable than being overrun by the Soviet forces that were spreading havoc in the country. Germany was anxious about losing the war and was trying to speed up the process of food extraction from Ukraine, so it decided to install its own administration in the person of Generalfeldmarschall von Eichhorn who replaced the Colonel General Alexander von Linsingen. On April 6 the commander of the Army group Kijew issued an order in which he explained his intentions to execute the conditions of the treaty. That, of course, conflicted with the laws of the Ukrainian government, which annulled his order. By April 1918 the German-Austrian Operation Faustschlag offensive had completely removed the Bolsheviks from Ukraine.[7][5][8][9][10] The German/Austro-Hungarian victories in Ukraine were due to the apathy of the locals and the inferior fighting skills of Bolsheviks troops compared to their Austro-Hungarian and German counterparts.[10]

The Germans arrested and disbanded the Tsentralna Rada on April 29, 1918 to stop the social reforms that were taking place and retarding the process of food supply transfer to Germany and Austria-Hungary. The German authorities also arrested the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Vsevolod Holubovych, on terrorist charges, and thus disbanded the Council of People's Ministers. Prior to this, the Rada had approved the Constitution of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Concurrently with all these events and a few days prior to the change of powers in the country on April 24, 1918 the government of Belarus confirmed the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce in Kiev headed by Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky on the initiative of the Belarusian secretary of finance Pyotr Krechevsky.[11]


Ukrainian State 1918.5-11
May–November, 1918:
  Ukrainian State
  Territories of Ukrainian Union (striped)

After the coup, the Rada was replaced by the conservative government of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, the Hetmanate, and the Ukrainian People's Republic by a "Ukrainian State" (Ukrayinska derzhava). Skoropadsky, a former officer of the Russian Empire, established a regime favoring large landowners and concentrating power at the top. The government had little support from Ukrainian activists, but unlike the socialist Rada, it was able to establish an effective administrative organization, established diplomatic ties with many countries, and concluded a peace treaty with Soviet Russia. In a few months, the Hetmanate also printed millions of Ukrainian language textbooks, established many Ukrainian schools, two universities, and the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.

The Hetmanate government also supported the confiscation of previously-nationalized peasant lands by wealthy estate owners, often with the help of German troops. This led to unrest, the rise of a peasant partisan (guerrilla) movement, and a series of large-scale popular armed revolts. Negotiations were held to garner support from previous Rada members Petliura and Vynnychenko, but these activists worked to overthrow Skoropadsky. On July 30, a Russian Left Socialist-Revolutionary, Boris Mikhailovich Donskoy, with help from the local USRP succeeded in assassinating von Eichhorn, blowing him up in downtown Kiev at a broadlight.

Due to the impending loss of World War I by Germany and Austria-Hungary, Skoropadsky's sponsors, the Hetman formed a new cabinet of Russian Monarchists and committed to federation with a possible future non-Bolshevik Russia. In response, the Ukrainian socialists announced a new revolutionary government, the Directorate, on November 14, 1918.


Spring 1918

  • April 29 – All-Ukrainian Agrarian Congress elects Pavlo Skoropadsky as the Hetman of Ukraine
  • April 30 – Mykola Vasylenko was appointed the Chairman of Council of Ministers and tasked with the formation of government
  • May 7 – the Council of Ministers confirmed its intentions to add Crimea to the Ukrainian State
  • May 15 – Signing of a treaty between governments of Ukraine from one side and Germany and Austria-Hungary from another to provide a loan in amount of 400 million karbovanets for acquiring the Ukrainian food
  • May 18 – the Council of Ministers adopted the law about a creation of the State Guard
  • May 23 – started peace negotiations between representatives of Ukraine and Russia
  • May 28 – to Kiev arrived the plenipotentiary delegation of the Regional Council of Kuban headed by Mykola Ryabovol with proposition of unification of Kuban with Ukraine
  • May 30 – the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Doroshenko petitioned with a special letter to the Ambassador of Germany in Ukraine, baron Alfons Mumm von Schwarzenstein, to include Crimea to Ukraine

Summer 1918

  • June 12 – the Congress of Landowners and Agrarians of Tavria Governorate that took place in Simferopol supported the proposition to include Tavria to Ukraine
  • June 20 – the All-Ukrainian Church Council took place in Kiev
  • July 1 – adopted the decision about a creation of the Ukrainian university in Kamianets-Podilsky
  • July 2 – adoption of the law about citizenship of the Ukrainian State
  • July 8 – creation of the State Senate of the Ukrainian State as the supreme judicial institution
  • July 9 – creation of the Commission in development of project of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
  • July 10 – Kiev Orthodox clergy lifted the anathema on Hetman Mazepa
  • July 24 – Ukraine and Germany ratified the Brest Peace Treaty, adoption of laws about the general military obligation, criminal responsibility for exceeding the maximum established prices and speculation, appointments to government service
  • July 27 – due to the anti-Ukrainian policies of the Crimean government of Sulkevich the Ukrainian State established an economical blockade of the peninsula
  • August 1 – adoption of laws about supreme government and political position of military servicemen
  • August 2 – adoption of the law about the creation of fund of the National Library of Ukrainian State
  • August 6 – the All-Ukrainian Church Council called for the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church
  • August 10 – confirmed the statute of the Ukrainian State Bank and its base and reserve capitals
  • August 17 – adopted the law about a restriction on import of the Russian monetary units
  • August 22 – in Vienna Turkey and Ukraine exchanged documents that ratified the Brest Peace Treaty
  • September 10 – signing of an economic agreement between Ukraine, Germany, Austria-Hungary for the 1918–1919 fiscal years
  • September 18 – temporary stop of custom war with Crimea on the petition of the Sulkevich government
  • October 5 – in Kiev started negotiations between Ukraine and Crimea about the conditions of Crimea inclusion to Ukraine
  • October 6 – Kiev State Ukrainian University is opened
  • October 16 – Hetman of Ukraine issued declaration on the revival of cossackdom
  • October 17 – adopted a declaration about organization of volunteer militia on upholding the order of law
  • October 21 – Hetman of Ukraine met with the extraordinary mission of the Kuban regional government headed by Colonel V. Tkachov
  • November 6 – the German authorities transferred the ships of the Black Sea fleet to the Ukrainian State
  • November 13 – the Soviet Russia annulled the Brest Peace Treaty and refused to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian State
  • November 13–16 – signing of agreement about trade, consulate, and sea relationships, railway and financial treaties between the government of Ukraine and the extraordinary mission of the Kuban regional government
  • November 14 – anti-Hetman Uprising
  • November 26 – the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences is created chaired by Vladimir Vernadsky

Winter 1918

  • December 5 – signing of agreement of cooperation between Ukraine and Georgia
  • December 14 – Hetman of Ukraine surrender his powers and emigrated to Germany


Rząd URL 1920
The Government of UNR 1920 - Symon Petlura sitting in the centre.
Map of Ukraine for Paris Peace Conference
Proposed borders presented by the Ukrainian delegation at the Paris Conference.

The Directorate gained massive popularity, and the support of some of Skoropadsky's military units including the Serdiuk Division. Their insurgent army encircled Kiev on November 21. After a three-week-long stalemate Skoropadsky abdicated in favor of the Council of Ministers who surrendered to the Revolutionary forces. On December 19, 1918, the Directorate took control of Kiev.

The Bolsheviks invaded Ukraine from Kursk in late December 1918 where the new Ukrainian Soviet government was reestablished earlier in November of the same year. On January 16, 1919 Ukraine officially declared a war on Russia while the Russian Soviet government continued to deny all claims of invasion. On January 22, 1919, the Directorate was officially united with the West Ukrainian People's Republic, although the latter entity de facto maintained its own army and government. In February 1919, the Bolsheviks captured Kiev.

Throughout 1919, Ukraine experienced chaos as the armies of the Ukrainian Republic, the Bolsheviks, the Whites, the foreign powers of the Entente, and Poland, as well as anarchist forces such as that of Nestor Makhno tried to prevail. The subsequent Kiev Offensive, staged by the Polish army and allied Ukrainian forces, was unable to change the situation, and in March 1921, the Peace of Riga sealed a shared control of the territory by Poland, the Russian SFSR, and the Ukrainian RSR.

As the result, the lands of Galicia (Halychyna) as well as a large part of the Volhynian territory were incorporated into Poland, while the areas to the east and south became part of Soviet Ukraine.

After its military and political defeat, the Directorate continued to maintain control over some of its military forces. Preempting a planned invasion by its rival Archduke Wilhelm of Austria,[12] in October 1921 the Ukrainian National Republic's government-in-exile launched a series of guerrilla raids into central Ukraine that reached as far east as Kiev Oblast. On November 4, the Directorate's guerrillas captured Korosten and seized much military supplies. But on November 17, 1921, this force was surrounded by Bolshevik cavalry and destroyed.


Winter 1918–19

  • December 14 – the Directorate of Ukraine received the state powers in Ukraine after the Hetman of Ukraine emigrated to Germany
  • December 16 – the Directorate renewed the law about National-Individual Autonomy
  • December 19 – the grand entry of Directorate to the capital of Ukraine. Military parade at Sofiyivska Ploshcha. Note of protest to the countries of Entente due to occupation of ports of the Southern Ukraine (Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War)
  • December 26 – Directorate published a basis of its economic-social policies and political system
  • December 31 – Directorate issued a note of protest to the Soviet Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine
  • January 1 – Directorate adopted the law about the Supreme body of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Cathedral Church
  • January 2 – order of the Chief Otaman Symon Petlyura to exile all enemies of Ukraine
  • January 3–4 – repeated notes of protest to the Soviet Russia due to its intervention
  • January 4 – Directorate adopted the law about Ukrainian monetary unit, hryvnia
  • January 8 – the government of Ukraine adopted the Land Law, based on the principles of socialism
  • January 16 – declaration of war with Moscow due to no results of peace negotiations
  • January 22 – declaration of Unification between Ukraine and West Ukraine at Sofiyivska Ploshcha
  • January 23 – session of Labor Congress initiated by Directorate was opened in Kiev. The congress attended over 400 delegates, out which 65 represented the West Ukraine. It expressed its trust in Directorate and adopted the law about the form of government in Ukraine
  • February 2 – due to the advance of Bolsheviks Directorate moved from Kiev to Vinnytsia
  • February 13 – Directorate changed the composition of the Council of National Ministers
  • February 17 – Directorate petitioned to the governments of Entente and the US for help in fight with Bolsheviks
  • February 27 – Chief Otaman met with Entente Commission in Khodoriv

Spring 1919

  • March 15 – the delegation of West Ukraine headed by Yevhen Petrushevych met with Directory in Proskuriv to further discuss development of joint operations
  • April 4 – plenipotentiary representative of Ukraine at the Versailles Peace Conference H.Sydorenko expressed his protest to the Polish military attack onto the Ukrainian territory and its political and materiel support by Entente
  • April 9 – Directory adopted the declaration on resignation of the Ostapenko government and appointing the new composition of the Council of National Ministers headed by Borys Martos
  • April 15 – the government of Ukraine appointed General Oleksandr Osetsky as the Otaman of the Army
  • April 29 – Volodymyr Oskilko Affairs
  • May 9 – Symon Petlyura was elected the head of Directory in Radyvyliv
  • May 20 – the peace negotiations of the diplomatic mission of Ukraine with the command of the Polish Army of Haller in Lublin showed no results

Summer 1919

  • June 12 – the government of Finland reestablished its diplomatic relationships with Ukraine
  • June 16 – the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri informed the Chairman of Directorate S. Petliura on the approval of Count Mykhailo Tyshkevych as the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Holy See
  • June 18 – the delegation of Ukraine at the Versailles Peace Conference together with the representatives of Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Northern Caucasus expressed its protest against recognition of the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace conference the government of Admiral Kolchak as the Supreme government of Russia
  • June 20–21 – signing of a temporary agreement of Ukraine with Poland in Lviv and establishment of demarcation line (Delwig line)

Anti-Bolshevik and other uprisings

The following is the list of numerous uprisings that took place during the formation of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Some of them were in opposition to the Petlyura's government (such as the Oskilko's Affair), some were against the establishment of the Soviet regime, some took place to eliminate the Entente forces. According to Cheka documentation, in Ukraine took place 268 uprisings from 1917 through 1932, where in over 100 raions the mutinied peasants were killing chekists, communists, and prodotryads that were requisitioning food by force which more resembled expropriation.[13]

International recognition

The Ukrainian People's Republic was recognized de jure in February 1918 by the Central Powers of World War I (Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria)[16] and by Bolshevik Russia, the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and the Holy See. De facto recognition was granted by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Persia.[17]

Later in 1918 Russia chose to withdraw its recognition of independent Ukraine, representing the protocols of the Versailles Treaty as justification for its action. In 1920 Symon Petliura and Józef Piłsudski signed the Warsaw Treaty in which both countries established their borders along the Zbruch River.[18][19][20]

Important diplomatic missions and results


According to the latest census that was taken 1897, the republic was accounted for over 20 million population in seven former Russian guberniyas, plus three uyezds of the Taurida Governorate that were located on the mainland.

National composition (thousands)

Administrative division

On March 4, 1918 the Ukrainian government accepted the law about the administrative-territorial division of Ukraine. The law stated that Ukraine is divided into 32 zemlia (land) which are administrated by their respective zemstvo. This law was not fully implemented as on April 29, 1918 there was the anti-socialist coup in Kiev, after which Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky reverted the reform back to the guberniya-type administration.

Armed forces

The headquarters of the republic's armed forces was called the General Bulawa and was considered to be located in Kiev. Of course, due to constant intervention from the Petrograd sovnarkom and the German Empire the physical location of it was changing (Kamyanets-Podilsky, Bila Tserkva, others).

Main military formations (UPR)

The following three Zaporizhian infantry regiments and the 3 Haidamaka Regiment of the biggest Ukrainian military formation, the Zaporizhian Corps, later were reorganized into the 1 Zaporizhian Division.

  • Zaporizhian Corps
  • Ukrainian Steppe Division (Anti-Bolshevik revolutionary-military unit)
  • Ukrainian Marines
  • 1 Riflemen-Cavalry Division (Gray-Coats)
  • Blue-Coats
  • Sloboda Ukraine Haidamaka Kosh
  • 3 Iron Riflemen Division
  • Ukrainian People's Republic Air Fleet
  • Ukrainian Navy

Main military formations (WUPR)

Money and banking

There were numerous banks in the republic among the most popular ones were the Ukrainabank and the Soyuzbank that were created by Khrystofor Baranovsky, the leader of a cooperative movement.


Green indicates UPR-controlled territory, red indicates the Red Army control, light yellow for the White Army control, dark yellow for Germany, blue for Poland, and brown for Romania. Bold black line incidates the borders of modern Ukraine.

Mapa aspiraciones territoriales República Popular de Ucrania

Territory of the Ukrainian People's Republic at its height, 1918

Ucrania 1918


Ucrania marzo 1919

March 1919

Ucrania noviembre 1919

November 1919

Ucrania marzo 1920

March 1920

Ucrania junio 1920

June 1920

Ucrania agosto 1920

August 1920

Ukraine map provisional borders 1919

Provisional borders of Ukraine in 1919

See also


  1. ^ Украінська Народня Республіка, in modern orthography Ukrainian: Українська Народна Республіка, Ukrajinśka Narodna Respublika


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Serhy Yekelchyk, Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, Oxford University Press (2007), ISBN 978-0-19-530546-3
  2. ^ Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States: 1999, Routledge, 1999, ISBN 1857430581 (page 849).
  3. ^ The Third Universal in the archives of the Verkhovna Rada (in Ukrainian)
  4. ^ Official website of Kiev Memorial
  5. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) 100 years ago Bakhmut and the rest of Donbass liberated, Ukrayinska Pravda (18 April 2018)
  6. ^ Serhy Yekelchyk, Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, Oxford University Press (2007), ISBN 978-0-19-530546-3, page 72
  7. ^ "Ukraine - World War I and the struggle for independence". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  8. ^ Tynchenko, Yaros (23 March 2018), "The Ukrainian Navy and the Crimean Issue in 1917-18", The Ukrainian Week, retrieved 14 October 2018
  9. ^ Germany Takes Control of Crimea, New York Herald (18 May 1918)
  10. ^ a b War Without Fronts: Atamans and Commissars in Ukraine, 1917-1919 by Mikhail Akulov, Harvard University, August 2013 (page 102 and 103)
  11. ^ Babushka with a red wagon Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  12. ^ Timothy Snyder (2008). Red Prince: the Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke. New York: Basic Books, pp. 138–148
  13. ^ People's War (Ukrainian pravda, photos) (Ukrainian)
  14. ^ Left-bank Uprisings (Ukrainian pravda) (Ukrainian)
  15. ^ Festival in Lehedzyne (Ukrainian pravda) (Ukrainian)
  16. ^ TERMS OF PEACE MADE BY UKRAINE; New Republic Gets Increased Territory at Expense of Rest of Russia, The New York Times, February 12, 1918 (PDF)
  17. ^ (Talmon 1998, p. 289)
  18. ^ Alison Fleig Frank (1 July 2009). Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia. Harvard University Press. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-674-03718-2.
  19. ^ Richard K. Debo (1992). Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918-1921. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. pp. 210–211. ISBN 978-0-7735-6285-1.
  20. ^ Ivan Katchanovski; Zenon E. Kohut; Bohdan Y. Nebesio; Myroslav Yurkevich (11 July 2013). Historical Dictionary of Ukraine. Scarecrow Press. pp. 747–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7847-1.


External links

Coordinates: 50°27′N 30°30′E / 50.450°N 30.500°E

1918 Ukrainian Constituent Assembly election

Elections to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly (Ukrainian: Вибори до Українських Установчих Зборів) were never finished as a result of events in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the following.

Act Zluky

The Act Zluky (Ukrainian: Акт Злуки, IPA: [ˈɑkt ˈzlukɪ], "Unification Act") was an agreement signed on January 22, 1919, by the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic on the St. Sophia Square in Kiev. Since 1999 the Day of Unity of Ukraine, celebrated every year on January 22 to mark the signing of the treaty, is a state holiday; but not a public holiday.

Andriy Livytskyi

Andriy Mykolaiovych Livytskyi (Ukrainian: Андрій Миколайович Лівицький; April 9, 1879 in Lyplyavo, the Russian Empire (now Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine) – January 17, 1954) was a Ukrainian politician, diplomat, statesman, and lawyer.

He was president of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile (1948–1954) and the Chairman of the Directory prior to reforming that office into the presidential.

Directorate of Ukraine

The Directorate, or Directory (Ukrainian: Директорія, Dyrektoriya) was a provisional collegiate revolutionary state committee of the Ukrainian People's Republic, initially formed on November 13–14, 1918 during a session of the Ukrainian National Union in rebellion against Skoropadsky's regime. During the overthrow of Pavlo Skoropadsky it was named as the Executive Council of the State Affairs (Ukrainian: Рада Завідуючих Державними Справами). Its authority was extended by the Labor Congress of Ukraine on January 23–28, 1919.

After unsuccessful attempts to gather members of the committee, it dissolved on November 10, 1920. On November 12, 1920 by the 'Law on the Temporary Supreme Authority and the Legislative System of the UNR' the executive council was reformed into a single person government position.

Hutsul Republic

The Hutsul Republic was a short-lived state, formed in the aftermath of World War I. The republic was declared on January 8, 1919, when original plans to unite this area with the Western Ukrainian People's Republic failed and the territory was occupied by Hungarian police.

The legislature of the Hutsul Republic was the 'Ukrainian People's Council' with 42 members, and its executive power (government) was the 'Council' with 12 members.

Mykola Livytskyi

Mykola Andriyovych Livytsky (Ukrainian: Микола Андрійович Лівицький; 7 January 1907 – 8 December 1989) was a Ukrainian politician and journalist. He was the Prime Minister (1957–1967) and the President of the Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR) in exile (1967–1989).

President of Ukraine

The President of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Президент України, Prezydent Ukrayiny) is the Ukrainian head of state. The president represents the nation in international relations, administers the foreign political activity of the state, conducts negotiations and concludes international treaties. The president is directly elected by the citizens of Ukraine for a five-year term of office (whether the presidential election is early or scheduled), limited to two terms consecutively.The president's official residence is the Mariyinsky Palace, located in the Pechersk district of the capital Kyiv. Other official residences include the House with Chimaeras and the House of the Weeping Widow, which are used for official visits by foreign representatives. The Presidential Administration of Ukraine, unofficially known as "Bankova" in reference to the street it is located on, serves as the presidential administration, advising the president in the domestic, foreign and legal matters.

Since the office's establishment on 5 July 1991, there have been five presidents of Ukraine. Leonid Kravchuk was the inaugural president, serving three years from 1991 until his resignation in 1994. Leonid Kuchma was the only president to have served two consecutive terms in office. Both Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych served one term, with the latter being replaced by acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, who then also served as Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, on 21 February 2014. Oleksandr Turchynov was the only acting president in Ukraine's modern history. Unlike in the US, where the vice president immediately receives all powers of the presidency upon assumption of the presidential office, in Ukraine the powers of an acting president are severely limited. On 18 June 2015, Yanukovych was officially deprived of the title of president of Ukraine. The Government of Ukraine utilizes a semi-presidential system in which the roles of the head of state and head of government are separate, thus the president of Ukraine is not the nation's head of government. The prime minister serves as the head of government, a role currently filled by Volodymyr Groysman who was appointed to the position in April 2016.

The current president is Petro Poroshenko who took the oath of office on 7 June 2014. He is set to be succeeded by Volodymir Zelensky after the latter won the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election; Zelensky's term is expected to begin on 3 June 2019.

President of Ukraine (in exile)

President of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile (Ukrainian: Президент УНР в екзилі) was an official position of the Ukrainian government-in-exile after World War II. The post was basically transformed out of the position of chairman of Directorate of Ukraine.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (Ukraine–Central Powers)

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on 3 March 1918 between the Russian SFSR and the Central Powers, but prior to that on 9 February 1918, the Central Powers signed an exclusive protectorate treaty (German: Brotfrieden, "peace for bread") with the Ukrainian People's Republic as part of the negotiations that took place in Brest-Litovsk, Grodno Governorate (now Brest, Belarus) recognizing the sovereignty of the Ukrainian republic. Although not formally annexing the territory of the former Russian Empire, Germany and Austria-Hungary secured food-supply support in return for providing military protection. The Quadruple Alliance recognized Ukraine as a neutral state.

Ukraine after the Russian Revolution

Various factions fought over Ukrainian territory after the collapse of the Russian Empire following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and after the First World War ended in 1918, resulting in the collapse of Austria-Hungary, which had ruled Ukrainian Galicia. The crumbling of the empires had a great effect on the Ukrainian nationalist movement, and in a short period of four years a number of Ukrainian governments sprang up. This period was characterized by optimism and by nation-building, as well as by chaos and civil war. Matters stabilized somewhat in 1921 with the territory of modern-day Ukraine divided between Soviet Ukraine (which would become a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922) and Poland, and with small ethnic-Ukrainian regions belonging to Czechoslovakia and to Romania.

Ukrainian Constituent Assembly

The Ukrainian Constituent Assembly (Ukrainian: Українські Установчі Збори) was a planned All-National Congress which was supposed to confirm the Constitution of the Ukrainian People's Republic and establish a new political system. The Assembly was supposed to be the supreme state power and elections to which were to be organized by the Central Council (also known as the Central Rada), which would hold its sessions between the meetings of the Assembly. The Assembly was suspended because of the Russian aggression in the Ukrainian–Soviet War (December 25, 1917) that led to a proclamation of Ukrainian independence by the IV Universal.

Ukrainian National Council

Ukrainian National Council of West Ukrainian People's Republic (UNRada, Ukrainian: Українська Національна Рада Західно-Української Народної Республіки, until 13 November 1918 Ukrainian National Council – the representative body of Ukrainian of former Austro-Hungarian empire) – was the supreme legislative body of the West Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR).

Ukrainian People's Army

The Ukrainian People's Army (Ukrainian: Армія Української Народної Республіки), also known as the Ukrainian National Army (UNA) was the Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic (1917-1921). They were often quickly reorganized units of the former Russian Imperial Army or newly formed volunteer detachments that later joined the national armed forces. The army for a long period lacked a certain degree of uniformity, adequate leadership to keep discipline and morale. Unlike the Ukrainian Galician Army, the Ukrainian People's Army did not manage to evolve a solid organizational structure, and consisted mostly of volunteer units, not regulars.

Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets

The Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets (1917–1918) was a short-lived Soviet republic of the Russian SFSR that was created by the declaration of the Kharkiv All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets "About the self-determination of Ukraine" on 25 December [O.S. 12 December] 1917 in the Noble Assembly building in Kharkiv. The republic was later united into the Ukrainian Soviet Republic and, eventually, liquidated, because of a cessation of support from the government of the Russian SFSR when the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed.

Ukrainian Soviet Republic

The Ukrainian Soviet Republic (Russian: Украинская Советская Республика) was one of the names of earlier Soviet Ukrainian quasi-state formations (Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets) used equally in the official papers of one of that day governments of Ukrainian People's Republic, a pro-Bolshevik Soviet government resided in Kharkiv.

Ukrainian State

The Ukrainian State (Українська держава, Ukrajinśka Deržava), sometimes also called the Hetmanate (Гетьманат, Hetmanat), was an anti-socialist government that existed on most of the modern territory of Ukraine (except for West Ukraine) from April 29 to December 14, 1918. It was installed by German military authorities after the socialist-leaning Central Council of the Ukrainian People's Republic was dispersed on April 28, 1918. Ukraine turned into a provisional dictatorship of Hetman of Ukraine Pavlo Skoropadskyi, who outlawed all socialist-oriented political parties, creating an anti-Bolshevik front. It collapsed in December 1918, when Skoropadskyi was deposed and the Ukrainian People's Republic returned to power in the form of the Directorate.More assertive foreign policy and military support from the Central Powers saw some improved stabilization within the country.

Ukrainian War of Independence

The Ukrainian War of Independence, a period of sustained warlike conflict, lasted from 1917 to 1921 and resulted in the establishment and development of a Ukrainian republic – later a part of the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of 1922–1991. The war consisted of a series of military conflicts between different governmental, political and military forces. Belligerents included Ukrainian nationalists, anarchists, Bolsheviks, the forces of Germany and Austria-Hungary, the White Russian Volunteer Army, and Second Polish Republic forces. They struggled for control of Ukraine after the February Revolution (March 1917) in the Russian Empire. The Allied forces of Romania and France also became involved. The struggle lasted from February 1917 to November 1921 and resulted in the division of Ukraine between the Bolshevik Ukrainian SSR, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. The conflict is frequently viewed within the framework of the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922, as well as the closing stage of the Eastern Front of the First World War of 1914–1918.

Ukrainian–Soviet War

The Ukrainian–Soviet War (Ukrainian: Українсько-радянська війна) is the term commonly used in post-Soviet Ukraine for the events taking place between 1917–21, nowadays regarded essentially as a war between the Ukrainian People's Republic and the Bolsheviks. The war ensued soon after the October Revolution when Lenin dispatched the Antonov's expeditionary group to Ukraine and Southern Russia. Soviet historical tradition viewed it as an occupation of Ukraine by military forces of Western and Central Europe, including the Polish Republic's military – the Bolshevik victory constituting Ukraine's liberation from these forces. Conversely, modern Ukrainian historians consider it a failed War of Independence by the Ukrainian People's Republic against the Russian Soviet Republic, ending with Ukraine falling under a Russian-Soviet occupation.

West Ukrainian People's Republic

The West Ukrainian People's Republic (Ukrainian: Західноукраїнська Народна Республіка, Zakhidnoukrayins’ka Narodna Respublika, ZUNR) was a short-lived republic that existed from November 1918 to July 1919 in eastern Galicia. It included the cities of Lviv, Przemyśl, Ternopil, Kolomyia, Boryslav and Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk), and claimed parts of Bukovina and Carpathian Ruthenia. Politically, the Ukrainian National Democratic Party (the precursor of the interwar Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance) dominated the legislative assembly, guided by varying degrees of Greek Catholic, liberal and socialist ideology. Other parties represented included the Ukrainian Radical Party and the Christian Social Party.

The coat of arms of the West Ukrainian People's Republic was azure, a lion rampant or (a golden lion rampant on a field of blue). The colours of the flag were blue and yellow.

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