【History of Ukraine and Russia】
【Bits of knowledge about Ukraine】
It is the third largest country by area in Europe.
Russia is 28 times that of Ukraine.
The population is 4.4 million,
the 7th largest in Europe.
Ukrainian language is much different from Russian.
Ukrainian people speak both of Ukrainian and Russian, while most Russian people don’t understand Ukrainian language.
Ukrainian language is more similar to Polish and Belarusian. Because of the similarity of the languages and the cultures, Ukrainian people often move to Poland.
Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus,
is ethnically Ukrainian.
Belarus means “white Russia.”
The family names ending with “enko” and “chuk” are common in Ukrainian.
As Ukrainian often send flowers to women, there are many flower shops.
Since even numbers are for funerals and graves, you must present odd numbers.
The Cossacks appeared around the 14th century. Cossack dance is often misunderstood as Russian,
but it was originated in Ukraine.
【History of Ukraine and Russia】
Kyiv was established in the 5th century.
From the late 9th to the mid-13th century, a federation of Kyivan Rus’ appeared. Its center was in present-day Kyiv. The name of “Russia” came from “Rus”.
In the 1130s, Kyivan Rus’ started to fragment and Principality of Kyiv was founded.
Due to the Mongol invasion in 1240, Kyivan Rus’ completely collapsed and Principality of Kyiv was occupied.
Since then, each region of East Slav started to follow the different paths, resulting in some ethnical differences of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian.
In Feb. 1917, Russian Empire collapsed and the Ukrainian People’s Republic was founded.
In Oct. 1917, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was established.
Ukrainian-Soviet War broke out.
In Oct. 1918, Austria-Hungary was dissolved and Western Ukrainian National Republic attained independence.
In Nov. 1918, the war between the Republic of Poland and Western Ukrainian National Republic broke out.
In Jan. 1919, Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was founded in Kharkiv as a Russian puppet government.
In Jan. 1919, the Ukrainian People’s Republic and Western Ukrainian National Republic were unified.
In Feb. 1919, Kyiv was occupied by the Soviet troops.
In Jul. 1919, Western Ukrainian National Republic was occupied by the Polish troops.
In Apr. 1920, the Polish-Soviet War broke out and the Ukrainian land became the battlefield.
In Mar. 1921, the Polish-Soviet War ended. Western Ukraine was annexed by Poland, and other areas became Soviet territory.
In Dec. 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formed and Ukraine become a part of the federation.
As a result of Stalin’s policy of the Great Famine (Holodomor) of 1932-33, 4 to 14. 5 million Ukrainian people have lost their lives.
In World War II, 1939-1945, 8 to 14 million Ukrainian people died.
In 1986, Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident occurred.
In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became independent.
In 1994, the Budapest Memorandum was signed by Ukraine, the US, the UK, Russia and others, which secured the security and the political independence in exchange for full nuclear disarmament.
In light of the Memorandum, the crisis in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 invited the criticism toward Russia in breaching of its obligations.
In 2004, Orange Revolution happened. The Ukrainian presidential election between pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych and pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko, caused the public protests, as the votes were rigged in favor of Yanukovych. In the end pro-Western Yushchenko took the presidency.
In 2010, pro-Russian Yanukovych became president.
In Feb. 2014, the Revolution of Dignity, known as the Maidan Revolution, took place in Ukraine. President Yanukovych fled to Russia and Oleksandr Turchynov became the interim president. Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Donbas region including Donetsk and Luhansk were occupied by pro-Russian armed group, which might be led by Russia.
In Jun. 2014 Petro Poroshenko was elected to be president.
In Sep. 2014, the delegates of OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), Russia, Ukraine, Donetsk, and Luhansk signed the Minsk Protocol, which agreed cease-fire, but it failed to stop fighting.
In 2015, the revised and updated agreement of Minsk II was signed, however, still small-scaled battles occurred frequently.
In Feb. 2019, President Poroshenko signed a constitutional amendment committing Ukraine to join NATO and the EU.
In May 2019, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, former comedian, was elected to be president of Ukraine.
In 2021, Russia massed troops along the border with Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin asked NATO not to expand eastward and not to allow Ukraine to join, but NATO denied.
On Feb. 7, 2022, French president Emmanuel Macron hold talks with President Putin and on Feb.15, German chancellor Olaf Scholz also hold talks with him.
On Feb. 21, 2022, President Putin recognized Donetsk and Luhansk regions as independent states and ordered to send Russian troops.
On Feb. 23, 2022, the government of Ukraine declared a state of emergency.
On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia launched an invasion into Ukraine.
【Why President Putin initiated the war?】
Simply speaking, Russian president Putin may fear European countries and the US. Why? Let’s look back on history.
In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russian Empire and occupied Moscow.
In 1914-15, Prussia, present-day Germany, invaded Russian Empire, and Russian Empire lost its territory of Belarus and Ukraine. Due to the financial crunch, Russian Revolution occurred and Russian Empire collapsed.
In World War II,1941-45, Germany invaded Soviet Union, causing German-Soviet War, by which Soviet Union lost major locations and 20 to 30 million people. Like this, Russia had been invaded by European countries several times. Due to the fear of invasion, Russia may never want its neighbor country to join NATO.
In 1991, when the Soviet Union was broken, NATO had 16 members. Then it has expanded to the east to Russia, and currently has 30 members. Ukraine is the key region in terms of economy and military. It has major pipelines and Black Sea where the navy can operate. If Ukraine join NATO, it would be a huge fear for Russia. President Putin may have a plot to widen the area of buffer states like Donetsk and Luhansk, and establish its puppet government in Ukraine, like Belarus.
【Lastly, my thoughts】
As I have been to Ukraine for more than 10 times for concerts, I am worrying about many of my Ukrainian friends in various locations. In my view, Ukrainian people are innocent, gentle and pure. Some are very emotional, but for me, which are their uniqueness, and I love such Ukrainian people.
I visited Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Zhytomyr for playing concerts. I also performed in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast, occupied by the pro-Russian group at that time. The concert hall was surrounded by the Ukrainian generals for security. I scared in the beginning. After the concert, however, a lance corporal came to me and asked “Can I get your autograph without telling my subordinates?” His smile was just like a boy. Today, such innocent people have to fight against Russia.
In Ukraine there are many talented artists and athletes. Followings are Ukrainian, Ukrainian decent and those who were born in Ukraine.
Athletes: Taihou kouki(Boryshko), Shevchenko, Plushenko, Emelianenko, Klitschko brothers, and Lomachenko
Musicians: Kapustin, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Horowitz.
To my dear friends in Ukraine, I love you all and sincerely pray for your safety.
“Дуже дякую. (Duzhe dyakuyu.)”
Thank you very much.