From the web, and I added a lot to it and edited it and added a lot afterwards:
Ukraine was never even a “named” area until 1886. And even then it was just a “region.”
In the 1880’s some Ukrainians decided to try to make this (undefined) region a sovereign state. And, they sort of did. But , of course got quickly overwritten by the Austro-Hungarian-Russian-Prusso-Germany partition to follow. Even Poland (a centuries-old quasi-sovereign country) got broken up into bits in that operation.) “Chechia”, Moravia, Slovakia and many others, all got mished into the mash.
“Ukraine” as it existed in the days of the USSR was merely a republic rather arbitrarily set off from “Russia.” Just like Belarus. Both Belarus and Ukraine had not only been part of the Russian Empire but they were considered part of Russia itself.
Ukraine was never a “sovereign” country by any stretch of the imagination. It was similar to those Soviet “regions” like Ossetia, but instead of an autonomous area, Ukraine was a full republic. Those were strictly administrative boundaries, totally artificial. There was no consideration of “ethnicity.”
As far as the Soviets were concerned, you were a citizen of the USSR – a Soviet citizen – and everyone was the same as everyone else. Ethnicity was very much downplayed in the USSR, and it was considered rude or gauche to even bring it up.
A lot of people were moved around the country in the USSR according to the needs of the state. Skilled Ukrainian-speaking people were shipped to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or Turkmenistan – you name it.
“Sure, you live in this republic. But we need you here instead. Let’s get the work done. Period.”
I’ll bet at least as many Ukrainians were shipped out of what is now Ukraine 90 years ago to other republics where they were needed than have recently fled the war zone. Probably more.
So, that’s your lesson on Ukraine.
Galicia was the original homeland of Ukraine. The people who originally created Ukraine around 1890 were anti-Polish because they were under Polish rule. The Poles acted like a landowning gentry and treated the Galician peasants like serfs. Around this time, Galicia was moving away from the Russian sphere into the Polish sphere, so it is not true that all of Ukraine has been culturally and linguistically part of Russia forever because Galicia is much more Polish than Russian.
Originally, the Ukrainian language was just a dialect of Russian. But towards the end of the century, Ukrainian nationalists, who were originally oriented towards a new Ukrainian language and wanted the freedom to use it and have it be supported by the state, underwent a language reform whereby they removed many Russian words and put in Polish words instead. Soon they had created a language that was hard for Russians to understand.
Soon after the Bolshevik revolution, Lenin took an area that had always been part of Russia, Novorussia or New Russia, and was largely populated by Russian speakers, and added it to the Soviet republic of Ukraine.
Later, Khrushchev, a Ukrainian himself, added Crimea to the republic of Ukraine although Crimea had been Russian forever since the days of Katherine the Great. He also pardoned many Ukrainian nationalists who were in prison. This was a big mistake as these people created the roots for the modern toxin known as Ukrainian nationalism.
In the 1920’s, the USSR initiated a Ukrainization project for the republic. Professionals and members of government bodies were required to learn and know Ukrainian. This was difficult as many people in Ukraine spoke only Russian.
Even today where Ukrainian is being forced on many Ukrainians, many folks do not speak Ukrainian very well because they had been Russian-only speakers before, and they learned Ukrainian too late in life to get good at it. You will see people speaking poor Ukrainian all over Ukraine if you go there. They will often switch to Russian later on in the conversation. For some reason, the Ukrainization project was put on hold, apparently by Stalin. Stalin was suspicious of all ethnic nationalists, and he regarded most of them as traitors or possible future traitors.
And then there was pretty much a huge civil war, really a class war more than anything else, in Ukraine in the early 1930’s centered around forced collectivization and the desire by large Ukrainian landowners to keep their land, crops, and animals. This resulted in a brutal conflict where 390,000 Ukrainians were killed by Soviet forces. You want to talk about Holodomor, well, there’s your Holodomor – 390,000 dead. Go ahead and complain all you want about that.
The real Holodomor was of course fake, and the famine covered a lot of Russia too and even Poland for that matter. And it centered in Eastern Ukraine, where most people spoke Russian and supported Stalin. The death rate was also very high in the Volga and in Kazakhstan. For the Holodomor theory to be true, Stalin would have had to deliberately starve his own supporters in Eastern Ukraine and in the Cossacks, also his supporters, in the Volga while he was at it. Why would he starve the Russian Cossacks? Makes no sense.
He would also have had to starve the Kazakhs in Kazakhstan. Now why would he do that? He was out to kill Kazakhs, Ukrainians, and Russian Cossacks? Why on Earth would he do that? Keep in mind that 1 million died in Siberia. So Stalin starved Siberia too? I guess he hated Siberians? The theory is nuts.
And the Galicians who complain the most about the Holodomor were actually living under Polish rule at the time. So Stalin somehow went across the border and starved all those people in Poland? How did he do that? Was he a magician? Why don’t the Galician Holodomor fetishists accuse Poland of starving them because that’s where they lived at the time.