What you see above are ethnographic maps compiled by nineteenth and early twentieth century Svidomites, showing the range of the settlement of the Ukrainian peoples. Look at them carefully so you understand what this post is about. The Svidomites have included in them areas they thought are settled by ethnic Ukrainians, even areas where people don't quite know that they happen to be ethnically Ukrainian or don't quite want to be. But they have not to worry, once their lands would be redeemed in the Greater Ukraine, they will have no choice but to accept their new identity...
The below is a translation from a blog post which is now several months old. It came out around the the Day of Consolidation, 21. January. (День соборності - Den' sobornosti is hard to do justice in translation but is also translated as Day of Unity), a state holiday which refers back to the signing of union treaty (the so called Akt Zluky) between the West Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR i.e Galicia) and Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR - i.e. lands beyond the Zbruch river) in 1919. I like calling it the 'paper union,' because it literally existed only on paper. And I always wondered what exactly they were uniting there, as West Ukrainians had by then lost most of their territory, including their capital Lvov to the Poles; and UNR's hold over its own territory was tenuous at best. But I shall leave these little details aside for some future post, they are history. The present is more interesting.
Here is what happened at a certain event held in Lvov on the Day of Consolidation/Unity/Whatever. Speaking at that event Rostislav Novozhenets from BYUT (Tymoshenko's party) uttered the following:
Speaking today about consolidation, we are mostly speaking about the unification of East and West, but that is not at all so, because the founders of the Akt (Zluky) have put into the meaning of consolidation: unification of all ethnically Ukrainian lands in a single Ukrainian state.
Mr. Novozhenets underscored that the territory of Ukraine was 60% larger in 1919 than it is today. I'm not sure which Ukraine Novozhenets is talking about. It should be pointed out that it is rather difficult to make a cartographic representation of the chaos of the revolutionary years, and not to mention that territorial pretensions do not mean actual control of a territory.
We have lost, (note: I transliterate most of the name of these lands as they appear in the text, they have various names in different languages so I will try to provide a link to an English language wikipedia entry most approximating them, so you can have a rough idea what is being talked about) Lemkovshchina, Nadsyan'e, Kholmshchina, Podlyash'e, which went to Poland, Beresteishchina, Gomel'shchina, which went to Belarus, Starodubshchina, Eastern Slobozhanshchina, and finally Kuban' which has on 28 May 1918 joined Ukraine... (note: I really wonder what followed these three dots, suffice to say that all of these regions belong to Russia now, as for unification of Kuban' with Ukraine, attempts to that effect were made, but I have yet to hear about some definitive unification) We have lost Transnistria, Maramoroshchina, Southern Bukovina, which are today in Romania. (note: the territorial history of Transnistria is a bit more complicated, and it certainly isn't in Romania today, as for the other areas, local Eastern Slavic populations are very small, and that is why Stalin never made the effort to reunite them with Ukraine) This why today we do not have consolidation, we should make this our goal.
Novozhenets' views were supported by the, also present at the event, leader of the paramilitary UNA-UNSO, Yuriy Shukhevych. Personally I knew about this guy Novozhenets and his irredentist ideas before, but given their extreme nature, I never assumed that he would be in Tymoshenko's party. I have placed him among the followers of the likes of Shukhevych. The author of the blog-post in question takes notice of this interesting phenomenon:
We should notice also... the constant desire of the locked-up Yulia and her party colleagues to take the place of Ukrainian Nazis and a long term alliance with real Nazis. Not to mention that demonstrating side by side with 'Svoboda' of Tyahnybok and the descendants of killers from OUN-UPA that call themselves UNA-UNSO has completely become a norm.
PS: In connection with the last quote from the blog-post in question, I am reminded of Motyl's recent article that he published in KyivPost (and which I have touched on here). I quote the relevant bits:
By the same token, some Ukrainian democrats are willing to include Svoboda in an anti-regime electoral coalition, while others are not. Their dilemma is identical to that faced by Russian democrats, who have to decide whether an anti-Putin coalition should or should not have room for nationalists and communists. If you think collaborating with Regionnaire extremism is permissible, you have no choice but to permit collaboration with Communist or Svoboda extremism.
If you think all extremists are equally odious, you have no choice but to view cooperation with the Regionnaires as wrong as cooperation with the Communists or Svoboda. Unless, of course, you believe that extremists with power are less odious than extremists without power, in which case you won’t collaborate with Svoboda until they make it into office.
Fortunately, democrats may be able to sidestep these moral dilemmas—but only at this point in time—precisely because the Regionnaire regime is crumbling, while the Stalinists and Svoboda are likely to remain minority parties (or so I hope). The democrats don’t need any of them to regain power.
Certainly, these 'bona fide orange parties' (a term coined by Taras Kuzio) do not need VO 'Svoboda' to take office. But as I point out, these parties are not all that bona fide. The analogy with Russian liberals is not fitting because the Russian liberals need the nationalists and the reds to create formidable protest crowd, without them they are no more than a rabble. As we can see, the cooperation of BYUT with Svoboda is due to the fact that BYUT has some extremist membership. And furthermore, BYUT does not appear concerned by having people like Novozhenets in its ranks.