The history of Ukraine and Russia

The flag of Urkaine

The flag of Urkaine

Around the world there are a lot of cities, states, and countries in each of the seven continents. Some of the cities have a lot of history behind them. For example, how did the cities get their names, who is the president/leader of those cities,and why are they very important?

When it comes to each country, they have a lot of history together. For example, the U.S.A with Russia or the British with Iraq, but there are two countries that have the most conviction in the world: Ukraine and Russia.

The Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was born in 1922. Under Soviet rule, Ukrainian identity was under constant threat. In 1932, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin deliberately imposed famine there, killing at least three million Ukrainians in a single year.

Long ago in 32,000 BC, Ukraine was the first country ever in Europe then later on in the years in 862 Russia became a country in Europe. Then, in the 1920s Ukraine and Russia joined forces and created an organization called the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union entire goal as an organization is to defeat the nazi that was led by Adolf Hitler. In 1991, the Soviet Union was abolished and Russia and Ukraine had independence in their respective states. 

 “Ukraine already has independence from Russia, but they are in defense mode right now as they are not the ones who attacked. Their objective is to defend their country from invasion,” said iSchool history teacher Ms. Asher.

Ukraine wants to survive, not to expand or cause more problems.  

Following up with this statement, iSchool history and learning specialist Mr. de Picciotto said, “Ukraine never really wanted independence. They were an independent, sovereign country since the USSR broke into multiple countries (around 1991). Ukraine did want to join NATO and the EU, which made Russian leadership worried because it meant they were more aligned with the West than with Russia. Russia attacked Ukraine, so Ukraine’s objective is just to defend their land and people.”

While Mr. de Picciotto said this good information about the topic, history and Personal Finance teacher Ms.Turso agreed with the statement by saying, “ I think their immediate objective is to remove Russian troops from their soil. But in the long-term I think Ukraine wants promises that it will not be invaded again.”

According to, they said, “Bandera may no longer be an official hero of Ukraine, but his memory and that of other 20th-century independence fighters endure. In 2015, Ukraine passed a series of decommunization laws calling for the removal of communist monuments and the renaming of public spaces in honor of Ukrainian nationalists and nationalist organizations, including those known to have participated in the Holocaust. The legislation has received pushback from scholars who see it as whitewashing, or ignoring the dark sides of these movements and their activities.”

But the question here is why and how did this start in the first place? Ms.Asher stated, “The war has been building for a very long time. In 2014, Russia annexed a section of Ukraine called Crimea, which is a region that has a very important water port that Russia wanted access to. Also, Putin tried to amplify the idea that there were many ethnic Russians that lived there and being part of Russia instead of Ukraine made more sense for those people. Since then, there has been a lot of tension which has been made a lot worse since Ukraine had recently wanted to join NATO, which is composed of the US and many important Western European countries. (Russia DOES NOT LIKE NATO).”

While Ms. Asher felt this statement was true, Mr. de Picciotto had other words to say about the situation: “There’s a lot of history between Ukraine and Russia. Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was where the Russian civilization started. So Russia feels like it’s an important part of their past, their heritage. More strategically, Russia needs some things from Ukraine. First, if you remember from Prisoners of Geography, Russia’s ports all freeze in the winter and they need a port in warm water. Part of Ukraine, Crimea, has one, and Russia took Crimea in 2014. Also, because NATO and the EU keep moving further east, toward Russia, Russian leaders feel they need to keep Ukraine on their side, and if they can’t control the government, they’ll take the whole country themselves. Russians have claimed that in certain eastern parts of Ukraine, where a lot of Russian people live, Ukraine has been conducting military operations to keep them down. That’s the reason Russia invaded, but as you can see from everything in this and the previous question, it’s much more complicated and much more Russia-driven.

Experts at National Geographic stated that “With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine became an independent nation. But uniting the country proved a difficult task. For one, ‘the sense of Ukrainian nationalism is not as deep in the east as it is in the west,’ says former ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer. The transition to democracy and capitalism was painful and chaotic, and many Ukrainians, especially in the east, longed for the relative stability of earlier eras.” They are basically saying that Ukraine had enough of Russia so they had to separate from each other. 

In fact, Ms. Turso later said, “I have heard some experts talk about the current war between Russia and Ukraine as part of an ongoing conflict that started when Russia annexed Crimea several years ago. Other people seem to talk about this as a new conflict.  I think the war is new, but the conflict and desire of Russia to control Ukraine is part of a much longer pattern in the history of these two nations.”

Will Ukraine and Russia ever be at peace with each other?

 Ms. Asher announced that “ Not sure – hopefully they will come to some agreement before more blood is shed.”

Mr. de Picciotto agreed with this quote and followed up with, “Eventually, this conflict will come to an end. It could end diplomatically, and soon. Russia wants Ukraine to officially recognize Crimea as Russian, and to let two areas in east Ukraine become their own countries. That’s possible. But Russia also wants Ukraine to ‘demilitarize,’ which means get rid of their weapons. This is much less likely to happen, since Russia invading Ukraine has given Ukraine a very good reason to keep their weapons.It could also turn into a stalemate where both sides make little or no progress (but can still be a time when many continue to die). In that case, it may be a matter of years before a formal insurgency can develop in Ukraine to take on the occupying Russians.Aside from war and violence, Russia could also succeed in taking over Ukraine politically, meaning they install the leaders they want who are loyal to Russia. This could prolong tensions even further.”

“Like I said before, there is a long and strained relationship between Russia and Ukraine. The Soviet Union incorporated Ukraine into the USSR by force. Ukrainians have resisted Soviet and now Russian influence over and over.  But Ukraine also includes many residents with strong ties to Russia.  It’s complicated. I hope that they will find an end to armed conflict soon. But I suspect there will always be tensions between these two countries,” Ms Turso replied.

On July 28, 1914, World War I started between Germany and Turkey then ended a few months later, on September 1,1939 World War 2 started between German and the Japanese leaders. Now we go to 2022 and Ukraine and Russia are back at it again having convicts.

Ms. Asher commented, “ I think this war will stop but it’s hard to say when. Even if Ukraine makes concessions it’s hard to predict what Russia will do.”

Mr. de Picciotto and Ms.Turso both had the same idea but they both have different perspectives to the situation Mr.Picciotto said, “At this point in history, World War 3 pretty much means nuclear weapons will be involved. No one wants that, and every country is being careful to avoid doing anything that gets us closer to that terrible outcome. While I believe that cool heads will prevail, if we’re being honest there is a small possibility some kind of nuke will be used, which would change the nature of the conflict and draw in many more countries”. Then Ms.Turso said, “I think it is in both countries’ best interest to find a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine. I am cautiously optimistic that this solution will come sooner rather than later.”