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16 May. 2023

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Ukraine's True History: popular misconceptions about Ukraine, propagated by russia

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Ukraine's True History: popular misconceptions about Ukraine, propagated by russia

Due to the active propaganda of the russian federation, dozens of false myths related to the culture and history of Ukraine are spreading around the world. Learn how russia distorts facts and tries to rewrite the past of the Ukrainian people

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It is difficult to understand the origins of Ukraine, because for many centuries russia has been doing everything it could to distort Ukrainian history. And thus justify its heinous crimes against the people of Ukraine, which began in the fifteenth century.


And, unfortunately, despite the fact that the world does not take into account all the narratives promoted by the russian federation, their long-standing lies have managed to seep into people's minds and falsify historical facts. 


Myth №1: Ukrainians and russians are fraternal peoples


Despite the genocide of Ukrainians that the russian federation is currently creating, putin has not abandoned these imperialist narratives to perpetuate the idea that Ukraine is part of the "russian world."


But if we look at the historical events that took place in the middle of the thirteenth century, it becomes clear that we cannot belong to the same nation. For example, after the fall of Kievan Rus due to the Mongol invasion, Ukraine and russia existed separately for almost half a millennium. Therefore, our language, culture, values, customs, and political systems are very different, which made us completely different people.


In addition, after the events of the eighteenth century, when a significant part of the Ukrainian territories became part of the russian empire and later the USSR, the only thing the russian authorities did was to suppress the Ukrainian language and culture in an attempt to destroy our authenticity and Ukrainians as a nation.


Myth №2: Crimea has always been russian


This myth was actively promoted by the russian federation in 2014, when it annexed the peninsula. But historical facts show that by the 18th century, when russia first seized these territories, Crimean Tatars had been living there for 100 years. After the first annexation, russia ruled Crimea for about 150 years, until the collapse of the russian empire in 1917.


During the Soviet era, Crimean Tatars were deported from the peninsula. Moreover, more than 100 thousand indigenous people of Crimea died due to the repressions of the Soviet government. This act is recognized as genocide in Ukraine and a number of other countries. 


Thus, russians became the ethnic majority on the Crimean Peninsula only in the mid-20th century, after the deliberate extermination of Crimean Tatars. But even under such circumstances, russia was unable to restore order to this territory, and subsequently Crimea became part of Ukraine. We wrote more about the reasons and motivation for the transfer of the peninsula here.


Myth №3: Ukrainian culture is underdeveloped


russia started spreading the false narrative that Ukrainian culture does not exist, long before the full-scale invasion. For the past few centuries, the russian authorities have portrayed Ukrainians as a provincial and poor people without any heritage. Back in the USSR, they began to actively appropriate our cultural figures. Among the most famous examples are Ukrainian writer Mykola Gogol and avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich.


Moreover, russia suppressed the cultural renaissance in Ukraine with its own hands and shot its founders, now known as the Executed Renaissance. The man who survived the Great Terror and gained international recognition in front of Stalin was Oleksandr Dovzhenko, the father of Ukrainian cinema.


Myth №4: The Holodomor caused a crop failure


In 1932-1933, the government led by Stalin confiscated all property from Ukrainians and forced them to work on agricultural land as part of collectivism. If people in the villages did not produce the norm, which was deliberately inflated tenfold, Soviet police and military officers would search homes and take the last of the food. The wealthier stratum of the population that did not succumb to coercion was ordered to be recognized as enemies of the state and destroyed. 


Thus, the Holodomor was a famine artificially created by the Soviet government that caused the deaths of millions of Ukrainians. Today, it is officially recognized in the world as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. But the russian authorities continue to promote the narrative that the consequences of the Holodomor are exaggerated and that they are not to blame for what happened because there was a crop failure and the peasants themselves began to rebel.




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Myth №5: Europe was liberated from the Nazis thanks to russia


The authorities of the russian federation hold on to this myth so tightly that even in April 2022, they passed a law prohibiting denial of "the decisive role of the Soviet people in the defeat of Nazi Germany, as well as the humanitarian mission of the USSR in the liberation of European countries."


But if we look at the historical facts, it becomes obvious that it was thanks to the Nazi-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact that Germany started World War II. 


Moreover, the Soviets attacked Poland 17 days after the start of the declared war, occupied the territory of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and part of Romania, and simultaneously waged military operations against Finland. And after the outbreak of the war on the territory of the USSR, the Soviet authorities took on the mission of "liberators," which they love to this day.


The victory was won not only thanks to the Soviet Union, but also by the United States and Great Britain, which played a significant role in the destruction of the Nazis.


Myth №6: Ukrainian nationalists are Nazis


This groundless narrative of the russian authorities, which they use to justify their brutal and bloody crimes on the territory of Ukraine, is perceived as completely absurd. One argument is enough to debunk this myth: the current President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish, and his relatives were repressed during World War II. In addition, at the time of the full-scale invasion, more than 350,000 Jews lived in the country.


It is also important to note that there are no representatives of far-right extremist groups in Ukrainian politics.


Myth №7: The successor to Kievan Rus is moscow


Kyiv was the capital of Kievan Rus from the year of its foundation until its destruction after the Mongol invasion in 1240. Thus, the territory of the state covered not only the territory of modern Ukraine, but also Belarus and part of russia. But the capital was never moved, and Kyiv remained the most important city until the collapse of Kievan Rus. 


We wrote more about the history of Ukraine in the times of Kyivan Rus and how russia tried to appropriate its historical and cultural heritage here.


Myth №8: Ukraine is divided into a nationalist west and a pro-russian east


According to the narratives of the russian authorities, this is also one of the reasons for their attack, as they needed to protect the russian-speaking population of Ukraine.


According to a survey conducted in 2022, about 50% of Ukrainians in Ukraine speak russian exclusively, and 20% of them consider it their native language. Yet despite this, the leading pro-russian political party, the Opposition Platform, won only 13% of the vote in the 2019 elections.


In addition, according to the data obtained, it became known that more than 90% of Ukrainians support the government and believe that Ukraine can defeat russia in a war, forever destroying any pro-russian sentiment.


As a reminder, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, hundreds of people have started coming to Ukraine to help. In particular, foreigners and stateless persons are becoming volunteers. Read more about how to become a volunteer in Ukraine and the current entry rules in our article.




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