Ukrainian State on the map of Europe
|Hetman of Ukraine|
|Historical era||World War I|
|-||Established||29 April 1918|
|-||Disestablished||14 December 1918|
|Today part of|| Ukraine
Ukrainian State (Ukrainian: Українська держава, Ukrayinska Derzhava) (sometimes also named as The Hetmanate (Ukrainian: Гетьманат, Hetmanat)) was an anti-socialist government that existed on the most of territory of Ukraine (except for the West Ukraine). It was installed after the socialist-lenient Central Council of the Ukrainian People's Republic was dispersed on 28 April 1918. Ukraine turned into a provisional dictatorship of the Hetman of Ukraine who outlawed all socialist oriented political parties creating an anti-Bolshevik front.
Establishment of the Ukrainian State led to unification of most Ukraine in its contemporary borders disbanding all Soviet quasi states sanctioned by the Bolshevik Petrograd such as the Odessa Soviet Republic, Donetsk-Krivoi Rog Soviet Republic and others. More rigid foreign policy and military support from the Central Powers saw some improvement stabilization within the country.
The country was located in the Eastern Europe along the mid and lower stream of Dnieper on the coast of Black and Azov Sea. Ukrainian State covered most of the territory of a contemporary Ukraine less the West Ukraine and Crimea. Its territory however extended into today's area of Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Poland.
To its northeast Ukraine had established a preliminary demarcation line with the Russian SFSR, to the east it had a border with the Don Republic, to its south were both Black and Sea of Azov, while the Crimean peninsula was independently governed by the Sulkevych government. To the southwest along Dniester laid a border with Romania, to the west Ukraine bordered with the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. To the north were located German occupied territories of Ober Ost and Belarusian National Administration.
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|History of Ukraine|
As a result of the Bolshevik aggression, the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic that initially pursued anti-military policy sought a military support after the capital of Ukraine Kiev was sacked on January 9, 1918 by Mikhail Muravyov. On February 9, 1918 Ukraine signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the coalition of Central Powers and in March 1918 all Bolshevik forces of the Russian SFSR were eliminated from the territory of Ukraine. The Army Group "Kiev" was created in order to protect Ukraine from further Bolshevik aggression and headed by the German Field Marshall Hermann von Eichhorn.
On April 25, 1918, the administration of Army Group "Kiev" suspected the government of Vsevolod Holubovych in kidnapping of the chairman of the Foreign Trade Bank in Kiev Abram Dobry. Through that bank the German occupational forces were officially conducting all financial operations with the Reichsbank. Next day Field Marshall von Einhorn issued a decree, according to which all criminal cases on the territory of Ukraine could selectively fall under jurisdiction of the German Field-Military Court along with the Ukrainian Court System. At the next session of the Central Council on April 29 Holubovych stated:
|“||"What is this mister Dobry? Is he a subject of the German State? No, he is not a far relative nor a godparent, he is a stranger. And just because that stranger who legally has no connections with Germany and gives no halters to issue a decree of such colossal weight was abducted, the decree was issued."||”|
On the same day, April 29, 1918 a party congress of bread producers consisting of some 6,000 delegates from all eight guberniyas of Ukraine was taking place in the building of the Kiev Circus. Skoropadsky after receiving information about the situation at the congress from his couriers later arrived in his car to the event where he was elected the Hetman of Ukraine. After that all participants moved to the Sofiyivska Ploshcha (Sophia Square) where Skoropadsky was blessed to the title by the Vicar of Kiev and Galicia Nykodym (Metropolitan Vladimir was executed by Bolsheviks). At night from April 29–30, 1918 the Hetman supporters took over government building of military and internal affairs as well as the State Bank. On April 30, 1918 the elite and most loyal formation of the Central Council, the Sich Riflemen, was disarmed.
Skoropadskyi issued his manifesto (hramota) "To the All-Ukrainian Nation" and the Law of the Provisional State System. Desiring stability, the Austro-Hungarian and German forces welcomed the coup; Skoropadskyi co-operated with them, making him unpopular among many Ukrainian peasants. The new state retained the tryzub (coat of arms) and the national colors, but reversed the flag design to light blue over yellow. The Sich Riflemen opposed the coup and were disbanded along with the "Bluecoats", a Ukrainian division formed from POWs in Germany and Austria and named after their blue uniforms.
Internal opposition was provoked by the requisitioning of food stocks and restoration of land to the wealthy landowners. Opponents of the Skoropadskyi regime committed acts of arson and sabotage and, in July 1918, assassinated von Eichhorn, [now?] the commander of German troops in Ukraine. In August 1918, the anti-Skoropadsky coalition succeeded in forcing him to re-form the Sich Riflemen. By then it was becoming obvious that the Central Powers had lost the war and that Skoropadsky could no longer rely on their support. He thus looked for support from conservative Russian elements in society and proposed joining a federation with Anton Denikin and the White Movement. This further eroded his standing among Ukrainians.
Ukrainian Civil War
Almost the entire commanding staff of the Ukrainian State armed forces consisted of officers of the former Imperial Russian Army. Most officers were not supportive of the Ukrainian cause and viewed it as a way to make it through tough times. At the same time, wide masses of the population did not have a developed sense of national identity and easily fell under the influence of socialist and communist propaganda.
Following the armistice ending World War I, Ukrainian socialists formed the Directorate of Ukraine (the "Directory"), whose forces were spearheaded by the Sich Riflemen and "Greycoats"[clarification needed]. Although German and Austrian troops had not yet withdrawn from Ukraine, they had no further interest in fighting. Most of Skoropadskyi's own forces changed sides and joined the Directory.
On November 16, 1918, starting in Bila Tserkva, fighting broke out in the Hetmanate. Skoropadskyi had to turn to the thousands of Russian White Guard officers who had escaped to Ukraine with the intention of join Denikin's Volunteer Army in the region of the Don River further east. They [and their troops?] were assembled into a "Special Corps" but proved unable to resist the Directory's forces led by Symon Petlyura. Skoropadskyi abdicated his position as Hetman on December 14, as the Ukrainian People's Army took Kiev. He was expelled and the Hetmanate was replaced by the provisional government of the Directorate.
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- The Ukrainian National Republic and the Struggle for Independence, 1917-1920 Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine