History of Ukraine - the Soviet Union period

Ukraine during the times of the USSR

After the Russian Revolution of February 1917, Ukrainian and Bolshevik forces struggled for control of Ukraine until 1921, when Soviet government emerged victorious.

In 1924, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic became one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. Northwestern Ukraine (including Galicia and part of Volhynia) remained in the hands of Poland, which fought against Bolsheviks with some success in 1919-1920.

Beginning in the 1930s, Soviet government under Joseph Stalin carried out a policy of rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture in the Ukrainian SSR.

Collectivization met with peasants’ resistance. In the early 1930s, confiscation of grain made by Soviet authorities led to the famine (“holodomor”) that took about five million lives. In that same decade, Soviet regime tightened its control over Ukrainian cultural life, and any remaining manifestations of Ukrainian nationalism were suppressed.

German-Soviet Treaty of Nonaggression (1939) that extinguished independent Poland brought the territories of eastern Galicia and western Volhynia into the Ukrainian SSR.

Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union (1941) and its rapid conquest of Ukraine initially found some local support. But Germans’ ruthless exploitation of Ukrainian agriculture and labor to meet their own needs soon provoked guerrilla resistance.

The Soviet Union period postcard

The Soviet Union period postcard

After defeat of Germans in 1945, all ethnically Ukrainian lands that had been the part of Poland, Romania or Czechoslovakia between World Wars were taken by the Soviet Union, with most of them going to Soviet Ukraine. In 1945, Soviet Ukraine became a founding member of the United Nations. Crimea was transferred from the Russian Soviet Republic to Soviet Ukraine in 1954 as an act of “friendship”.

During the 1960s and 1970s, dissident movement emerged that was critical of Soviet policies toward Ukraine. Intellectuals played a leading role in dissent, and Soviet authorities imprisoned thousands of dissidents.

In April 1986, an explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power station near Kiev caused major radiation fallout in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Cancer and other health problems have grown among the populace.

Soviet Union period streets

Soviet Union period streets

Soviet Union period Kiev

Soviet Union period Kiev

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