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Everything, though, changed in 1917, when, in conditions of war, a liberal revolution was followed by the Bolshevik revolution. With the liberal revolution and the abdication of the Tsar a great council was held to reorganise the Russian Orthodox Church and restore the Moscow patriarchate. I say 'restore' but I really regard this as a quite new development. The original Moscow patriarchate was established with the blessing of Constantinople in the sixteenth century but I very much doubt if Peter and Theophan Prokopovich consulted Constantinople when they suppressed it and replaced it with the 'Holy Synod.' Nor have I seen any sign that Constantinople was consulted when the patriarchate was restored. The installation of the first of the new patriarchs, Tikhon, coincided almost to the day with the Bolshevik seizure of power.

In Ukraine, the liberal revolution in February or March (depending on the calendar you use) produced an initial outpouring of patriotic fervour. Kiev was full of crowds waving blue and yellow flags and a 'Ukrainian Central Rada' was formed along the lines of the Provisional Government in St Petersburg. It was made up of parties that supported some form of autonomy for Ukraine but there was little interest in the idea of complete independence until January 1918 when the area was invaded by a Bolshevik army under Mikhail Muraviev, following a desperate appeal from Lenin to requisition grain and other foodstuffs to feed the starving St Petersburg (or Petrograd as it was known at that time, sounding less German): 'For God's sake, take most energetic revolutionary measures to send bread, bread, and bread again! Otherwise Piter [Petrograd] may perish.' The energetic measures included a prolonged bombardment of Kiev followed by a radical purge of anyone suspected of separatist or monarchist sympathies. (7)

(7) Serhy Yekelchyk: 'The Ukrainian meanings of 1918 and 1919', Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Vol.36, No.1/2 (2019), pp.73-86.

With the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Ukraine was occupied by the Germans who installed a Cossack general, Pavlo Skoropadsky as 'hetman' but with the defeat of Germany and Austria an independent Ukraine was established under the military leadership of long time national separatist Simon Petliura. (8)

(8) Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The White Guard opens with a Russian-orientated family in Kiev at the moment of the departure of the Germans, whom they see as having provided them with some protection against Petliura.

There is a controversy as to Petliura's personal responsibility for the massive assault on Jews that accompanied this first Ukrainian's People's Republic (ONU) but no controversy as to the fact of it occurring. The Odessa pogrom which followed the 1905 revolution had been on a much larger scale than anything that had preceded it, (9) and the pogrom that followed the declaration of the ONU was on a much larger scale than the Odessa pogrom.

(9) See in my Solzhenitsyn series Solzhenitsyn and the 'Russian Question', Part 18 - The Pogroms, part seven - Odessa in 1905,

Our main concern here, however, is with the church and so it's worth mentioning that one of Petliura's first acts in January 1919 was to secure a government decree for the establishment of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church, independent of the newly established Moscow patriarchate. The actual Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church did not come into existence until after the defeat of Petliura and the apparently definitive incorporation of Ukraine into the Soviet Union. At the time, the formation of the UAOC was encouraged by the Soviet government, always on the lookout for opportunities to sow dissent and division within the church.

Unable to attract any canonically ordained bishops, the UAOC created its own episcopate. It was not recognised by any of the other main Orthodox jurisdictions. (10)

(10) Bohdan B. Bociurkiw: 'Ukrainization Movements within the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church', Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Vol.3/4, (1979-1980), pp. 92-111.

But there is no way that at this stage in my talk I can go into the ins and outs of Soviet policy with regard to the church. I have on my website an attempt to make some sense of the history of the Moscow patriarchate during this period (11) but I don't go into the very interesting specifics with regard to Ukraine.

(11) The Moscow Patriarchate and the Bolshevik Revolution,

I really have to try to wrap this up, even though I suppose I'm reaching the point everyone thinks is the most interesting, the point at which we approach recent events. But there is still some ground to cover. After the defeat of Austria, Ruthenian nationalists in Galicia briefly declared a 'Western Ukrainian Peoples Republic'. It should be remarked that, according to John-Paul Himka, it was only in the very late nineteenth century that more nationally minded Ruthenians began to call themselves 'Ukrainians', recognising that it was only in conjunction with the Ukrainians in Russia that a nation-state could be formed. (12) The western republic briefly united with Petliura's republic but they soon split, with the western republic putting their hopes in Petliura's enemy, the White Russian Anton Denikin, while Petliura put his hope in the westerners' enemy, the Poles. In the post-war settlement, Galicia was delivered over to the newly created Poland and in the raw confrontation of nationalisms that followed the Ruthenians developed a hard ideology quite unlike anything that could previously have been expected of them. This period is crucial to understanding present day Ukrainian nationalism.

(12) John-Paul Himka: Socialism in Galicia, Harvard University Press, 1983, pp.7-8. In an article - 'Ruthenians' - in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine he says that the term 'Ruthenian' derives from the practise of borrowing the names of peoples mentioned in Latin literature, chosen just because of its resemblance to the other possible term which would be (in a variety of different Latin language transliterations) 'Rusyn'.