Ukraine: the unfortunate rhymes of History

With Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, many are noticing the distant echoes of history hanging over the present.

By Heath Woollard and Zayn Ghanem – 7th grade.

History repeats itself. Sometimes it’s apparent, other times it’s subtle. But with the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, it is very apparent that history has rhymed yet again. But to understand the modern day conflict, we must look back to the past.

In the Mid 7th century, vikings founded  Kievan Rus’ situated in Kiev. This empire would grow to become Russia. Then, in 988, Vladimir the Great, got baptized and. About 200 years later, Kievan Rus’ spans from the Baltic  Sea to the Black Sea, and is a superpower in Europe. They control trade routes in Europe and between Asia and Europe. 

In the 17th, 1,000 years after the birth of the country, Ukraine was controlled by multiple states, Polish Lithanian Commonwealth, Russia, and the Tartars, otherwise known as Ottomans. In 1795, Russia annexed all of Ukraine up to the Dnieper. During this time, Ukraine supplies Russia with a majority of its agriculture and it later became the first industrial region in Russia. 

In 1917 Ukraine, for the first time in a long time, gained independence. They opposed the bolsheviks and set up the Republic of Ukraine, but, to the east, a soviet republic was established in Kharkov. This independence was short lived as in 1922, Ukraine became a part of the USSR. In the 30s’, Stalin started a famine in Ukraine to crack down on opposition. And in World War 2, Ukraine’s territory expanded out west to its current size. 

The 1930’s were a time of economic inflation, weakening in government, and the rise of mankind’s most infamous dictator, Hitler. By the late 30’s Hitler had pushed through Czechoslovakia, another country in Europe at the time, and reached Prague with ease. U.K Prime minister Neville Chamberlain did little to prevent the invasion, and signed the Munich Treaty, a treaty in which Czechslovakia had to give up it’s land to Nazi Germany, causing Czechoslovakia’s fate to be sealed. 

Backbone of the economic

In 1922 the USSR annexed Ukraine. During the 30s’ Stalin created a famine to crack down on nationalists. 6 million died in this gruesome period. Preceded by another 8 million during World War 2, but on the bright side, their territory expanded. In 1954 Ukraine is offered Crimea for being a model state.

In the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the backbone of the economy. Ukraine supplied the Soviet Union with 25% of all of its wheat. It was also an industrial region. The country provided Russia with metal and steel as well as railroads. Ukraine, finally, was the major component in the USSR’s military, both in weapon production and naval bases. Russia’s main naval base is located in Crimea which, at the time, belonged to Ukraine. Then finally, in 1991, the Soviet Union fell apart and Ukraine regained its independence. 

In the present day, Russian troops have smashed their way through Ukraine’s borders on three main fronts, and as of now pacts such as the E.U and N.A.T.O have sanctioned Russia from their trade, in an attempt for peace and not cause a full-scale war. Thus being a main aspect as to why, at this very moment, history is rhyming yet again, this time through propaganda.

Another stake out history’s many rhymes is more internal and close to home towards many Russians. Propaganda. When a nation is filled with nationalism and wants to show their sheer dominance. We saw it with Hitler and Stalin. And this shows the current state of Russia at this point in time. Putin and his high command assure the Russian people that their push into Ukraine is simply a ‘’deNazification’’ of the country, despite their president, Vlodomir Zelensky, being Jewish. 

Propaganda

Along with this they say they are not tyrants, rather liberators, and claim that the citizens of Ukraine want to live under Russian rule. They even decided to hire people to spread their propaganda to convince others outside of Russia. But all the Russian people truly know is false propaganda sent from their leader, Vladimir Putin, to influence and shift their thoughts on the whole ordeal, a dark comparison to Nazi Germany in WW2.  

Tensions between the U.S and Russia have ever more mounted after the invasion, which might lead to a rivalry history has shown before. The shadows of the old U.S and Soviet Union hang over our heads. Ukraine is once more caught up in the mess.

If Ukraine falls, many western countries are worried that Russia will have another go at it, possibly attacking the Baltic states, Finland or Georgia. And to Russia, if they lose, Putin is concerned that western capitalistic ideals may push him further and further into a corner. But, if it succeeds on the other hand, and occupies Ukraine, a new Iron Curtain could pop up between Russia and its allies, and the West. 

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