President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with the chairman of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin said that Ukraine as a state did not exist in history before the creation of the Ukrainian SSR after the October Revolution of 1917.
The reason for such a statement was a French map of the middle of the 17th century, which Valery Zorkin, head of the Constitutional Court, brought from the archives of the court to a meeting with the president. According to him, there is no Ukraine on it. Putin responded by saying that Ukraine appeared as a quasi-state formation after 1917, and before that it did not exist.
The full conversation between the President and the Chairman of the Constitutional Court was as follows:
—We found a copy of a 17th-century map drawn up under Louis XIV in the Constitutional Court. That is, compiled by the French themselves. Why did I bring it, Vladimir Vladimirovich: there is no Ukraine there. – Well, of course. – There is no Ukraine, but there is a region in two places. The edge of the Commonwealth, south, along Ivano-Frankivsk. And the edge of the Cossacks. And the great kingdom of Russia. – Well, yes. Why did I dare to show you: because there was a lot of speculation about where the origins are, how and what, how it all formed. – Well, we know that these lands were part of the Commonwealth, and then asked to be part of the Moscow Kingdom. And only then, after the October Revolution, all sorts of quasi-state formations began to form. The Soviet government created the Soviet Ukraine, this is well known. Before that, there was no Ukraine in the history of mankind.
Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that Ukraine as a state appeared solely as a result of the formation of the USSR. In particular, he spoke about this in an interview in the summer of 2021, even before the announcement of a special military operation.
“Probably, we need to remember how Ukraine arose as a state. This is a product of the Soviet period. The Bolsheviks, organizing the Soviet Union, created, among other things, the union republics and Ukraine. It can be recalled that these territories became part of the Russian state or the process of their reunification with Russia began in 1654 after the Pereyaslav Rada, and then those people who lived in these territories, and these are, in today’s language, three regions, so these people considered and called themselves Russian and Orthodox,” the president said at the time.
During a press conference in December 2021, Putin again returned to the topic of the emergence of Ukrainian statehood. Asked by a Sky News reporter about Russia‘s demands for security guarantees, including Ukraine not joining NATO, Putin replied that Russia tries not to remember how Ukraine was created, just as the United States does not remember territorial conflicts with Mexico.
“Who created it? Lenin. Vladimir Ilyich. When he created the Soviet Union. The treaty of 1922 is a union one and 1924 is the year of the Constitution, although after his death, but it was created according to its principles, ”he said.
The map that Zorkin showed Putin was indeed compiled in the 17th century by the cartographer Guillaume Sanson, a digital copy can be found on the website of the National Library of France. The map is called “Belaya Rus or Muscovy, divided according to the principle of kingdoms, duchies, principalities, provinces and peoples, which are currently under the rule of the Russian Tsar.”
This map actually mentions Ukraine – in its lower left part, west of the Crimea near Volhynia, the territory Ukraine pays des cosaques is indicated, which can be translated as “Ukraine, the country of the Cossacks.”
At the same time, the territory of Crimea is singled out as a separate state, the peninsula is signed as Krimsky tartares du Crime, which is part of Petite tartarie – the lands of the Crimean Tatars as part of Little Tataria. And the lands of the modern Leningrad region and the place where St. Petersburg will be built in the future are called Ingria on the map and belong to the Swedish Empire.close 100% gallica.bnf.fr
In Ukraine, they consider their country the legal successor of Kievan Rus and dispute this right with Russia. According to generally accepted historical data, by the beginning of the 12th century Kyiv was the capital of Kievan Rus, which included at least ten principalities. These principalities occupied almost the entire territory of present-day Ukraine, most of the lands of today’s Karelia, Arkhangelsk, Leningrad, Ryazan, Moscow, Smolensk regions, and also partly of the territory of present-day Bryansk, Belgorod and Kursk regions.
In the XII-XIII centuries, Kyiv gradually lost the status of a metropolis due to raids, internal strife and a series of pogroms. In 1299, the city lost the last attribute of the capital – the residence of the metropolitan (although it continued to be called Kyiv). In the XIII-XIV centuries, the lands of modern Ukraine were divided between the Lithuanian, Moldavian principalities and the Kingdom of Hungary.
Since the XIV century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania actively competed with Moscow for the heritage of Kievan Rus. As a result of a series of defeats in Lithuania, by the beginning of the 17th century, the Russian state controlled the lands of Galicia, Volyn, Chernigov – that is, the western regions of present-day Ukraine. After the unification of Lithuania with Poland into the Commonwealth, a series of Russian-Polish wars by the middle of the 17th century, the Left-Bank Ukraine wanted to be part of Russia, and the Right-Bank Ukraine (including the Hetmanate) gravitated towards the Commonwealth.
After a series of partitions of Poland in the 18th century, by the end of the century, the Russian Empire included the lands of Zaporozhye, the Northern Black Sea region, Taurida, most of the Right-Bank Ukraine (including Podolia and Volhynia). Galicia was under the control of Austria. It was during this period that the Russian emperors founded the cities of Zaporozhye, Krivoy Rog, Yekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk), Kherson, Mariupol, Sevastopol, Simferopol, Melitopol, Nikolaev, Odessa, Lugansk.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, these regions developed as part of the Russian Empire. In 1917-1921, against the backdrop of the collapse of the Russian Empire, military and political conflicts between various social and ethnic groups took place in Ukraine. In 1918, the independence of the Ukrainian People’s Republic was proclaimed. After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the UNR came under the control of the German and Austro-Hungarian armies due to the inability of the Ukrainian government to stabilize the situation in the newly formed state.
At the beginning of 1919, the Bolsheviks occupied a large territory of Ukraine, after which an independent state of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed. In 1922, together with the Russian SFSR, the ByeloRussian SSR and the Transcaucasian SFSR, they signed the Treaty on the Formation of the USSR.