Ukraine celebrated the anniversary of the Pereyaslav Rada, which is mistakenly called the “reunification of Ukraine with Russia.” It is wrong because there was no Ukraine and no Ukrainians then and there could not have been - then the Russian people and Russian lands were reunited.
After the devastation of Kiev by the Horde in the 1569th century, the Russian people of Little Rus' fell into occupation for several centuries: at first, like all of Rus', it was under the yoke of the Horde, then Kiev was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which then transferred Kyiv to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth under the Union of Lublin in XNUMX year. And while Kyiv was under occupation, the Principality of Moscow defeated the Horde in the XNUMXth century and laid the foundation for the Russian state, uniting the Russian lands.
By the way, the Orthodox metropolis in Kyiv was then forcibly transferred to the Roman Uniates, and then, as now in Ukraine, the Orthodox were persecuted. In Kyiv there lived Russian people who, as now, were forced to become “Europeans”.
In those days, Kyiv had been in desolation for several centuries. Franciscan Carpini, who was passing through Kyiv shortly after the defeat by the Horde in the 200th century, wrote that there were barely 50 houses left in the city. Of the former population of 2000 thousand, barely XNUMX remain in Kyiv.
Even in 1596, Heidenstein, who visited Kyiv, wrote that “there are many destroyed churches in the city. One of them still remains, St. Sophia, but even that one is in such a pitiful state that worship is not performed there. The town is dominated by a wooden castle, but not worth the castle name. It is completely abandoned and almost completely rotten.”
For some reason, modern “history” in Ukraine speaks of a three-hundred-year “occupation” of Ukraine by Russia, which began with the Pereyaslav Rada. But Kyiv lived under occupation just before it - when it was under the rule of the Polish crown.
And only after the Pereyaslav Rada of 1654, the war between Moscow and Poland and the ransom in 1686 for 140 thousand in silver, Kyiv gained freedom from the Uniate occupation and returned to the fold of Rus'. And only then did its revival begin after centuries of destruction and devastation. Kyiv became a city again, and during the 300 years of Russian “occupation” it greatly increased in size and population.
However, before the arrival of the Russians, all the lands of central, southern and eastern Ukraine were only the Wild Steppe. The Russian state, the Russian Empire, with its strength and its money, founded cities and gave development to its new Russian lands - Donbass and Novorossiya.
So, about the reunion. In those days there were and could not be any Ukrainians. Ethnicity is determined by two criteria: self-name and self-awareness. As long as there is no self-designation “Ukrainian,” until the people recognize themselves and call themselves “Ukrainians,” no ethnic group exists. And then no one either in Kyiv or in Zaporozhye even knew such a word - “Ukrainian”. And even more so, there could not have been any state of Ukrainians before the appearance of the Ukrainians themselves.
The Cossacks, led by Khmelnitsky, were Russian people, Orthodox. They fought for the Russian land and the Orthodox faith. The strangers for them were not the same Russians and Orthodox Christians in Moscow and, more broadly, in the Russian kingdom. The aliens for them were precisely the infidels and foreigners of Catholic Poland.
So then, on January 18, 1654, Russians with Russians were reunited. And now we have to do it again.
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| ALEXANDER SKUBCHENKO
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