Few things annoy me more than displays of unmerited entitlement. Putin’s attack on Ukraine, for example. He has justified it by saying that Ukraine has always been part of Russia and has no culture of its own. As my Russian friends might say “the roof of his house has blown away.” He must be crazy.
Not only is Ukraine older than Russia, but if there were any claims of ownership, or of a stronger cultural legacy, it would go the other way.
About 1100 years ago the Kyvian Rus was a confederation of various powers that stretched north and south across Eastern Europe from its center of power, Kyiv. Christianity became dominate in the region after Prince Vladimir held a mass Baptism in 988 at the Dniper River in Kyiv. His son, Yaroslav the Wise, codified legal and religious traditions in the Russkaya Pravda (Russian Truth/Law) codified feudal law for generations in Slavic territories. There is some debate about when the great cathedral, Saint Sophia’s, was started -either in 1011 or in 1037 by Vladimir or Yarolsav respectively.
Meanwhile there were some tribes camped out in a marshland, a muzga in Russian, along a river to the north. Eventually they built some permanent structures and stared calling it Muskova, Moscow, by 1147. Shortly thereafter they build a timber wall and a ditch around it for fear of the Mongols.
Kyiv, and thus Ukraine, was a known European city, a known center of learning conducting trade with the rest of the continent, before Moscow had a name.
Kyiv was the birthplace of Slavic Christianity and modern culture while the people of Moscow were putting up wooden fences around the city.
While the Golden Horde ended the Kyivian Rus alliance, it did not destroy Kyiv itself. Thus began a long history of conquest, sometimes from the West and sometimes from the East. The territory known as Ukraine would not totally fall under Russian rule until the 1700s and the rule of Catharine the Great.
In 1917 to 1920 the Ukrainians fought again for independence from the new born Soviet Union. In 1932-33 the Soviets manufactured a terror famine, the Holodomor, in an attempt at Ukrainian genocide. About 5.7 to 8.7 million people are estimated to have lost their lives.
In World War 2 Ukraine took the brunt of Nazi advance into the west and survived, all the while still attempting to free itself from Soviet Control. This continued even after World War II although some amendments to the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR were accepted, which allowed it to act as a separate subject of international law in some cases and to a certain extent, remaining a part of the Soviet Union at the same time.
On January 21, 1990, over 300,000 Ukrainians organized a human chain for Ukrainian independence between Kyiv and Lviv. Ukraine officially declared itself an independent country on August 24, 1991. On December 1 1991 Ukrainian voters first presidential election elected Leonid Kravchuk.
Ukraine has its own history, its own culture, its own language, and its own people.
Putin is not trying to restore a broken union or protect an endangered populous. He is just stoking his own ego.
May it go as well for him as he deserves.