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History of Ukraine

During 10/11 century AD, #Ukraine became the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. However, in 1240 the Mongols, led by Batu, grandson of Genghis Khan conquered southern and eastern Ukraine, and later the northern and western Ukraine was conquered by the Poles and Lithuanians in the 14th century. While the Mongols or Tartars retreated, a group of them settled in Crimea.

In the 15th & 16th centuries, some serfs ( unfree labourers but not slaves as only their labour could be bought, not the person) escaped #Poland and settled on the steppes of Ukraine. They were called Kozaky (Cossacks), which means freemen. The Cossacks formed self-governing communities and united to form the Cossack Hetmanate and was later abolished in 1764. In 1783 Russia conquered #Crimea.

While in 1918 Ukraine became independent for a short time, by 1921 the Russians forced Ukraine to become part of the Soviet Union. #Stalin deprived farmers of their land and livestock and made them work as labourers on land owned by the state. However, these collective farms were given unrealistic quotas to fill and the farmers could not meet the quota and so the #Soviet officials simply confiscated all the grain leaving them to starve. This man-made famine is called the #Holodomor.

Ukraine later suffered great losses during the 2nd World War. More than five million Ukrainians die fighting #Nazi#Germany. Most of Ukraine's 1.5 million #Jews are killed by the Nazis. While Germany lost, the Red Army recaptured Kiev on 6 November 1943. In. 1944 Stalin deports 200,000 Crimean #tatar to Siberia and Central Asia following false accusations of collaboration with Nazi Germany. On August 24 1991 Ukraine declares independence with the dissolution of the USSR.

A mass protest "Orange Revolution" in 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election but Viktor #Yanukovych staged a comeback in

become prime minister in 2006. In 2014, Yanukovych flees to #Russia, and the opposition takes over. Leading businessman Petro #Poroshenko wins presidential election on pro-Western platform.

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