This month we have been hearing a lot about the Ukraine and Russia so I would like to talk a little bit about the history of south-east Ukraine. Just for your info, the name Ukraine can be roughly translated as borderlands. Back in the 18th century it was the border between the Russian, and Austro-Hungarian Empires, as well as the Ottoman Empire to the south. In more recent times, it has been the border between NATO & the Russian Federation and its allies with their version of NATO, the CSTO.
One of the first cites and areas the Russians invaded during the current operation was Kherson. This is essentially the first stop on the way north from Crimea and has now been taken back by Russia. Back in the 18th century, when the British Crown was deliberating about invading new territories, the Russian Czarina sent her Army Commander Potemkin to survey the land in the south. He is famous now for the stairs named after him in Odessa, a battleship, as well as in many parks and squares in the south-east of Ukraine. His job was to find good locations and setup new cities there. He claimed Kherson on 18 June 1778 for the Russian Empire. After Kherson, he went onto Crimea and founded Sevastopol, naming it after a Greek City he thought was historically somewhere nearby.
In Kherson there is a historical 18th century ornate church, ‘St. Catherine’s Cathedral’ named after the Czarina ‘Catherine the Great.’ It’s now a tourist attraction and is surrounded by parklands. For most of its history this area has been under Russian influence and control, but with the fall of the Soviet Union back in the 1990’s the Ukraine we know today was born. Kherson is now back in the fold of Russia, and is once again united with Crimea, which has been home to the Russian Navy for over 200 years. As of last week, Kherson has resumed use of the Russian Ruble. Much of its supplies come from the south, from Crimea, no longer from the North, and the long road that leads to Kiev. Who knows how long Kherson will remain part of Russia, as well as much of the eastern areas along the Dnieper River and Azov Sea?
The history books of the future will have quite a story to tell. Just a reminder that the next edition of Backstory will be coming out this Semester is edition no. 13 and history themed submissions are needed. So, for now get writing, and have your history stories shared in the latest edition of the Backstory Journal, we are looking forward to reading them soon, thanks.
By Luke Edwards.
5th April 2022