Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic
Українська Соціалістична Радянська Республіка
Ukrayins'ka Sotsialistychna Radians'ka Respublika
Flag Emblem
Пролетарі всіх країн, єднайтеся! (Ukrainian)
"Proletari vsikh krayin, yednaitesia!" (transliteration)
"Workers of the world, unite!"
"The Internationale"
Capital Kharkiv (1919)
Languages Russian (dominant)
Ukrainian (folkloristic)
Government Soviet Republic
Secretary of the Central Committee
 •  1918–1919 Emanuil Ionovich Kviring
 •  1919-1920 Stanislav Vikentevich Kosior
Head of state
 •  1918-1919 Georgy Pyatakov
 •  1919-1920 Grigory Petrovsky
Head of Government
 •  1918-1920 Christian Rakovsky
Legislature Congress of Soviets
 •  Declaration of the Ukrainian Soviet republic 21 December 1918
 •  War with Ukrainian State January 1919
 •  Treaty of Minsk 18 March 1920
 •  Liquidation 18 August 1920
Currency karbovanet
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ukrainian People's Republic
Ukrainian State

The Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic (Ukrainian SSR or UkrSSR or UkSSR; Ukrainian: Украї́нська Радя́нська Соціалісти́чна Респу́бліка, Украї́нська РСР, УРСР ; Russian: Украи́нская Сове́тская Социалисти́ческая Респу́блика, Украи́нская ССР, УССР), also known as Soviet Ukraine, was one the attempts to establish soviet republic in Ukraine. The republic was governed by the Communist Party of Ukraine with the eastern city of Kharkiv served as the republic's capital.

History[edit | edit source]

After the abdication of the tsar and the start of the process of destruction of the Russian Empire many people in Ukraine wished to establish a Ukrainian Republic. During a period of civil war from 1917 to 1923 many factions claiming themselves governments of the newly born republic were formed, each with supporters and opponents. The two most prominent of them were a government in Kiev (called the Ukrainian People's Republic (UPR)) and a government in Kharkiv (called the Ukrainian Soviet Republic (USR)). The Kiev-based UPR was internationally recognized and supported by the Central powers following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, whereas the Kharkiv-based USR was solely supported by the Soviet Russian forces, while neither the UPR nor the USR were supported by the White Russian forces that remained.


Front page of the Zakarpattia Ukraine newspaper (1944) with the manifest of unification with Soviet Ukraine (not the Ukrainian SSR)

The conflict between the two competing governments, known as the Ukrainian War of Independence, was part of the ongoing Russian Civil War, as well as a struggle for national independence, which ended with the pro-Soviet Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic (Ukrainian: УСРР) being annexed into a new independent Ukrainian State (controlled by the Directorate), northern Ukraine being split with the Belarusian People's Republic, and the newly stable Ukraine becoming a monarchy under a member of the House of Habsburg.

The government of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic was founded on 24–25 December 1917. In its publications it names itself either the "Republic of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies" or the "Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets". The 1917 republic, however, was only recognized by another non-recognized country, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and with the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty was ultimately defeated by mid-1918 and eventually dissolved. The last session of the government took place in the city of Taganrog.

In July 1918, the former members of the government formed the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine, the constituent assembly of which took place in Moscow. With the Central Powers negotiating an end to the World War, Bolshevik Russia resumed its hostilities towards the Ukrainian State fighting for Ukrainian independence and organized another Soviet government in Kursk, Russia. On 10 March 1919, according to the 3rd Congress of Soviets in Ukraine (conducted 6–10 March 1919) the name of the state was changed to the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic (abbreviated "УСРР" in Ukrainian).

Founding: 1917–1919[edit | edit source]

File:Bolsheviks Kharkov Ukraine anrc 04262a.jpg

Bolshevik commissars in Ukraine (1919).

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, several factions sought to create an independent Ukrainian state, alternately cooperating and struggling against each other. Numerous more or less socialist-oriented factions participated in the formation of the Ukrainian People's Republic (UPR) among which were Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Socialists-Revolutionaries, and many others. The most popular faction was initially the local Socialist Revolutionary Party that composed the local government together with Federalists and Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks boycotted any government initiatives most of the time, instigating several armed riots in order to establish the Soviet power without any intent for consensus.

Immediately after the October Revolution in Petrograd, Bolsheviks instigated the Kiev Bolshevik Uprising to support the Revolution and secure Kiev. Due to a lack of adequate support from the local population and anti-revolutionary Central Rada, however, the Kiev Bolshevik group split. Most moved to Kharkiv and received the support of the eastern Ukrainian cities and industrial centers. Later, this move was regarded as a mistake by some of the People's Commissars (Yevgenia Bosch). They issued an ultimatum to the Central Rada on 17 December to recognize the Soviet government of which the Rada was very critical. The Bolsheviks convened a separate congress and declared the first Soviet Republic of Ukraine on 24 December 1917 claiming the Central Rada and its supporters outlaws that need to be eradicated. Warfare ensued against the Ukrainian People's Republic (UPR) for the installation of the Soviet regime in the country and with the direct support from Soviet Russia the Ukrainian National forces were practically overran. The government of Ukraine appealed to foreign capitalists, finding the support in the face of the Central Powers as the Entente refused to recognize it. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Russian SFSR yielded all the captured Ukrainian territory as the Bolsheviks were forced out of Ukraine. The government of the Soviet Ukraine was dissolved after its last session on April 1918.

After the creation of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine in Taganrog, a second Ukrainian Soviet government, consisting mostly of Russians, Jews, and non-Ukrainians, was formed on 21 December 1918 that initiated new hostilities against Ukrainian nationalists as their military support from the Central Powers appeared negligible. After re-taking Kharkiv in February 1919, the government enforced Russian policies that did not adhere to local needs. 3,000 workers were dispatched from Russia to take grain from local farms by force if necessary to feed Russian cities, and were met with resistance. The Ukrainian language was also censured from administrative and educational use. Despite the initial success, the Red Army ended up being expelled from Ukrainian. fighting both White forces in the east and Ukrainian forces in the west, Lenin signed the Treaty of Minsk and later ordered the liquidation of the second Soviet Ukrainian government in August 1920.

See also[edit | edit source]

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