Stephen Velychenko

Chair of Ukrainian Studies

University of Toronto



This paper reviews the claim that Russian-ruled Ukraine was a colony and questions the modernist-relativist based critique of the national paradigm of history that underlies the idea of colonialism.[1] It notes, first, that the country has had events and relationships in its past that elsewhere are considered colonial. Second, it argues that because the differences in detail between Ukraine and overseas colonies are not sufficient to exclude it from the general category, Ukraine is a legitimate object of colonial-imperial studies. Third, it summarizes past scholarship on the status of Ukraine under Russian rule.


Ukraine and Colonialism as an Issue

Few students of history, politics, economics, or sociology would disagree that Russia was an empire, and most would agree that Ukraine was a borderland or periphery. But few in these disciplines consider it a colony. Analogously, most of those who regard colonialism as a specific kind of oppression and study it, exclude modern Ukraine from their purview, despite the similarity of events in Ukraine to other countries labeled colonialist and imperialist. Those who consider Ukraine “postcolonial” do not specify when or how it was colonial.[2] Among the reasons many exclude Ukraine from their list of colonies is the notion that the colonized and colonizer cannot be of the same race, that they cannot both live in Europe, and that colonialism must involve private corporations. Their condemnation of foreign rule over Asia and Africa does not extend to foreign rule over Ukraine. This restrictive conception of colonialism excludes the possibility that rulers, in this case Russian/Russified Bolsheviks, could indoctrinate the colonized with a variant of Marxism. Another reason Ukrainians are not categorized as colonized peoples is the lingering prevalence of official Tsarist and Stalinist Russo-centric interpretations of their country as either Little Russia or a “fraternal republic.” Both those governments centrally controlled and censored the media and the educational system, simultaneously denying their non-Russian subjects their own education, media and communications systems. The official central governmental depiction of Ukraine as a part of Russia and beneficiary rather than victim of Russian rule, consequently, heavily influenced not only Ukrainians but foreigners. Today this old official interpretation is still promulgated by Kremlin-controlled media. There are still those who refer to a “Kievan Russia” as a “first Russia” or an “empire,” or make nonsensical assertions like: “Kiev [sic] as the birthplace of the Russian empire” or “Russia’s first great empire was the Kievan [sic] Rus….”[3] There are still historians who think in terms of Vasili Kliuchevskii’s dictum about Russia as a country that supposedly “colonized itself,” and do not accept, like Richard Pipes, that Russia was in fact colonizing others’ lands. Some use the term “Eurasia” when they mean the Russian Empire or Soviet Union. The fact that there were no Russian counterparts of the English, French, and American critics of empire, who condemned their own governments as colonialist or imperialist, added credence and legitimacy to official government views of Russian rule in Ukrainian territories.[4]

Colonialist interpretations of the past derive from Romantic philosophy and national-based history writing. Today, the revisionist, modernist-relativist critics in the United States and European Union dismiss them as “ideologically loaded,” “invented” concepts that have “exhausted” their didactic and affirmative possibilities.[5] This approach influences some Ukrainians whose attitudes towards their own grand narrative of national history, accordingly, shifted from piety to iconoclasm without a pause for sober reflection on the dark side of imperial rule. And this despite the continued prevalence of the colonialist paradigm among those who study what was once called the Third World, and who consider this paradigm beyond the realm of discussion.[6]

Foreign historians should not tell their colleagues in other countries how they should write about their national pasts. However, they might be allowed to wonder why critics of the national paradigm in Ukraine do not reflect on the place of the revisionism they propose in a country not only still claimed, but now invaded, by its former imperial ruler.[7] They might also be allowed to point out that analagous debates on foreign rule and national history in ex-colonized countries like Ireland, Korea or Greece, occurred well after former imperial rulers had abandoned all claims to them.[8] In those countries, besides being removed in time from threats of re-incorporation, debates occurred without the presence of an empire loyalist minority opposed to their national independence.

Ukraine, unlike Korea Ireland or Greece, not only remains an object of imperial revanchism for today’s Russian rulers. A portion of the country’s population cannot accept the idea of national independence. They might be compared to the French in Algeria who could not accept Algerian independence and organized around the OAS [Organisation de l'Armée Secrète].[9] They are reminiscent of those Jews in Sinai who demanded of Moses: “hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:11). Such people formed the core of Kremlin-funded extremist groupings that presented a political alternative of re-incorporation into empire to those critical of the 2014 Euromaidan. In long-established nation-states aggrieved groups do not regard incorporation into foreign countries as a solution to their problems and, had Ukraine not been a Russian dependency and site of Russian colonization, the alternative of re-incorporation would not have existed.[10] As a former colonized territory invaded by its former imperial ruling power using old imperial interpretations of the past to justify its actions, does Ukraine enjoy suitable conditions for dispassionate scholarly reflection about whether or not it exists? In a society for generations subjected to blatant distortions and defamation of its past, as well as dismemberment and annexation, should historians wonder how to apply to its past theories developed by persons residing in countries that have been independent for decades if not centuries? Or should they focus on restoration of what the colonizer denied and explanation of why that happened?[11]

In a country still claimed by a former imperial ruler and at war with that former ruler, can the national paradigm critics refer to past “encounters” within empires without specifying they were not neutral mutual borrowings among equals, but exchanges within a foreign imposed hierarchy based on violence wherein “the weapons of the weak” had their limits? Should such critics focus on “national myths” without confronting the problem of lingering imperial illusions and their functions? It is arguably commendable not to create illusions about the past by confining that past within the administrative borders of national states that exist today and to write such histories in cooperation with other historians regardless of where they reside. Violence must be examined, and ideally all concerned should remember but forgive–with fair trials for perpetrators. Between peoples and governments who make no claims on each other and are secure in their independence this has happened. What to do, however, when critiques of national myths are not matched by critiques of imperial myths? When historians who do not share modernist, critical perspectives of the national paradigm appropriate the past of a territory in another state into the national narratives of their national state?[12]

The colonial paradigm represents an approach that reflects these concerns. It focuses on how issues like extraction, behaviour patterns, repression, resistance, exploitation and socio-demographic change are related to foreign rule, and to what degree imperial legacies persist after formal political independence. These latter would include the compact minority of urban ethnic Russian and Russified people in Ukraine’s south-east who did not evolve into a separatist creole elite. The colonial paradigm involves examining a society by contrasting it with an external force and then analyzing the effect of that force on the shifts and changes within the society. This involves issues like material standards of living and native population reactions to being humiliated, marginalized, “exoticized” and despised by foreign rulers whose propaganda adulterated their self-image.[13] It also provides appropriate comparative contexts.[14] Those who do not approach today’s Ukrainian-Russian war from the colonialist/imperialist perspective, for instance, can miscontrue it as “civil-war,” or as one involving “ethnic Russians seeking independence [from Ukraine].” Self-appointed leaders, claiming to represent what they regarded as an alienated minority, do indeed seek independence from Ukraine. But from the colonial-imperial perspective these de facto empire loyalists, are involved in an attempt at imperial revanchist regime restoration. They seek re-integration with the former empire. National independence movements do not seek re-integration with the former imperial power.[15]

Admittedly, recognition of past horrors associated with the dark side of imperial rule can give academic credence to extremist activism, and moral status to violence. Recognition could justify not only anti-imperialist nationalism, but crimes as defensive actions. Recognition of past horrors can lead to renewal of grievances and transfer of responsibility across generations. But judgement in such matters derive from morality and intelligence not methodological theories. Methodology cannot tell us how to distinguish between caricature, condemnation and criticism, between pressures stemming from modernization and urbanization and from foreign control, or how to allot due attention to both violence and cooperation. Methodological theories will not tell us that outsiders are not always the source of problems, or that past leaders normally did not face a choice between empire and independence, but between rival empires.

Those seriously concerned with peace and reconciliation realize it cannot be based on denial. Both stem only from accountability because victims and their descendents remember—even if they have been traumatized or cowed for generations.[16] Given most Russian- speakers and ethnic Russians support Ukrainian independence they are unlikely to be alienated by scholarly presentation of Russian colonialism and imperialism in Ukraine.[17] Anti-colonialism, finally, is not a matter of identity. It is a value shared by all those opposed to imperial rule, including people from ruling imperial nations.



Russian study of Ukraine as a colony existed briefly during the twenties when official historiography classified tsarist Russia as an empire.[18] After the collapse of the USSR some Russian historians renewed the study of Russian imperial rule and drew attention to Ukraine's ambiguous status under tsars and commissars.[19] They noted that Russians were neither responsible for central policies nor better‑off because of them, whilenon-Russian provinces became industrial centers because of geographical circumstances rather than policy. These supposedly naturally determined differences persisted after 1917. Ukrainian territories had centers of heavy industry, Ukrainians occupied positions in central institutions, dominated local administration, and suffered no more than others. If the USSR was an empire, it was unique in light of such circumstances because its non‑Russian "colonies" both provided raw materials to, and developed at the cost of, the Russian metropole. These historians also stressed that Ukrainians had been agents as well as victims of empire and characterized Ukraine’s historical status as “semi-colonial.” They questioned whether central policies were “Russian,” tsarist, or soviet and intentionally “anti-Ukrainian,” and whether the development was worth the cost.[20] Most recently, Boris Mironov summarized this mildly revisionist approach. He noted that one should recognize the repressive nature of imperial rule without exaggerating it. But he did not think the Russian empire could be compared to other empires because it was totally unlike them and unique. Mironov accepts there was national oppression from the second half of the 19th century, but not that central policies exploited Ukrainian territory in the interests of the metropole. He concluded that, in the final analysis, non-Russians benefited from Russian imperial rule and the empire was not colonialist. He regretted the failure of tsarist ministers to centralize the empire, modernize it, and turn it into a multi-national state. Although he sometimes compared the 31 Russian provinces as a unit with non-Russian regions, he did not extend this methodologically correct approach to his international comparisons. Instead, he compared the Russian empire with individual European countries, an undefined “Europe” or an undefined “west,” rather than with other empires. Mironov, like his colleagues, seems to be totally ignorant of the sizeable body of Ukrainian and English-language literature arguing Ukrainian lands did constitute an exploited colony. [21]

After Vladimir Putin’s became premier in 1999 the political climate changed. The staff of Ab Imperio chose to relocate to the USA. As its editor wrote: “the level of expertise on Ukraine in Russia has deteriorated in Russia to a state beyond any intellectual relevance.” Tetania Iakovleva, the author of a definite biography of Mazepa, wrote in 2015: “You understand, in Russia they [Russian readers] know NOTHING [sic] about the history of Ukraine.”[22] While a few scholars still engage in critical Ukrainovedennie, the ideas of nineteenth-century slavophiles like Nikolai Danilevskii and Mikhail Pogodin about the Russian empire not being built on the bones of trampled nations, or ruled according to principles of colonial self-interest and greed, have reappeared. School texts and popular accounts present a hybrid tsarist-soviet official interpretation of Russian history within which Ukraine is again a Little Russia inhabited by younger brothers who benefited from Russian rule.[23] Old imperial themes that Putin announced in speeches like: single origins, single nationality, evil foreign (which does not include Russia) oppression, nice folk songs, and flowering after reunion with Russia, reappeared in history books. Both Stalin and Denikin are now heroes as empire restorationists. Explanation consists of descriptions of foreign anti-Russian plots and conspiracies.[24] Russian nationalist critics, like Aleksei Shiropaev, who considered Ukraine to have been an exploited Russian colony, are few.[25] They have less influence on the Russian public than do their anti-imperialist European and American counterparts in their countries who, as noted above, consider favorable reference to empires beyond the pale of discussion. In Russia today, conversely, crackpot imperialist pseudo-histories are disturbingly popular.[26] Various “alternative historians,” apologists for empire; neo imperialists and neo colonialists who promulgate the neo imperial notions of “Eurasianism” or the “Russian World,” a Russian counterpart to the “New American Century,” populate the Russian public sphere.[27]

After 1991 some foreign Russia/Soviet analysts began to revise their view of "Russia" as a state that "happened to have imperial characteristics,” and to regard it as “a state that was an empire." [28] Consequently, more Russian/Soviet specialists than before now study Russian imperialism and colonialism – as opposed to “Soviet nationalities.” They confirm that Ukraine and Russia were hardly a “family,” and did not “share the same” religion, culture, traditions or language, except in so far as most of the “sharing” resulted from centralist policy intended to erase difference.[29] However, no one within this group cites the early 20th century Ukrainian writings on the subject. Nor has anyone yet written a study titled: How Russia Underdeveloped Ukraine. While most within this group classify Russia as an empire, few classify Ukraine as colony. Nor do all within the Russian-east European field distinguish between Russian national and imperial interests, or agree that, like other imperial elites before them, Putin and his associates must now forget about empire.[30]In any case, these area specialists have little impact on imperial or colonial studies in general. This field is dominated by those with leftist persuasions who ignore the Marxist idea of competing rival imperialisms and consider American or “Western” imperialism as the only imperialism. Such leftists argue that this “western” imperialism has turned independent Ukraine into its colony, and Russia is defending Ukraine from that imperialism.[31]

Ukrainian historians after 1991 detailed the expropriation, deportation, repression, and extraction that occurred after 1917 using previously closed archives.[32] More now refer to Ukrainians as victims of colonialism but, there is no systematic comprehensive comparative approach to Ukraine as a colony. Many issues remain unstudied. Could Russian rule, being neither liberal or modern, have a positive effect on training for self-government, material well-being, cultural development, upwards mobility, and human dignity? Or, was the effect of Russian rule on these matters negative, in which case, would not Russian rule be indefensible? Did Russian rule provide better governance justice or public services than the indigenous alternatives did or might-have? Those who do consider Russian policy as colonialist and Ukraine as postcolonial, do not specify when Ukrainian lands became Russian colonies, or when Ukraine becomes post-colonial.[33]

While very few foreign non-Ukrainian specialists are aware of Ukrainian studies of Russian rule, some historians have begun to compare those two countries with other empires and colonies. They illustrate there can be interdependence between regions usually considered separate from each other.[34] Nonetheless, as noted, Ukraine remains absent from imperial and colonial studies.[35] Ukraine was also absent from Dependency Theory and Modernization Theory.[36]


Borderland, Periphery, Republic, Occupied Territory or Colony?

Russian-ruled Ukraine had distinct elements in its past common to colonized societies. These include conquest, mass deportation, economic extraction, a tiny middle-class, selective modernization to benefit the metropole, and cultural denigration of native populations. Under the tsars not one Ukrainian province had a factory manufacturing implements like axes, scythes, sickles, metal hinges, or shovels. As a Bolshevik Republic, it did not have even one phonograph record factory.[37] Ukraine under Bolshevik rule experienced native-population decimation in tandem with increases in the number of Russian settler-migrants. In 1970, within the territory of 1897 tsarist Ukraine under Bolshevik Russian rule after 1919, the percentage share of declared Ukrainians within the total population had dropped to 70% from 73% in 1897. The number of declared and ethnic Russians combined rose from approximately 12 to 22% – despite Famine deaths and war losses. This demographic catastrophe, analogous to the decimation of native populations in the Americas, western Mongolia, German Africa, or Myanmar, was obscured by the addition of approximately 7-8 million western Ukrainians after 1945 to Bolshevik Ukraine. As of 2001 the total number of declared Ukrainians on the territory of what had been tsarist Ukraine was approximately the same as it was in 1917 – approximately 30 million.[38]

Ukrainian lands, like other colonies, was ruled by a foreign elite administering via local collaborators, and wealthy urban minorities with a religion or language different from the indigenous majority among whom they lived. The imperial urban elite minority had an image of the majority among whom they dwelled as either threatening savages (Mazepintsy, Petliurovtsy, Banderovtsy, natsionalisty), or colourful loyal Uncle Toms (Malorosy, khokhly). Second or third generation culturally and linguistically assimilated urban ethnic Ukrainians would view their grandparents according to that same good/bad dualism. As in all colonized lands, the division between ruler minority and ruled majority could run within families. Tacitus tells us Arminius, leader of a massive anti-Roman revolt, had a brother, Flavus, who served Rome. In countries outside Europe such traits are normally labeled colonialist. Why countries with similar traits to overseas European colonies, but located in the Eurasian continent, should be called borderlands or peripheries instead of colonies is unclear.

Ukraine’s status under Russian rule did differ in ways from the overseas western European colonies that are usually considered typical of colonialism.[39] One major difference was that Ukrainians could make careers in the metropolitan central bureaucracy unlike natives in western European empires. Nor were Ukrainians normally spatially separated within their ethnic territory from Russians. In as much as the ruling elite attempted to politically, legally and culturally Russify them, by decree and force, thus abolishing their differences from Russians, Ukrainians differed from natives in other empires where central policies maintained their differences and distance from the ruling country. Also significant was the absence of a colonist creole-separatist elite. The Russian minority under Russian rule was loyalist. [40] However, such differences arguably are not sufficient to exclude Ukraine from the category of colonized territory.

Although Russians and Ukrainians had the same legal status and urban Russians did not live apart from Ukrainians, urban Russian migrants were de facto privileged – regardless of why they settled in Ukrainian provinces. Russian-ruled Ukraine included hybrids, collaborators, and local mediators and, except for the administrators and officers, commoner Russian migrants were themselves as much victims of the ruling elite as the native. Yet, Russians did not have to learn a foreign language or adopt foreign culture for status and mobility outside the borders of ethnic Russia. Russians in Ukrainian lands had the right not to use or learn the local language. They could be educated, informed, entertained and become “modern” without knowing a word of Ukrainian. Status, mobility and modernity for Ukrainians on their native territory depended on learning and using Russian – as if they were the foreigners. Ignorance of Russian, except for a few years between 1923 and 1933, meant low paying jobs and low status for the majority. Urban Ukrainian speakers in particular were marginalized and politically suspect (neblagonadezhnie). In 1926, only 9% of all those literate in Ukrainian, for instance, were non-Ukrainians. Of all those literate in Russian, 83% were non-Russians.[41] Under such circumstances the percentage of native Ukrainians declaring Ukrainian their native language, or using it publicly, understandably declined from 1897 through to 1991.[42] In theory, there was no barrier to assimilation or mobility. In practice there was for those who did not learn or use Russian.[43]

A second supposed difference was that Ukrainian lands that between 1800 and 1917 did not constitute a single legal-administrative unit called a colony.[44] They were never administered by a private trading company, which did not exist in the Russian empire, nor were they administratively separated from the imperial Russian metropole. British India, however, the place where postcolonial theory was invented, was never legally classified as a colony either, nor was Ireland. Korea under Japanese rule was formally the Protectorate of Chosen – not a colony. All these countries, nonetheless, are studied as colonies.[45]

Russians and Ukrainians, while formally equal in law and not physically segregated before 1917, lived de facto separate from each other in small towns and villages. In Kharkiv province, Ukraine’s oldest Russian settlement territory, rural intermarriage was rare, and even during the 1933 Famine there was no love lost between the two. Lev Kopelev reported Russian women refused as absolutely as did Ukrainian women to let their sons marry girls of the other nationality. For Russians the honkies [khakhlachki], were lice-ridden and never took baths, while Ukrainians considered the russkies [katsapki] pigs who, even though they ran to the bathhouse every week, nonetheless, returned to sleep again in filth together with their bedbugs cockroaches and livestock. [46] Whether or not the internal passport system in the USSR intensified a segregation normally associated with colonialism between a native population in collective farms and an urban settler population, is unclear. [47]

A third difference between Russian-ruled Ukrainian territories and western European colonies/peripheries was that in Russian-ruled Ukraine, as in Ireland, marginalization and ridicule was not linked to visible traits like race, but to language-use. Public-use of Ukrainian in tsarist and soviet Ukraine (except perhaps during the twenties) outside strictly-defined limits, resulted in shaming and disparaging remarks. More seriously, it could put speakers under suspicion, and even surveillance, as potentially disloyal radicals. By the end of the 1920s, a secret police (CHEKA) list of 20 categories defining who were to be deemed suspicious, included not only anyone connected to the tsarist and non-Bolshevik Ukrainian governments, but “all nationalists of all stripes and hues.” A political prisoner related that in 1933 an interrogator told him all he had to do to round-up “Ukrainian nationalists” was to arrest the subscribers of Ukrainian-language publications.[48]

A fourth difference was the absence of private corporate capitalism in the USSR, which, according to official dogma, meant the USSR could not be imperialist. But, capitalism is not defined by private ownership. It is defined by the relations of production and, in countries ruled by communist parties, these relations included production and exchange of commodities for profit. Whether profits go to directors running private corporations, or to party-appointed government directors made little difference to the producers, who had no say in the matter. Profit/surplus going to a council of commissars, did not mean that the creation of that profit was unrelated to issues associated with capitalist colonialism: subordination, exploitation, violence, expropriation, and extraction of surplus value. Capitalism has less to do about ownership than with producers having no say about what or how much they produce, or how their products should be distributed. Despite the claim of Russian historians to the contrary, Ukrainians before 1917 made strong arguments showing the Ukrainian provinces were exploited economically by the Russian metropole.

Fifth, particularly after 1917, some claim that because Russian Bolsheviks were as brutal towards Russians in Russia as they were towards non-Russians in their nominal republics, the notion of a Russian colonialist exploitation cannot apply. Others claim that because many Bolshevik leaders were not ethnic Russians, the Russian Social Democratic Labour, and later Communist Party, were not “Russian” parties. This latter claim fails to consider that the presence of ethnic non-Russians within this party matters little because ethnic origins do not determine national loyalties. Nationality is a political-cultural not a biological phenomenon. Ethnic Russians and Jews, then as now, could just as readily support Ukrainian independence as ethnic Ukrainians could oppose it. It should also be remembered that the Bolsheviks’ Russian opponents did not consider them “Russian” and accused them of destroying Russia in pursuit of a communist chimera. The prominent White Russian Vasili Shulgin surmised: “An internationalist communist gang has conquered and now rules Russia that uses Russian only because otherwise most of the population would not understand its decrees.” The Russians among them, he thought, represented Russian interests as much as the Latvian-born Cheka chief Peters represented Latvian interests.[49]

The argument about Russian brutality ignores the matter of perceptions. Regardless of what Russians did to each other in Russia, the same behaviour in Ukraine necessarily included a national element that made that behaviour seem worse there than in Russia. The situation might be compared to the violence and extraction that occurred in western European empires. Although Europeans could butcher each other with much gusto and ingenuity, as during the Thirty Years War or Napoleon’s Spanish campaign, today there are those who claim that same violence in non-white colonies was worse because perpetrators and victims were of a different race. According to such logic, even if all Ukrainians did not consider themselves “Ukrainian” and knew only that Russians were different from themselves, then it follows that Russian Bolshevik violence in Ukraine necessarily had a foreign face which made it seem worse to its victims. Ethnic Ukrainian members in the party’s local branch did not change the situation. No Bolshevik furthermore, ever condemned German as the language of the Kaiser, or Russian as the language of Denikin or anti-Bolshevik “bourgeois” political parties. On 22 January 1922, for instance, Kommunist (Kyiv) ran an article entitled “The Ukrainian Language is not the language of Petliura.” It had little impact on underlying anti-Ukrainian opinions of the rank and file.[50] Regardless of occasional official condemnations of such attitudes, Russian Bolsheviks, like their White rivals, commonly associated Ukrainian with subversive anti-centralist attitudes.

To account for the differences between Russian ruled Ukrainian lands and European-ruled overseas territories, Ukrainians in the 1920's introduced the idea of “colony of the European type.”[51] While the term itself is unacceptable as it would exclude countries outside Europe whose status within empire resembled that of Ukraine, the underlying idea was correct. Of the four types of colonialism scholars now identify: plantation, administrative, settler and mixed-settler, the latter is best applicable to nineteenth and twentieth century tsarist Ukraine. Within this classification Ukraine figures alongside Latin American countries, Algeria, Ireland and Korea.[52]

Besides these four basic categories, some academics also use the sub-category “internal colony.” This concept was first used to refer to exploitation of peasants by urban elites and regional backwardness in single countries. Latin American academics used it to describe the persistence of colonial-type relationships within newly independent countries between the ruling wealthier minority of settler-colonist or settler-colonist descended creoles and mestizos, and poorer subordinated native Indians. Anglo-American academics expanded the sub-category to include territorially contiguous European states whose ruling elites enacted the same kinds of policies in their peripheral regions as did ruling elites of European states in overseas possessions. In both instances, cultural-linguistic differences between metropole and periphery coincided with economic inequalities and backwardness. Whereas colonialism is normally applied to the consequences of foreign rule in overseas territories administratively separate from the metropole, internal colonialism is usually used for regions directly incorporated into a territorially contiguous metropole. [53]

The applicability of colonialism or internal-colonialism, however, depends not only on political, economic, administrative and geographical indicators, but on legitimacy and memory. Since all states are created using similar methods that include injustice, what is important for analytical purposes is to determine whether those states were subsequently labeled “empire” or “national state” or “multi-national state,” how their elites saw them, how these terms were defined at the time of formation, and how annexed populations remembered initial incorporations and related injustices. Edmund Burke wrote that all government is usurpation and that what mattered in the end was only how many of the associated injustices were forgotten. Accordingly, ruling metropoles appear as empires with colonies where dominated people have not forgotten injustices and seek secession as a solution to their grievances. [54] Conversely, if the descendents of the conquered no longer consider the conquest of their territory and associated repressions by foreign rulers relevant, or have forgotten about them, and do not perceive grievances as caused by a conquering foreign metropole, then we have a multi-national state wherein the relationship between periphery and metropole cannot be labeled colonialist. [55] In such circumstances problems play out in terms of socio-economic and class, not national, politics.[56] The English today, for instance, do not associate their grievances with French colonization and the Norman conquest, or regard the re-establishment of the pre-1066 Kingdom of England as a solution to their grievances.

While Russian-ruled Ukraine might be considered an “internal colony” in the European sense of the term, such usage has implications that make it problematical. One of these concerns the “water distinction.” This implies that the USSR was a legitimate multi-national state and not an illegitimate empire. This distinction led post-war world leaders not to consider the 1960 UN declaration “Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” applicable to Ukraine. The distinction is based on the arbitrary assumption that the passage of time legitimated the historical subjugation of a territorially adjacent alien people to a foreign political center, but not the historical subjugation of an alien population separated by water from such a center. The UN, therefore, supported secession in the name of national self-determination and “decolonization” when it involved overseas territories. Otherwise it condemned secession as infringement on territorial integrity.[57] In this context, the subcategory internal-colonialism does not imply a legitimate right of secession as does the category colonialism. Related to this reservation is the matter of successor states. Specifically, in light of the “water distinction”, international organizations and countries who regard todays Russian Federation as successor to the USSR, cannot simultaneously recognize that nations once part of the USSR are indeed sovereign and independent.[58] In which case Ukraine, as “internal colony,” would have no right of secession in the opinion of those who accept the USSR was a legitimate state, as claimed by the official interpretation of its creation, and not an empire restored by conquest.[59]

Internal colonialism in its Latin American sense could also be applicable to post-1991 Ukraine, but again, with reservations. Specifically, in so far as Ukraine’s Russian/Russified minority, that originated in its settler colonist population, still dominated de facto the country after independence, they resembled the Latin American creoles who dominated native Indians in Latin American countries after independence. However, because most of Ukraine’s Russian/Russified minority were empire-loyalist, unlike their creole-separatist Spanish-descended Latin American counterparts, they sooner resembled the Northern Ireland Protestants and Algerian French.[60] Ukraine’s Russians never aspired to rule a state independent of Russia. After the 2004 Orange Revolution, Putin and his associates decided to establish armed extremist loyalist fringe-groups based on the Russified/Russian setter-colonist descended minority. Russian leaders exploited their grievances and hoped to use them as proxies to maintain hegemony over Ukrainian lands by dividing them into a number of provinces.[61] In face of his invasion the majority of Russians and Russian- speakers supported Ukrainian independence.

A final argument when considering the applicability of the term colonial to Ukraine, is that it describes more accurately what Ukraine was than do alternatives. First, Ukrainian lands cannot be categorized as “occupied territory.” The legal status of “occupied territory” in the early 20th century assumed a strict separation of civilian and military. It was intended to maintain the theoretical sovereignty of a defeated state while it was occupied by a foreign army. It was not applied to colonies. Bolshevik Russia claimed permanent sovereignty over Ukrainian territory. Russian Bolsheviks administered through centrally controlled army-dominated Revkoms, and party controlled soviets (councils). They abolished the laws passed by the Ukrainian National Republic in 1917-1919 contrary to the Hague Conventions. Bolshevik leaders did not even share the constitutional liberal principles that underlay the Convention. [62]

Second, except for a few months between 1917 and 1919, Ukraine was never a Republic in the internationally accepted meaning of the term. Although the Bolsheviks did name one of their administrative units a Ukrainian republic, and under that label grouped nine former Ukrainian provinces into one province, this categorization is legally and politically meaningless because only Bolshevik sympathizers shared the Bolshevik definition of “republic.” [63] The Bolshevik Ukrainian province, however, did at least function as an analytical concept that historians not only projected into the past, but defined as being a colonized unit in pre-1917 empires, which, until 1932 they studied as such. While they did not regard the Ukrainian “republic” as a colony, Ukrainian émigrés did.

Although Bolsheviks accepted the idea that an entity called Ukraine existed and had a history, there still remained historians after 1917 who claimed that because there was no territorial political unit called Ukraine before the Central Rada declared it in 1917, there could be no such thing as “Ukrainian history” before then. This notion ignores the fact that states cannot be equated with society and, that the idea of a Ukrainian history before 1917 is no more, or just as, anachronistic, as the idea of a “Italian history” prior to 1861, “Belgian history” before 1830, “German history” before 1871, “Portuguese history” before 1640, or “Russian history” before 1721 when Peter renamed the Muscovite Tsardom as Rossiia. There may not have been any Ukrainians in Ukraine in A.D. 900. But Berlin had no Germans, Moscow had no Russians, nor did Budapest have any Hungarians at the time. Madrid was a Moorish settlement, and Constantinople had hardly any Turks. Historians who project the political unit called Ukraine into the pre- 1917 past, accordingly, are like most other historians and are typical not exceptional.

We may reject projecting present-day Ukraine into the pre-1917 past and instead, like today’s Kremlin rulers and some modernist-relativists, project the past, when there was no entity called Ukraine, into the present. In this case, “province” would appear as the correct term for Ukrainian lands. But then, why think about only this part of the world using old terms like Malorossiia, Galicia, South-west Russia, or Novorossiia, and not read the past into the present of the rest of the planet as well? Even today’s Kremlin rulers do not do that. No one today thinks in terms of French Indo-China, or the Raj, or Upper and Lower Canada. While correct from a legal-administrative view, the term “province” is unsuitable also because it ignores the national, cultural, religious, linguistic, and socio-economic commonalities specific to all the Ukrainian provinces, that separated them from other groups of provinces within the emipre with different sets of shared commonalities.

Third, using geographical terms like borderland or periphery to categorize Ukraine, instead of colony or colonialism, tells us nothing about status. Those who do use them, neither explain the difference between them, what exactly borderland or periphery status is supposed to mean, or, why they prefer those terms to colony. Modern Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Norway and Ireland, like Ukraine, were all geographically peripheral. Yet, unlike Ukraine and Ireland, the others were culturally mainstream, independent, affluent and even imperial at times.[64] What made the first four similar to each other and different from the latter two was not peripheral border status, but politically defined dependency-- colonialism. The term colony for Russian-ruled Ukraine remains by default.



The first complaints against Russian repression in printed texts appeared in the late 18th century. Semen Divovych’s Razgovor Velikorossii s Malorossiei (1762) and Vasyl Poletyka’s Oda na rabstvo (1782) reminded contemporaries that although Russia [velikaia rossiia] may have swallowed Cossack Ukraine, it was not yet digested – to use Rousseau’s words. In the mid nineteenth century Ukrainian/Little Russian educated began to refer to all the Ukrainian provinces of the Russian empire [Rossiia] alternatively either as “South-Russia” or “Ukraine,” as a cultural unit distinct from Russia. Taking “the people,” rather than administrative units as their fundamental unit of analysis, they claimed the language of the native population in the 8 provinces ought to be used in education, administration and the media, and that those provinces ought to have autonomy as a single political unit. This was a necessary precondition to categorizing Ukrainians as majority in “Ukraine,” rather than as a minority in the empire. Simultaneously, in published fiction and non-fiction, authors identified aspects of tsarist-Russian rule in their provinces as oppressive -- aspects elsewhere defined as colonial in character.[65] In 1871 Mykola Iasnopolsky used statistics to illustrate how “South Russia” was poorer and less developed than “North Russia.” At the turn of the century others introduced the idea that political-cultural unit they called Ukraine was also a single economic unit, and questioned whether that unit was reaping its share of the wealth created by imperial industrialization. They demonstrated that Ukrainians were poor even though their provinces were rich in resources because the central government was impoverishing outlying regions.[66] However, the moderate majority of Ukrainian educated regarded linguistic and cultural assimilation as more significant indices of Russian domination and more dangerous than economic exploitation. Neither Borys Hrinchenko or Mykhailo Drahomanov in the 1890s used the term “colonial” in the first debate on the question of Ukraine's cultural dependence on Russia. Nor was it used in the later discussion launched on the eve of the war by Dmytro Dontsov, who called for a rejection of Russian cultural domination. Although critics in western Europe were using the terms colony and colonialism in the early 20th century to refer to the adverse cultural consequences of political subjugation and the sense of inferiority or humiliation it produced, few Ukrainian intellectuals adopted them. In 1914 few considered the Ukrainian political-cultural-economic unit a colony exploited by “Russian colonialism.”

In 1906 Mykola Mikhnovsky, the first to argue that Russian rule over Ukraine was illegitimate under international law, did not describe Ukraine as a “colony.” Yet, as James Connelly did in Ireland, he placed Ukrainian issues in the context of the “oppressed peoples” of the world and specified that imperial tariff and financial policy discriminated against Ukraine in favour of the Russian provinces.[67] He asserted that: “the proletariat of the ruling nation and that of the subjugated nation are two different classes with dissimilar interests.” Decades before Frantz Fanon, Mikhnovsky justified the anti-colonialist violence of the colonized in his 1900 pamphlet Samostiina Ukraina: “… that inhuman Russian attitude towards us [Ukrainians] sanctifies our hatred for them and our moral right to kill the oppressor while defending ourselves from oppression.”[68]

Ukrainians translated and published work by Renner and Kautsky on colonial issues. In 1911, for the first time in Ukrainian thought, Mykola Stasiuk explicitly applied the term “colonialist” to the relationship between Ukraine and the central imperial government.[69] Alongside Mykola Porsh and others, he also refuted the idea of Russian socialists, and Lenin in particular, that because Russia had a shortage of capital and no “superprofits,” Russians did not benefit from empire and their government was not imperialist or colonialist in relation to the non-Russian regions. Ukrainians began comparing their country with Ireland from 1881. In 1916 Max Weber compared the non-Russian territories of the Romanov empire with British colonies like Ireland and India.[70] In 1917, in what is perhaps the first use of the term, the Ukrainian SR Joseph Maievsky published a pamphlet titled “Red Imperialism” noting: “[Russian] Imperialism only changed its tricolour flag into a red one ....” [71]

Thus, by 1917, a representative group of educated Ukrainians, had re-classified lands that an imperial ruler had divided into 8 provinces, into a national unit that constituted a colony, and were using terms like “white niggers” for Ukrainians and “settler colonists” for Russians in that unit. Like their contemporary counterparts, Ukrainians re-defined minority/majority status criteria from socio-economic to linguistic-cultural. In today’s parlance, they created a “narrative construction” within which a specific territory was not an administrative parcel of land, but a native territory of an indigenous national majority who were not simply a minority in an empire.

Marxists in the Ukrainian Social Democratic Workers Party, and later the Ukrainian Communist Party (UCP), developed the idea that Ukraine was a Russian colony before and after 1917. [72] They seized upon Marxism as a way of mobilizing their people against Russian rule much as did Asian intellectuals to mobilize theirs against foreign rule. Ukrainian, like Asian Marxism, was only marginally related to the working class, but as in Asia, it served as a theory justifying not only industrial modernity but national liberation. Ukrainian leftists, like their Asian counterparts, lived in country wherein capitalism was more an ethnic-religious than an economic problem because its agents usually belonged to minorities. In both countries, consequently, socialism and nationalism overlapped in ways they did not in north-western Europe. While the majority of Ukrainian national leaders, like their Irish counterparts, considered capitalist industrial modernity a threat to Ukrainian nationality, the Marxist minority argued that as a colonized entity Ukrainian nationality language and culture could only develop in tandem with and not opposed to capitalist modernity. [73]

Ukrainian Marxists condemned the rapacious extraction to which Russian Bolsheviks subjected Ukraine, an extraction that Lenin had identified in his Imperialism (1916), as a characteristic of colonialism --although they did not use the term “state capitalist.” More significantly, they did not see the Ukrainian struggle against the tsarist and Bolshevik policies they called imperialist and colonialist in only economic terms. They also treated it as cultural-linguistic conflict involving issues of identity and status which included matters such as anti-Ukrainian attitudes of the settler-Russian proletariat in Ukraine. These included Russian chauvinism and the bureaucratic centralization that underlay cultural and linguistic russification.

         Ukrainian Marxists did not treat colonialism as a bilateral relationship between ruler and ruled but as a trilateral one within which the settler-colonist minority, depending on their interests, could either support or oppose central rulers, and be separatist or loyalist. Vasyl Shakhrai wrote it was not evident that the “victorious industrial proletariat of the formerly ruling nation” would stop exploiting the formerly ruled nations. “The socialization of the means of production will not automatically end the domination of one nation over another…. For as long as one nation rules and another submits there will be no socialism even if the means of production are socialized.” Vasyl Mazurenko explained there was no socialist economic rationale for centralization that led to power for Moscow and dependency and exploitation for non Russian republics. He warned the Communist International to: “save communism from Muscovite imperialism!”[74]

Between 1921 and 1941 Ukrainian academics characterized pre-1917 Ukraine as a colony and wrote monographs on modernization under conditions of dependency.[75] They could not present Bolshevik rule as colonial after 1923, but secret police reports refer to Ukrainians condemning Bolshevik rule as Russian colonialism during the 20s and 30s.[76] The wartime western Ukrainian nationalist underground also disseminated the idea that Ukraine was an underdeveloped colony exploited by a state-capitalist Russia after 1917. Post-war Soviet historians labeled tsarist Ukraine a “semi-colony.” Unlike their pre-war colleagues, they claimed that despite political and cultural oppression, the country modernized economically due to Imperial Russia’s industrialization and agricultural commercialization. From that perspective, separatist nationalism was “reactionary” because it threatened the large-scale unity presumed necessary for revolutionary struggle and development. Soviet Ukraine was a “republic.”

Despite presence in Ukrainian thought, writings about Russian colonialism were restricted to the educated. Anti-colonialist discourse was marginal in the public sphere before and after 1917. Mykhailo Hrushevsky personally did consider Ukraine a Russian colony and in some articles he described Ukrainian lands as sources of raw materials and income for their respective Austrian and Russian metropoles. But he did not use the words colony or colonialism in his major publications.[77] He represented the prevailing understanding of most educated Ukrainians at the time of their people not as "colonized natives" but, as an oppressed non‑state nationality. Abroad, Ivan Lysiak-Rudnytsky, Vsevolod Holubnychy and Oleksander Ohloblyn, did not consider tsarist Ukraine to have been a colony. Ohloblyn specified that although tsarist economic policies could be considered "colonialist," the entire subject of Ukraine's modern economy was unstudied.[78] The Ukrainian national grand narrative of history, although based on the notion of exploitation, thwarted indigenous development, and focused on exploitation, endurance, and dichotomies, did not categorize Ukraine as a colony. The reason for this was, arguably, more political than academic. Namely, the pre-1917 Ukrainian intellectuals who created the narrative were political moderates who sought reform within the tsarist system. Had they used colonialism, a concept associated with radicalism and secession to justify their case, they would have alienated potential supporters among Russian moderates and opened themselves to harsher oppression than they already faced.

Today, despite frequent appearance in printed text, colonialism remains marginal in Ukrainian thought and public discourse.[79] The leaders of the two Maidans mobilized around classical republican liberal ideals and cultural not political nationalism – although both events had distinct anti-colonial anti-imperialist characteristics. Instead of introducing a policy of decolonization in 2014, the government introduced a policy labeled de-communization restricted to Bolshevik rather than Russian aspects of Ukraine’s past. [80]

[1] The paper does not consider. For a recent discussion as to whether or not eastern Galicia/western Ukraine could be considered a colony: Historyka. Studia Metodologiczna 42 (2012).

[2] Methodologically flawed but trendy postcolonialism, as Ernest Gellner remarked: “tells us what we know in a language we can’t understand.” “When compared with the breakthrough that the social sciences have made over the past few years, the morose repetitive meanderings of postcolonial studies are sterile.” J. F. Bayart, “Postcolonial Studies: A Political Invention of Tradition?” Public Culture 23, no.1 (2011) 65, 81. S. Velychenko, “Postcolonialism and Ukrainian History,” Ab Imperio no. 1 (2004) 391-404.

[3] Recent examples: M. Kalb, Imperial Gamble. Putin Ukraine and the New Cold War

(Washington, 2015) 29, 217, 219, passim; D.E. McNabb, Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Imperial Revival (Boca Raton, 2016) 19. Ronald Suny and Valery Kivelson are more circumspect: “It is a charged act therefore, to begin ‘Russian history’ with the history of medieval Rus.” They nonetheless begin their text with Rus as an “originary moment.” Russia’s Empires (Oxford, 2017) 7, 36-37.

[4] Only Mikhail Bakunin unequivocally supported Ukrainian secession from empire. Among historians Mikhail Pokrovsky was the most critical of tsarist rule in Ukraine. A. Avtorkhanov, Imperiia kremlia. Sovetskii typ kolonializma (New York, 1988) reprinted Vilnius, 1990, was Chechen not Russian. For a discussion: W. Sunderland, “The 'Colonization Question': Visions of Colonization in Late Imperial Russia," Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 48 no. 2 (2000) 212; V. Tolz, Russia (London, 2001) 156-74; O. Malinova, “Empire as a subject of Russian Political Discourses,” A. Miller ed., Nasledie imperii i budushchee Rossii (Moscow, 2008) 59-102. On Russian interpretations of Ukrainian history: S. Plokhy, Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and tthe Writing of Ukrainian History (Toronto, 2005); idem, The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (Cambridge, 2006); S. Velychenko, National History as Cultural Process. The Interpretation of Ukraine’s Past in Polish Russian and Ukrainian Historical Writing. From Earliest Times to 1914. (Edmonton, 1992)

[5] In the 21rst century in some parts of the world the nation-state paradigm may indeed be in decline together with its subject the national-state. Former Russian-Soviet ruled territories cannot be included yet within that select ”advanced” part of the world.

[6] In response to the fury caused by an article in Third World Quarterly in 2017 claiming colonialism had benefits, the editor and15 members of the board resigned then the publisher removed the article from the internet. Its author received death threats. B. Gilley, “The Case for Colonialism,” Third World Quarterly 28 (September, 2017) 1-17.


[7] Revisionist perspectives on Ukrainian history: S. Plokhy ed., The Future of the Past. New Perspectives on Ukrainian History (Cambridge, 2016). Plokhy does not explain how proposed new historical narratives are supposed to reconcile “inclusion” and “acceptability”, with repression, exploitation, violence in the past and invasion in the present (22-23). Mark Von Hagen and Andreas Graziosi note imperialism and colonialism are as part of continental as of overseas European history.

[8] In Algeria such a debate took place during and in the wake of the anti-French war. Frantz Fanon justified the anti-colonialist violence of the colonized. Albert Camus condemned the violence of both sides. He thought it better to suffer injustices than to commit them to win a war. A. Camus, Algerian Chronicles (Cambridge, USA, 2013).

[9] That ethnic Ukrainians are among loyalist Russian extremists is of little consequence. As many as 250 000 Arabs (harki) fought against their countrymen during the Algerian war. In Ireland between 1914 and 1920 more Irish fought in the British Army than in the IRA.

[10] Recent surveys of the Ukrainian-Russian war and the Kremlin’s Fifth Column in Ukraine: G. Toal, Near Abroad. Putin, the West, and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus (Oxford, 2017), T. Kuzio, Ukraine : democratization, corruption, and the new Russian Imperialism (New York, 2015) 102-13; Ie. Vasylchuk, Rosiiskyi ekstremizm v Ukraini (Cherkasy, 2015). A. Shekhovtsov, “Alekander Dugin’s Neo-Euarasianism and the Russian-Ukrainian War,” in M. Bassin, G. Pozo eds, The Politics of Eurasianism (London, 2017) 181-200. For a 2011 list of 17 Russian extremist groupings in Ukraine:

[11] V. Adadurov, ‘Vpysuvannia’ Ukrainskoi istorii v ievropeiskyi kontekst i ioho metodolohicni zasady, (Lviv, 2013). S. Velychenko, “Nationalizing and Denationalizing the Past. Ukrainian and Russian History in Comparative Perspective,” Ab Imperio no 1 (2007) 477-94. Andreas Kappeler noted that non- national approaches to Ukrainian history were contingent upon the disappearance of the old imperial narratives, “From an Ethnonational to a Multiethnic to a Transnational Ukrainian History,” H. Kasianov, P. Ter, eds., Laboratory of Transnational History. Ukraine and Recent Ukrainian Historiography (New York, 2008) 77-78.

[12] 2001 Council of Europe recommendations for teaching history advocated pluralist tolerant approaches to the past. Those involved did not envisage that any government in geographical Europe in the 21rst. century could possibly make neo-imperial claims on its former ruled-territories, let alone, militarily occupy them. <>

[13] Features and themes identified by colonial paradigm are summarized: H. Streets-Salter, T. R. Getz, Empires and Colonies in the Modern World. A Global Perspective (New York, 2016) 269-99.

[14] Those interested in global or transnational history might consider arranging political space in terms of borders defined by colony, empire, nation, state, cores, peripheries, centres, or margins passé. But if historians attempting to transgress those borders in their search for an alternative ordering of political space are not to lose themselves in abstract metaphysical obfuscations, they must deal with such terms because they defined the setting in which phenomena occurred. Using the term “local” does not clarify the subject investigated.

[15] One example of such a misconstrued approach: E. Giuliano, The Social Bases of Support for Self-determination in East Ukraine,” Ethnopolitics no. 5 (2015) 513-22. Kremlin apologists avoid using Ukrainian or Russian in reference to the region’s population so as to avoid the issue of Ukrainians being the repressed minority on their own territory by using the neologism “Donbass people.”

[16] E. Paris, Long Shadows. Truth Lies and History (Toronto, 2000); E. Barkan, The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices (New York, 2000); J. Thompson, Taking Responsibility for the Past: Reparation and Historical Justice (Cambridge, 2002).

[17] 25-30% of the local population in Luhansk and Donetsk supported re-annexation to Russia. Toal, Near Abroad, 162-64, 270. Russian-speakers are much more likely than Ukrainian speakers to identify with the Kremlin’s views of Russian political interests. Otherwise, there is do direct relationship between language-use and political loyalty. A. Jekaterynczuk, “Linguistic Diversity of Ukrainian Society in the Context of the Russian-Ukrainian War. Selected Aspects,” in: V. Yevtukh et al, Identities of Central-Eastern European Nations (Kyiv, 2016) 113-30. Poll results as of March 2017:

[18] Trotsky considered tsarist Russia an imperialist state. Stalin labeled it a semi-colony. On Bolshevik debates over the issue: R. Marwick, Rewriting History in Soviet Russia. The Politics of Revisionist Historiography 1956–1974 (London, 2001) 76-81. On Ukrainian aspects: S. Velychenko, Shaping Identity in eastern Europe and Russia. Soviet-Russian and Polish Accounts of Ukrainian History 1914-1991 (New York, 1993) 185-90.

[19] Pokrovsky has not been reprinted since 1991. Critical accounts of Russian-Ukrainian relations are few. S. Konstantinov, A. Ushakov, "Vospriiatie istorii narodov SSSR v Rossii i istoricheskie obrazy Rossii na postsovetskom prostranstve," in K. Aimermakher et al, Natsionalnye istorii v sovetskom i postsovetskikh gosudarstvakh (Moscow, 1999) 78‑82. V. Tolz, “Rethinking Russian-Ukrainian relations: a new trend in nation-bulding in post-communist Russia?” Nations and Nationalism no. 2 (2002) 235-53.

[20] B. A. Mironov, A Social History of Imperial Russia 1700‑1917 (Boulder, 2000) II: 9‑10; B.A. Rybakov, et al., Istoriia Rossii (Moscow, 1995) I: 16; S. V. Kuleshov et al., Natsionalnaia politika Rossii: Istoriia i sovremennost (Moscow, 1997) 35, 174‑79, 296‑05; A.V. Nikonov, A.I. Vdovin, V. lu. Zorin, Russkii narod v natsionalnoi polityke xx vek (Moscow, 1998) 11‑13, 167, 173, 201‑10. See also: M. Kliamkin ed., Posle imperii (Moscow, 2007).

[21] Mironov notes that, per head of population, Russians paid more in tax and got less in returns than Ukrainians. He claims industry, rail construction, and agriculture was favoured in the non Russian provinces. B. N. Mironov, Rossiiskaia Imperiia: ot traditsii k modernu (SPB, 2014) I: 90-93, 139-44, 271- 85; III: 603-48. For the Ukrainian case in English: K. Kononenko, Ukraine and Russia. A History of the Economic Relations Between Ukraine and Russia (1654-1917) (Milwaukee, 1958).

[22] I. Gerasimov, “Ukraine 2014: The First Postcolonial Revolution. Introduction to the Forum,” Ab Imperio, no. 3 (2014) 41; “Interviu s Tatianoi Tairovoi- Iakovleva,” idem, no. 3 (2016) 312. For Ukrainian critiques and authors’ responses to recently published Russian histories of Ukraine idem, 311-99. A. Portnov, Mizh ‘Tsentralnoiu Ievropoiu ta ‘Russkim mirom’ (Kyiv, 2009) 27-63; Baturina S., “Ukrainska istoriia v suchasnykh rossiiskykh pidruchnykakh z istorii (2009-2015 rr.),” Istoriohrafichni doslidzhennia v Ukraini 26 (2016) 468-82

[23] For example: I. Strizhova, N. Terekhova, Rossiia i ee ‘kolonii.’ Kak Gruziia Ukraina …voshli v sostav Rossii (Moscow, 2007). Russian revanchist exoneration of Russian imperial rule coincided with an analogous development in American and Europe. Francis Furet, Paul Johnson, and Niall Ferguson argued that bondage and subjection to foreign rulers was preferable to self-determination. Ferguson, Colossus. The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (London, 2005) 24. For a more balanced accounts: J. Black, The British Empire. A History and a Debate (Farnham, 2015); D. B. Abernathy, The Dynamics of Global Domination (New Haven, 2000).

[24] In April 2008, September 2013 and November 2014, Putin made a number of observations on Ukrainian history from the Russian imperialist perspective.; French historians stated they would ignore a law passed in February 2005 obliging teachers to stress the positive aspects of French imperial rule. It seems unlikely that Russian historians will similarly ignore Putin. <>. See also comments on post independence histories of former republics: A.A. Danilov et al., Osveshchenie obshchei istorii Rossii i narodov postsovetskikh stran v shkolnykh uchebnikakh novykh nezavisimykh gosudarstv (Moscow, 2009).

[25] I. Torbakov, “Defining the ‘True’ Nationalism: Russian Ethnic Nationalists versus Eurasianists,” in Bassin, Pozo eds., The Politics of Eurasianism, 19-38.

[26] Many who condemn American and European imperialism and condone or ignore atrocities committed by anti-colonialist nationalist leaders against those powers, are quick to condemn violence committed by Ukrainian nationalist leaders against Russian imperialism. M. H. Van Herpen, Putin’s Propaganda Machine. Soft Power and Russian Foreign Policy (New York, 2016). P. Kreko, “Russia and the European Far Left,” S. Velychenko, “Leftists Liberals and Ukraine. A Tale of Double Standards,”

[27] K. Sheiko, S. Brown, History as Therapy. Alternative History and Nationalist Imaginings in Russia (Stuttgart, 2014). The most important neo-imperialist groupings include: Rossiiskogo imperskogo Soiuza-Ordena, Izborskii Klub, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the financial backer of many of them, Konstantin Malofeev’s Marshall Capital Partners,

[28] Post-war works that did present Ukraine as a victim of Russian-Soviet imperialism had no explicit theoretical approach. Implicitly they shared a neo‑classical understanding of imperialism and colonialism as a feudal, fundamentally political rather than economic phenomena, that reflected the "backwardness" of the imperial power. As noted by Kant and Comte, and argued by Joseph Schumpeter in his Sociology of Imperialism (1919), imperialism and colonialism are supposedly incompatible with modern capitalism. Eg.: W. Kolarz Russian and Her Colonies (New York, 1952); R. Strausz‑Hupe, H. W. Hazard eds., The Idea of Colonialism (New York, 1958); T. Hunczak ed., Russian Imperialism from Ivan the Great to the Revolution (New Brunswick, 1974); B. Vynar, Ekonomichnyi koloniializm v Ukraini (Paris, 1958); D. Solovei, Ukraina v systemi sovetskoho koloniializmu (Munich 1959); idem, Polityka TsK KPSS u plianuvanni rozvytku promyslovosty ta promyslovykh kadriv na Ukraini (Munich, 1960); I. Koropeckyi ed., The Ukraine within the USSR: An Economic Balance Sheet (New York, 1977); idem, Development in the Shadow (Edmonton, 1990). See also the publications of the Institute for the Study of the USSR in Munich.

[29] Including Mark Von Hagen, Andreas Kappeler, Geoffry Hosking, Roman Szporluk, Jane Burbank and Dominic Lievan. See also: D. Rowley, "Interpretations of the End of the Soviet Union: Three Paradigms," Kritika, 418 -19. Although Russophile or socialist sympathies may have played a role, the Totalitarian and Modernization models also led academics to regard the USSR as a national state with a nationalities problem rather than an empire. T. R. Weeks, Nationality, Empire, and Politics in the Russian Empire and USSR: An Overview of Recent Publications, W. Sunderland, “The USSR as a multinational state from the Revolution to the death of Stalin: Western scholarship since 1991,” Vestnik Sankt Petersburgskogo gosudartvennogo universiteta seriia 2 Istoriia, no 4 (2016).

[30] Putin supporters include Stephen Cohen, Nicolai Petro and Richard Sakwa who think in terms of legitimate spheres of influence. Taras Kuzio points out that Sakwa systematically ignores Ukrainian sources: “Ukraine ‘Experts’ in the West and Putin’s Military Agression: A New Academic ‘Orientalism,’”

[31] The most recent summary of leftist analysis of post-independent Ukraine and imperialism is V. Ischenko, Y. Yurchenko, “Ukrainian Capitalism and Inter-Imperialist Rivalry,” in: The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism 2nd ed. (London, 2021).

[32] One outstanding example: H. Iefimenko, Vzaiemovidnosysny kremlia ta radianskoi Ukrainy: ekonomichnyi aspekt (1917–1919) (Kyiv, 2008).

[33] Colonial status might be dated from 1663 or 1710 or 1781 by which time the Hetmanate and Zaporozhian Cossack Lands were incorporated into the empire as provinces. “Postcolonial” might be traced from 1917, or 1991 or 2014.

[34] For example: G. Barry et al, Small Nations and Colonial Peripheries in World War 1 (Leiden 2016).

[35].J.C. Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford, 2001), 124, classifies the Soviet Union as “at once colonial and anti-colonialist.” He recognizes the significance of James Connolly, Sultan-Galiev, Tan Malaka, and M.N. Roy as anti-colonial Marxists but makes no mention of any Ukrainians. Ivan Dzuiba is not in the bibliography. A. Dirk-Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History (New York, 2008) has no chapter on Soviet internal policies. M. Kohn and K. McBride, Political Theories of Decolonization: Postcolonialism and the Problem of Foundations (Oxford, 2011) omit Russian-ruled Eurasia. National and Ukrainian communism is ignored by: M. Dreyfus et al., Le Siecle des Communismes (Paris, 2000) and A Dictionary of 20th Century Communism (Princeton, 2010). D. K. Fieldhouse, The West and the Third World. Trade Colonialism Dependence and Development (Oxford, 1999) 54‑67, 348‑55; B. Waites, Europe and the Third World (New York, 1999) 10‑13; W. J. Mommsen, J. Osterhammel eds., Imperialism and After (London, 1986) 191‑24, 313‑58.

[36] M. B. Brown, The Economics of Imperialism (London, 1974) 285‑304; J. Triska ed., Dominant Powers and Subordinate States. The United States in Latin America and the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe (Durham 1986) 310‑41, 450‑52. Rowley, “Interpretations of the End of the Soviet Union: Three Paradigms,” 395-426.

[37] Political dependency does not necessarily generate underdevelopment as demonstrated by Canada and Australia. It was not an insuperable obstacle to growth (the production of more goods and services without social change). At some point dependency did inhibit development (increases in per capita output that result in social transformation), but, it did not necessarily impoverish.

[38] From an estimated 500 000 at the end of the 18th century, the number of Russians in the Ukrainian provinces had increased to 2.7 million in 1926. Between 1926 and 1937 the number of declared Ukrainians decreased by approximately one million to 22.2 million, while the number of declared Russians increased by approximately the same amount to 3.2 million – an increase of 2 % of their share of the total population despite the Famine and deportations. V. O. Romantsov, Ukrainskyi etnos na odvichnykh zemliakh ta za ikhnimy mezhamy (XVIII-XX stolittia) (Kyiv, 1998) 63, 70, 101. In the Donbass Ukrainian losses and Russian increases were greater. B. Krawchenko, Social Change and National consciousness in Twentieth-century Ukraine (Edmonton, 1985) 171-73. S. Kulchytsky, L. Iakubova, Trysta rokiv samotnosti: Ukrainskyi Donbas u poshukakh smysliv i batkivshchyny (Kyiv, 2016) 683.

[39] In 1999 Ukraine was one of 22 of Europe’s states that emerged from imperial breakup between 1905 and 1991. Abernathy, The Dynamics of Global Domination, 411-16.

[40] It became evident in 2014, with their support for “Euromaidan,” that the majority of Russians could no longer be classified as a dominant loyalist settler-colonist minority. Russian-speaking Ukrainians could be as much Ukrainian nationalists as English-speaking Irish could be Irish nationalists. Tsentr Razumkova, Identychnist hromadian Ukrainy v novykh umovakh: stan, tendetsii, rehionalni osoblyvosti (Kyiv, 2016).

[41] A. Khomenko, Natsionalny sklad liudnosty Ukrainy (Kharkiv, 1931) 107. P. Kolstoe, Russians in the Former Soviet Republics (London, 1995).

[42] Marginalization of Ukrainians who spoke Ukrainian publicly continued after 1991: “ Psychological Trauma of Ukrainian Speakers,” Thousands of other personal stories on website: On tsarist and Bolshevik times: B. Antonenko Davydovych, Tvory v dvokh tomakh  (Kyiv, 1999) II: 562-89.

[43] Race was not always a barrier to citizenship or legal equality with rulers in European colonies as in French west Africa or Dutch south-east Asia.

[44] Colonialism first appeared in English in 1886 as a term referring to a system of administration. Until the early 20th century colony normally referred to people not territory. “Colonization” referred to metropolitan settlers in imperial peripheries where foreign rulers saw native populations as impediments to be either destroyed or assimilated. D. Winch, Classical Political Economy and Colonies (London, 1961). By 1919 critics, usually Marxists, were using it to refer to exploitation and domination by imperial elites of foreign populations they ruled and considered backward.

[45] India was officially classified as “presidencies” “provinces” “British Raj” “Princely states” or “British India.”

[46] T. Arzumanova, “Rosiiany v etnichnyi strukturi Kharkivskoi hubernii,” Naukovi zapysky Ternopilskoho natsionalnoho pedahohichnoho universytetu Seriia: Istoriia, no 1 (2011) 26-33. L. Kopelev, The Education of a True Believer (New York, 1978) 109.

[47] Bribery, connections, and sloppy implementation meant Ukrainians migrated to cities despite the prohibitions. G. Kessler, “The Passport System and State Control over Population Flows in the Soviet Union, 1932-1940,” Cahiers du Monde Russe, no.-2-4 (2001) 477-504; C. Buckley, “The Myth of Managed Migration: Migration control and market in the Soviet period,” Slavic Review, no. 4 (Winter 1995) 896-916.

 [48] R. N. Baiguzin, Gosudarstvennaia bezopasnost Rossii: istoriia i sovremennost (Moscow, 2004) 375-76; P.S. Lykho, “Sovetskaia vlast na mestakh. Robota kommunistychnoi partii Chornuskoho raionu na Poltavshchyni (1921-1941),” Ukrainskyi zbirnyk 1957 (bk. 8) 138-39. S. Pidhainy, Ukrainska intelligentsiia na Solovkakh (New Ulm, 1947) 23. In 1928, 38 500 people in Ukraine were under surveillance. Of the 25 888 “politicals” at least 40% were associated with Ukrainian issues. V. M. Nikolsky, Represyvna diialnist orhaniv derzhavnoi bezpeky SRSR v Ukraini. Istorychne-statystychne doslidzhennia. Monohrafiia (Dontesk, 2003) 48-53. His figures suggest most declared Russians were arrested for economic and normal crimes, whereas most Ukrainians were arrested on political issues.

[49] Cited in D. I . Babakov, Gosudarstvennye i natsionalnye problemy v mirovozzrenii V.V. Shulgina (Moscow, 2012), 123.

[50] H. Yefimenko, Ia. Prymachenko, Ukraina Radianska (Kyiv, 2017) 189, 279-81.

[51] M. Volobuev, "Do problemy Ukrainskoi ekonomiky," Reprinted in: I. Maistrenko ed., Dokumenty Ukrainskoho kommunizmu (New York, 1962). The article was written against the backdrop of discussions about the First Five Plan. It argued that the term "colony" could not be limited to overseas countries that received capital exports.

[52] D. K. Fieldhouse, The Colonial Empires: A Comparative Survey from the Eighteenth

Century (London, 1966) 11-12. J. Osterhammel, Colonialism (Princeton, 1997) 10-17. L. Veracini, Settler Colonialism. A Theoretical Overview (London, 2010). Ukraine’s war with Russia is comparable to the Algerian war against French rule within which the loyalist settler-colonist minority opposed independence. Their resistance collapsed once DeGaulle stopped supporting them. Ukraine’s extremist imperial loyalist Russian movement was well organized and financed by Russian robber-barons and government agencies. The local extremist goon-squads would have collapsed in June 2014 without the armed backing of Putin’s Russian government – who chose not to imitate Degaulle. Kulchtysky, Iakubova, Trysta rokiv, 645-61.

[53] Marxists use the term “semi-colony” usually as a synonym for “neo-colony.” Non-marxists use neither. The term refers to a country still dominated by a foreign power or international financial institutions and corporations, although formally independent with a ruling class that includes foreign investors.

[54] The official interpretation of the founding of the USSR and its nominal republics presents the event as a voluntary confederation of equal nationalities represented by their soviets, with no mention of the centralized Russian dominated Bolshevik party. Non-Russian interpretations of the event present the rule of the left-wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (the Bolsheviks) in Ukraine as foreign conquest and usurpation.

[55] Until the establishment of the League of Nations Mandate System in 1919, public opinion considered colonial issues internal policy. Rule over colonies was legal in international law – which did not apply to colonies. After WWII colonies became subjects in international law and “colonialism” was condemned as illegal. I. S. Lustick, State-Building Failure in British Ireland and French Algeria (Berkeley, 1985); idem., Unsettled States Disputed Lands (Ithaca, 1993); M. Beissinger, “The Persisting Ambiguity of Empire,” Post-Soviet Affairs no. 11 (1995) 149-84; C.Q. Quayle. Liberation Struggles in International Law (Philadelphia, 1991) 82-121. On empires as structures: A. Motyl, Imperial Ends (New York 1992).

[56] To use “internal colonialism” to label all kinds of regional inequalities, including even those pertaining to non-territorial racial minorities, reduces colonialism to a vacuous adjective to describe anything disliked – much like “fascism.”

[57] The “water distinction” was useful to the USSR and was accepted by its Cold War rivals. L. C. Buchheit, Secession. The Legitimacy of Self‑Determination (New Haven, 1978) 1‑42, 87‑97; C. Tomuschat, "Self‑Determination in a Post‑Colonial World," and D. Murswiek, “The Issue of a Right of Secession," in C. Tomuschat ed., Modern Law of Self Determination (Dordrecht, 1993) 1‑51‑ 23‑25. The UN Declaration is reproduced in idem 283‑85. This selective application of principles reflected the interests of UN members. Governments refused to recognize secession based on claims of national self-determination as an absolute principle or right in international law. Otherwise, any territorially contiguous minority living within their borders could claim it.

[58] Whether or not the USSR was the successor state to the tsarist empire is unclear. After the abdication of Nicholas II on 15 March 1917, there were five Russian states. Bolshevik leaders repudiated the tsarist debt but in writings and speeches often identified their regime with that of tsarist Russia—in particular Stalin after 1931.

[59] While the US France and Egypt recognized the Russian Federation as successor to the USSR, and the UN did so implicitly, the 1991 CIS treaty specified none of the former “republics” would be considered “successor.” Presumably the 1997 Russia-Ukraine Treaty, violated by Putin in 2014, nullified the succession claim.

[60] Issues concerning settler-colonial loyalism are not elaborated in an exchange between Michael Hechter and a critical reviewer of his Internal Colonialism (1975): Comparative Studies in Society and History no. 1 (January, 1979) 113-29. See also: S. Salvi, Le nazioni proibite. Guida a dieci colonie interne dell'Europa occidentale (Valecchi, 1973); O. Pohl, “Colonialism in One Country: The Deported Peoples in the USSR as an Example of Internal Colonialism,” Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Religion (May, 2014) 1-27. K. Mattu, “Internal Colonialism in Western Europe. The Case of Sardinia,” <>

[61]. Putin is a Russian nationalist who thinks in Slavophile “Russische volk” terms. His pro-Russian revanchist groupings outside Russia are not anti-colonialist nationalists. The Quebecois, for instance, did not seek to re-join France. DeGaulles quip “Vivre le Quebec Libre,” did not reflect a French government policy of imperium redux. France did not supply propaganda, guns or priests to the Quebecquois. No post-war foreign power supported Catalans, or Basques or Scots, or Sardinians, with arms and propaganda with the intention of annexing them.

[62] J. E. Gumz, “Losing Control. The Norm of Occupation in Eastern Europe during the First World War,” in: J. Bohler et al, Legacies of Violence. Eastern Europe’s First World War (Munich 2014) 70-87. M. R. Stirk, A History of Military Occupations from 1792 to 1914 (Edinburgh) 2016.

[63] Bolsheviks gave idiosyncratic meanings to established terms. That is now called Langue du bois. F. Thom, The Language of Soviet Communism, (London, 1989); J.W. Young, Totalitarian Language: Orwell's Newspeak and Its Nazi and Communist Antecedents. (Charlottesville: 1991). A recent example of such obfuscation is: T. Raffass, The Soviet Union: Federation or Empire (London 2012). The author tries to erase the distinction between federation and empire using a fallacious comparison of the USA with the USSR. Leaving aside the factual errors (pp. 73, 160, 205) that undermine her argument that the USSR was not an empire, the attempt fails because she makes no references to institutions in the USSR with no equivalent in any other “federal” country; the Nomenklatura, the NKVD/KGB and the CPSU. Her arguments consequently bear no relationship to political reality. The book has a bibliography including most of the English-language political literature on tsarist and soviet Russia as empires.

[64] T. Bringa, H. Toje eds., Eurasian Borderlands. Spatializing Borders in the Aftermath of State Collapse, (New York, 2016) is a recent example of a work within which the words colony or neo colonialism or neo imperialism, commonly used in studies on Latin America, Asia and Africa, do not appear.

[65] Mykola Hattsuk in Ukrainska abetka (1860) wrote: “Once from somewhere a Muscovite came to Ukraine…. The Muscovite who leaves his country does not abandon his wicked nature.” Anatoly Svydnytsky, Liuboratski: Simeina khronika (1862): “Is there a hell worse than to live with a katsap?” Panteleimon Kulish in 1861 described Cossack Ukraine as an occupied and economically exploited land.

[66] J. Remy, Brother or Enemies. The Ukrainian National Movement and Russia, from the 1840s to the 1870s (Toronto, 2016). S. Velychenko, “The Issue of Russian Colonialism in Ukrainian Thought,” Ab Imperio no. 1 (2002), 323-66.

[67] Similar ideas were propounded by all early anti-colonial nationalists.

In his History of the loss of Vietnam (1905) Phan Boi Chau, the country’s counterpart to Connelly and Mikhnovsky, wrote it was better to die for Vietnam than like fish in the sand. If it took one hundred Vietnamese to kill one Frenchman, then 500 000 could kill 5000 French. D. G. Marr, Vietnamese Anticolonialism (Berkeley, 1971) 114-18.

[68]. In Deuteronomy 7: 2, 16: “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them…. And thou shalt destroy all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.” Mikhnovsky’s Ukrainian National Party (1902) was small and not influential. In 1917 he changed its name and dropped its earlier internationalist ‑ anti-colonialist perspective.

[69] M. Stasiuk, “Ekonomichni vidnosyny Ukrainy do Velykorosiii i Polshchi,” Zapysky Ukrainskoho naukovoho tovarystva v Kyiivi vol. 8 (1911) 88-112; vol. 9 (1912) 62-120.

[70] A. Shukalovich, “Irlandskaia problema v Ukrainskoi istoriografii (1880-1930),” Aktualnye problemy gumanitarnykh i estestvennykh nauk, no. 8 (2013) 75-8. O. Honcharenko, “Istoriia Irlandii v Ukrainskyi istoriohrafii,” Naukovi zapysky Kyivo- Mohylianska Akademiia 20 pt 1 (2002) 213-17. M. Weber, Politische schriften (Munich, 1921) 90. The speech was published in 1921.

[71]. K. Renner, Problemy skhodu. Natsionalne pytannia na Skhodi (n.p. 1915) 14-15, 19, 28, 32-34. Lenin condemned Renner, but the USSR had similarities to Renner’s “autonomy in an international state” because it gave the Russian national economy, controlled by intellectuals and engineers rather than private capitalists, wide economic scope for their state capital. L. Kohut, Ukraina i Moskovskyi imperialism (n.p. 1916) 96, 155-56. Schumpeter lectured at Chernivtsi (Chernowitz) University in 1909-11 where Kohut was a student. His Sociology of Imperialisms (1919) explained imperialism not as the “most advanced stage of capitalism” but the clear sign that pre-capitalistic (feudal) aspects survived in capitalism. Kautsky linked colonialism to the pre-capitalist Prussian nobles who ruled Germany. Die Neue Zeit (March, 1898). P. Maltsiv, Ukraina v derzhavnomu biudzheti Rossii (Lubni, 1917). S. Kulyk, “Iak Rossiia vyzyzkuie Ukrainu,” Pamiatkova knyzhka Soiuz Vyzvolennia Ukrainy i kalendar na 1917 rik (Vienna, 1917) 101. I. Maievsky, Chervonyi imperialism. Po shliakhu kontr-revoliutsii (Kyiv, 1917). Reprinted: Khronika 2000 nos. 27-28 (1999) 286-96. M. Hekhter, “Nashi bili nehry,” Rada 14 (27) July 1909.

[72] Volobuev was actually a spokesman for Ukrainian communists grouped around Alexander Shumsky. V. Holubnychy, “M. Volobuev, V Dobrohaev ta ikh oponenty,” Ukrainskyi zbirnyk (Munich, 1956) pp 7-18. Also: <>. H. Efimenko, “Pro prychyny poiavy Volobuevshchyny,” Problemy istorii Ukrainy no. 14 (2005) 94-136.

[73] Ukrainian writings on capitalism, national oppression, Russian colonialism, and imperialism can be included alongside the first “critical” or “western” Marxist writings of Herman Gorter and Anton Pannekoek. Like the German communists Fritz Wollfhiem and Heinrich Laufenberg, Ukrainian communists labeled Bolshevism a reincarnated Russian imperialism. The only Ukrainian included in the most recent work on the subject is Roman Rosdolsky. M. Van Der Linden, Western Marxism and the Soviet Union: A Survey of Critical Theories and Debates since 1917 (Leiden, 2007). No Ukrainian is represented in R.B. Day and D. Gaido eds, Discovering Imperialism: Social Democracy to World War I (Leiden, 2012).

[74] In 1961 Fanon wrote in his Wretched of the Earth: “Deportations, massacres, forced labour, and slavery have been the main methods used by capitalism to increase its wealth, its gold or diamond reserves and to establish its power.” In 1920 Ukrainian Marxists would have needed only to replace “capitalism” in this sentence with “Russian communism” to describe the situation in their country. S. Velychenko, Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red. The Ukrainian Marxist Critique of Russian Communist Rule in Ukraine 1918-1925 (Toronto, 2015).

[75] Kononenko, Ukraine and Russia: A History of the Economic Relations between Russia and Ukraine, is the only English-language work on Ukraine as Russian colony based on the 1920s historiography

[76] V. Danylenko ed., Ukrainska intelihentsiia i vlada. Zvedennia sekretnoho viddilu DPU USRR 1927-1929 (Kyiv, 2012) 117, 164, 178, 293, 417,456, 532. The term did not appear in discussions during the twenties concerning appropriate models for Ukrainian culture. I. S. Koropeckyj ed., Selected Contributions of Ukrainian Scholars to Economics (Cambridge MA, 1984) focuses on academic economists who were all anti-socialist ‑ except for one. Why they ignored the issue of colonialism is not discussed.

[77] Hrushevsky identified the enemy as “old system of oppression” or “centralism.” M. Hrushevsky, “Ukraintsy” in: A.I. Kastalianskii ed., Formy natsionalnogo dvizheniia v sovremmykh gosudarstvakh (St. Petersburg, 1910) I: 315, 321-22; “Spomyny,” Kyiv (1989) 8: 131; The Historical Evolution of the Ukrainian Problem (London, 1915); 1906; Ukraiinskii vopros (3 editions 1914‑1917) reprinted in: M, Tymoshyk ed., trans, Ukraiinske pytannia (Kiev, 1997); B. Haly ed., Mykhailo S. Hrushevsky. Vybrani pratsi (New York, 1960) 61‑ 65.

[78] I. L. Rudnytsky, Istorychni ese (Kyiv, 1994) I: 149, 168‑69 f. 11; Idem, " The Role of Ukraine in Modern History," in P. L. Rudnytsky, ed., Essays in Modern Ukrainian History (Alberta, 1987) 15‑16; 0. Ohloblyn, "Problema skhemy istorii Ukraiiny 19‑20 stolittia," Ukrainskyi istoryk 1‑2 (1971) and separately (Munich, 1973). V. Holubnychy, "Do pytannia pro ekomichnyi koloniializm na Ukraiini," in idem. Try lektsji pro ekonomiku Ukrainy, (New‑York, 1969) 18‑24; reprinted in: Zlupko ed., Ukrainska ekonomichna dumka, 437‑44. In his "Some Economic Aspects of Relations Among the Soviet Republics, " E. Goldhagen ed., Ethnic Minorities in the Soviet Union (New York, 1968) 50‑120. Ukrainian economic historians today do not use the colonialist model. L. P. Horkina, Narysy z istorii politychnoi ekonomii v Ukraini (Kiev, 1994) does not consider tsarist Ukraine to have been a colony and did not examine colonialism as an issue. S. Zlupko ed., Ukrainska ekonomichna dumka (Kiev, 1998) includes a seminal essay on the subject by Holobnychy, but does not examine the subject in his Ekonomichna dumka Ukrainy: vid davnyny to suchasnosty (Lviv, 2000).

[79] Ukrainians, as a rule, see the EU and US as absolute goods not lesser evils. Kremlin sympathizers consider Putin the protector of post 1991 Ukraine from global and American neo-liberal monopoly capitalist colonialism.

[80] Political independence does not necessarily result in decolonization. On Ukraine’s post-1991 dependency on Russia: A. Szeptycki, Ukraina wobec Rosji. Studium zaleznosci (Warsaw, 2014).