News articles from Ukrinform's archives. 1918

News articles from Ukrinform's archives. 1918

A news agency known today as Ukrinform was founded a hundred years ago, together with the Ukrainian People's Republic. Much happened during those hundred years. We plan to publish a series of news articles of all these years in order to show what was hidden between the lines and what contained short and, at first glance, impartial messages.

Skoropadsky declared himself hetman

April 29, 1918. Kyiv. The UTA (Ukrainian Telegraph Agency), through the press, made public a "Letter to the entire Ukrainian people," which informed the people of Ukraine that Pavlo Skoropadsky declared himself the Hetman of the whole of Ukraine.

A reception by Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, Kyiv, 1918
A reception by Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, Kyiv, 1918

Reference: Pavlo Skoropadsky came from a noble Cossack family. He was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. He spent his childhood in a family estate in Chernihiv region. He graduated from the Page Corps in St. Petersburg - a privileged educational institution.

Skoropadsky was in active army since the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war in 1904.

In January 1917, he took command of the 34th Army Corps, which was deployed on the territory of Ukraine, and Ukrainianized it. Later, at a congress in Chyhyryn, where the restoration of the Ukrainian Cossacks was declared, Skoropadsky was elected an honorable ataman of the Free Cossacks.

Subsequently, Skoropadsky was forced to leave the service in the army and joined a party of Ukrainian farmers-democrats. People close to him from the former 34th corps and the Free Cossacks formed the "Ukrainian People's Community." It was this organization that began to promote the idea that only strong dictatorial power could bring the country out of disorder and anarchy. The most appropriate form of government, in their opinion, was the Hetmanate, and the best candidate for Hetman was Pavlo Skoropadsky.

On April 29, 1918, the power of the Central Rada was overthrown, and Skoropadsky was proclaimed Hetman.

Universal on the revival of the Cossacks

October 16, 1918. Kyiv. UTA has published the Universal of Hetman Skoropadsky on the revival of the Cossacks: "To improve the strength of our Ukrainian state, [we need] to revive the Cossacks in all places of their historical existence in Ukraine, relying on the basis of its rebirth on those Cossack and knightly traditions that our history have brought to us since the time of the last struggle of the Ukrainian Cossacks for their freedom."

Hetman Skoropadsky and the headquarters inspect the First Cossack Riflemen division, August 1918
Hetman Skoropadsky and the headquarters inspect the First Cossack Riflemen division, August 1918

As is known from historical sources, the issue of the revival of the Cossacks arose immediately after Skoropadsky was declared the Hetman of Ukraine. His first legislative acts separately fixed such a category of citizens as Cossacks.

"A handwritten letter of the Hetman of Ukraine on the liquidation of private and free Cossack organizations and the creation of the Cossack Council" was published on June 2, 1918. In that letter Skoropadsky ordered "for all measures to be taken to ensure that the Cossacks […] could become true leaders of the national idea and an example for the future Ukrainian Cossack Army."

In the autumn of 1918, the Cossacks began to implement and submit a draft Statute on the Ukrainian Cossack Army.

Telegrams from the gatherings of "peasants-farmers," in which they fully supported Skoropadsky, were published in the press.

However, the subsequent formation of the Cossacks was hampered by the change in the military-political situation in the Ukrainian State. In mid-November 1918, Skoropadsky spoke about a federation with non-Bolshevik Russia, and the Directory's uprising subsequently began. On December 14, 1918, the hetman was forced to give up power.

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