New York Times: A battle in Ukraine echoes through the decades

 

History

When the war erupted nearly a century ago, Russian forces mobilized and swiftly captured the western city of Lviv and the surrounding region of eastern Galicia. Aleksei Brusilov, a Russian commanding officer, proclaimed the territory — under Hapsburg control for more than two centuries and ruled before that by Poland — as “Russian land from time immemorial, populated after all by Russian people.”

Instead of rallying behind Russia and its ruler, Czar Nicholas II, however, many Ukrainians in the west sided with the Hapsburg dynasty, which had granted them a political voice and freedoms unimaginable to Ukrainian speakers living under the Russian Empire to the east.

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