1917 was the year when the Russian Tsar was deposed and his empire began dissolving.
It was then, 100 years ago, that Ukraine saw its first life as a modern nation-state. This year, the Ukrainian government is beginning a campaign to commemorate those events.
Turn back the clock to the spring of 1917. World War one is still raging and the February Revolution has overthrown the Russian Tsar. In Ukraine, the national independence movement is gaining ground and is taking steps towards independence. A UATV correspondent visited the place where it happened.
It was in Kyiv at 42 Volodymyrska street, where the intelligentsia founded the Central Council of Ukraine right in the building’s basement.
The Ukrainian Central Rada under Mykhailo Hrushevsky lasted for a little over a year, when it was overthrown by the German-backed Hetmanate of Pavlo Skoropadsky. The Hetmanate was in turn overthrown by the Directorate. Meanwhile, a Soviet government was established in Kharkiv and Anarchists held sway in the Southeast. This period of independence ended in 1921 when the Red Army overran a Ukraine that had been torn apart by infighting.
Today, Ukrainians aim to not only remember the events of a hundred years ago but to make conclusions for today. As Artem Bidenko, deputy minister of information policy put it, “we must rethink the events that happened 100 years ago. We must draw conclusions and make it our strength.”
The Ukrainian government is preparing a series of events in memory of these events. There will be social media campaigns, research projects, documentary and photo exhibitions, and conferences. One of the projects will be an audio collection of revolutionary songs, as well as a children’s tabletop game. Volodymyr Viatrovych, Head of the Insitute of National Remembrance, informed that the institutions’ website will open up a separate section dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Ukrainian Revolution and that a separate site will be launched on the topic.
As well, a series of events in memory of what happened is planned. There will be social media campaigns, research projects, documentaries and photo exhibitions, and conferences. One of these projects will be an audio collection of revolutionary songs, as well as a children’s tabletop game.
Pavlo Rozenko, vice prime minister of Ukraine, told that the campaign will attempt to be all-encompassing: “we want this campaign to cover the entirety of Ukraine. Historians in all of the regions will do research and educate our society about that time period.”
All of these actions in commemoration of the revolution will be accompanied by an information campaign both at home and abroad. The task at hand is to counteract a century of the Soviet narrative dominating the historical memory of the time. It will also analyze the mistakes that were made so that they might not be repeated.