National museum exhibits documents from first Ukrainian republic

History

As part of the Day of Ukrainian Unity, there is a special exhibition at Kyiv’s National Museum of History. Visitors can come to see artifacts and documents from the formational years of the Ukrainian state. The exhibits come from 29 museums, organizations and private collectors from Ukraine, Poland, the United States and Switzerland.

This envelope has been brought back to Ukraine after almost a hundred years. Sealed with wax, it was preserved in a private collection until now. Inside the envelope is money that belonged to the chairman of the Directorate of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, Volodymyr Vynnychenko. He emigrated in 1920.

“Obviously, he left this money, realizing that this is a historical document that will be of interest to later generations. That is, he withdrew it but did not spend it. It seems as if he knew that we would see them,” says historian Ihor Hyrych.

The collection displays the proclamation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the law on the state language of Ukraine, dozens of resolutions, personal documents and letters of statesmen ruling during the fall of the Russian Empire. It was not easy to find such rarities, says Hyrych:

“These artifacts have not been preserved, on the contrary, they’ve deteriorated. So, it was very difficult to make such an exhibition. If you look at them, then you’ll see that most of the private collections were brought from America. This is what we managed to take out during emigration.”

The banners of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, military artifacts, and resolutions of international organizations formerly recognizing Ukraine were brought from foreign museums.

“This exhibition is displaying everything in a new silent way. Artifacts speak for themselves. They tell what Ukraine’s way to independence was. And it shows that the history of our state is long and deep enough, with various turning points. We have something to be proud of,” says Deputy Minister of Culture of Ukraine Tamara Mazur.

“There were different periods in our history. Of course, that period in 1918 should not be forgotten by anyone. I think this is relevant now, although, unfortunately not all can be consolidated,” adds exhibition visitor Anatolii Konchakovskyi.

The Ukrainian People’s Republic existed for almost 3 years. The Directory of the Republic was weakened by the German occupation during the First World War, and by the Bolshevik revolution. This is a projectile used at that time, during the bombing of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in 1919.

“When German occupying troops were staying in Kyiv, the government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic was staying in the city of Fastiv. In fact, it means that the Ukrainian government was working while traveling by train. The act of reunification was also signed on board,” says Fastiv City Mayor Mykhailo Netiazhuk.

The Ukrainian People’s Republic was formed in 1917, and two years later became the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic when the Eastern and Western republics merged. Next year on January 22nd, 2019, Ukraine will celebrate 100 years as a unified state.

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