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[Ukrainian Statehood in the Twentieth Century: Historical and Political Analysis. Kyiv: Political Thought, 1996. pp. 171-191.]

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Ukraine and the Ukrainian Question in Czechoslovak Policy


The Czechoslovak state that emerged in October 1918 with Entente support brought together the territories of the historic Czech lands, Slovakia, Hungarian- and Ukrainian-populated areas as well as Transcarpathian Ukraine, which had never been connected with the Czechoslovak state historically or ethnically.1

This posed before the Czechoslovak Republic serious foreign-policy problems, in particular, that of asserting of the principle of territorial inviolability in Europe on the basis of the 1919 Versailles peace accord. This explains not only the foreign policy of the young Czechoslovak state but also for its attitude to the political aspirations of other neighboring nations. It is no accident that, well before the Czechoslovak Republic declared its independence, one of its founders, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edvard Benes stressed in a memorandum to the Entente governments the special geopolitical position of the future state in Central Europe from which it was possible "to exert a direct influence on Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland and, and hence on Russia and Ukraine." He also emphasized the importance of his country in thwarting the Bolshevik threat from the east.2

One of the main components of the Czechoslovak Republic's (CSR) foreign policy from the start was its policy on Ukraine proper.

This policy would undergo changes influenced by vari-/172/ous circumstances and determined to a great extent by the overall attitude Czechoslovakia's leaders and politicians toward the Ukrainian question, Ukrainian statehood, and Ukrainians in general. At the same time, it also largely depended on the attitude toward Ukraine of the Entente, the participants of the Paris peace conference, on the developments in Russia and the Ukrainian lands, on the policies of Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Germany on Ukraine, and, finally, on which trend in the CSR political circles had the upper hand the pro-Russian, imperial one (Karel Kramar and his allies) or the one sympathizing with the natural cultural aspirations and statehood ideas of the Ukrainians (Tomas Masaryk, Benes et al.) which became dominant in the 1920s.

1. The Establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic and the Ukrainian Question

An important moral and political factor in the development of Czechoslovak-Ukrainian relations was that during World War I Ukraine may played the most important role in the history of Czechoslovak national liberation movement. Suffice it to remember that it was in 1916 in Kyiv that the Alliance of the Czechoslovak Committees in Russia held the session of its leadership and the congresses of its delegates; Kyiv hosted the main branch of the Czechoslovak National Council the nation's highest representative body and prototype of the future Czechoslovak government as well as the headquarters of the Czechoslovak Army and its reserve battalions. And, finally, it is in Ukraine, in Kyiv that the first future President of the Czechoslovak Republic Tomas Masaryk spent more than four months.

Masaryk supported the Ukrainian people's national liberation aspirations and actively cooperated with Hrushevsky, Vynnychenko, Petliura, Shulhyn, and other Central Rada figures, thus helping to lay the foundations of Czechoslovak-Ukrainian relations. /173/

The Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR) was recognized by the Czechoslovak National Council and accordingly by the Czechoslovak Legions on Ukrainian territory.

Masaryk's favorable attitude toward Central Rada changed to negative after the latter issued its Fourth Universal and Ukraine signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers, for Ukraine had concluded a peace treaty with and turned for help to the Czechs' main enemies, whose defeat was necessary in order to create an independent Czechoslovakia. In addition, the complete independence of Ukraine ran counter to Masaryk's views on the solution to the Ukrainian problem and the postwar New Europe.

Masaryk was in general quite familiar with the Ukrainian affairs, first of all, thanks to joint political activities with the Galician representatives in the 1907-1911 Viennese parliament, friendly relations with Ivan Franko and other prominent Ukrainians, and his scholarly interest he evinced in Slavic problems, especially, in the histories of Russia and Poland. He acknowledged essential differences between "Little Russians" and "Great Russians" and the ethnic and geographic unity of "Little Russians" and "Ruthenians" divided by the political borders, referred to Ukrainians as the largest oppressed nation, sympathized with their national liberation sentiments, and showed understanding of the ethnic, cultural, political, and independence-seeking aspirations of the Ukrainian people. Masaryk always stressed that the Ukrainian question was not only linguistic but also political and cultural. He usually interpreted it in an overall Slavic context, with due account of the true content, strengths, and weaknesses of the Ukrainian movement as compared to other Slavic nations, and believed that the viability and real forces of each nation that determined its essence.3 From this perspective, Masaryk could not imagine Ukraine as a fully independent state. In his opinion, the Ukrainian problem was, in any case, to be settled politically in the form of a state alliance (self-government, autonomy, /174/ federation) with Russia, the latter becoming democratic as soon as possible. He looked on this federation as a barrier to pan-Germanism and thought that Ukraine's political independence would cause a new split among the Slavs, weaken Russia's power as the main counterweight to the panGermanic threat to the Slavic nations, and put independent Ukraine under such strong German influence that would in fact be a colony. It is for this reason that Masaryk said frankly after the proclamation of Central Rada's IV Universal: "We recognized Ukraine when it proclaimed itself a state as part of a federative Russia in the Third Universal. We could not accept it from a Czech and Slavic point of view... We recognized Ukraine as part of Russia and thought that Ukraine would still be fighting. But the IV Universal states that there will be no war, there will be peace, with Austro-Hungary in particular... I must say, since I am empowered to do so, that I am not prepared to recognize an independent Ukraine outside Russia as a legitimate political entity. It is a clear challenge to my opinion. To break up Russia is, to my mind, merely to work for Prussia."4

Reflecting on the postwar "reconstruction of Eastern Europe and the necessity of establishing new states, Masaryk returned to the future of the Ukrainian people: "...the Hungarian Little Russians (Transcarpathian Ukrainians Auth.) desire to become an autonomous part of the Czechoslovak state... The Little Russians in Galicia and Bukovina will decide on their future and, in particular, their attitude to Poland and Ukraine... Russia will be united as a federation of nations. Ukraine will be an autonomous part of Russia, for the attempt to gain independence has shown the Ukrainians that their separation from Russia leaves them subjugated to the Germans..."3

Official Czechoslovak foreign policy did not support the so-called Ukrainian separation when it was the question of Dnipro Ukraine. A similar position was also held over the West Ukrainian lands including Eastern Galicia: the CSR /175/ did not recognize officially the government of the West Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR). Yet, Czechoslovakia did not accept Poland's claims to Eastern Galicia and acknowledged the right of the latter to unify with other Ukrainian lands and thus also become a component part of a Russian democratic federation. Czechoslovak political and especially economic circles were much interested in shifting Russia's frontier towards the Carpathians and drawing a common Czechoslovak-Russian border.6

Czechoslovak foreign policy on the Ukrainian question at the end of and after World War One was careful and well-balanced because it was largely shaped by the victorious Entente attitude towards a "united and indivisible Russia," for, as Benes, head of the Czechoslovak delegation head at the Paris peace conference, states, "none of the allies wanted an independent Ukrainian state, there was a desire to accept, as a last resort, the formation of a Russian federation with Ukraine as an autonomous entity."7

2. The Development of Bilateral Relations

Geographic proximity of Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, the political interests and economic requirements of the neighboring nations objectively motivated the development of mutual economic ties. Professor S. Dnistriansky, an active champion of the Czech-Ukrainian rapprochement, said in 1919 that "a predominantly bread-producing Ukraine and a predominantly industrial Czechoslovakia could mutually complement each other and are destined to do so."8 A still more resolute opinion to this effect was voiced in 1922 by the journal Nova Ukraina published in Prague. "The demands of the Ukrainian economy are so great," said the editorial "Ukraine and Czechoslovakia," "that Ukraine cannot do without international exchanges or aid in the nearest future. Ukraine may be satisfied with the nature of the Czech industry. The capital Ukraine needs can come only from Czechoslovakia."9 /176/

Czechoslovak ruling circles tried to establish close political and economic relations with both East and West Ukrainian governments. This is witnessed by the exchange of diplomatic missions between Czechoslovakia and the West Ukrainian People's Republic (ZUNR) (late 1918) and between the CSR and UNR Directory in 1919. Although unofficial, they worked actively in the field of Ukrainian-Czechoslovak cooperation, especially economic.10 The relations between Czechoslovakia and ZUNR, which held an important place in the CSR's foreign-policy doctrine with due account of Czechoslovak-Polish differences and rivalries (for example, many Czechoslovak officers served in the ZUNR army with the consent of the CSR government), also displayed still more clearly the economic aspects of cooperation.

While officially Czechoslovakia took no position toward Eastern Galicia (though Czechoslovak political and economic circles supported and cooperated with ZUNR and favored its unification with the other Ukrainian lands as part of a federative Russia thus drawing a common CzechoslovakRussian border) the same cannot be said of ZUNR. Certain political, especially Russophile, circles of West Ukrainian society had discussed as early as late 1918 the possibility of handing over Transcarpathia and the Lemko region to Czechoslovakia as autonomous entities.11

The question of reviving ZUNR and establishing a federation between Eastern Galicia and the Czechoslovak Republic was also raised late in 1919 by Ukrainian imigris in the CSR on an official level and in the fall of 1920 by the Ukrainian National Council in the USA before the Entente.12 This complicated the Czechoslovak-Polish relations and was used by Czechoslovak diplomacy in difficult negotiations with Poland over a common border and potential utilization of its territory for exporting Czechoslovak goods to the Eastern markets. It is no accident that in December 1919 CSR President Masaryk had to assure Polish Ambassador Malkiewski in Prague that Czechoslova-/177/kia was no longer interested in fixing a common border with Russia and would be content to have a common border with Romania which came into being after joining the Transcarpation territory to the CSR and was of parlament importance for fulfilling Czechoslovak plans of creating a "Little Entente."13

Proceeding from its main foreign policy goal of consolidating of the correlation of forces established after World War One in Central and South-Eastern Europe, the ruling circles of Czechoslovakia largely welcomed the end of the Soviet-Polish war and signing of the Treaty of Riga in 1921 as settling a most complicated problem of the postwar order in Eastern Europe. Soon thereafter relations with Poland were normalized: October 1921 saw the signing of the Czechoslovak-Polish treaty on neutrality and giving up mutual post-war claims as well as an additional secret protocol concerning, above all, the fate of Western Ukraine. According to those documents, the Czechoslovak government, inter alia, in fact approved the seizure of Western Ukraine by Poland and confirmed Poland's eastern borders established by the Riga treaty. It promised political support on the international arena for Poland's claims to Eastern Galicia and abandoned cooperation with the ZUNR government in exile headed by Petrushevych.14 This political act in fact drew the line at Czechoslovakia's official policy and relations with Ukrainian independent state entities, the UNR and ZUNR governments.

From then on the Czechoslovak government, while still remaining a firm opponent of the Soviet state and assuming a wait-and-see position on toward it, was compelled to gradually change its Eastern policy under the pressure of international circumstances (the Genoa Conference, the beginning of the end of Soviet Russia's foreign political isolation, etc.) and domestic CSR financial and industrial circles promoted economic and diplomatic rapprochement between the two states. Soviet Ukraine was recognized de facto by Czechoslovakia in May 1921 when M. Levytsky visited /178/ Prague as head of a Soviet Ukrainian trade mission and Czechoslovak representative V. Benes visited Kharkiv. After lengthy negotiations, an interim trade agreement was signed on June 6, 1922, between Soviet Ukraine and the CSR, which opened broad opportunities for mutually-beneficial economic cooperation.

It should be noted that this agreement was not purely commercial: on the insistence of the Ukrainian side it also included political clauses. The agreement's preamble stated the necessity of keeping neutrality in case of a conflict of one of the parties with a third state. Article I envisaged the establishment of "an independent representation of each State in the other State." At the same time, the governments pledged to break official relations with various offices, representations, organizations, and persons "which are aimed at working against the government of the other State." "It is true," said the Report of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in October 1922, "that this interim agreement leaves open the question of de jure recognition of Soviet power, but it grants representations of the Contracting Parties all the rights and privileges of diplomatic corps and regards them as the only representations of one state in the other. In this respect, the agreement signifies the de facto recognition of Soviet power."15

The change in the Czechoslovak policy on the Ukrainian question are also reflected in the memorandum of the UNR diplomatic mission head in Prague M. Slavynsky to the UNR government on January 15, 1921: "In this time, when any return to the old order on the territory of former Russia is becoming all the more impossible, ...the highest Czech official, public and political circles nurture the idea of transition from the current wait-and-see neutrality and even indifference over to active policy on the Ukrainian issue."16

Indeed, the so-called Ukrainian question was very high on the Czechoslovak foreign policy agenda in 1921-1922. In addition to establishing economic ties with Soviet Ukraine, /179/ the development of mutually-beneficial contacts between foreign-trade organizations, export firms and businesses of the two republics, it also included Czechoslovakia's active participation in rendering aid to the 1921 1922 famine victims in Ukraine as well as in solving the problem of refugees (Ukrainian émigrés) in the CSR.

However, the broad opportunities for CzechoslovakUkrainian relations, trade, and rapprochement created at the end of and immediately after World War One narrowed, and after the formation of the USSR the term "Ukraine" altogether disappeared from the CSR foreign-policy concepts and doctrines.

3. Ukrainians in the CSR, the Problems of Transcarpathian Rus

Yet, in the 1920s and 1930s the so-called Ukrainian question remained pressing for Czechoslovakia, its President and government, but this time in the domestic, rather than foreign, policy. This period witnessed a major problem of the attitude to Ukrainians who had found themselves in the Czechoslovak Republic following the dramatic events of World War One. Here the question concerned Czechoslovak policies toward the 400,000 "Ruthenians" in Transcarpathia which was handed over in 1919 to the CSR under the name of Subcarpathian Rus by decision of the Paris peace conference, as well as about 20,000 émigrés from other Ukrainian lands who had had to leave their homeland after the defeat of Ukraine's national liberation movement and found refuge in Czechoslovakia.

Czechoslovakia's policy supported, above all, the democratic trends in the midst of emigration with due account of its multiethnic composition. Unlike other European countries with Russian refugees, Czechoslovakia distinguished (at least until 1924) between the Russian and Ukrainian emigrations as independent entities. Later on, Czechoslovak government policies on the Russian and Ukrainian emi-/180/grants almost entirely centered upon problems of scholarship, education, and culture.

With official and unofficial assistance and on the initiative of prominent Ukrainian émigrés, in the 1920s and 1930s Czechoslovakia saw the founding and successful functioning of dozens of Ukrainian research and educational institutions, organizations, leagues; and publishing houses (Ukrainian Free University, Ukrainian Economic Academy, Ukrainian Drahomanov Higher Pedagogical Institute, Ukrainian Studio of the Plastic Arts, Museum of the Ukrainian Liberation Struggle, Ukrainian Communal Publishing Foundation, etc.) which united the best Ukrainian intellectuals whose work enriched Ukrainian and world scholarship and culture.17 In the interwar years Prague, along with Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Lviv, became a center of Ukrainian cultural, scholarly, and even sociopolitical life and remained until 1945 the most active nucleus of Ukrainian emigration in Europe.

However, the Czechoslovak government policy on Ukrainian emigration began to change substantially from the late 1920s on. Financial support was ended for Ukrainian research, cultural, and educational organizations, and some of them were closed. One of the reasons lay in the Great Depression which led the CSR to drastically cut its budget. Butthe main reason was the exacerbation of domestic political struggle in the CSR and the mounting pressure of Czech national socialists who traditionally supported a pro-Russian tilt in foreign policy. Left-wing forces, above all communists, were also hostile towards the "Wrangelites" and especially "Petlurists." In addition, the hopes of a democratic transformation of Russia began to vanish, as did the political hopes connected with the postwar émigrés.

In 1934 the CSR and the USSR established diplomatic relations and in 1935 signed a Treaty on Mutual Assistance. Conditions for the activity of Ukrainian political emigration in the CSR essentially deteriorated, not in the least due to their contacts with Nazi Germany. The Polish government /181/also opposed support of the Ukrainian emigration.

Besides, cultural and political processes in Subcarpathian Rus (Transcarpathia) were developing ever more unfavorably for Prague. In the late 1920s it began to assume a distinctly independence-minded, Ukrainian stance, which was most actively assisted by Ukrainian emigrants but regarded by Prague as a threat to Czechoslovakia's territorial integrity.

The Czechoslovak leadership regarded this problem as its internal political affair on the grounds that "the fate of Subcarpathian Rus has been sealed finally and for centuries to come... According to the peace conference decision, Czechoslovakia, once it becomes the owner of this region, will never cede it..."18 Yet, conscious of the indigenous Transcarpathian population's ethnic affiliation to the Ukrainian people, their historical striving for joining their brothers beyond the Carpathians and a pro-Ukrainian political trends which had been growing in the region since the turn of the century, the leadership was aware of the fact that, as Masaryk admitted in his memoirs, the inclusion of Subcarpathian Rus into the CSR greatly enhanced the problem of Czechoslovakia's attitude toward Ukraine, the Ukrainian people as a whole, and introduced a Ukrainian bias into its foreign policy.19

According to the September 10, 1919 Treaty of Saint Germain, Czechoslovakia pledged to "establish the territory of Ruthenians south of the Carpathians, within the borders fixed by the main allies and friendly states, as an autonomous entity within the Czechoslovak state, granting it the highest possible degree of self-government compatible with the integrity of the Czechoslovak state."20

Making a well-rounded and unbiased assessment of all things positive and negative in the development of Subcarpathian Rus/Transcarpathia as part of the CSR (1919-1939), one must admit that, although Transcarpathian autonomy largely remained on paper until the last days of the CSR's existence (for a number of subjective and objective /182/ reasons, autonomy was in force only from October 1938 to March 15, 1939, and Czechoslovak official policy in the region was inconsistent and highly contradictory), no one can deny the generally positive tendencies in the socioeconomic, cultural, and political development of Transcarpathia in the interwar years. In any case, this time fate was much more "friendly" to Transcarpathians than, for instance, to the population of Bukovina, Eastern Galicia, and Volhynia under Romania and Poland. The Czech government spent more than it raised from the Ukrainian-populated territories. Governmental investments for the development of Transcarpathia in 1919-1933, for example, amounted to about 1.6 billion koruna. And this greatly assisted in revitalizing the economic life of Transcarpathia in the 1920s and 1930s. Most of today's researchers of Transcarpathian history are convinced that the interwar period in this original, historically turbulent region was one of the most important and generally much more positive periods as compared to the previous years, and that it was as part of Czechoslovakia that Transcarpathian Ruthenians passed a crucial stage in their socioeconomic, national, cultural and ethnopolitical development, signaled their existence to the world and, finally, established their own Ukrainian state, Carpatho-Ukraine.21

One can therefore state that in the interwar years Ukraine and the Ukrainian question were high on Czechoslovak policy the agenda. These policies, despite all the tactical zigzags and evolution cansed by the international situatuon, were in general fairly realistic and constructive with respect to Ukrainian affairs.

4. Transcarpathian Ukraine During World War II

The aggressive actions of the fascist countries from the mid-1930s first of all impacted upon Czechoslovak interests, to which ever more flagrant claims were laid by Germany, Hungary, and Poland. From early 1938 the questions of Czechoslovakia's future as a state, Slovakia, and Subcar-/183/pathian Rus' (Transcarpathia) as its parts were in the focus of attention of European diplomats and the world public. Due to its geopolitical position, Ukrainian Transcarpathia was a major link in the system of the then European security (the Little Entente as well as the 1935 agreement on mutual assistance between France, the Czechoslovak Republic, and the USSR). This was why the Czechoslovak government did its utmost on the eve of its national tragedy to retain that territory as part of the republic and to repulse claims on it not only from Hungary, which considered it to be "historically Hungarian," but also Poland, which claimed a part of it in its demands of a common border with Hungary, and Rumania, which sought the annexation of Eastern territories inhabited partly by Rumanians.22

The question of Transcarpathia was also brought to the top of international political agenda by events in the territory itself, where in the late 1930s the center of West Ukrainian life shifted. Ever more resolute demands of Transcarpathian political leaders to grant the territory an autonomous status, the consolidation on this basis of leading political parties of Subcarpathian Rus' as well as the international situation finally forced the Prague government to begin to seriously address the problem.

The Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938, affected fundamental interests of all the peoples of Czechoslovakia, including Transcarpathian Ukrainians. The partitioning of Czechoslovakia considerably stimulated autonomist political forces in Transcarpathia, especially those of Ukrainian orientation, and also in Slovakia, which resulted in great changes in Czechoslovakia: on October 6, 1938, Slovakia was granted autonomy, on October 11, Carpathian Rus' was given the same status, and the country transformed into a federal state. In Transcarpathia itself, the idea of creating "a Ukrainian state in the Carpathians" as "the center of Ukrainian national movement" gained momentum, with great hopes pinned on Germany's support.23

These events extremely aggravated Czech-Ukrainian /184/ tensions and led, in particular, to armed clashes on March 13-14, 1939, between Carpathian Sich riflemen and Czech troops in Khust, which made it impossible for the armed forces of the Czechoslovak Republic and the young Army of Carpathian Ukraine to cooperate militarily on the eve of the Hungarian invasion of Transcarpathia and the German invasion of Bohemia and Moravia.24 The final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939, and annexation on that same day of Carpathian Ukraine by Hungarian troops with Germany's consent, only one day after its independence had been proclaimed, created an essentially different situation.

But the question of the fate of Transcarpathia, as well as other Ukrainian lands, was not removed from the agenda of international relations. Specifically, it became an object of complex foreign policy combinations of Czechoslovak President in exile Eduard Benes in his Central and East European policies and especially in his attempts to consolidate alliance relations between the Czechoslovak Republic and the USSR.

The Soviet Union was the only country which in a special statement denounced the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15, 1939, and the Hungarian occupation of Carpatho-Ukraine. At the same time the Soviet Union sought a rapprochement with Germany and to strengthen its influence in the southern Carpathians. On September 17, 1939, in accordance with the MolotovRibbentrop Pact, Moscow moved its troops into Eastern Galicia making a decisive breakthrough in the cause of reunification of Ukrainian lands, which the world community obviously received with mixed feelings. The timing, circum.stanccs, and form of its realization could not evoke a positive response and cast a shadow on fulfillment of centuriesold national aspirations of the Ukrainian people. Only a few statesmen of Europe directly and openly supported the action. One of them was Czechoslovak President Benes, who met with Soviet Ambassador to Great Britain Maysky in London on September 22, 1939. The latter not only made /185/ an entry in his diary about the former's approval of the Red Army operation, but also noted: "He asks for only one thing to do so that the USSR would have a common border with Slovakia. This is very important."25 For the first time in the history of official Czechoslovak-Soviet relations a question was raised in the course of the meeting about a future fate of Carpathian Ukraine. Benes entertained only two possible alternatives of solving the problem: that territory should remain part of the Czechoslovak Republic or, should the USSR become Czechoslovakia's neighbor, it could go to the USSR, but not in any case to Hungary or Poland.26

In January 1939, Benes sketches the following model of postwar Europe: "In Central Europe, a great role will be played by Russia... Hitler will help us become Russia's neighbor. After all disasters our task is to have Russia in Uzhgorod, so that Pryashiv would be as close to Russia as possible... The border with Russia should be as long as possible."27

Still , underlying these and other of Benes' ideas were primarily tactical considerations, specifically, to win support of the Soviet Union in the question of eliminating the consequences of the Munich" Pact and the restoration of Czechoslovakia within its 1937 borders. An analysis of the relationship between the Czechoslovak Republic and the USSR during World War II testifies to the fact that neither the Czechoslovak government in exile nor the Soviet leadership had a clear vision of Transcarpathia's future: their positions changed as events on the front evolved. Very telling are the following facts: the USSR was the first to recognize the Czechoslovak government in exile and during the war concluded with it a number of important treaties and agreements (specifically, the treaty of June 18, 1941 on joining forces in the struggle against Nazism and forming Czechoslovak military units on Soviet territory, which could enlist those born in Transcarpathia who fled to the Soviet Union in 1939-1941 and wound up in NKVD prisons or concentration camps; the treaty on friendship, mutual assis-/186/tance and postwar partnership of December 12, 1943, under which the USSR promised not to interfere in Czechoslovak internal affairs in the postwar period; the agreement of May 8, 1944 on a gradual transfer of liberated territories under the jurisdiction of the Czechoslovak administration). Importantly, all these Soviet-Czechoslovak documents provided for recognition of Czechoslovakia's prewar borders, including its eastern part, the territory of Transcarpathian Ukraine.28

However, after the Soviet Army had recovered Transcarpathia's territory in October 1944, the USSR began violating concluded agreements and treaties and ever more actively interfered in the internal political life of the liberated territories.29 In response to natural concerns and numerous complaints and reproaches of the Czechoslovak government and Benes himself that the Soviet side violated bilateral and international treaties and tried in fact to solve the question of Transcarpathian Ukraine on its own, Moscow ever more confidently and insolently retorted: "The popular movement in Transcarpathian Ukraine is not an accidental phenomenon, it has its ethnic and historical roots. Thus the Soviet government cannot and will not ignore it", "it cannot prohibit Transcarpathian Ukrainians from freely expressing their will."30 And while these arguments may be true to a great extent (recall that the Manifesto on Transcarpathia breaking away from Czechoslovakia and reunification with Soviet Ukraine, approved by the first Congress of People's Committees of the territory in Mukachevo on November 26, 1944, was later signed by approximately 250,000 adult inhabitants of Transcarpathia), still one cannot help feeling behind it a decisive and unswerving policy of the mighty victorious power directed toward expanding its own territory at the expense of strategically important regions and moving the USSR's postwar borders farther beyond the Carpathians in order to gain access to the Danube Lowlands with a view to directly influence Central Europe.

On June 29, 1945, the Czechoslovak-Soviet agreement on Transcarpathian Ukraine was signed in Moscow. It em-/187/phasized: "Transcarpathian Ukraine (called according to the Czechoslovak Constitution Subcarpathian Rus'), which on the basis of the September 10, 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germaine, became an autonomous unit within the Czechoslovak Republic, reunifies, in accordance with the will expressed by the population of Transcarpathian Ukraine and on the basis of the friendly agreement of the two High Parties, with its true motherland, Ukraine, and becomes part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic."31

As early as the beginning of 1944, the leadership of the new Czechoslovakia, restored at the end of World War II, expressed its intention to establish diplomatic relations with Soviet Ukraine.32 In the summer of 1945 Czechoslovak President Benes said that Ukraine could become a key member of the Slavic bloc.33 But at that time there was no way to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. Once the Soviet-Czechoslovak agreement of June 29, 1945 on the transfer of Transcarpathian Ukraine to "its true mother, Ukraine" was signed, the question of diplomatic relations with the Ukrainian SSR was immediately consigned to oblivion. Interestingly enough, the signing of the agreement took place without the participation of Ukrainian diplomats and representatives of Transcarpathian Ukraine, although formally the text of the agreement was written in Ukrainian, Russian, and Slovak authentic copies.34

5. The "Ukrainian Issue" in Communist Czechoslovakia

After the February 1948 events, the people's-democratic regime in Czechoslovakia was replaced by the totalitarian model of socialism of the Soviet type. One of its components was a new foreign policy orientation of Czechoslovakia toward "alliance, friendship, and cooperation " with the USSR, and the "theory of proletarian, socialist internationalism" became official doctrine in the practices of its international relations. This doctrine did not admit the possibility for developing equal and mutually beneficial relations /188/ within the so-called "socialist camp" or the more so for pursuing any separate independent policy regarding Soviet Union Republics, first of all with Ukraine, any manifestations of whose "separatism", free choice and "plenty of independent rope" were frowned upon, censured, and repressed by Moscow. It is very indicative that in the wake of Czechoslovakia's liberation from the Nazis, Ukrainian institutions of culture, education, and science, established there in the interwar period by Ukrainian émigrés were immediately liquidated as being "anti-Soviet" or "bourgeois-nationalist", while those émigrés who did not have enough time or did not want to flee to the West, were deported to the USSR and suffered reprisals.35

The policy of Czechoslovak Communist authorities toward Rusyn/Ukrainians in Eastern Slovakia, specifically in the Pryashiv region,36 in the first postwar years facilitated the economic, cultural, and ethnic growth of the republic's Ukrainian population, among whom the feeling of interrelations with Ukraine and its native people was dominant. The Ukrainian National Council of Pryashiv region (UNCPR), founded on March 1, 1945 at the congress of delegates from ethnic Ukrainian settlements and regions in Pryashiv, even tried at the first stage to solve the Ukrainian issue in Czechoslovakia by way of reunification of the Ukrainian-speaking northeastern regions of Slovakia with Transcarpathian Ukraine as part of the Ukrainian SSR. At the same time, repeated attempts to settle legislatively the existence and functioning of the UNCPR and other organizations of the Rusyn/Ukrainian population of Czechoslovakia were not successful: the struggle of the UNCPR for national-cultural autonomy of ethnic Ukrainians in Slovakia also failed to bear fruit.37

The natural process of urbanization and mass resettlement of Czechoslovakia's Rusyns-Ukrainians to predominantly monoethnic settlements in Western Bohemia and Moravia in the 1950s-1960s also influenced negatively their ethnic awareness. Negative consequences were also produced /189/by artificial "Ukrainization" and attempts to solve interethnic problems by administrative-bureaucratic methods.

The struggle against "Banderaism," the political trials of "nationalists," including Ukrainians in the 1950s-1960s in Czechoslovakia, the liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church and the official imposition of Orthodox Church beliefs on Rusyns-Ukrainians, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and further "normalization" and stagnation in the sociopolitical and economic development of the country also promoted the isolation of the Rusyn/Ukrainian population in Eastern Slovakia from Ukraine. In addition, the "ideological correctness" of the Ukrainian SSR and its public organizations resulted in curbing relations with ethnic Ukrainians in Czechoslovakia, and any concern about their national and cultural development was considered inadmissible, to say the least.

The 1989 revolution in Czechoslovakia also failed to bring about a radical improvement in the situation. Complex internal political processes in the country, the aggravation of Czech-Slovak disagreements, and the manifestations of Slovak nationalism hindered the growth of ethnic awareness among ethnic Ukrainians in Czechoslovak Federal Republic. The "divorce" of Chechia and Slovakia and the formation of two sovereign states was not favorable for their development, either. Moreover, the Rusyn-Ukrainian population in Slovakia split into "Rusyns" and "Ukrainians" in the wake of the national-cultural and political enthusiasm brought about by radical changes of the past few years. The fact that a segment of the ethnic Ukrainian population preferred to return to the old ethnic self-name was determined by a number of historical, ethnopolitical, and national-cultural factors. Not the least part in that was played by the desire to preserve their ethnic identity and the resistance to the policy of Slovakization in the situation of building the Slovak state. /190/

6. Independent Ukraine in Czech and Slovak Foreign Policies

Czechia and Slovakia are objectively interested in the stable development of an independent democratic Ukraine as well as in economic cooperation with it. For countries of Central Europe, Ukraine remains a strategic transit way to markets of the CIS countries. Slovakia and Czechia define their concepts of developing partnership with Ukraine in different ways, although the following factors are decisive and common: a dynamic development of bilateral international relations, seeking regional integration and rapprochement, along with the intensification of cooperation within all-European structures.

Czechia does not have a common border with Ukraine. Its Ostpolitik conceptually shifted to the background as compared with the development of ties with member-countries of the European Union. Slovakia has more common interests with Ukraine, especially in the Carpathian region. After Czechoslovakia's disintegration, Ukrainian-Slovak relations have developed more dynamically than Ukrainian-Czech ones. During his visit to Kyiv on June 29-30, 1993, Slovakian President Mikhal Kovac signed the Treaty on friendship and cooperation. Very important in it is the clause about absence of any territorial claims by either party. Political understanding between Ukraine and Slovakia facilitates the fruitful development of economic ties.

On April 26, 1995 in Prague, Presidents Leonid Kuchma and Vaclav Havel signed a treaty on friendly relations and cooperation between Ukraine and the Czech Republic. A joint commission on economic and trade partnership was formed and is now quite active.

A very important point in the policies of Czechia and Slovakia regarding Ukraine is the latter's involvement in regional processes of integration. Due to the position of Czechia and Slovakia, in June 1996 Ukraine became a mem-/191/ber of the Central European Initiative. At the same time, mainly, because of the deep economic crisis in Ukraine, Czechia and Slovakia are very cautious about Ukraine's prospects of joining the Vysegrad bloc and its possible ascension to the Central European Free Trade Zone.

Slovakia, Ukraine, and Czechia cooperate actively in the Council of Europe. They harmonize their conceptual foreign policy paradigms on most problems of current European politics and really contribute to the construction of a new integrated Europe.

1 Istvan Bibo, "The Poverty of Spirit of Small East European States," The Hungarian Meridian (Budapest, 1991: in Russian), 1991, 2, pp. 52-53.

2 Czechoslovakia's Foreign Policy. 1918-1939. Collected articles (Moscow, 1959: in Russian), p. 58.

3 See S.V. Vidnyansky, "T. Masaryk on Ukraine and Ukrainians," International Relations of Ukraine: Research and Findings (Kyiv, 1993: in Ukrainian), IV, pp. 132-147.

4 T.G. Masaryk, Slovanské problémy (Praha, 1928), pp. 91-92.

5 T. Masaryk, Nová Evropa (Stanovisko slovanské) (Praha, 1920), pp. 219-220.

6 Zdenek Sladek, Jaroslav Valenta, "Sprawy ukrainskie w czechoslowackiej polityce wschodniej w latach 1918-1912," Z diiejów stosunków polsko-radzieckich. Stud i mater, 1968, 3, pp. 147-148.

7 Eduard Benes, A Speech on the Carpatian Russian Problem (Uzhgorod, 1934: in Russian), p. 23.

8 Central State Archives of Ukraine, f. 3696, op. 2, spr. 576, ark. 6.

9 Nova Ukraina, 1922, partl3-15, p. 6.

10 J. Necas, Uprimné slovo o stycich cesko-ukrajinských (Kyiv, Prague, 1919), pp. 27-28.

11 Zdenek Sladek, Jaroslav Valenta, Sprawy..., p. 152.

12 Ibid., p. 153.

13 I. A. Peters, Czechoslovak-Soviet Relations (1918-1934) (Kyiv, 1965: in Russian), p. 125.

14 The Ukrainian RSR on the Historical Arena. Collected Documents (1917-1923) (Kyiv, 1966: in Ukrainian), pp. 506-510.

15 Polityka i chas, 1992, 3, pp. 50-51.

16 Central State Archives of Ukraine, f. 3696, op. 2, spr. 271, ark. 11.

17 See S.V. Vidnyansky, The Cultural, Educational and Research Activities of the Ukrainian Emigration in Czechoslovakia: the Ukrainian Free University (1921-1945) (Kyiv, 1994: in Ukrainian).

18 Eduard Benes, Op. at., pp. 26-27.

19 T.G. Masaryk, The World Revolution Before and During the 1914-1918 War Reminiscences (Lviv, 1930: in Ukrainian), II, p. 444.

20 P. Stercho, The Carpathian Ukrainian State (Toronto, 1965: in Ukrainian), p. 21.

21 See: V.I. Khudanych, "The Interwar Period in the History of Transcarpathia," The Ukrainian Carpathians (Uzhgorod, 1993: In Ukrainian), pp. 538-545; S. Vidnyansky, "Transcarpathia as part of the Czecho-Slovak Republic: a Turning Point in the National, Cultural and Ethnopolitical Development of Ruthenian Ukrainians," The Culture of the Ukrainian Carpathians (Uzhgorod, 1994: in Ukrainian), pp. 130-140.

22 Essays in the History of Transcarpathia (Uzhgorod, 1995: in Ukrainian), II (1918-1945), pp. 264-270.

23 The A. Voloshyn autonomous gov-/408/eminent began forming the "Carpathian Sich," a Ukrainian military unit largely manned by numerous UGA volonteers.

24 M. Vegesh, "The Events of March 13-14, 1939, in Carpatian Ukraine," The Youth of Ukraine (Uzhgorod, 1995: in Ukrainian), V, VI, pp. 186-190).

25 P. Symonenko, "The International Recognition of Ukraine," Polityka i chas, 1996, 1, p. 69.

26 I. Hranchak, I.I. Pop, "Transcarpathia in Czechoslovak-Soviet Relations in the Warld War II Period," The Carpathian. The Fundamental Questions of the History, Historiography and Culture of Central and East European Countries (Uzhgorod, 1993: in Ukrainian), II, p. 227.

27 K. Kaplan, Pravda o Ceskoslovensku 1945-1948 (Prague, 1990), p. 23.

28 See I.I. Pop, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. 1941-1947 (Moscow, 1990: in Russian).

29 See Polityka i chas, 1993, No 12, pp. 52-53.

30 Z. Fierlinger, Ve sluzbach CSR. Pameti z druheho zahrahacniho odboje (Prague, 1948), D.2, p. 452.

31 On the Path of October. Collected Documents (Uzhgorod, 1965: in Ukrainian), VI, p. 284.

32 Under the Law adopted by the 10th session of the USSR Supreme Soviet on February 1, 1944, Ukraine obtained, along with other Union republics, the right to form her own People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs to sign agreements and establish diplomatic and consular relations with foreign countries (Radyanska Ukraina, February 2, 1944).

33 Vernon V. Aspaturian, The Union Republics in Soviet Diplomacy: A Study of Soviet Federalism in the Service of Soviet Foreign Policy (Geneva, Paris, 1960), p. 196.

34 Collected Treaties, Agreements, and Conventions in Force Concluded by the USSR with Foreign Countries (Moscow, 1955: in Russian), XI, pp. 31-32.

35 M. Mushynka, "The Ukrainians of Czecho-Slovakia," Ukrainska diaspora, 1993, 3, p. 43.

36 In this region there remained about 250 Ukrainian towns and villages and resided, according to official statistics, about 60 thousand Ukrainians in the 1950s, and sixties (before the war they numbered about 100,000).

37 M. Haidosh, S. Koniechny, "Towards the Legal and Political Situation of Ruthenian Ukrainians in Slovakia (1944-1948)," International Relations of Ukraine: Research and Findings (Kyiv, 1995: in Ukrainian), V, pp. C.97-106,

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