Monday: Map Day – Ukraine

UPDATED, April 9, 2022 to fix a minor typo and two unclear phrases.

I haven’t published much here in the last month or so. My apologies. There were some unavoidable but relatively harmless distractions involved, the sort of things that we all deal with from time to time. But the ongoing slaughter in Ukraine, unprovoked, inhuman and inexcusable, made writing and blogging…impossible.

But now it seems even more impossible to not write about the largest conflict in Europe since the end of the Second World War. So today’s “Monday: Map Day” will be devoted to some basic information about Ukraine: its location in Europe, its main cities and geographic features, and a few facts about the country, at least as it was prior to the Russian invasion.1

Maps

This map2 was downloaded on April 3, 2022, and shows the borders of Ukraine as understood by the United States and most of nations of the world, and includes all the portions of Crimea, Donbass and Luhansk that Russia seized at the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2014.

Not quite sure where we are? Here’s a map showing Ukraine’s location in eastern Europe:

A quick fact sheet

Click here to open a larger image of this page in a new window. If you prefer, you may download the original pdf.

Some personal thoughts…

I have studied and savored the food, history, art, literature, folklore and—especially—music of Russia and the former Soviet SSRs and Eastern Bloc nations for decades. It is a vast and rich cultural heritage. Members of our family have more than a few special friends, colleagues, and mentors from Russia and Ukraine (and the former Soviet Union), which makes the current situation even more distressing to us all.

But we have to be clear. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is more than a brutal attack on a sovereign nation, it is an assault on the idea of representative democracy and on the truth itself. This is not a “special military operation.” It is an unprovoked war of conquest and aggression. And there is already substantial and compelling evidence that war crimes have been, and are still being, committed against civilians and non-military targets.

Ukraine is a large, diverse country with a long and complex history. For almost four centuries, it was a central part of the great Kievan Rus’. Then, for almost 600 years, it lived in the shadows of larger, more powerful empires, under the control of a succession of tsars, commissars, and other autocrats. But Ukrainian language, culture and identity remained, and following the collapse of the USSR in 1991 the Ukrainian people began the difficult process of establishing their new, independent nation.

The Ukraine of today, its citizens, and its young democracy are not perfect. But as you read this, Ukrainians—against all odds—continues to stand and fight for their freedom against the forces of fascism,3 kleptocracy, brutality, and propaganda. They deserve our support.

I’ll be back soon with more Clark House history. Sláva Ukrayíni!

_________________________________________

NOTES:

  1. Just a reminder, from our About section, above: This blog is written in support of the mission of the Jonathan Clark House Museum but the website and—unless noted otherwise—its contents and the views expressed, are the sole property of the author, Reed Perkins. If you are not interested in my thoughts on current events, no problem; please skip today’s post and join me next time for more Clark House history.

  2. Today’s maps and other graphics are from the CIA World Factbook, a generally up-to-date and reliable source, but see here for further discussion about its sources and reliability. As a work of the U.S. government, the World Factbook contents are all free of copyright and in the public domain in the United States. Click any map to open a larger image in a new window, and feel free to download, copy, or adapt the maps, flag, and information sheet to use as you need.

  3. Fascism is the correct word, not Communism. Merriam-Webster’s main definition of fascism reads:

    fascism, noun, often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    On the other hand, the same source defines communism thusly:

    communism, noun.
    1 (a): a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
    1 (b) : a theory advocating elimination of private property

    capitalized
    2 (a) : a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Soviet Union
    2 (b) : a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production
    2 (c) : a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably
    2 (d) : communist systems collectively


    The Russian Federation does not promote revolutionary Marxian socialism or Marxism-Leninism, and the state no longer owns the means of production. (Most of those resources were sold to a small number of powerful former Communist bosses in the early 1990s; this impoverished the average Russian and created the current class of immensely wealthy—and, until recently, influential—Russian oligarchs.)

    So while the current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and many of the members of his inner circle are former communists who seem to long for the glory days—and vast territory—of the old (communist) USSR, they do not govern as communists. They govern as fascists.

2 thoughts on “Monday: Map Day – Ukraine

    • By definition, a blog is “a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer” (Merriam-Webster). Clark House Historian is my blog (see Note 1, above). It is focused on, but not exclusively devoted to, my researches on the Clarks, their relatives, neighbors, and the lives they led in the 19th century and beyond. I write and publish the blog at my own expense; no Jonathan Clark House Museum funds have ever been spent on the blog, or on my work as volunteer historian.

      Over the past six years at Clark House Historian I have written and published 277 blog posts totaling almost 300,000 words, illustrated with over 700 maps, photographs, and other historical images. Almost all of those words and images have a direct (or, at least, tangential) connection to Clark House history. At the same time, a small, but non-trivial number of blog posts have focused on my personal (non-Clark House) thoughts and musings. Some of these posts were reflections on my mood that day, or explanations of why my typical three-blog-posts-per-week publishing schedule was delayed. Others celebrated events in my extended family and family history. No one has expressed concern about those previous personal musings establishing any sort of “precedent.”

      This post was written as an explanation for my recent gap in writing and publishing new blog posts. The fact is, the situation in Ukraine has had a substantial effect on me, my writing and research, and I felt like sharing that, briefly, with any interested readers. While I was at it, I thought I might make myself useful and include two maps, some history, and other relevant geographical/background information for the use of readers that might be pondering, or teaching, aspects of these current events.

      I am sorry you found the post concerning. I don’t believe you should be worried. But the facts of the post are, to the best of my knowledge, accurate, and my opinions are just that: my opinions, and no one else’s. I stand by the post.

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