Romanians have historically lived in the border regions between the Ukrainian and Romanian territories: in the borderlands of Bukovyna, the Maramures region, and Bessarabia (the Khotyn and Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi regions). While Moldavia and Southern Ukraine were part of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, Vlachs (Wallachians), the ancestors of the present-day Romanians and Moldavians, began freely colonizing the underpopulated lands between the Dnister River and the Boh River in Southern Ukraine. At that time entire Moldavian villages sought refuge in Ukraine, where social conditions were better. Their number rose after Ottoman-controlled territory between the Dnister and the Boh rivers was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1791. There the tsarist government granted Moldavian landowners and officials huge estates populated by Moldavian fugitives. Some Vlachs also settled east of the Boh River. The Vlach settlers generally lived on good terms with their Ukrainian neighbors. They took part in the haidamaka uprisings and were later also forced to live in the so-called military settlements in Southern Ukraine. According to the Russian census of 1897, 185,500 Romanians lived in the nine Ukrainian gubernias: 147,000 of them were in Kherson gubernia; 27,000, in Podilia gubernia; and 9,000, in Katerynoslav gubernia. The Soviet regime distinguished between Romanians and Moldavians, although they are culturally and linguistically the same. According to the 1926 Soviet census there were 257,794 Moldavians and 1,530 Romanians in Soviet Ukraine, 172,419 of them in the Moldavian ASSR (which was, at the time, part of the Ukrainian SSR). Approximately 95 percent were peasants. The Romanian-Ukrainian relations in Bukovyna changed in 1918 when, following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Romania took control over the region. Ukrainians in Bukovyna were considered by the Romanian state to be errant Romanians who had forgotten how to speak their 'native' language and they came under relentless attack: all schools were Romanianized, the use of the Ukrainian language in the courts and in public offices was banned, the Ukrainian chairs at Chernivtsi University were abolished, and many Ukrainian societies were closed down. This situation persisted until parts of Bukovyna and the Maramures region, including some Romanian ethnic territories, were annexed by the USSR at the end of the Second World War... Learn more about Romanians and Moldavians in Ukraine by visiting the following entries:


ROMANIANS. The native population of Romania. In 1989 there were 459,350 ethnic Romanians in Soviet Ukraine, of which 324,525 were identified as Moldavians. In 1989, as earlier, the highest concentration of Romanians in Ukraine was in Chernivtsi oblast (100,300 Romanians and 84,500 Moldavians, mostly in Storozhynets, Hlyboka, Novoselytsia, and Sokyriany raions), where they made up 19.7 percent of the oblast's population, and in Odesa oblast (144,500 Moldavians and 700 Romanians), where they made up 5.5 percent of the population. Smaller numbers lived in Transcarpathia oblast (29,500 Romanians, in Tiachiv and Rakhiv raions), Mykolaiv oblast (16,700 Moldavians), Donetsk oblast (13,300 Moldavians and 500 Romanians), Kirovohrad oblast (10,700 Moldavians, near Hruzk and Martonosha), Dnipropetrovsk oblast (6,600 Moldavians), the Crimea (6,600 Moldavians), Luhansk oblast (5,800 Moldavians), and Kherson oblast (5,600 Moldavians). In 1989, 62 percent of Romanians and 78 percent of Moldavians in Ukraine gave Romanian or Moldavian as their native tongue; only 9.8 and 6.1 percent respectively gave Ukrainian, and 3.5 and 15.5 percent, Russian. According to the 2001 census, 151,000 Romanians lived in Ukraine which constituted 0.31% of the population of Ukraine. The Romanian Ukrainians, particularly those in Chernivtsi oblast, have enjoyed considerable cultural autonomy in independent Ukraine. Romanian-language schools operate in the region and Romanian-language periodicals are published. In 1990 the Social and Cultural Society of Transcarpathian Romanians was established in Uzhhorod...



MOLDAVIANS. The predominantly Vlach population of Moldavia (Moldova). After the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia united in 1859 to form Romania, the term Moldavian, like Wallachian and the southern Romanian term Munten, became a regional designation. The Soviet regime created a fictional Moldavian nation, language, and literature to justify the existence of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. In fact the language of the Moldavian SSR and its successor state, Moldova, is a Romanian dialect the lexicon of which has many borrowings from Ukrainian and Russian, and which has been written in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet instead of the Romanian Latin alphabet. In the Soviet era many Soviet Russian neologisms entered the dialect, and on the basis of those words Soviet scholars tried unconvincingly to substantiate the idea that Moldavian was a separate language. In 1989 there were 3,352,352 Moldavians in the USSR. Of those, 2,794,749 lived in the Moldavian SSR, where they made up 64 percent of the population; 324,525 lived in the Ukrainian SSR; and 172,671 lived in the Russian SFSR. Of the Moldavians in Ukraine in 1989, 44.5 percent lived in Odesa oblast; 26 percent, in Chernivtsi oblast; 5 percent, in Mykolaiv oblast; 4.1 percent, in Donetsk oblast; 3.3 percent, in Kirovohrad oblast; 2 percent, in Dnipropetrovsk oblast; 2 percent, in Crimea oblast; 1.8 percent, in Luhansk oblast; and 1.7 percent, in Kherson oblast. According to the 2001 census, 258,619 Moldavians lived in Ukraine which constituted 0.53% of the population of Ukraine...



WALLACHIANS (VLACHS) (Ukrainian: volokhy). An eastern Romance people, the ancestors of the Romanians, who lived in the territories of what is now Romania and south of the Danube River from ca 500 AD. The earliest mention of the Vlachs is in the Primary Chronicle under the year 898. Because of invasions by the Tatars the Vlachs continued to move from beyond the Carpathian Mountains to the territory between the Carpathians and the Dnister River, the Presov region, and Moldavia, and thus displaced the Slavic population. The independent Vlachian principalities of Wallachia (Muntenia) and Moldavia arose in the 14th century. Although the Ukrainian term Voloshchyna (Wallachia) designates the entire ancient territory of Romania, in Ukrainian historiography it often refers specifically to Moldavia...

Wallachians (Vlachs)


BUKOVYNA. Bukovyna is a transitional land between Ukraine and Romania. From a historical perspective it is a strategically important border area between Galicia and Moldavia, as it lies at the northwest entrance to Moldavia. Bukovyna's transitional location influenced its history; it belonged to the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia, then to Moldavia. Polish and Hungarian influences intersected here in the 14th and 15th centuries. In 1919-40 and 1941-4 all of Bukovyna belonged to Romania. It was only in 1940 that Bukovyna was divided, along ethnic lines, between Ukraine and Romania. Bukovyna's territory consists of 10,440 sq km, of which about 5,500 belong to Ukraine. At the time Bukovyna came under Austrian rule in the 18th century it was sparsely settled. Eventually, through natural growth and immigration, its population increased, reaching 642,000 in 1890. Ukrainians and Romanians constitute the majority of the population. According to the Austrian census of 1910, Ukrainians numbered 340,000 or 40 percent of the population, while Romanians numbered 290,000 or 34 percent of the population. The present political border between Ukraine and Romania does not coincide with the ethnic border: Romania contains the southern part of the Ukrainian ethnic peninsula with Seret and a string of mountain villages, while Ukraine contains the Romanian ethnic wedge that extends to Chernivtsi. Romanian Bukovyna has about 30,000 Ukrainians or 9 percent of the region's total population, while Ukrainian Bukovyna has almost 95,000 Romanians or 18 percent of the region's population...



MARAMURES REGION. A historical-geographic region in the Maramures Basin. Its larger, northern part is Ukrainian ethnic territory (eastern Transcarpathia), the inhabitants of which speak a Transcarpathian dialect of Ukrainian. The south is settled by Romanians. The name Maramaros appears in a Hungarian charter in 1199. Until the 14th century the region was sparsely populated and served mainly as a hunting ground for Hungarian kings and nobles. In the 14th century it was colonized by Ukrainians from Galicia and Vlachs from Transylvania. In 1910, 45 percent of the region's population of 360,000 was Ukrainian, 24 percent was Romanian, 17 percent was Jewish, and the rest was German or Hungarian. After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the northern Maramures region was annexed by Czechoslovakia. The south was annexed by Romania. Because the new Czechoslovak-Romanian border along the Tysa River did not correspond to the ethnic border, much of the region's Ukrainian ethnic territory--800 sq km--became part of Romania. At the end of the Second World War the northern Maramures region, including some parts of Romanian ethnic territory, was annexed by the USSR and became part of the Ukrainian SSR. Until the last few years of Soviet rule Ukrainian citizens of Romanian descent were not allowed to have direct ties with Romania. Cultural relations with Romania were conducted through official channels by the Ukrainian Society for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and the Ukrainian branch of the Romanian-Soviet Friendship Society...

Maramures region


BESSARABIA. Region bounded by the middle and lower Dnister River in the north and east, the Prut River in the west, and the mouth of the Danube River and the Black Sea in the south. Today Bessarabia is a part of Moldova, except for the northern part (the Khotyn region) and the southern part (the Akkerman [Bilhorod] region), which are settled by Ukrainians and comprise 14,400 sq km of the territory of Ukraine. Romanians have inhabited Bessarabia since the 13th century and constitute an overwhelming majority in the central part, which is now Moldova. Although the descendants of ancient Ulychians and Tivertsians inhabited this land, other Ukrainians have migrated to Bessarabia since the 13th century, mainly from Galicia. At the end of the 17th century many Ukrainians from Right-Bank Ukraine, fleeing the persecutions of Peter I, found refuge in Bessarabia. With the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich, Cossacks settled the virgin lands in the southern Budzhak (see Danubian Sich). Many Ukrainian peasants went there after Russia annexed Bessarabia in 1812. In 1920, Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, according to the Treaty of Trianon, recognized the right of Romania to Bessarabia. The USSR never accepted this decision, which led to tensions in their relations with Romania and to a policy of non-recognition. The Romanian government kept Bessarabia at a low cultural and economic level for 22 years. At the same time an intense effort was made to denationalize the Ukrainian population. In 1940 the USSR forced Romania, under threat of war, to cede Bessarabia and northern Bukovyna which were added to the Ukrainian SSR...


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