Following the establishment of Soviet rule and the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the early 1920s, by the decision of the central Soviet authorities in Moscow, a substantial portion of the contiguous Ukrainian ethnic territories in the Ukrainian northeastern and southeastern borderlands were incorporated into the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR). These territories included the predominantly Ukrainian-settled regions of the southern part of Briansk oblast around Starodub north of Chernihiv, the southern parts of Belgorod, Kursk, and Voronezh oblasts (northern Slobidska Ukraine), part of Rostov oblast (in the Don region), as well as most of Krasnodar krai (the Kuban). These regions were settled by Ukrainians primarily in the 17th and 18th centuries and in the 1920s Ukrainian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians constituted the majority of the local populations. However, since the 1930s, the increasingly intense process of Russification implemented by the Soviet, and later Russian governments have resulted in a rapid process of linguistic and national assimilation of Ukrainians. Within the borders of RSFSR and later Russian Federation, Ukrainians have had no national rights. There were no Ukrainian schools, societies, or organizations, and no newspapers or books published. The dissemination of printed matter in Ukrainian from the Ukrainian SSR as well as cultural contacts with Ukraine have been difficult. As a result, the national composition of these territories has been changing drastically. The Soviet census indicates a drop in the Ukrainian population in the Ukrainian northeastern borderlands by 1959 to 17 percent of the 1926 numbers, and a reduction in the use of the Ukrainian language as the mother tongue (among Ukrainians) from 84 to 8 percent. For the Ukrainian southeastern borderlands official Soviet figures indicate a Ukrainian population drop to 10.5 percent of 1926 numbers and a reduction in the use of Ukrainian as the mother tongue from 50 to 42 percent. The situation is comparable to that in the northern Chernihiv region, in the southern part of the present Briansk oblast, where the number of Ukrainians declined from 128,000 in 1926 to 21,000 in 1970. The rapid Russification of Ukrainians in these areas has progressed at an even faster pace following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 and the establishment of the Russian Federation... Learn more about Ukrainians living on the Ukrainian ethnic territories in the southwestern regions of the Russian Federation by visiting the following entries:


STARODUB. A town (2018 pop 18,615) in the northern Chernihiv region and a raion center in Briansk oblast, Russian Federation. In medieval times it was a fortress on the territory of the Siverianians. It was first mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle under the year 1096, when it was part of Chernihiv principality. In 1239 it was destroyed by Batu Khan, and thereafter it was ruled successively by Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. In 1648 the town was taken by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky's Cossacks, and in 1654 Starodub regiment was set up, first within Nizhyn regiment and then (from 1663) separately. A number of Starodub colonels rose to prominent offices in the Hetman state, for example, Ivan Skoropadsky (1706-8) rose to the highest rank of a hetman. The town was destroyed in 1660 by the Tatars and in 1663 by the Poles. From 1782 Starodub was part of Novhorod-Siverskyi vicegerency, and then a county center of Little Russia gubernia (1797-1802) and Chernihiv gubernia. In the 19th century it was a major trading town dealing mostly in furs, honey, wax, oil, and hemp. By the end of the century its population was 26,000. During the revolutionary period (1917-18) Starodub was included in the territory of independent Ukraine, but after it came under Soviet control, the town and its region was incorporated into the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. The town has a number of architectural monuments from the Cossack period, including the Church of Saint John the Baptist (1770) and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ (built in 1617, burned down in 1677, and renovated at the end of the 17th century)...



KURSK REGION. A mixed Russian-Ukrainian region within the Russian Federation, northeast of Slobidska Ukraine. During the Princely era of Kyivan Rus' this region was part of Chernihiv principality. Devastated by the Mongols in the 13th century, it came under the control of Muscovy in the 16th century. In the 17th-18th century the southern part of the Kursk region was colonized by Ukrainian Cossacks and peasants. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it constituted Kursk gubernia, which bordered on Chernihiv gubernia, Poltava gubernia, and Kharkiv gubernia. In 1934, with somewhat changed borders, it made up Kursk oblast in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, with an area of 50,800 sq km. The region's southern part (11,100 sq km) lies on Ukrainian ethnic territory and was inhabited by 554,700 Ukrainians (19.1 percent of the oblast’s population) in 1926. In 1954 almost all of this southern part, of which about half of the population was Ukrainian, was incorporated into newly created Belgorod oblast. Since that time Kursk oblast has had an area of 29,800 sq km, of which only 1,200 sq km lies on Ukrainian ethnic territory. According to the 2010 Russian census, 13,600 (1.2 percent of the oblast's population) identified themselves as Ukrainians. As in other parts of the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian population in the Kursk oblast is deprived of even minimal cultural rights, and Russification has advanced rapidly...

Kursk region


BELGOROD OBLAST. An oblast in the southern part of the central chornozem region of the Russian Federation bordering on Ukraine. In the past most of the oblast was a part of Slobidska Ukraine. Belgorod oblast was formed on 6 January 1954. Its area is 27,134 sq km, and its 2019 population is 1,547,788. According to the Soviet census of 1979, Russians constituted 94 percent of the population, and Ukrainians accounted for 4.8 percent. These statistics were doctored, however, for the purpose of demonstrating that the political border between Ukraine and Russia coincides with the ethnic border. According to the generally reliable census of 1926, the territory of present-day Belgorod oblast was then inhabited by 642,000 Ukrainians (40.2 percent) and 948,000 Russians (59.4 percent) out of a total population of 1,596,000. Ukrainians were in the majority in 7 out of the 18 raions, Russians in 6, and the numbers were about equal in 5. The southwest and the southeast parts of Belgorod oblast are in Ukrainian ethnic territory. In the past these two parts belonged to the Slobidska Ukraine regiments, while the central part of the oblast, including Belgorod, was colonized mostly by Russians. The Ukrainian part of Belgorod oblast covers 14,500 sq km and in 1926 had a population of 770,000, of which 460,000 (59.7 percent) was Ukrainian and 307,000 (39.9 percent) was Russian. In 1926, 182,000 Ukrainians lived in the rest of the oblast. According to the Russian census of 2010 (which followed the trend set by the earlier Soviet census), Russians constitute 94.4 percent of the population, and Ukrainians account for 2.8 percent...

Belgorod oblast


VORONEZH REGION. The northeastern region of Slobidska Ukraine, which in the 19th and early 20th centuries constituted Voronezh gubernia and in 1934 was reorganized into Voronezh oblast of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (68,400 sq km; 1939 pop 3,550,000). The southern part of the oblast, including the cities of Valuiky, Ostrohozke, Rozsosh, and Bohuchar, was in Ukrainian ethnographic territory (31,300 sq km). For example, the town of Ostrohozke was founded by Ukrainian Cossacks and fortified in 1652, and in 1662 it became the center of the Cossack Ostrohozke regiment in Slobidska Ukraine. By 1732 the Ostrohozke regiment consisted of 18 companies, with 3,100 elect Cossacks and 16,300 Cossack helpers. According to the census of 1926, Ukrainians accounted for 74.1 percent of the inhabitants of Ostrohozke. In general, in 1926, 1,009,000 of the 1,450,000 inhabitants of the southern part of the Voronezh region (69.6 percent) were Ukrainians. In 1954 the southwestern part of Voronezh oblast was transferred to the newly created Belgorod oblast; Voronezh oblast was left with 52,400 sq km (1985 pop 2,460,000), of which the Ukrainian ethnographic territory covered 16,000 sq km (1979 pop 135,200 Ukrainians). In 2010, according to Russian census, the number of Ukrainians in the Voronezh oblast was reduced to 43,000...

Voronezh region


DON REGION. A historical-geographical region, the former territory of the Don Cossacks. It is located in the basin of the lower and middle Don River. In 1914 the territory constituted the Oblast of the Don Cossack Host with an area of 164,600 sq km and a population of 3.9 million. Its southwestern part falls within Ukrainian ethnic territory. The non-Ukrainian part of the Don region borders on Ukrainian ethnic territory for 1,100 km, from Novokhopersk (Voronezh oblast) in the north to Oziv in the south. Today a small western part of the Don region belongs to Ukraine and is divided between Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The rest of the region belongs to the Russian Federation and is within Rostov oblast and Volgograd oblast. Most of the original population consisted of Don Cossacks, who settled all of the northern and middle part of the Don River and a narrow corridor in the lower Don that today separates the main Ukrainian ethnic territory from the formerly Ukrainian-populated Kuban region and areas of eastern Subcaucasia. The western part of the Don region was colonized independently of the Don Cossacks by the Zaporozhian Cossacks and Ukrainian peasants. Ukrainian migration into this territory was particularly vigorous after the abolition of serfdom; it then spread south into the sparsely settled regions adjacent to the Kuban and the eastern Subcaucasian steppes. Besides Ukrainians and Russians, the Don region was settled also by Germans, Armenians, Jews, and Greeks, who gravitated towards the cities...

Don region


ROSTOV OBLAST. An administrative territory set up on 13 September 1937 in the southwestern Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (today Russian Federation). It encompasses most of the former Don Cossack province, except for the western part, which belongs to Ukraine, and a northeastern part, which belongs to Volgograd oblast. The area of Rostov oblast is 100,967 sq km, and its population in 2018 was 4,220,452, of which 68 percent was urban. The oblast has 43 raions. Its capital is Rostov-na-Donu. The western and southern regions of the oblast are Ukrainian ethnic territory, where the main city is Tahanrih (Taganrog). According to the census of 1926, Ukrainians accounted for 34.6 percent of Tahanrih's population and 71.5 percent of the Tahanrih okruha's population. In the 1920s, Ukrainization was partly introduced in this region, primarily in public education. Ukrainian instructors worked in the Tahanrih department of people's education and in the union of school workers. However, in the mid-1930s the Ukrainization campaign was stopped. The national composition of the region has changed considerably since the early 1930s. The proportion of Ukrainians has declined rapidly. The cities attract large numbers of Russians from the Russian heartland, and Cossack consciousness has been waning. As in other parts of the Russian Federation, Ukrainians have no national rights in this region and have been linguistically and nationally Russified...

Rostov oblast

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