Ladies & Gentlemen,
Below is a new article from a brand new project of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine entitled “Cartographic Propaganda” by Ukrainian historian Kyrylo Halushko on the Role of the Russian General Staff in Identifying the Limits of Ukrainian Ethnic Lands in the Second Half of the 19th Century
One of common myths of the Russian propaganda is the “invention” of Ukrainians by the Austrian General Staff during the World War I. Allegedly, the Austrians “turned” some of the Russians living in Galicia into a “new nation” designed to break the unity of the Russian people. However, the General Staff of the Russian Empire, or rather its cartographic and statistical divisions, played much greater role in Ukraine’s formation.
Following the Polish Uprising of 1863, St. Petersburg understood that the Poles use the Rzeczpospolita’s historic borders contrary to the ethnic composition of its former territories. It was clear according to general statistics that not only Poles lived on those lands, but also Belorussians (White Russians) and Malorussians (Little Russians) – “tribes of the Russian people”. It was necessary to draw lines among various peoples and tribes to prove the artificial character of Polish claims and also to prove the historic grounds of the rule of the Russian Empire.
Because of that, the census data of 1860’s – 1870’s were supplemented with linguistic data. These allowed drawing of a map of ethnic limits, where Poles “ended” and Belorussians and Malorussians “started”. Accordingly, hard work of the officers of the General Staff led to the creation of the Ethnographic Map of European Russia, which clearly identified the area occupied by the Malorussians – Ukrainians. It was in 1874. The map was created under the supervision of Col. Alexander Rittich of the General Staff, outstanding Russian ethnographer and statistician. Following that, for 40 years the map was used in educational institutions of the Russian Empire. Ukraine’s limits were quite precisely drawn, and it’s hard to say afterwards that the borders of Ukraine of 1917-1918 were invented by someone. The map was known to all graduates of Russian secondary schools, including Lenin and Stalin. Therefore, debates about territorial “gifts” of Soviet leaders look artificial.
Nota bene. The map shows Crimea in Tatar yellow. The areas south of Kherson are painted in Russian colors. That was the so-called “Rittich’s mistake”, when the author of the map made a mistake while working with official statistical data, according to which the majority of population of the modern-day Kherson region consisted of Malorussians – Ukrainians.