Ukrainians Staged Huge Parades
"LET UKRAINE BE FREE"
|Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Days of RevolutionÂ in Kyiv (March 19)Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ukrainian Manifestation, March 19, 1917
Â published by the Committee of South-West Front,
Â Â Â Zemskoy Soiuz UnionÂ Â (very rare printed postcard)Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (PrivateÂ collection)Â Â Â
"News of the tsarist regime's collapse reached Kiev on 13 March 1917. Within days,
representatives of the city's major institutions and organizations formed an Executive
Committee which was to maintain order and actÂ as an extension of theÂ Provisional
Government. Meanwhile, the Kiev Soviet of Workers' andÂ Soldiers' Deputies became
the center of the radical left. But, unlikeÂ in Petrograd, a third player enteredÂ the
scene in Kiev: on 17 March the UkrainiansÂ established their own organization,Â the
Central Rada (rada means 'council' in Ukrainian, theÂ Russian equivalent isÂ 'soviet").
It was created by the liberal moderates fromÂ TUP, led by Evhen Chykalenko,Â Serhii
Efremov, and Dmytro Doroshenko, together with the SocialÂ Democrats headedÂ by
Volodymyr Vynnychenko and Symon Petliura.
"A few weeks later, the new, burgeoning Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionary party,
represented by Mykola Kovalevsky, Pavlo Khrystiuk and MykytaÂ Shapoval,Â also
joined the Central Rada. Thus, in contrast to the Russians in Kiev who were split
between the moderates of the Executive Committee and the radicals of the Soviet,
Ukrainians of all ideological persuasions were united in a single representative body."
"To the surpass of many, the Central Rada generated immediate and growing support.
In Petrograd and Kiev, Ukrainians staged huge paradesÂ to publicize their causeÂ and
demonstrate their backing for the Central Rada. OnÂ 19 April a UkrainianÂ National
Congress was held in Kiev. Attendeede by 900 delegates from all over Ukraine, from
Ukrainian communities throughout the former empire, and fromÂ variousÂ economic,
educational, military, and welfare organizations, it formally elected 150 representatives
to the Central Rada and reaffirmed Hrushevsky's leadership."
"On 18 May, when over 700 delegates ofÂ Ukrainians serving in the army met inÂ Kiev,
they instructed their representatives to join the CentralÂ Rada. About a monthÂ later,
close to 1,000 delegates Ukrainian Congress of PeasantsÂ did likewise.Â Afterwards,
the Congress of Workers also joined the Central Rada. Elated by this show of confidence,
the Central Rada began to view itself not merely as a representative of the relatively
few nationally conscious Ukrainians but as the parliament of Ukraine..."
"But as the limitations of the Provisional government's power became more obvious, the Central Rada decided to press its advantage. Intent on gaining recognition as the highest political authority in Ukraine, on 23 June it issued its First Universal (manifesto), which proclaimed: "Let Ukraine be free. Without separating entirely from Russia, without severing connections with the Russian state, let the Ukrainian people have the the right to order their own lives in their own land."
"Shortly thereafter, the Central Rada announced the formation of the General Secretariat, which was to function as the executive branch of government. Headed by Vynnychenko and composed of eight ministries, most of which were held by Social Democrats, the General Secretariat took over responsibility for the administration of Ukraine."
"These measures infuriated the Russians in Ukraine and the Provisional Government in Petrograd. In mid July, the latter sent a delegation, led by Aleksander Kerensky, to Kiev to negotiate. But weakened by the disastrous failure of its offensive in Galicia, the Russians were forced, although with strong qualifications, to recognize the General Secretariat as the administrataive of five Ukrainian provinces (Kiev, Poltava, Podilia, Volhynia, and Chernihiv). This recognition marked the high point of the Central Rada's influence and authority."