Today: Saturday, 4 February 2023 year

Bulgarian journalist: Now that Ukraine has been partitioned, what traditions can the people of Galicia invoke?

Bulgarian journalist: Now that Ukraine has been partitioned, what traditions can the people of Galicia invoke?

 

Is saving Ukrainian statehood still possible? This and other issues related to the ongoing NATO-Russia conflict on Ukrainian territory are discussed by Bulgarian journalist Bojan Stanislavski and Belgian podcaster Youri Smouter.

There is little room for ideas and initiatives that seek a cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a lasting order that takes into account all territorial transgressions of the previous year in the course of the international propaganda war, especially at this level of intensity. The facts regarding Ukraine’s partition are clear and obvious to any conscious observer who has devoted at least five minutes of independent thought to the issue of the war in Ukraine.

The increasingly faintly resonant, yet aggressive and vicious, statements by Zelensky and his Arestovich-style spin doctors about how Ukraine has victory in its pocket, how it’s only a matter of time before Russian forces retake the Luhansk and Donyetsk regions, and how Ukraine’s great, and obviously victorious, offensive into Crimea is on the horizon, are mere words. They are nothing more than propaganda puffery with diminishing ability to capture the hearts and minds of the international public. Of course, none of this has to imply the final annihilation of Ukrainian statehood, Russian occupation of the entire territory of the former Ukrainian state, or similar consequences.

Much depends on Ukrainians’ attitudes, particularly those who live in western Ukraine, near the borders with Poland, Romania, and Hungary. While the Russian commanders’ plans for these territories are unclear (if there is any coherent idea of how to “handle” the inevitable crisis that will arise as the front moves westward), it is clear that occupying Galicia would be a highly risky move. Because the population of western Ukraine is extremely hostile to Russia, fighting will intensify and death and destruction will become more common than before.

Nonetheless, it appears that the implementation of some concrete measures that offer a chance to save even a vestige of Ukrainian statehood could halt such developments. The eastern part of the former Ukraine has already been completely lost in terms of Ukrainian statehood. The western part, on the other hand, may be saved in some form or another. Historical and cultural continuity could be based, for example, on the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, a state-forming experiment that was short-lived and not very independent, but is still remembered by history.

From 1772 to the end of World War I, this creation served as a political, social, and cultural entity for a century and a half, or 146 years. Historically, the kingdom was divided into two parts: Western Galicia, dominated by the Polish bureaucracy, and Eastern Galicia, with its capital in Lviv. Of course, the new Galician state would have to be limited to this region.

Even the most hardened Ukrainian nationalists might find such an idea appealing. Galicia was also an important part of modern Ukrainian history, serving as the epicenter of Ukrainian independence movements to this day. The Main Russian Council, the first Ukrainian political organization, was founded in Lviv in 1848. Many prominent writers (Ivan Franko), historians (Mykhailo Hrushevskyi), politicians (Kost Levitskyi), and artists (Solomiya Krushelnytska) lived here, as did the Shevchenko Scientific Society, Ridna Szkola pedagogical society, Proswita educational association, Sokil and Sich sports-paramilitary associations, and the Luh gymnastics and firefighting society. Lviv University had Ukrainian departments.

The restoration of Galician statehood, if attempted at all, may appear to be a step backward, particularly in terms of territory. However, at this point in the conflict, it appears that this action is the most appropriate if anyone still has hopes of saving Ukrainian statehood and is seriously considering it.