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The New York Times, January 2, 1876, p.4:

SEVASTOPOL.

    As you turn to the right into the harbor strictly so called, instead of a crowd of merchant vessels lying at anchor, you see only two English steamers being repaired among the slips.
    The landing place itself seems to sum up the history of the town. A fine broad flight of steps leading down to the water's edge, surmounted by a Doric colonnade, with the date of 1846, marks the era of hope and growth; while the pillars themselves, scarred here and there with shot, and contrasting strangely with the mean, ruinous buildings about them, mark the downfall of the hopes and the cessation of growth [since the Crimean war].

    Sevastopol, indeed, is only just beginning to emerge from the despondency of the last twenty years. The docks are still a wilderness, overgrown with grass and weeds, with old guns and anchors embedded in the earth, showing that the work of destruction was well carried out by the allies. Fresh docks and arsenals, meanwhile, have been erected at Kertch and Nikolaieff; and no attempt has until quite lately been made to develop the commercial resources of Sevastopol.

    In many places you may pass through streets silent and desolate as the streets of Pompeii; houses shattered partly by bombardment, partly by the destruction wrought by the Russians when abandoning the place, principally perhaps by the want of firewood felt by the allies during the occupation of the Winter, 1855-56.
    Add to this that the sun beats down upon the arid rock with frightful force, that there are scarcely any trees to relieve the eye, and that the dust is at least ankle deep in all the streets and squares; and it follows that Sevastopol is scarcely more desirable as a place of residence in the Summer than in the Winter.

    There are, however, not wanting signs of life and improvement. The old barracks at the head of the harbor, between that and the Dockyard Creek, still stand up against the sky-line a ghastly row of empty windows and roofless walls four stories high; but there are now barracks further north, between the old docks and the roadstead, where a large garrision is now accomodated.
    A railway station is now open at the head of the harbor, from which you can go direct in three days and two nights to Moscow. Fresh houses have been built during the last two years, and more are building. Churches are springing up again with all the glittering ornament that marks the Russian style of architecture.

    The high ridge in the centre of the town, from whence, according to Kinglake, the Russians first marked the English defiling across the heights of Mackenzie's farm, is now laid out as a boulevard, with a café and club-room. On Sundays this club-room is devoted to dancing; and the sight of this boulevard, thronged with people, while the darkness conceals the ruins of the houses round about, makes you fancy that you are in the midst of a thriving and prosperous town. The most thickly inhabited part has indeed strayed down from the eastern to the western side of the ridge, away from the Man-of-War Harbor toward the creeks which Kinglake calls Artillery Bay and the Quarantine Harbor, so that a traveler on first landing is more, perhaps, struck by the appearance of desolation than is strictly fair.

    The great sea forts, however--Fort Nicholas, Fort Alexander, and the Quarantine Sea Fort--which guarded the entrance to the roadstead on this side, are an indistinguishable heap of ruins, and their site was marked only by some surveying posts recently set up.

    The two chief hotels of the town are both near the landing-place, and, though neither of them very sumptuous, will supply all that you can fairly ask.--Blackwood's Magazine.

The New York Times, October 19, 1884, p.6:

ODESSA AND SEBASTOPOL.

    ODESSA, Sept. 20.--There are some towns, as there are some faces, upon which the lapse of years seems to leave no trace, and the great corn port of Russia is certainly one of them. Its bombardment by the combined fleets of France and England in 1854 might almost be considered a blessing in disguise, as tending to break, even if only for a time, its deadly uniformity.
    But even setting it on fire did it no permanent good. The streets are just as straight, the butter-colored houses just as yellow, the dust clouds just as stifling, the surroundings just as outrageously modern as when I was here last in 1873. One change, indeed, is apparent, viz: that the names of the principal streets, formerly written in Russian and Italian, now appear in Russian alone.

    But in all other points Odessa is Odessa still. The statues "after the antique" are so long after that it has forgotten all about them. The gaunt, scraggy church towers look like overgrown coffee pots, and all the larger buildings are so exactly alike that I am in hourly expectation of seeing a newly arrived tourist swagger into the town hall or the public library instead of his hotel, shouting to the astounded custodian to "trot out the bill of fare."

    But this universal unprogressiveness is merely the natural and inevitable result of the peculiar temperament which characterizes the Slavonian race. Paradoxical as the assertion may appear, there is not enough discontent in Russia. There is, indeed, misery enough, and far away too much; but, instead of being thereby goaded into advancing, the sole idea of the suffering masses is to endure doggedly until the evil day is past, and then to jog on in the old ruts after the old fashion.
    The Finn still inhabits the same log hut, wears the same shoes of twisted bark, feeds upon the same dried bread and fish mixed with sawdust, which served his forefathers in the days of Peter the Great. The Russian peasant, in an age of railways and telegraphs, is still the same careless, hospitable, thievish, drunken, good-humored savage that he was two centuries ago. The Tartars of the Crimea, burrowing like rabbits amid the ruins of Chersonesus or in the caverns of the Inkerman Valley, will tell you, as they told Mr. Kinglake in October, 1854, that they are content because their race has lived happily under the Czars for three generations.
    It is not from such material as this that great nations are wrought. The sheepskin-frocked philosopher of the steppes, a conservative by nature and a fatalist by creed, accepts without a murmur the coarse fare and log-built hovel which served his ancestors in the Middle Ages, content to remain as his father was before him, and as his son will be after him. To offer civilization to such a race is like reading poetry to an oyster.

    But however morally backward she may be, the great empire has visibly advanced in a material sense since the day when I saw all Moscow mourning for "the good Czarina" four years ago. If railways are indeed, as the well-known saying declares, the "true civilizers of mankind," she has constructed enough of them lately. Apart from the famous military railroad from the eastern shore of the Caspian eastward across the Khiva Desert--which has just received a fresh extension whereof I shall have more to say before long--the whole southeast of European Russia is now being opened up in all directions.
    The prolongation of the Poti-Tiflis Railroad to Baku and the new petroleum fields has at last connected the Black Sea with the isolated Caspian. Along the northern slope of the Caucasus another line, running south-eastward from the point where the Don pours into the Sea of Azof, is already open as far as Vladikavkaz, at the foot of the great central ridge, and working its way slowly among the mighty precipices of the Dariel Pass and Mount Kazbek to join the trans-Caucasian track at Tiflis, and link the border provinces with the interior of Russia.
    From the Poti-Tiflis line a branch has been run out to Russia's new port, Batoum, ceded by Turkey in 1878, and a "Caspian coast railroad" is now being projected, which is to run southward into Persia along the western shore of the great lake, although Persia herself seems in no special haste to accept the benefit.

    It is an unspeakable relief to find one's self once more, after so many days among the unintelligible dialects of Hungary, Transylvania, and Roumania, in a country where one can understand every word that is said. When I first heard Russian spoken a few days ago at the frontier station of Umgheni, it was like the first glimpse of the distant minarets of Bagdad to a traveler on the endless plains of Mesopotamia.
    But to any one who does not understand it, the grand old Slavonian tongue must at times have a somewhat startling sound. The Russian word for "thank you" is pronounced exactly like "blackguard are you," while the phrase for "pass me the salt," viz: "dai mnye sol," is, as any one will see who pronounces it quickly, suggestive of a very unorthodox remark indeed. The formidable length of some of the words, too, reminds one of the King of Kamboja's title, which required three men and a boy to recite it.

    All that I have said respecting the unprogressiveness of Odessa might as justly be retorted by Odessa upon us, for just at present our progress has come to a standstill altogether. My draft upon Odessa Bank, for some mysterious reason quite beyond the comprehension of any benighted Gentile who has not graduated upon the Stock Exchange, cannot be cashed without some further commercial hocus-pocus, which I have just telegraphed to St. Petersburg to obtain. Meanwhile we are stranded here, with the satisfaction of seeing the steamer that should have carried us to Sebastopol going quietly off without us.

  Ukraine News



    Ukraine was the center of the first Slavic state, Kievan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kievan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The cultural and religious legacy of Kievan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries.

    A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years.

    During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-1920), but was reconquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died. In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 to 8 million more deaths.

    Although independence was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, true freedom remains elusive, as the legacy of state control has been difficult to throw off. Where state control has dissipated, endemic corruption has filled much of the resulting vacuum, stalling efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties.
    CIA World Factbook: Ukraine

Area of the Ukraine: 603,700 sq km
slightly smaller than Texas

Population of the Ukraine: 47,732,079
July 2004 estimate

Languages of the Ukraine:
Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian

Ukraine Capital: Kiev

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    Nor is this all. Our total wealth in the currency of the realm being exactly 25 Russian kopecks, (about 15 cents,) we may well feel like embodied frauds in one of the best hotels in Odessa. Every dish that I order makes me feel as if I had picked some one's pocket, and the mere presence of a waiter acts upon my nerves very much as that of a detective might act upon those of a suspected murderer.

    SEBASTOPOL, Sept. 25.--It is Russia's ill-fortune that all the beautiful scenery which she possesses belongs not to her own original domain but to the territories which she has acquired by conquest. The savage grandeur of the Caucasus, the soft Italian beauty of the Crimea, the quaint old-world picturesqueness of Finland, may challenge comparison with the best landscapes of Southern Europe; but the actual Russia which formed the original "stock in trade" of the first Ruriks is merely that interminable plain upon which a sarcastic Black Sea peasant once bade a passing wagoner move aside and let him see what was going on in Moscow.

    But no painter could wish for a better study from life than one of these steamers in which we are now heading for the same point whither Capt. Jason, of the good ship Argo, sailed "with merchandise and passengers" 3,000 years ago. Were he to make the same voyage now he would profit little by it, for the Golden Fleece now exists only upon the signboards of old-fashioned inns and in the arms of Mingrelia, and in the Caucasus of the nineteenth century there is plenty of fleecing but extremely little gold.
    However, even in these unromantic modern days the Argos of the Russian Company of Navigation and Trade present a picture well worth looking at. All nations and al ages seem represented within the limits of one tiny boat. Turning away from discussing the last French novel with a Russian officer, you espy a broad-faced Turk kneeling upon his little square carpet to pray the same prayers which his forefathers used on the morning when they stormed Constantinople. You draw aside to make way for a jolly German banker with the latest telegrams from Vienna in his hand and stumble over a bullet-headed Tartar who is comfortably asleep with his feet in a basket of grapes and his head in a pool of dirty water.

    Our first scene on the morning after leaving Odessa has a Dutch rather than a Russian aspect. Along the bright blue sea stretches a low, brown, sandy beach, upon which stands a long row of windmills, as if mounting guard over the cluster of snug white houses that lies beyond them.
    But a second glance reveals a big, gray, many-widowed dome in the midst of the smaller buildings, and behind it a tall, white, slender, pointed object, very much like a monster pencil case with the lead upward. The dome is a Mohammedan mosque, the pencil is a Mohammedan minaret, and the town itself is the Crimean port of Eupatoria, cursed by the Czar Nicholas with his last breath as the scene of the crowning defeat inflicted by the despised Turks upon his own "invincible" army.

    Further on, half hidden by the rolling clouds which still linger after last night's storm, looms the dark ridge up which Codrignton's soldiers went bravely into the jaws of death on the fatal day of the Alma. Over yonder hills, the day after the great victory, wandering Tartar herdsmen saw from their upland pastures endless lines of scarlet and blue creeping toward the head of the Inkerman Valley. That narrow band of red along the water's edge is the steep front of the sea cliff from which the Telegraph battery dealt death among the English ships on the day of the great bombardment.
    This huge stone castle that watches us like some dragon of old romance through the narrow eyes of its countless embrasures is Fort Constantine, which guards the mouth of Sebastopol Harbor. And now, as we glide into the smooth land-locked inlet beyond, along the hills on either side rise white walls and painted roofs and dark trees and shining church domes, and we are fairly in the "august city" (Sebastes Polis) at last.

    At first sight the fearful traces left by the great destruction of 1855 seem to have disappeared altogether. A monster hotel of the newest pattern stands on the very spot where the "blood-stained ruins" left by Prince Gortshakoff lay thickest on the morning after the famous retreat across the harbor. New houses, new churches, have risen upon the ashes of those which the allied cannon battered down 29 years ago. The surrounding hills, once red with the blood of 50,000 brave men, look green and beautiful as ever in the cloudless sunshine. The lambs frolic over the fresh grass, and the birds twitter merrily amid the rustling leaves, and the butterflies hover rejoicingly upon the warm dreamy air, as if neither sin nor sorrow had ever been known upon earth.

    But all this brightness and beauty is only the mask which hides the face of death. When once you begin to look below the surface the grim associations of the spot start out at every turn. Behind the smart new streets and leafy boulevards peer forth windowless ruins, and walls hacked through and through by cannon balls, and heaps of crumbling masonry overgrown with rank weeds.
    Beyond the Man-of-War Harbor, upon the high ridge above the Korabelnaya suburb, the roofless shell of the great barrack looms out like the skeleton of some primeval monster. On the slope of the Inkerman Hill one may still see the shapeless mound of earth that was once the reknowned "Sandbag Battery," around which 1,500 men lay dead or dying on that fatal November morning long ago, and beside it the ground is red for many yards around with a vast sheet of poppies, as if all the blood shed that day had risen to the surface once more.

    Still along the deadly valley of Balaklava human skulls grin up at you from the cracked, dusty earth, each with a deep, narrow, even cleft in the frontal bone which tells its own story. All around the tiny tower of hewed stone that marks the spot once occupied by the terrible intrenchment which gave Marshal Pelissier his title of Duc de Malakoff, the dust is thickly spread with flattened bullets and shattered bones, showing where the victors and the vanquish sleep their last sleep together.
    Even so, on the night before the final struggle did thousands of Frenchmen and thousands of Russians lie side by side with but six feet of earthen breastwork between them, knowing that on the morrow they were to fight to the death. But the gallant Col. Napier spoke truly when he said that it is very hard to make brave men hate each other...

    Along the crest of the ridge between the Malakoff tower and the ravine at the head of the Man-of-War Harbor runs a zigzag seam of crumbling and grass-grown earth, almost obliterated in more places than one. On the highest part of it a lamb is nibbling the tuft of fresh herbage that has sprouted from the rusty mouth of a half-buried cannon, which is the only visible token that this quiet hillock was once the terrible Redan, before which, in two successive battles, England's best soldiers fell like the leaves of Autumn.
    Just here it must have been that an incident befell which one of the bravest survivors of that bloody day related to me with a very significant tremor in the deep, manly voice which had never faltered when he cheered on his men amid the storm of battle. Going through the Redan after the fight was over, he found a wounded Russian vainly endeavoring to raise himself from the cramped position in which he had fallen, with a pinched, sharpened look on his weatherbeaten face which told only too plainly that he would never fight again... he thrust his hand into the breast of his gray coat and drew forth a tiny white kitten all splashed with his blood, but quite unhurt itself and fast asleep on its master's breast after all the roar of the battle. Placing it in the Englishman's hands, he bade him be kind to his little pet, and then sank back and died.

    On the highest point of that hill of death, just in front of the once formidable entrenchment, stands a simple pillar of white stone, inscribed with an epitaph worthy of the men who sleep below it: "To the memory of those who fell in the trenches and assaults upon the Redan, 1855." They fell there, but the cause for which they fought did not fall, and on the spot where they died the gallant enemies whom they conquered still tend and watch over the memorials of their self-sacrifice.
    But beyond the great harbor, upon the wide green plateau where the walls of the Star Fort once bade defiance to the Western invaders, stands another memorial equally mournful and equally heroic. A simple white cross surmounts a vast pyramid of gray stone 105 feet in height, bearing an inscription that tells how many Russian soldiers lie buried here and entreats the passer-by to pray for the repose of the souls. With that prayer, I think, the sternest Protestant could hardly be offended.

    Never was a bad cause better maintained. What could these brave, simple souls know of the quarrels of Kings and Princes, the ambition of a selfish despot, or the rapacity of a corrupt administration? To the poor peasant soldier of Russia only one thing was clear, that his darling "mother land" was in danger, and that he must die to save her. And die he did, with a courage and constancy that many a reknowned martyr might have envied.
    Such a defeat as Sebastopol is more glorious to Russia than ten victories, and certainly no ten victories could have done her as much real good as that one defeat. The moment she had learned by bitter experience that her boasted military system was not perfect and her vaunted army not invincible the work of national reconstruction began. To the result of the Crimean war must be ascribed all the great reforms that followed, reforms which made their pulsation felt through every limb and nerve of Russia's vast inert body...
D. K.

The New York Times, April 30, 1920:

POLES ATTACKING TO FREE UKRAINE

Petlura Issues Declaration of Independence
and Urges People to Aid Troops


PILSUDSKI LEADS FORCE

Drive Opened on 187-Mile Front
as Bolseviki Were Massing for Decisive Offensive


    WARSAW, April 28 (Associated Press).--General Pilsudski, as Commander in Chief, is leading the Polish army in its drive toward the Dnieper River, which began on last Monday. By the capture of Owrucz, Jitomir and other railroad centres the Poles now control the two main lines leading to Kiev.
    Jitomir was taken after a brief but fierce fight. The Poles announce that the Bolshevist 58th Infantry and 17th Cavalry Divisions were destroyed in the combats in this region.

    The Bolsheviki then began a general retreat, offering resistance at only a few scattered points. Many prisoners and much material were taken, the material including sixteen locomotives and 2,000 railway cars.
    The Kosciusko Squadron, composed of American aviators, is taking part in the advance into the Ukraine, notwithstanding the unfavorable weather.

    Along the 300-kilometre front (187 miles) the advance is continuing. The Poles have been held up at a few points by the resistance of small forces of the Bolsheviki having machine guns. The Reds have adopted the machine gun method of the Germans for their rear-guard actions in order to permit withdrawals without endangering larger forces. The Poles are using armored trains and armored motor cars, which are particularly effective against the machine gunners, many of whom have been captured or killed.
    A War Office communication issued today says the Bolsheviki began concentrating six weeks ago for a drive in the south, and that the Reds evidently were determined to attain a decisive military victory.
    "In view of this fact," says the communication, "the Poles planned a counteraction under Pilsudski's leadership. The first day they reached Owrucz, Kremmo and Godnow. Then, taking advantage of the confused Bolshevist retreat, they proceeded further in the direction of their objectives. By the general advance the Poles now virtually control all the railroads extending southward from Mozir to the region of Winnica."

    In connection with the drive to free the Ukraine of the Reds and Poland's recognition of Ukrainia's independence, General Petlura, the Ukrainian leader, has issued a declaration of the independence of the Ukrainians.
    The declaration give assurance of the gratefulness of the loyal Ukrainians for Poland's assistance in the campaign against the "Red Imperialists," and appeals to the people to give the troops every consideration.
    The declaration says that for three years the Ukrainians endeavored to gain their independence, fighting alone and forgotten by the world's nations. By hard fighting against the invaders, it adds, the Ukraine is prepared to prove to the world that the Ukrainians are ready for independence and prepared to direct State affairs. It also announces that a call for a National Assembly will be issued shortly.

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