The country in its current form was created by the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, the Russian president said.
Modern Ukraine is a country that was artificially created by the actions of the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin after World War II, Russian President Vladimir Putin told American journalist Tucker Carlson on Friday.
In a wide-ranging and highly anticipated interview that lasted more than two hours, Putin described in detail the process by which Ukraine was created in its current form.
He recalled that, during the feudal fragmentation of Russia in the Middle Ages, Ukraine – which he described as being part of Russian lands – came under heavy Polish cultural, religious, and political influence. In the 17th century, the people of this region wanted to join the then-growing power of Moscow, but Russia wanted to avoid war with Poland.
Nevertheless, after a lot of deliberation, Moscow decided to bring this “part of old Russian lands” back into the fold, he said, which resulted in a war with Poland. Moscow reclaimed all of its “historic lands” during the reign of Catherine the Great, who ruled between 1762 and 1796, he recalled.
After the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia and another war with Poland, Warsaw regained control over large swaths of western Ukraine, Putin continued. In the 1920s, the Bolshevik government established a Soviet Ukraine that “had never existed before.”
The Soviet authorities were “Ukrainizing” this region, in line with similar indigenization policies pursued in other areas, the president said.
“After the Second World War, Ukraine, in addition to the territories that had belonged to Poland, received part of the territories that had previously belonged to Hungary and Romania… So, we have every reason to affirm that Ukraine is an artificial state that was shaped at Stalin’s will.”
Putin added that these nations in principle have the right to discuss the return of their former territories, but denied that he had ever discussed the matter with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. However, he suggested that Hungarians living in Ukraine want to “get back to their historic land.”