Why isn’t Ukraine a country of two hundred million people? Why didn’t it conquer Russia, Germany, or Constantinople? The question sounds preposterous until you understand the unbelievable luck Ukraine has—all ultimately wasted by one single but crucial detail.
Thanks for the Ukraine history lesson
Thanks Tomas for another interesting article!
Ukraine has been a melting point of numerous civilisation (although a much more violent one). When did independent Ukrainian identity came about? Is it a nation state or a state nation? When did it start diverging from Russian identity (I have read that Kiev was a major cultural site even in Tsarist Russia)?
Very cool Tomás.
Just a quick note that while it's true that Ukraine seems to be an extreme case, invasion from the Steppes' warriors that destroyed empires/civilisations was the norm rather than the exception in Asia. See Braudel's hypothesis that had India and China been better protected from such invasion, like Western Europe, they may well have had their Renaissance before us.
Another fantastic article. Love how you pose a question then answer it with great info and visuals.
awesome!!! Now tell us how to stop the destruction of this wonderful country. Tomas, this is a wonderful effort on your part. You helped stop/manage the pandemic. Please focus some of your enormous talent on this horrible war. Thanks for all you do
So proud you are a Cardinal!!
Thank you so much for this history lesson!
My father’s family is from this region & we are (I’m given to understand) ethnically Carpatho-Rusyn. Some parts of the family came to the US at different times, so some of us say we’re Slovak, others Ukrainian.
Great lead into the history, learnt a lot!
This was an enjoyable post. It illuminates the greater power of a wonderfully constructed book. "Prisoners of Geography" by Tim Marshall provides the Ukraine lesson and many others in a great book about the magic and importance of geography.
But why isn't the same true for Germany? It looks like the same conditions apply
Amazing article, knew all the people and cultures excpet the first one, Typilla... Nice to give (additional) logical structure and context to these facts.
I noticed in the map about chernozem distribution that it is almost absent from cradles of civilizations, like India, China and Fertile Crescent. Interesting.
Very counter intuitive piece Tomas. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
I think of this in respect to my country, Nigeria, which has a lot of natural resources but only resulted in over dependency and government corruption.
When you think your most important resource is a liquid underground you tend to ignore the human resource above ground. The people just become obstacles in your way.
Ideal post-war Ukraine
1. Nato not EU
2. Defence like Israel
3. Citizenship like Switzerland
4. Land ownership like Belarus
5. Marriage like Islam.
Interesting history! So I suppose the point is Ukraine has almost always been feeding other people's empires, and never had the chance to develop its own. But didn't those empires build infrastructure in Ukraine? Or was it always a more extractive relationship?
Great article though I must point out that the culture was Romanian-Ukrainian. I come from that region.