Libmonster ID: RU-17299
Author(s) of the publication: By Y. KOCHUBEI

By Y. Kochubei, President of the Association of the Foreign Policy of Ukraine, Ambassador Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine

* * *

In 1918, when Ukraine got its chance to become an independent and sovereign state following revolutions in Russia which had ruined the tsarist empire Mykhailo Hrushevsky (1866-1934) wrote his treatise On the Threshold of the New Ukraine. It consisted of several essays; among them there were The Black-Sea Orientation and its alleged continuation The New Prospects. Essentially this is a geopolitical doctrine indicating directions of the future foreign policy of Ukraine.

Obviously, they develop such doctrines if there is a sovereign state, or its vision. Therefore such doctrine could not appear neither in the 18 century after the defeat of Charles XII and Hetman I. Mazepa, nor in the 19 century. Only after almost simultaneous publication of Ukraina irredenta by Yulian Bachynsky (1895) in the Western Ukraine and Independent Ukraine (1900), a pamphlet by Mykola Mikhnovsky, in the Eastern Ukraine there could appear the foreign-policy doctrine of Ukraine built on geopolitical principles as a next step asserting the idea of the independence of Ukrainian nation, its right to have its own state. No imperial province could have a foreign-policy doctrine, while it was a must for an independent country, if it wanted to ensure its sovereign existence.

M. Hrushevsky's Doctrine was not an artifact or abstract speculation; it was based on the objective laws of geopolitics and deep knowledge of Ukrainian past. He had been one of the most prominent Slavic historians at the time.

Our history showed that the North/South axis was the determinant of politics defined by political and economic interests of Kyiv State from its earliest days.

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The fighting of Kyiv dukes against Khazars, their efforts to control the faraway Novgorod and the realm of Black Sea and Danube were not in vain. The activities of Grand Duke Sviatoslav, and, after him, of Grand Duke Volodymyr are a vivid instance of such policy. The Black-Sea vector was terminated because of nomadic incursion into the South Ukrainian steppe; afterwards, if we use modern expressions, the Black Sea became the "exceptional zone" of the Ottoman State. It does not mean that there were no interactions of the population of Ukraine with their Southern neighbors: there were trade, travels, and human contacts. One should remember that one of the branches of the Silk Road passed through Ukraine: from Bilhorod Dnistrovsky it turned round sharply northwards, practically following the oil-pipe line Odesa-Brody.

Next time the problem of geopolitical orientation arose in the second half of the 17 century, when the question of the independent state of Ukrainian nation appeared on the agenda again. With the creation of Bohdan Khmelnytsky's Kozak State, which named Kyiv Dukes among his predecessors, they needed a fulcrum in the feudal world, and the Ottoman State became a variant. We think, that the very fact of turning to Muslim aliens marked the onset of creation of the political Ukrainian nation, as we now call it. The same was with the Ottoman Empire which established friendly relations with Christian France. We can even call it a post-mediaeval period. During the 17 century there where continuous attempts to make normal agreements on the basis of military aid, alliance, or suzerainty: undertakings of such Hetmans as P. Doroshenko, Yu. Khmelnytsky, P. Teteria, followed by I. Mazepa, P. Orlyk. The history of the Zaporizhia Sich provides many examples of normal relations. Like the first-period (the Age of Dukes) North/South contacts with Byzantium, economic problems with Turkey topped the North/South Black-Sea Coast relations.

Apparently the northward, northeast and western orientation led to the loss of statehood and future prospects at once. At its worst, the southern orientation might lead to a status analogous to that of Walachia and Moldova which acquired their independence from Ukraine about 150 years earlier. However, despite the opinions of the representatives of Ukrainian polity of the time, the society was not ready for such alternative and everybody knows now the history that followed.

The last attempt to play a Ukrainian card and swing Ukraine, that had been planned to be independent, to the Black Sea was connected with the actions of utopian and adventurer MichaB Czaikowski (Sadyk Pasha) during the Crimean War in the 19 c. Panteleimon Kulish, a hothead, also belonged to Turkophiles.

For the third time the geopolitical orientation question arose in connection with the WWI. The idea of independent Ukraine was already alive: political parties sprang up in Austria-Hungary and Russian Empire; they were not radical, though. However, the very idea of independence had already existed.

In 1914, in Lviv, they published the Short Geography of Ukraine. Part 2: Anthropogeography. In it Stepan Rudnytsky, a young professor, from the point of view of geopolitics considers (theoretically for the time being) the Black Sea making it a center of his vision of future Ukraine. He emphasizes the specificity of the geographic situation of our country: it has a broad outlet to the Black Sea which, in its turn, is connected with the Bosporus and Dardanelle Straits and Mediterranean, and, further on, with Asia Minor and Africa. He writes: "There is a pending plan to connect the Baltic and Black Sea via Dvina and Dnipro with a channel accessible for sea vessels... In that way the Black Sea will become more open for one important shipping route. They should develop the Black Sea navigation, because it is an obvious necessity for all Ukrainian coastal population which had been always drawn towards shipping." (1)

Rudnytsky ventured an idea that if Ukraine were independent it would have availed

стр. 56

of such opportunities and "would have become a major European power." (2)

Hereby the Black Sea was brought to the attention of the Ukrainian political elite. And it was Mykhailo Hrushevsky who developed for Ukraine the geopolitical doctrine taking into account such factor as the Black Sea in his essays The Black-Sea Orientation and The New Prospects. The doctrine proceeds from the interests of Ukrainian state, preservation and stabilization of its independence.

He stresses that "the historic conditions of life oriented Ukraine westward, " while "geographic conditions oriented it toward south and the Black Sea..." (3) And goes on: "In the south the Black Sea linked our coast with the Asia Minor, and further on with the realms of old cultures, e. g. Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Aegean... The Black Sea rather united than separated coastal countries." (4) He understood that inherently the Ukrainian civilization belonged to the west and urged to study in the west, first of all, in Germany and the USA. At the same time he noted: "Studying in these countries of western culture, we should be ready to creatively work in the countries, which, like Ukraine, had developed under oriental influence in the realm of our Black-Sea orientation, united by the Black Sea as a center of communication and different cultural and political relations." (5) He argues, that the geographic peculiarities of Ukraine, i. e. water ways, "lead to the communication center" of Black Sea, communications, "if they had been built according to our interests" (6), also would have led in the same direction. The ideology of this partisan of "international federalism" found its peculiar reflection in his "Black-Sea Doctrine". He opposes "the forced federation" upholding the federation of "lands connected geographically, economically and culturally" and says: "And I think that the economic and cultural co-operation of the Black-Sea nations can be the first stage of such federation..." (7) He emphasizes that "closely associated these Black-Sea countries can make a very rich, extensive and variable economic basis" (8) which they should use for their own benefit, including "major eastward transit routes." (9)

In these words we see the origins of the idea leading to the OBSC and GUUAM.

Academician M. Hrushevsky had never put these ideas out of mind which was proved

стр. 57

by his efforts to publish The Southern or Steppe Ukraine. The Collection that had to appear in 1927. The same is proved by his article "The Steppe and Sea in the History of Ukraine. A sketch of the plan and prospects of the investigation" published in the 90s. (10)

The M. Hrushevsky's ideas weren't an idle theorization: they lived on.

The well-known thinker and political scientist Vyacheslav Lypynsky (1882-1931) took the geopolitical situation of our country rather pessimistically proceeding from the historic experience of Ukraine. "Everybody knows about our Kozak seniors rumbling in the triangle Moscow-Poland-Turks-Tartars, and about the latter calling Ukrainians for anarchy, " he wrote. (11) It is evident that politician and political scientist V. Lypynsky treated Ukraine only as a point of force application on international arena. He ignored both the meaning of Black Sea and new situation after the WWI, though in his analysis, maybe unconsciously, he touched on the questions of geopolitics.

After the WWI, when Ukraine seemed to have finally lost its strife for independence and unity, Professor S. Rudnytsky (1877-1937) continued to dwell on the "Black-Sea orientation" of Ukraine. On the basis of the geopolitics laws he upheld the rights of Ukrainian nation to be independent, pointed at the difficulties along the way, and suggested new solutions. Him views and estimates deserve in-depth study. We'd only underline that in his analysis of the geopolitical situation of Ukraine he always took account of the factor of the Black Sea and our neighborhood with Turkey.

In his book the Ukrainian Cause From the Point of View of Political Geography (Vienna, 1923) he elucidated the meaning of the Black Sea for the historical development of our country and sketched the future prospects. The scientist anticipated the nautical channel connection "among the Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas" making optimistic conclusions for Ukraine: "The political and geographical importance of Ukraine in the nearest future is guaranteed by its coastal position and ownership of one half of the Black Sea shorefront." (12) Today we call it the transit capacity of our country. We can't agree with everything he wrote, especially concerning the past relations with Turkey and Crimea, but, to our mind, his words about Ukraine as a "major "key point" of the entire Near East" (13) (Turkey included, as we guess) are substantiated, as well as his views on Russian imperial expansionism. We together with our Black-Sea neighbors have to understand his ideas and try to realize his visions. Really, we should keep in mind, that it was written in the years of stateless society in Ukraine and initial Kemal's reforms in the Republic of Turkey. As is well known, in the late 20s Professor Rudnytsky emigrated from Halychyna to the USSR, where gulag and death awaited him.

The situation in the Soviet Ukraine in the 20s of the 20th century (Ukrainization) was favorable for the ideas of M. Hrushevsky and S. Rudnytsky. The structure of economy control allowed certain trade relations with the east, in particular with Turkey, and one could even consider Ukraine as an economical-geographic entity, though it formed a part of the USSR (Volobuyev, Syniavsky).

Only A. S. Syniavsky (1866-1951) tried to consider Ukraine and its economy from the point of view of geopolitics, that is taking into account its historic and geographic particularity in relations with the Middle East countries, especially Turkey. From this angle his essay "The UkrSSR and Middle East: Geopolitics. (The problem of trade relations)" published in the "Skhidny Svit" Magazine is rather important. Like S. Rudnytsky before him, he dwells on the geographic situation of Ukraine against the background of historic development; however, he takes into account the existing realities, shows the importance of our country as a transit territory and developed industrial economy. (14)

He writes: "Ukraine is also a part of human race and a part of the globe that can make an

стр. 58

economic complex with the middle east countries on the basis of rational division of labor and exchange of products." (15) He substantiates his conclusions with statistics. Certain prospects for the Ukrainian-Turkish commerce he sees "in the energetic policy of new Turkey aimed at intensification and industrialization." (16) He prepared a cycle of lectures on the economic development of Egypt, Turkey, and East in general. He mentions bars on this way: "It is not easy to establish trade relations, but systematic work according to geopolitical and economic tendencies will but lead to the development of such relations." (17) Such authors as O. Hrushevsky, Vasyl Dubrovsky, and I. Lerman also wrote about it. The defeat of Ukrainian renaissance stopped it; especially as commie ideologists never favored geopolitics as a science.

On the eve of the WWII the baton of the elaboration of geopolitical doctrine was passed on to the West Ukraine and Ukrainian political emigration. Certain Ukrainian political groups abroad counted on the possibility of the independent Ukraine as a result of the clash of Hitlerism, Stalinism, and forces of the west. In 1938 Yuriy Lypa (1900-1944) published in Lviv his book under the characteristic title The Destination of Ukraine. He dwells on relations of the population of modern Ukraine with their neighbors from olden times, defines their impact on our nation, and its mentality. There are many exact estimates and interesting observations in the book which support his thesis about the originality of Ukrainians, their destiny to be free and happy. And his simple thesis is the quintessence of his analysis: "Only South-North is the axis of Ukrainian lands." (18) And further on: "Defense of the South-North axis was the most important task in Ukrainian history." (19) He believes in the stabilizing role of this axis in the world policy.

The researcher used many facts, studied numerous sources and investigations; however, his concept was estranged from life, and the author himself was cut off the real political activity. Nevertheless there appeared such experts as Olexandr Lototsky (1870-1939), former UPR Ambassador in Istanbul, which published in the "Storinky mynuloho" #4 (1939, Warsaw) his reminiscences "In Tsarhorod". In 1940, under German occupation, L. Bykovsky (1895-1992) cyclostyled as a manuscript his work Turkey: Bibliography carrying an epigraph by O. Lototsky. It reads: "Due to the invincible force of life the historic neighbors-Turkey and Ukraine-though not always at peace in the past, will understand the necessity of unity for hem both in politics, economy and culture." (20) L. Bykovsky wrote about the same in the foreword to his book: "The past and present show, that Turkey is an undisputed partner of Ukraine in the making of Black-Sea reality. It is followed by Romania, Bulgaria, and the Caucasus." (21)

All of it was written at the time, when the Ukrainian state-developing activity on the territory occupied by Germans was practically illegal. The illegal Ukrainian Black- Sea Institute in Warsaw founded by I. Lypa, I. Shovheniv and L. Bycovsky cyclostyled several works of Ukrainian scientists concerning geopolitics. The first publication was Black-Sea Doctrine by I. Lypa (Warsaw, 1940) (published as a manuscript); it was followed by the bibliography of Lev Bykovsky. (22) In 1941 the atlas Black-Sea Realm came out. (23)

In the spirit of the age I. Lypa dwelled on the Black Sea geopolitics, delineated the role of each Black Sea country, underlining the role of Kemal Ataturk in Turkey. Such chapters as the "Consciousness of Unity" and "Alliance of the Black-Sea Countries" are based on the ideas of M. Hrushevsky's "Black-Sea Orientation". Here his previous thoughts come nearer to the real politics. This treatise-vision demands separate in-depth exploration.

In the "Afterword" to his quoted bibliography L. Bykovsky writes on the future co- operation of Black-Sea countries more openly: "Ukrainian-Turkish relations in future cannot be backed only by orientalists, historians and diplomats. It must become a mass phenomenon. Turkey, Ukraine and other countries

стр. 59

of the Black-Sea realm are a part of common native land for all people living there. Therefore Turkish interests should be as dear for Ukrainians, as Ukrainian for Turks." (24) It is typical that there is no expansionism in the speculations of Ukrainian geopoliticians. For example, O. Ohloblyn wrote: "Neither now, nor in the future Ukraine tends to exploit or subdue peoples either living on its land, or those living nearby in the basin of Black and Caspian seas." (25) While Russian geopoliticians pushing Ukraine towards the so-called Eurasian space controlled by the "Big Russia" do not stop at forging views of Ukrainian hetmans which, like Moscow tsars, might have been eager to "take" Istanbul from Turks. (26)

So, Ukrainian emigre politicians worked to define the future role of Ukraine, if it becomes independent. It went ahead after the difficult years of Cold War as well. The articles of V. Dubrovsky, Prof., including Turkish translations (27), and reprint of works of I. Lypa may be an evidence of it.

The new period in Ukraine began after proclamation of independence in 1991. Friendly relations with Turkey were established, great attention was paid to the joint efforts of the Black-Sea-Baltic countries (28), but on account of the NATO eastward expansion this idea lost its validity. Again Ukraine faced a dilemma: East or West, and or a "gray zone" in-between. We are pushed toward the "painful uncertainty" of our essence: we're either Europeans or Asians; they want to make us believe that we are Eurasians. To our mind, there is no objective ground for any doubts. We are in Europe already, our culture is European, though influenced by our eastern neighbors. We made the conscientious choice to integrate into Big Europe. But it could not hamper the realization of the "Black-Sea orientation" which meets our national, security and economic interests, as far as in the south, in Asia and Africa we can be competitive, find friends and fresh sources of energy.

The culturologists continue to debate East vs. West matters (I. Krypyakevych, V. Krupnytsky, O. Lototsky, V. Dubrovsky, I. Lysiak-Rudnytsky, I. Shevchenko, Y. Dashkevych, V. Sierchyk, N. Yakovenko, L. Zalizniak et al.), but geopolitical view was demonstrated during the well well-known scientific conference (Kyiv, 10-11. 04.2000) "Ukraine-Turkey: Safety and Co-operation in the Black-Sea Realm" (29) and, to an extent, during the international conference "The Caspian-Black-Sea Region: Conditions and Prospects of Development" (Kyiv, 26-28.06.1998). (30) There appeared different publications in many editions, especially the book of Prof. B. O. Parakhonsky. (31) Zbigniew Brzezinski could not but dwell on it in his work "A Big Chessboard". (32) There is a plenty of good ideas, but, I am afraid, nobody intends to realize them in Ukrainian foreign policy.

We think that Ukraine might play a more important role in the OBSC and GUUAM as embodiments of the "Black-Sea Doctrine".

We think that the "Black-Sea orientation" remains topical for our country and it does not collide with either our European character, or with Turkey's membership in NATO, because, finally, Turkey also is a part of Europe, and Ukraine attempts to join both NATO and EU. Together with Turkey we can ensure stability in the Black-Sea region affecting all Middle East, for which we should take part in the making of European system of collective security. It suits our national interests both from political or defense or economic viewpoint. Orientation to the North-South axis (or Baltics and Mediterranean) will help us in the solution of the energy-sources- diversification problem. The importance of the Eurasian transport corridor is self- evident. The rational approach may help to solve the pipeline competition problem. Only views should be broader and future-oriented both in Ukraine, and in Turkey. The very instinct of self-preservation should suggest it. Our natural "Black-Sea orientation" in no way contradicts the mutually beneficial equitable relations with other countries in

стр. 60

the west and east.

The Ukrainian orientalists-political scientists, culturologists, etc-must develop the glorious traditions of orientalism, including Ukrainian-Turkish cooperation that was almost established 1927. Our science never served colonialists (as E. V. Said writes about western orientalism) (33), but attempted to be objective, including geopolitical planning, when there were proper conditions for geopolitical investigations. Now we can do our best in the domain of oriental studies which include studies of southern realms.


1. Рудницький С. Коротка географія України. -ч. II - (Антропогеографія) - Львів, 1914. - P. 107.

2. Ibid., p. 108.

3. Великий українець. -К., 1992. - P. 147.

4. Ibid., p. 148.

5. Ibid., p. 154.

6. Ibid., p. 155.

7. Ibid., p. 155.

8. Ibid., p. 156.

9. Ibid., p. 156.

10. See: Український історик-1991-1992.-Рік ХХVIII-XXIX. - .ч. 110-115. - P. 54- 68.

11. Липинський В. Листи до братів-хліборобів. -Нью Йорк, 1954. - P. 439.

12. Рудницький С. Чому ми хочемо само-стійної України. -Львів, 1994. - P. 107.

ІЗ. Ibid., p. 115.

14.СинявськийА. Вибрані праці. - К., 1993. - P. 194, 195.

15. Ibid., p. 196.

16. Ibid., p. 198.

17. Ibid., p. 201.

18. Липа Ю. Призначення України. -Львів, 1992. - P. 236.

19. Ibid., p. 237.

20. Лотоцький О. В Царгороді // Сторінки минулого. -ч. 4. - Варшава, 1939. - P. 150.

21. Биковський Л. Туреччина. Бібліо-графічні матеріали. - Варшава, 1940. - На правах рукопису. - P. 7.

22. See: Биковський Л. У службах українській книжці. -Львів - Нью Йорк, 1997. - P. 87-90.

23. Ibid., p. 91.

24. Биковський Л. Туреччина. Бібліо-графічні матеріали. - Варшава, 1940. - На правах рукопису. - P. 54.

25. Шульгін О. Без території. - Київ, 1998. - P. 102.

26. See, eg: Окара А. Самое синєє море... Логика понтийско-босфорской геополи-тической зкспансии // Киевский телеграф, 7-13 октября 2002.

27. Дубровський В. Туреччина між молотом і ковадлом. - Німеччина, 1947. - P. 23.

28. Україна на міжнародній арені. 36. документів і матеріалів 1991-1995 рр. У двох книгах. -кн. 1.-К., 1998. - P. 45.

29. Україна-Туреччина: безпека та спів-робітництво в Чорноморському регіоні. - Матеріали. Міжн. конф. (Київ, 10-11 квітня 2000 року).-К., 2000.

30. Каспійсько-чорноморський регіон: умови та перспективи розвитку. - Матеріали Міжн. конф. (Київ, 26-28 червня 1998).-К., 1998.

31. See: Україна та Росія у системі міжна-родних відносин: стратегічна перспектива. -Монографія. -К., 2001.

32. Бжезінський 3. Велика шахівниця //Всесвіт, - 1999. - N 2. - P. 134-135.

33. See: Саїд Е. В. Орієнталізм. -К., 2001; Кочубей Ю. До специфіки українського орієнталізму // Східний світ, - 1996. - N 2(8). - P. 134-139.

Translated by Les Herasymchuk


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