KGB agents are apparently not taught history, or so it would seem from Vladimir Putin’s recent statement that only “God knows” how a portion of southeastern Ukraine ever became part of that country. The Russian president refers to the region as “New Russia,” an old idea that has always been — and remains — an aspiration rather than a fact. Luhansk, Donetsk, Odessa and other New Russian cities have been a part of Ukraine for nearly a century. And even before that, they were never truly Russian.
It was Empress Catherine II who first articulated the ambition that this territory, which she acquired from the Ottoman Turks in the latter half of the 18th century, would become “Novorossiia.” Catherine wanted her subjects to settle the new, mostly vacant land, and she did her best to lure Russian nobles into the area.… Seguir leyendo »