Romanians in Ukraine

Chernivtsi Oblast (Romanian: Regiunea Cernăuţi) of Ukraine comprises a significant Romanian community. Today's Chernivtsi Oblast of Ukraine was part of Romania until June 1940, when it was occupied by the Soviet Union, and on 2 August 1940 it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. Prior to that, the territory had never been part of any Ukrainian entity, although ethnic Ukrainians have lived in parts of the area in increasing numbers since the 19th century. Rather, the region constituted the northern part of the historical region of Bukovina, the northern part of Hotin County of the region of Bessarabia, and the north-western corner of Dorohoi County of the region of Moldavia proper. The Romanian population of Chernivtsi Oblast was persecuted by Soviet authorities on ethnic grounds, especially in the years following the annexation until 1956. In neighboring Bessarabia the same persecution did not have a predominantly ethnic orientation, being based mostly on social, educational, and political grounds.

The historical region of Bukovine. The Northern part belongs now to Ukraine

The bulk or 88% of ethnic Romanian population is concentrated in four of the eleven districts (raions) of the Chernivtsi Oblast situated closer to the border with Romania and Moldova. In the Hertsaivskyi Raion (Romanian: Herţa), Romanians comprise about 95% of population. In Novoselytskyi Raion (Romanian: Nouǎ Suliţi), Moldovans represent about 60% of the population. In Hlybotskyi Raion (Romanian: Adâncata), Romanians and Moldovans sum up to 50%. Storozhynetskyi Raion (Romanian: Storjineţ) has a compact Romanian community in the south, especially around the village of Crasna. Romanians comprise 37% of that district's total population.

There are also other villages with a Romanian majority and important historical heritage, such as for example Boian (home of Ion Neculce) and Cernăuca (home of the Hurmuzachi brothers). Other than the 4 raions have smaller Romanian populations, usually never exceeding several hundred people. Exceptions are the Khotynskyi Raion (Romanian: Hotin) with 5,000 Romanians and Moldovans (7% of the raion's population) and Sokyrianskyi Raion (Romanian: Secureni) with 1,500 Romanians and Moldovans (3% of the total raion population).

Historical Moldavia

The history of Romanians in what is now southwestern Ukraine, roughly between the Dniester River and the Bug River, who traditionally have not belonged to any Romanian statal entity (nor to Transnistria), but have been an integral part of the history of modern Ukraine, and are considered natives to the area. Vlachs and Brodniks are mentioned in the area in the 12th and 13th century. As characterized by contemporary sources, the area between the Bug and Dniester had never been populated by a single ethnicity, or totally controlled by Kievan or other rulers. Since 14th century, the area were intermittently ruled by Lithuanian dukes, Polish kings, Crimean khans, and Moldavian princes (such as Ion Vodă Armeanul). In 1681 Gheorghe Duca's title was "Despot of Moldavia and Ukraine", as he was simultaneously Prince of Moldavia and Hatman of Ukraine. Other Moldavian princes who held control of the territory in 17th and 18th centuries were Ştefan Movilă, Dimitrie Cantacuzino and Mihai Racoviţă.

The end of the 18th century marked Imperial Russia's colonization of the region. The process of Russification and colonization of this territory started to be carried out by representatives of other ethnic groups of the Russian Empire. In Ukraine, the Soviet government continued this policy of assimilation of the native Romanian population. Elite elements of the Romanian population were then deported to Siberia, much like their Bukovinian and Bessarabian counterparts. Russian and Ukrainian settlers were recruited to fill the vacant areas caused by the deportation of Romanians. Romanians who continued to identify themselves as Romanians and not Moldovans were severely punished by the Communist regime.

Historically, the Orthodox Church in today's Transdneister and Ukraine was subordinated at first to the Mitropolity of Proilava (modern Brăila, Romania). Later, it belonged to the Bishopric of Huşi. After the Russian annexation of 1792, the Bishopric of Ochakiv reverted to Ekaterinoslav (modern Dnipropetrovsk). From 1837, it belonged to the Eparchys of Kherson with seat in Odessa, and of Taurida with seat in Simferopol.

According to the 2004 census, in Chernivtsi Oblast live 181,800 Romanian speaking population (19.78% of the region's population) out of which 114,600 (12.5%) declared to be of Romanian ethnical minority and 67,200 Moldavians; in Transcarpathia live 32,152 Romanian ethnics—mainly living in Teaciv rayon with 21,300 (12.4% of the rayon population) and Rahiv with 10,300 (11.6% of the rayon population), and in Odessa 724 declared to be Romanian, 123,751 Moldavian (includes historically Ukrainian and eastern Bessarabian territories). In line with common practice, Ukrainian, the language of the historical ethnic/linguistic majority, is constitutionally the sole state language, and the state system of higher education has been switched to Ukrainian. By the terms of a bilateral agreement, Ukraine guaranteed the rights of Romanians in Ukraine: there are schools teaching Romanian as a primary language, along with newspapers, TV, and radio broadcasting in Romanian.


Octavia said...

Ah!!! Tatal meu era din Noua Sulita (la un pas de Cernauti), la Cernauti si-a facut studiile, iar eu nu i-am vazut locurile natale niciodata!Sarmanii romani de acolo!

Adrian said...

Dincolo de declaratiile oficiale, romanii de acolo chiar o duc rau - sunt deznationalizati cu cinism de atatia ani...

Manuel said...

My Jewish Family (Sternberg, Married to a Loibman) where originally from Noua Sulita, and all three children migrated to South America..

Can someone help me find out where I can find more information about their origins?