Ukraine’s 1991 Independence Movement: Chernobyl, Communism, and a Student-Inspired Revolution

An Interfront – a Marxist-Leninist invention – is a variant on public diplomacy that Moscow utilized in the 90s in order to thwart the independence movements spreading within the periphery of their various USSR dependencies. One of the nations in semi-revolt in the 1990-91 Soviet Union Republics was Ukraine and, specifically, an area in Western Ukraine called Galicia.

5.4 million of Western Ukraine’s 10 million citizens lived in Galicia in the 1990s. It was Ukraine’s revolutionary base of operations, a transformative fountain of progressive passion and youthful advocacy.

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They organized mass protests on local parliaments and their consequently pro-Russian majority legislators. Being outside of the hardline influence of the Central Committee, the youthful partisans used their city newspapers and other miscellaneous pre-World Wide Web information infrastructures to spread the cause and enliven the pockets of Ukraine that – demographically or ethnically – were more Sino-centric than purely Ukrainian in origin.

But as it turns out, other than the pocket of uneducated/rural Eastern Ukrainian citizens, more than 90% of all Russian Ukrainian’s were completely on board with the sudden surge of democratic self-advocacy, even if the eastern parts of Ukraine really couldn’t actively voice their opinions in the manner in which the West did for fear of immediate communist retribution or oppression.

The focal reasoning for this slightly surprising bottom-up disloyalty is economic. While one shouldn’t just automatically assume ethnic Russian Ukrainian = pro-Russian/communism, the history of Tsarist Russia details a lot of cases of citizens – due in part to the closely intermingled nature of the Tsar and the Orthodox Church – innately believing that their Tsar or Emperor is just simply immune from scrutiny and or vocal protest.

Obviously in retrospect we can clearly state that to not be the case, since Tsar Nicholas II was ultimately overthrown in the early years of the 20th century.


But USSR Ukrainians had more than a few reasons to not provide meaningful courtesies such as loyalty or support to soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, given the fact that Moscow and its policy arm – the Central Committee – had been brutally and consistently milking their resources and labor for pennies on the dollar:

  • 95 percent of Ukraine’s economy was controlled by Russia at the time; Moscow was also responsible for NINETY percent of products that were being made within Ukraine’s borders.
  • Moscow paid Ukraine 48 roubles per tonne for their sugar exports, whereas the comparative price per tonne in Russia was…73 roubles.

The fruits of their labors is a donation to the historically oppressive central committee? I don’t think that’s how healthy economies are born…

And so this monopoly on all of the USSR’ currency within the sister republics had absolutely massive effects – not only on severe poverty and the growth rates of innovative technologies – but also on the long-term environmental health of Ukraine. Ever heard of Chernobyl?

You have, but it’s been covered exhaustively elsewhere/everywhere, so I’ll skip the obligatory timeline summary of events. It was one of many crimes perpetrated against mother Earth committed under the watch of Lenin’s nation.

A term that’s been used to describe communist Russia and its unconscionable abuse of wildlife and natural resources is:

Environmental Imperialism. The uniformly bad consequences of localized nuclear plants or other greenhouse gas related excavations is on par with toxic waste being dumped in Africa.

  • 40% of women reported miscarriages in the years following Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 46% of Ukraine’s secondary schoolchildren suffer from one or more types of chronic illness.

But even despite all of the horrible malnutrition of Ukraine’s soil and air, hopeful news prevails for the possibility of a very productive industrial economy in the near future.

A German study graded – out of 100 possible points – former USSR states and their comparative abilities to potentially integrate into the European market:

  1. Ukraine – 83
  2. Latvia-Estonia-Lithuania – 77
  3. RSFSR – 72
  4. Georgia – 61
  5. Tajikistan – 18