Bukovina[nb 1] is a historical region, variously described as in Central or Eastern Europe. The region is located on the northern slopes of the central Eastern Carpathians and the adjoining plains, today divided between Romania and Ukraine.
Settled by both Ruthenians (Ukrainians) and Moldavians (Romanians), it became part of Kievan Rus' in the 10th century, and of Moldavia in the 14th century. The region has been sparsely inhabited since the Paleolithic, with several now extinct peoples inhabiting it. The early Slavs emerged in Bukovina in the 4th century. In the 10th century it became part of Kievan Rus', and later of the Principality of Galicia. Russian culture spread in the region, with the Bukovina Church administered from Kiev until 1302, when it passed to Halych metropoly. Then, in the 14th century, Bukovina passed to Hungary. King Louis I of Hungary appointed Dragoș, Voivode of Moldavia as his deputy, facilitating the migration of the Romanians from Maramureș and Transylvania in the territory. Thereafter, Ukrainians and Moldovans cohabited Bukovina, fighting together against invaders and oppressors. The territory of what became known as Bukovina was, from 1774 to 1918, an administrative division of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, and Austria-Hungary. Locals sought to annex the historically Ruthenian north to the Western Ukrainian National Republic in the early 20th century. However, Romania seized the whole province in 1918, pursuing a policy of Rumanization in the region. In 1940, the northern half of Bukovina was annexed by the Soviet Union in violation of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Afterwards, the region was temporarily recovered by Romania as an ally of Nazi Germany after the latter invaded the Soviet Union which, however, retook the northern part in 1944. Bukovina's population was historically "almost solidly Ukrainian in the north and Romanian in the south, while in the towns there were also a number of Germans, Poles, and Jews." Today, Bukovina's north is part of Ukraine, while the south is part of Romania.
The name Bukovina came into official use in 1775 with the region's annexation from the Principality of Moldavia to the possessions of the Habsburg Monarchy, which became the Austrian Empire in 1804, and Austria-Hungary in 1867.
The official German name of the province under Austrian rule (1775–1918), die Bukowina, was derived from the Polish form Bukowina, which in turn was derived from the common Slavic form of buk, meaning beech tree (compare Ukrainian бук [buk]; German Buche; Hungarian bükkfa). Another German name for the region, das Buchenland, is mostly used in poetry, and means 'beech land', or 'the land of beech trees'. In Romanian, in literary or poetic contexts, the name Țara Fagilor ('the land of beech trees') is sometimes used. In English, an alternative form is The Bukovina, increasingly an archaism, which, however, is found in older literature.
In Ukraine, the name Буковина (Bukovyna) is unofficial, but is common when referring to the Chernivtsi Oblast, as over two thirds of the oblast is the northern part of Bukovina. In Romania, the term Northern Bukovina is sometimes synonymous with the entire Chernivtsi Oblast of Ukraine, while Southern Bukovina refers to the Suceava County of Romania (although 30% of the present-day Suceava County covers territory outside of the historical Bukovina).
The territory of Bukovina had been part of Kyevan Rus since the 10th century. It then became part of the Principality of Galicia, with the establishment of the Ukrainian Bukovinian church. Then, it became part of Moldavia in the 14th century, with the Ukrainian and Romanian locals repelling invading forces and fighting together to preserve autonomy.
It was first delineated as a separate district of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria in 1775, and was made a nominal duchy within the Austrian Empire in 1849.
Union of the Antes
, 6th century.
The region, which is made up of a portion of the northeastern Carpathian Mountains and the neighbouring plain, was settled by both Ruthenians (i.e. Ukrainians) and Romanians (i.e. Moldavians). The former constituted the largest ethnic group in the north, while the latter went on to become the largest ethnic group in the south. After being inhabited by ancient peoples and tribes (Trypillian, Scythians, Dacians, Getae) starting from the Paleolithic, Slav culture and language emerged in the region, as early as in the 4th century. Later, Ukrainian culture spread, and by the 10th century the region was part of Kievan Rus. After 1342, when Louis I defeated the Tatars, Romanians from Transylvania and the Maramureş started to settle in the region.
First traces of human occupation date back to the Paleolithic. The area was first settled by Trypillian culture tribes, in the Neolithic. It was then settled by now extinct tribes (Dacians/Getae, Thracian/Scythian tribes). Meanwhile, many nomads crossed the region (3rd to 9th century AD). By the 4th century, the Slavs appeared in the region. These Slavic people were part of the tribal alliance of the Antes. In the 9th century Tivertsians and White Croatians composed the local population.
Bukovina within the historical region of Moldavia over the passing of time.
Bukovina was part of Kievan Rus, from the 10th to the 11th century. United by Prince Oleg in the 870s, Kievan Rus' was a loose federation of East Slavic and Uralic peoples in Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century, under the reign of the Rurik dynasty, founded by the Varangian prince Rurik. When Kievan Rus was partitioned at the end of the 11th century, Bukovina became part of the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia.
Principality of Galicia-Volhynia
After the fragmentation of Kievan Rus', Bukovina passed to the Principality of Galicia (Principality of Galicia-Volhynia). The Church in Bukovina was initially administered from Kiev. In 1302, it was passed to the Halych metropoly.
After the Golden Horde invaded Europe, with the region falling into the hands of the Tatars, ties between Galician-Volhynian and Bukovina weakened. As a result of the Tatar invasion, the Shypyntsi land, recognizing the suzerainty of the Mongols, arose in the region.
Eventually, this state collapsed, and Bukovina passed to Hungary. King Louis I appointed Dragoș, Voivode of Moldavia as his deputy, facilitating the migration of the Romanians from Maramureș and Transylvania.
The Moldavian state was formed by the mid-14th century, eventually expanding its territory all the way to the Black Sea. Upon its foundation, the Moldovan state recognized the supremacy of Poland, keeping on recognizing it from 1387 to 1497. Later (1514) it was vassalized by the Ottoman Empire. Bukovina and neighboring regions became the nucleus of the Moldavian Principality, with the city of Iasi as its capital from 1388 (after Baia and Siret). The name of Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova) is derived from a river (Moldova River) flowing in Bukovina.
Polish and Moldavian period
In the 15th century, Pokuttya, the region immediately to the north, became the subject of disputes between the Principality of Moldavia and the Polish Kingdom. Pokuttya was likewise inhabited by Ruthenians (the predecessors of modern Ukrainians together with the Rus', and of the Rusyns). Further there were the Hutsuls, who also resided in western Bukovina. In 1497 a battle took place at the Cosmin Forest (the hilly forests separating Chernivtsi and Siret valleys), at which Stephen III of Moldavia (Stephen the Great), managed to defeat the much-stronger but demoralized army of King John I Albert of Poland. The battle is known in Polish popular culture as "the battle when the Knights have perished". The region had been under Polish nominal dominion from its foundation (1387) to the time of this battle (1497). Shortly thereafter, it became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire (1514).
View over the western side of the Suceava medieval seat fortress.
In this period, the patronage of Stephen the Great and his successors on the throne of Moldavia saw the construction of the famous painted monasteries of Moldoviţa, Suceviţa, Putna, Humor, Voroneţ, Dragomirna, Arbore and others. With their renowned exterior frescoes, these monasteries remain some of the greatest cultural treasures of Romania, created in a period when Ukrainians and Romanians cohabited in the region; some of them are World Heritage Sites, part of the painted churches of northern Moldavia. The most famous monasteries are in the area of Suceava, which today is part of Romania. Also part of Romania is the monastery of John the New, an Orthodox saint and martyr dear to the Ukrainians (as well as the Romanians), who was killed by the Tatars in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. Ukrainian-Bukovinian writer Olha Kobylianska went on a pilgrimage to Suceava to worship the relics of the saint.
After becoming a vassal of the Ottoman Empire in 1514, it became Turkish province at the end of the 16th century. An active process of Rumanization of the locals began in this period. The process of Rumanization of Bukovina and Moldavia, where Ukrainians where prominent and the Ukrainian language was the official language, intensified in 1564, when the capital was moved from Suceava to Iași.
From 1490 to 1492, the Mukha rebellion, led by the Ukrainian hero Petro Mukha, took place in Galicia. This event pitted the Ukrainian Moldovians and Romanian Moldovians against the oppressive rule of the Polish magnates. A rebel army composed of Ukrainian and Moldavian peasants took the fortified towns of Sniatyn, Kolomyia, and Halych, killing many Polish noblemen and burghers, before being halted by the Polish Royal Army in alliance with a Galician levée en masse and Prussian mercenaries while marching to Lviv. Many rebels died in the Rohatyn Battle, with Mukha and the survivors fleeing back to Moldavia. Mukha returned to Galicia to re-ignite the rebellion, but was killed in 1492.
In May 1600 Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), became the ruler the two Romanian principalities and Transylvania.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Ukrainian warriors (Cossacks) were involved in many conflicts against the Turkish and Tatar invaders of the Moldovian territory. Notably, Ivan Pidkova, best known as the subject of Ukraine's bard Taras Shevchenko's Ivan Pidkova (1840), led military campaigns in the 1570s. Many Bukovinians joined the Cossacks during the Khmelnytsky Uprising. As part of the peasant armies, they formed their own regiment, which participated to the 1648 Siege of Lviv. Ukrainian Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky himself led a campaign in Moldavia, whose result was an alliance between Khmelnytsky and its hospodar Vasile Lupu. Other prominent Ukrainian leaders fighting against the Turks in Moldovia were Severyn Nalyvaiko and Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny.
For short periods of time (during wars), the Polish Kingdom (to which both Ruthenian Moldavians and Romanian Moldavians were hostile, see Mukha Rebellion) again occupied parts of northern Moldavia. However, the old border was re-established each time, as for example on 14 October 1703 the Polish delegate Martin Chometowski said, according to the Polish protocol, "Between us and Wallachia (i.e. the Moldavian region, vassal of the Turks) God himself set Dniester as the border" (Inter nos et Valachiam ipse Deus flumine Tyras dislimitavit). According to the Turkish protocol the sentence reads, "God (may He be exhalted) has separated the lands of Moldavia [Bukovina, vassal of the Turks] from our Polish lands by the river Dniester." Strikingly similar sentences were used in other sayings and folkloristic anecdotes, such as the phrase reportedly exclaimed by a member of the Aragonese Cortes in 1684.
Tymish Khmelnytsky, son of Bohdan, died in Suceava in 1653, while he was fighting a coalition of Poland, Transylvania, and Wallachia.
From the 16th to the 18th centuries, "Bukovina maintained cultural ties with other Ukrainian lands. Moldovian hospodars founded a number of churches in Ukraine, and many natives of Bukovyna studied in Kyiv and Lviv."
In the course of the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, the Ottoman armies were defeated by the Russian Empire, which occupied the region from 15 December 1769 to September 1774, and previously during 14 September–October 1769. Bukovina was the reward the Habsburgs received for aiding the Russians in that war. Prince Grigore III Ghica of Moldavia protested and was prepared to take action to recover the territory, but was assassinated, and a Greek-Phanariot foreigner was put on the throne of Moldavia by the Ottomans.
By the end of the Moldovian period, "Bukovyna was sparsely populated and was economically and culturally backward."
The Austrian Empire occupied Bukovina in October 1774. Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772, the Austrians claimed that they needed it for a road between Galicia and Transylvania. Bukovina was formally annexed in January 1775. On 2 July 1776, at Palamutka, Austrians and Ottomans signed a border convention, Austria giving back 59 of the previously occupied villages, retaining 278 villages.
Bukovina was a closed military district (1775–1786), then the largest district, Kreis Czernowitz (after its capital Czernowitz) of the Austrian constituent Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria (1787–1849). On 4 March 1849, Bukovina became a separate Austrian Kronland 'crown land' under a Landespräsident (not a Statthalter, as in other crown lands) and was declared the Herzogtum Bukowina (a nominal duchy, as part of the official full style of the Austrian Emperors). In 1860 it was again amalgamated with Galicia but reinstated as a separate province once again on 26 February 1861, a status that would last until 1918.
In 1849 Bukovina got a representative assembly, the Landtag (diet). The Moldavian nobility had traditionally formed the ruling class in that territory. In 1867, with the re-organization of the Austrian Empire as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it became part of the Cisleithanian or Austrian territories of Austria-Hungary and remained so until 1918.
Late 19th to early 20th centuries
Topographic map of Bukovina, also with settlement place names, as depicted in 1791.
Map of the Austrian crownland of Bukovina at the turn of the 20th century.
The region is quite important to the history of Ukraine. It was occupied early on by Ruthenians; was part of Kyevan Rus, and was the stage of important battles and events, as well as being tied to important historical figures (e.g. Petro Mukha, Tymofiy Khmelnytsky, Ivan Pidkova, Lukjan Kobylytsia, Antin Varivoda), the homeland of intellectuals and activists (e.g., Orest Zybachynsky, Denis Kvitkovsky ), writers, such as Yuriy Fedkovych, Sydir Vorobkevych, and Olha Kobylianska. More recently, Bukovina produced such prominent figures as the legend of Ukrainian cinema Ivan Mykolaichuk, opera singer Dmytro Hnatyuk, as well as Ani Lorak, Mariya Yaremchuk, Volodymyr Melnykov, Volodymyr Ivasyuk, Nazariy Yaremchuk, Pavlo Dvorsky. Many Romanian Bukovinians are at least partly of Ukrainian descent, such as Zamfir Arbore, Emil Bodnăraș, Vasile Hutopilă, Miroslava Şandru and Eusebius Mandyczewski. Among Ukrainian Bukovinians of Moldovan descent there is notably Sofia Rotaru. Bukovina maintained Slavic-speaking presence since at least the 4th century, and remained culturally tied to other Ukrainian lands since the concept emerged in the Middle Ages. Bukovina's Ukrainians fought against Tatar rule and, later, against Polish oppression. The region kept its Ukrainian identity in spite of the introduction of Romanians in the 1340s and the policies of active Rumanization, started as early as in the 1560s. Ukrainian Cossacks fought frequently against the Turks, led, among others, by Ivan Pidkova. Starting from the 1840s, the Ukrainian national movement developed in the region, with Ukrainian nationalist sentiment re-igniting among locals.
The 1871 and 1904 jubilees held at Putna Monastery, near the tomb of Ştefan cel Mare, have constituted tremendous moments for Romanian national identity in Bukovina. Since gaining its independence, Romania envisioned to incorporate this province, that Romanians likewise considered historic, which, as a core of the Moldavian Principality, was of a great historic significance to its history and contained many prominent monuments of its art and architecture.
Despite the introduction of Romanian migrants in the 1340s and the active policies of forced Rumanization, the Ukrainians always managed to maintain their national identity in the north of the region, while in the south the Romanian nationality emerged to prevail. Indeed, the Romanians became the largest ethnic group in the south in the 19th century. In spite of the historic policies of Rumanization, the Austrians "managed to keep a balance between the various ethnic groups." In the 1880 census, there were 239,690 Ruthenians and Hutzuls, or roughly 41.5% of the population of the region, while Romanians were second with 190,005 people or 33%, a ratio that remained more or less the same until World War I. Ruthenians is an archaic name for Ukrainians, while the Hutsuls are a regional Ukrainian subgroup.
Ukrainian national sentiment
Ukrainian national sentiment re-ignited in the 1840s. Officially started in 1848, the nationalist movement gained strength in 1869, when the Ruska Besida Society was founded in Chernivtsi. By the 1890s, Ukrainians were represented in the regional diet and Vienna parliament, being led by Stepan Smal-Stotsky. Beside Stotsky, other important Bukovinian leaders were Yerotei Pihuliak, Omelian Popovych, Mykola Vasylko, Orest Zybachynsky, Denis Kvitkovsky , Sylvester Nikorovych, Ivan and Petro Hryhorovych, and Lubomyr Husar. The first periodical in the Ukrainian language, Bukovyna (published from 1885 until 1918) was published by the populists since the 1880s. The Ukrainian populists fought for their ethnocultural rights against the Austrians.
Peasant revolts broke out in Hutsul in the 1840s, with the peasants demanding more rights, socially and politically. Likewise, nationalist sentiment spread among the Romanians. As a result, more rights were given to Ukrainians and Romanians, with five Ukrainians (including notably Lukian Kobylytsia), two Romanians and one Gemran elected to represent the region. The Ukrainians won representation at the provincial diet as late as 1890, and fought for equality with the Romanians also in the religious sphere. This was partly achieved only as late as on the eve of World War I. However, their achievements were accompanied by friction with Romanians. Overpopulation in the countryside caused migration (especially to North America), also leading to peasant strikes. However, by 1914 Bukovina managed to get "the best Ukrainian schools and cultural-educational institutions of all the regions of Ukraine." Beside Ukrainians, also Bukovina's Germans and Jews, as well as a number of Romanians and Hungarians, emigrated in 19th and 20th century.
Ethnic groups in Bukovina 1775-1930 (Ukrainians in red, Romanians in green).
Under Austrian rule, Bukovina remained ethnically mixed: Romanians were predominant in the south, Ukrainians (commonly referred to as Ruthenians in the Empire) in the north, with small numbers of Hungarian Székelys, Slovak, and Polish peasants, and Germans, Poles and Jews in the towns. The 1910 census counted 800,198 people, of which: Ruthenians 38.88%, Romanians 34.38%, Germans 21.24% (Jews 12.86% included), Polish people 4.55%, Hungarian people 1.31%, Slovaks 0.08%, Slovenes 0.02%, Italian people 0.02%, and a few Croats, Romani people, Serbs and Turkish people. While reading the statistics it should be mentioned that, in addition to the Rumanization of many local Ukrainian peasants, due to "adverse economic conditions", some 50,000 Ukrainians left the region (mostly emigrating to North America) between 1891 and 1910, in the aforementioned migrations.
In 1783, by an Imperial Decree of Joseph II, local Eastern Orthodox Eparchy of Bukovina (with its seat in Czernowitz) was placed under spiritual jurisdiction of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci. Some friction appeared in time between the church hierarchy and the Romanians, complaining that Old Church Slavonic was favored to Romanian, and that family names were being slavicized. In spite of Romanian-Slavic speaking frictions over the influence in the local church hierarchy, there was no Romanian-Ukrainian inter-ethnic tension, and both cultures developed in educational and public life. After the rise of Ukrainian nationalism in 1848 and the following rise of Romanian nationalism, Habsburg authorities reportedly awarded additional rights to Ukrainians in an attempt to temper Romanian ambitions of independence. On the other hand, the Ukrainians had to struggle against the Austrians after centuries of Rumanization, with the Austrians rejecting both nationalist claims, favoring neither Romanians nor Ukrainians, while attempting to "keep a balance between the various ethnic groups." Indeed, a group of scholars surrounding the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand were planning on creating a Romanian state that would've included all of Bukovina, including Czernowitz. After they acquired Bukovina, the Austrians opened only one elementary school in Chernivsti, which tought exclusively in Romanian. They later did open German schools, but no Ukrainian ones. Ukrainian language would appear in Chernivsti's schools as late as 1851, but only as a subject, at the local university (in spite of this, the city attracted students from other parts of Bukovina and Galicia, who would study in the German language of instruction). Lukjan Kobylytsia, a
Ukrainian Bukovinian farmer and activist, died of torture-related causes after attempting to ask for more rights for the Bukovinian Ukrainians to the Austrians. He died of the consequence of torture in 1851 in Romania. At the end of the 19th century, the development of Ukrainian culture in Bukovina surpassed Galicia and the rest of Ukraine with a network of Ukrainian educational facilities, while Dalmatia formed an Archbishopric, later raised to the rank of Metropolitanate.
In 1873, the Eastern Orthodox Bishop of Czernowitz (who was since 1783 under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Karlovci) was elevated to the rank of Archbishop, when a new Metropolitanate of Bukovinian and Dalmatia was created. The new Archbishop of Czernowitz gained supreme jurisdiction over Serbian eparchies of Dalmatia and Kotor, which were also (until then) under the spiritual jurisdiction of Karlovci.
In the early 20th century, a group of scholars surrounding the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand created a plan (that never came to pass) of United States of Greater Austria. The specific proposal was published in Aurel C. Popovici's book “Die Vereinigten Staaten von Groß-Österreich“ [The United States of Greater Austria], Leipzig, 1906. According to it, most of Bukovina (including Czernowitz) would form, with Transylvania, a Romanian state, while the north-western portion (Zastavna, Kozman, Waschkoutz, Wiznitz, Gura Putilei, and Seletin districts) would form with the bigger part of Galicia a Ukrainian state, both in a federation with 13 other states under the Austrian crown.
Kingdom of Romania
In World War I, several battles were fought in Bukovina between the Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian armies, which resulted in the Russian army invading Chernivtsi for three times (30 August–21 October 1914, 26 November 1914–18 February 1915, 18 June 1916–2 August 1917). The regime that had occupied the city pursued a policy of persecution of "nationally conscious Ukrainians". The situation was not improved until the February Revolution of 1917. The Russian were driven out in 1917. Bukovina suffered great losses during the war.
With the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, both the local Romanian National Council and the Ukrainian National Council based in Galicia claimed the region. In the beginning, Bukovina joined the fledging West Ukrainian National Republic (November 1918), but it was occupied by the Romanian army immediately thereafter.
A Constituent Assembly on 14/27 October 1918 formed an executive committee, to whom the Austrian governor of the province handed power. After an official request by Iancu Flondor, Romanian troops swiftly moved in to take over the territory, against Ukrainian protest. Although local Ukrainians attempted to incorporate parts of Northern Bukovina into the short-lived West Ukrainian People's Republic, this attempt was defeated by Polish and Romanian troops.
The Ukrainian Regional Committee, led by Omelian Popovych, organized a rally in Chernivtsi on November 3, 1918, demanding Bukovina's annexation to Ukraine. The committee took power in the Ukrainian part of Bukovina, including its biggest center Chernivtsi. The Romanian moderates, who were led by Aurel Onciul, accepted the division. However, the Romanian conservatives, led by Iancu Flondor, rejected the idea. In spite of Ukrainian resistance, the Romanian army occupied the northern Bukovina, including Chernivtsi, on November 11.
Under the protection of Romanian troops, the Romanian Council summoned a General Congress of Bukovina for 15/28 November 1918, where 74 Romanians, 13 Ruthenians, 7 Germans, and 6 Poles were represented (this is the linguistic composition, and Jews were not recorded as a separate group). According to Romanian historiography, popular enthusiasm swept the whole region, and a large number of people gathered in the city to wait for the resolution of the Congress. The council was quickly summoned by the Romanians upon their occupation of Bukovina.
Coat of arms of interwar Suceava county in the Kingdom of Romania
The Congress elected the Romanian Bukovinian politician Iancu Flondor as chairman, and voted for the union with the Kingdom of Romania, with the support of the Romanian, German, and Polish representatives; the Ukrainians did not support this. The reasons stated were that, until its takeover by the Habsburg in 1775, Bukovina was the heart of the Principality of Moldavia, where the gropniţele domneşti (voivods' burial sites) are located, and dreptul de liberă hotărâre de sine (right of self-determination).[nb 2] Romanian control of the province was recognized internationally in the Treaty of St. Germain in 1919. Bukovina's autonomy was undone during Romanian occupation, the region being reduced to an ordinary Romanian province. It was subject to martial law from 1918 to 1928, and again from 1937 to 1940.
The Ukrainian language was suppressed, "educational and cultural institutions, newspapers and magazines were closed."
Romanian authorities oversaw a renewed programme of Romanianization aiming its assimilationist policies at the Ukrainian population of the region. In addition to the suppression of the Ukrainian people, their language and culture, Ukrainian surnames were Rumanized, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was persecuted. In the 1930s an underground nationalist movement, which was led by Orest Zybachynsky and Denys Kvitkovsky, emerged in the region. The Romanian government suppressed it by staging two political trials in 1937.
At the same time, Ukrainian enrollment at the Cernăuţi University fell from 239 out of 1671, in 1914, to 155 out of 3,247, in 1933, while simultaneously Romanian enrollment there increased several times to 2,117 out of 3,247. In part this was due to attempts to switch to Romanian as the primary language of university instruction, but chiefly to the fact that the university was one of only five in Romania, and was considered prestigious.
In the decade following 1928, as Romania tried to improve its relations with the Soviet Union, Ukrainian culture was given some limited means to redevelop, though these gains were sharply reversed in 1938.
According to the 1930 Romanian census, Romanians made up 44.5% of the total population of Bukovina, and Ukrainians (including Hutsuls) 29.1%. In the northern part of the region, however, Romanians made up only 32.6% of the population, with Ukrainians significantly outnumbering Romanians.
On August 14, 1938, Bukovina officially disappeared from the map, becoming a part of Ținutul Suceava, one of ten new administrative regions. At the same time, Cernăuți, the third most populous town in Romania (after Bucharest and Chișinău), which had been a mere county seat for the last 20 years, became again a (regional) capital. Also, Bukovinian regionalism continued under the new brand. During its first months of existence, Ținutul Suceava suffered far right (Iron Guard) uproars, to which the regional governor Gheorghe Alexianu (the future governor of the Transnistria Governorate) reacted with nationalist and anti-Semitic measures. Alexianu was replaced by Gheorghe Flondor on February 1, 1939.
Division of Bukovina
Bukovina as divided in 1940: Soviet to the north, Romanian to the south.
As a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the USSR demanded not only Bessarabia but also the northern half of Bukovina and Hertza regions from Romania on June 26, 1940 (Bukovina bordered Eastern Galicia, which the USSR had annexed during the Invasion of Poland). Initially, the USSR wanted the whole of Bukovina. Nazi Germany, which was surprised by the Soviet claim to Bukovina, invoked the German ethnics living in the region. As a result, the USSR only demanded the northern, overwhelmingly Ukrainian part, arguing that it was a "reparation for the great loss produced to the Soviet Union and Bassarabia's population by twenty-two years of Romanian domination of Bassarabia". Following the Soviet ultimatum, Romania ceded Northern Bukovina, which included Cernăuți, to the USSR on June 28, 1940. The withdrawal of the Romanian Army, authorities, and civilians was disastrous. Mobs attacked retreating soldiers and civilians, whereas a retreating unit massacred Jewish soldiers and civilians in the town of Dorohoi. The Red Army occupied Cernăuți and Storojineț counties, as well as parts of Rădăuți and Dorohoi counties (the latter belonged to Ținutul Suceava, but not to Bukovina). The new Soviet-Romanian border was traced less than 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Putna Monastery. Until September 22, 1940, when Ținutul Suceava was abolished, the spa town Vatra Dornei served as the capital of Ținutul Suceava.
Second World War
In 1940, Chernivtsi Oblast (⅔ of which is Northern Bukovina) had a population of circa 805,000, out of which 47.5% were Ukrainians and 28.3% were Romanians, with Germans, Jews, Poles, Hungarians, and Russians comprising the rest. The strong Ukrainian presence was the official motivation for the inclusion of the region into the Ukrainian SSR and not into the newly formed Moldavian SSR. Whether the region would have been included in the Moldavian SSR, if the commission presiding over the division had been led by someone other than the Ukrainian communist leader Nikita Khrushchev, remains a matter of debate among scholars. In fact, some territories with a mostly Romanian population (e.g., Hertza region) were allotted to the Ukrainian SSR.
After the instauration of Soviet rule, under NKVD orders, thousands of local families were deported to Siberia during this period, with 12,191 people targeted for deportation in a document dated 2 August 1940 (from all formerly Romanian regions included in the Ukrainian SSR), while a December 1940 document listed 2,057 persons to be deported to Siberia. The largest action took place on 13 June 1941, when about 13,000 people were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. The majority of those targeted were ethnic local Romanians, but there were (to a lesser degree) representatives of other ethnicities, as well.
Until the repatriation conventionFântâna Albă massacre.
of 15 April 1941, NKVD troops killed hundreds of Romanian peasants of Northern Bukovina as they tried to cross the border into Romania in order to escape from Soviet authorities. This culminated on 1 April 1941 with the
During Soviet Communist rule in Bukovina, "private property was nationalized; farms were partly collectivized; and education was Ukrainianized. At the same time all Ukrainian organizations were disbanded, and many publicly active Ukrainians were either killed or exiled." A significant part of Ukrainian intelligentsia fled to Romania and Germany in the beginning of the occupation. When the conflict between the Soviets and Nazi Germany broke out, and the Soviet troops began moving out of Bukovina, the Ukrainian locals attempted to established their own government, but they were not able to stop the advancing Romanian army.
Almost the entire German population of Northern Bukovina was coerced to resettle in 1940–1941 to the parts of Poland then occupied by Nazi Germany, during 15 September 1940 – 15 November 1940, after this area was occupied by the Soviet Union. About 45,000 ethnic Germans had left Northern Bukovina by November 1940.
In the course of the 1941 attack on the Soviet Union by the Axis forces, the Romanian Third Army led by General Petre Dumitrescu (operating in the north), and the Fourth Romanian Army (operating in the south) regained Northern Bukovina, as well as Hertza, and Bassarabia, during June–July 1941.
The Axis invasion of Northern Bukovina was catastrophic for its Jewish population, as conquering Romanian soldiers immediately began massacring its Jewish residents. Surviving Jews were forced into ghettoes to await deportation to work camps in Transnistria where 57,000 had arrived by 1941. One of the Romanian mayors of Cernăuți, Traian Popovici, managed to temporarily exempt from deporation 20,000 Jews living in the city between the fall of 1941 and the spring of 1942. Bukovina's remaining Jews were spared from certain death when it was retaken by Soviet forces in February 1944. In all, about half of Bukovina's entire Jewish population had perished. After the war and the return of the Soviets, most of the Jewish survivors from Northern Bukovina fled to Romania (and later settled in Israel).
After the war
Northern Bukovina within Ukraine
Southern Bukovina within Romania
In 1944 the Red Army drove the Axis forces out and re-established Soviet control over the territory. Romania was forced to formally cede the northern part of Bukovina to the USSR by the 1947 Paris peace treaty. The territory became part of the Ukrainian SSR as Chernivtsi Oblast (province). While during the war the Soviet government killed or forced in exile a considerable number of Ukrainians, after the war the same government deported or killed about 41,000 Romanians. As a result of killings and mass deportations, entire villages, mostly inhabited by Romanians, were abandoned (Albovat, Frunza, I.G.Duca, Buci—completely erased, Prisaca, Tanteni and Vicov—destroyed to a large extent). Men of military age (and sometimes above), both Ukrainians and Romanians, were conscripted into the Soviet Army. That did not protect them, however, from being arrested and deported for being "anti-Soviet elements".
As a reaction, partisan groups (composed of both Romanians and Ukrainians) began to operate against the Soviets in the woods around Chernivtsi, Crasna and Codrii Cosminului. In Crasna (in the former Storozhynets county) villagers attacked Soviet soldiers who were sent to "temporarily resettle" them, since they feared deportation. This resulted in dead and wounded among the villagers, who had no firearms.
Spring 1945 saw the formation of transports of Polish repatriates who (voluntarily or by coercion) had decided to leave. Between March 1945 and July 1946, 10,490 inhabitants left Northern Bukovina for Poland, including 8,140 Poles, 2,041 Jews and 309 of other nationalities.
Overall, between 1930 (last Romanian census) and 1959 (first Soviet census), the population of Northern Bukovina decreased by 31,521 people. According to official data from those two censuses, the Romanian population had decreased by 75,752 people, and the Jewish population by 46,632, while the Ukrainian and Russian populations increased by 135,161 and 4,322 people, respectively.
After 1944, the human and economic connections between the northern (Soviet) and southern (Romanian) parts of Bukovina were severed. Today, the historically Ukrainian northern part is the nucleus of the Ukrainian Chernivtsi Oblast, while the southern part is part of Romania, though there are minorities of Ukrainians and Romanians in Romanian Bukovina and Ukrainian Bukovina respectively. Although they suffered extreme Rumanization in the south, the Ukrainians are still a recognized minority in Romania, and have one seat reserved in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies.
In Romania, 28 November is a holiday observed as the Bukovina Day.
Bukovina proper has an area of 10,442 km2 (4,032 sq mi). The territory of Romanian (or Southern) Bukovina is located in northeastern Romania and it is part of the Suceava County (plus three localities in Botoșani County), whereas Ukrainian (or Northern) Bukovina is located in western Ukraine and it is part of the Chernivtsi Oblast.
Demographic composition of Bukovina in 1930
The region was occupied by several now extinct peoples. The people that have longest inhabited the region, whose language has survived to this day, are the Ruthenian-speakers. The Early Slavs/Slavic-speakers emerged as early as in the 4th century in this area, with the Antes controlling a large area that included Bukovina by the 6th century. Later, the region was part of Kievan Rus', and later still of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia. During this period it reinforced its ties to other Ukrainian lands, with many Bukovinian natives studying in Lviv and Kyiv, and the Orthodox Bukovinian Church flourishing in the region. After passing to Hungary in the 14th century, the Hungarian king appointed Dragoș as his deputy and facilitated the migration of Romanians from Maramureș and Transylvania into Bukovina. Then, a process of Rumanization was carried out in the area. In spite of this, the north of Bukovina managed to remain "solidly Ukrainian." While there exist different views on the ethnic composition of the south, it is accepted that the north of Bukovina remained largely, if not wholly, Ukrainian. As for the rest of Bukovina, the only data we have are the Austrian censuses starting from the 1770s. The Austrians hindered both Romanian and Ukrainian nationalisms. On the other hand, they favored the migration in Bukovina of Romanians from Transylvania and Maramureș, as well as people from Galicia.
According to the 1775 Austrian census, the province had a total population of 86,000 (this included 56 villages which were returned to Moldavia one year later). The census only recorded social status and some ethno-religious groups (Jews, Armenians, Roma, and German colonists). In 1919, the historian Ion Nistor stated that the Romanians constituted an overwhelming majority in 1774, roughly 64,000 (85%) of the 75,000 total population. Meanwhile, always according to Nistor, about 8,000 (10%) were Ruthenians, and 3,000 (4%) other ethnic groups. On the other hand, just four years before the same Nistor estimated that the 1774 population consisted of 52,750 Romanians (also called Moldavians) (73.5%), 15,000 Ruthenians and Hutsuls (20.9%) (of whom 6,000 were Hutsuls, and 9,000 were Ruthenian immigrants from Galicia and Podolia settled in Moldavia around 1766), and 4,000 others who "use the Romanian language in conversation" (5.6%), consisting of Armenians, Jews and Roma. In 2011, an anthroponimical analysis of the Russian census of the population of Moldavia in 1774 asserted a population of 68,700 people in 1774, out of which 40,920 (59.6%) Romanians, 22,810 Ruthenians and Hutsuls (33.2%), and 7.2% Jews, Roma, and Armenians.
Based on the above anthroponimical estimate for 1774 as well as subsequent official censuses, the ethnic composition of Bukovina changed in the years after 1775 when the Austrian Empire occupied the region. Indeed, the migrants entering the region came from Romanian Transylvania and Moldavia, as well as Galicia. As reported by Nistor, in 1781 the Austrian authorities had reported that Bukovina's rural population was composed mostly of immigrants, with only about 6,000 of the 23,000 recorded families being "truly Moldavian". In Nistor's view, this referred only to the Moldavian population native to the region, while the total population included a significant number of Romanian immigrants from Moldavia and Transylvania. Another Austrian official report from 1783, referring to the villages between the Dniester and the Prut, indicated Ruthenian-speaking immigrants from Poland constituting a majority, with only a quarter of the population speaking Moldavian. The same report indicated that Moldavians constituted the majority in the area of Suceava. H.F. Müller gives the 1840 population used for purposes of military conscription as 339,669. According to Alecu Hurmuzaki, by 1848, 55% of the population was Romanian. At the same time, the Ukrainian population rose to 108,907 and the Jewish population surged from 526 in 1774, to 11,600 in 1848.
The population of Bukovina increased steadily, primarily through immigration, which Austrian authorities encouraged in order to develop the economy.
In 1843 the Ruthenian language was recognized, along with the Romanian language, as 'the language of the people and of the Church in Bukovina'.
During the 19th century , as mentioned, the Austrian Empire policies encouraged the influx of migrants coming from Transylvania, Moldavia, Galicia and the heartland of Austria and Germany, with Germans, Poles, Jews, Hungarians, Romanians, and Ukrainians settling in the region. Official censuses in the Austrian Empire (later Austria-Hungary) did not record ethnolinguistic data until 1850–1851. The 1857 and 1869 censuses omitted ethnic or language-related questions. 'Familiar language spoken' was not recorded again until 1880.
The Austrian census of 1850–1851, which for the first time recorded data regarding languages spoken, shows 48.50% Romanians and 38.07% Ukrainians. Subsequent Austrian censuses between 1880 and 1910 reveal a Romanian population stabilizing around 33% and a Ukrainian population around 40%.
According to the 1930 Romanian Census, Bukovina had a population of 853,009. Romanians made up 44.5% of the population, while 27.7% were Ukrainians/Ruthenians (plus 1.5% Hutsuls), 10.8% Jews, 8.9% Germans, 3.6% Poles, and 3.0% others or undeclared.
According to estimates and censuses data, the population of Bukovina was:
||Others (most notably Germans, Jews, and Poles)
||40,920 – 64,000
||59.6% - 85.33%
||8,000 – 22,810
||10.6% - 33.2%
||3,000 – 4,970
||4.0% - 7.2%
||51,920 – 91,780
Note: e-estimate; c-census
Ethnic divisions in modern Bukovina with Ukrainian Romanian and Russian areas depicted in light yellow, green, and red respectively. The Moldovans
, counted separately in the Ukrainian census
, are included in this map as Romanians.
The present demographic situation in Bukovina hardly resembles that of the Austrian Empire. The northern (Ukrainian) and southern (Romanian) parts became significantly dominated by their Ukrainian and Romanian majorities, respectively, with the representation of other ethnic groups being decreased significantly.
According to the data of the 2001 Ukrainian census, the Ukrainians represent about 75% (689,100) of the population of Chernivtsi Oblast, which is the closest, although not an exact, approximation of the territory of the historic Northern Bukovina. The census also identified a fall in the Romanian and Moldovan populations to 12.5% (114,600) and 7.3% (67,200), respectively. Russians are the next largest ethnic group with 4.1%, while Poles, Belarusians, and Jews comprise the rest 1.2%. The languages of the population closely reflect the ethnic composition, with over 90% within each of the major ethnic groups declaring their national language as the mother tongue (Ukrainian, Romanian, and Russian, respectively).
The fact that Romanians and Moldovans, a self-declared majority in some regions, were presented as separate categories in the census results, has been criticized in Romania, where there are complains that this artificial Soviet-era practice results in the Romanian population being undercounted, as being divided between Romanians and Moldovans. The Romanian minority of Ukraine also claims to represent a 500,000-strong community.
The Romanians mostly inhabit the southern part of the Chernivtsi region, having been the majority in former Hertsa Raion and forming a plurality together with Moldovans in former Hlyboka Raion. Self-declared Moldovans were the majority in Novoselytsia Raion. In the other eight districts and the city of Chernivtsi, Ukrainians were the majority. However, after the 2020 administrative reform in Ukraine, all these districts were abolished, and most of the areas merged into Chernivtsi Raion, where Romanians are not in majority anymore.
The southern, or Romanian Bukovina reportedly has a significant Romanian majority (94.8%) according to Romanian sources, the largest minority group being the Romani people (1.9%) according to Romanian sources and Ukrainians, who make up 0.9% of the population (2011 census). Other minor ethnic groups include Lipovans, Poles (in Cacica, Mănăstirea Humorului, Mușenița, Moara, and Păltinoasa), Zipser Germans (in Cârlibaba and Iacobeni) and Bukovina Germans in Suceava and Rădăuți, as well as Slovaks and Jews (almost exclusively in Suceava, Rădăuți and Siret).
Concerns have been raised about the way census are handled in Romania.Ukrainians of Romania number 51,703 people, making up 0.3% of the total population. However, Ukrainian nationalists of the 1990s claimed the region had 110,000 Ukrainians. The Ukrainian descendants of the Zaporozhian Cossacks who fled Russian rule in the 18th century, living in the Dobruja region of the Danube Delta, also complained similar practices. In 1992, their descendants numbered four thousand people according to official Romanian statistics. However, the local community claims to number 20,000, five times the number stated by Romanian authorities. Rumanization, with the closure of schools and suppression of the language, happened in all areas in present-day Romania where the Ukrainians live or lived. The very term "Ukrainians" was prohibited from the official usage and some Romanians of disputable Ukrainian ethnicity were rather called the "citizens of Romania who forgot their native language" and were forced to change their last names to Romanian-sounding ones. In Bukovina, the practice of Rumanization dates to much earlier than the 20th century. Since Louis of Hungary appointed Dragoș, Voivode of Moldavia as his deputy, there was an introduction of Romanians in Bukovina, and a process of Rumanization that intensified in the 1560s.
For example, according to the 2011 Romanian census,
Places such as the etymologically Ukrainian Breaza and Moldovița (whose name in German is Russ Moldawitza, and used to be Ruska Moldavyda in Ukrainian), Șerbăuți and Siret used to have an overwhelming Ukrainian majority. In some places in southern Bukovina, such as Balkivtsi (Romanian: Bălcăuți), Izvoarele Sucevei, Ulma and Negostina, Ukrainian majority is still reported in Romanian census.
Cities and towns
|Table highlighting all urban settlements in Southern Bukovina
||Кимпулунґ, Kympulung; historically Довгопілля, Dovhopillya
||Sotschen/Sutschawa/Suczawa; historically in Old High German: Sedschopff
||Сучава, Suchava; historic Сочава, Sochava
||Ватра Дорни, Vatra Dorny
|Vicovu de Sus
||Верхнє Викове, Verkhnye Vykove
|Table highlighting all urban settlements in Northern Bukovina
||Berehomete pe Siret
||Suliţa-Târg/Suliţa Nouă/Nouă Suliţi
||Voloca pe Derelui
Church of Saint George (1374), Suceava
Carpathian mountains in Bukovina.
Chernivtsi's synagogue on a 20th-century postcard
Polish House in Chernivtsi, 1910
Armenian church in Chernivtsi, 1900s
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