Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America

Kyiv 05:22

The 140th anniversary of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky

15 May 2013, 15:58

In the XX century the history of Ukraine gave its people a lot of strong leaders and politicians. One of them is Pavlo P. Skoropadsky, Ukrainian public and political figure, the representative of famous cossack family. He participated in the Russian Japanese War (1904-1905), World War I (1914-1918), and was the Hetman of Ukrainian States (April 29 - December 14 1918).

Scholarly and educational literature published over the last two decades paid great attention to the statehood of Ukraine during the age of the Ukrainian Revolution 1917-1921 and, especially, to the role of the Ukrainian State led by Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky. Despite the unfavorable circumstances triggered by the war and revolution, and the difficulties of the Ukrainian liberation movement caused by external political and especially military factors, the government of Hetman Skoropadsky had considerable achievements in foreign and domestic policy.

Ukrainian State of P.Skoropadsky was recognized by 30 countries and it had its own representatives in 23 countries.

Hetman had success in ordering finances, establishing Ukrainian monetary system and banks. Judicial reforms by P.Skoropadsky were also of extraordinary importance. He set the legal proceedings based on new principles, established a Senate, introduced many new laws.

As the Cossack’s descendant, P.Skoropadsky considered the revival of national traditions as a state necessity. He tried hard to “Ukrainize” all the spheres of life and the state apparatus in a short period. He adopted a law on obligatory Ukrainian language and literature as well as history and geography of Ukraine in high school, established about one hundred and fifty Ukrainian schools. He began establishing national universities and opening departments of Ukrainian language, literature, history and law at the Russian universities. In November 1918, Hetman announced the formation of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and appointed its first 12 academicians. V.Vernadsky, by the way, became its first president. P.Skoropadsky set up the National Library of Ukraine, the Ukrainian National Archives, the National Gallery of Art, the Ukrainian Historical Museum and the Ukrainian National Theater.

The policy of P.Skoropadsky was extremely effective and beneficial for the state. It was a real manifestation of Ukrainian patriotism and national consciousness.

Pavlo Skoropadsky tried to make Ukraine peaceful, to connect social and creative elements, to bring it to the international arena. But because of the brutal class struggle this small island of harmony and serenity was doomed. Nevertheless, the activity of Hetman Skoropadsky certainly deserves our attention, because he understood his mission as “to save the country from chaos and lawlessness”. His activity is not only the page of our history, but also the lessons that should be considered while building a new independent state of Ukraine.