Russian Language Blog

A History of Kiev, Part 4 Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in History


«Я знаю» [I know] that it has been quite a long time since I posted about «история Киева» [the history of Kiev]. You have been in so much suspense about what happens next, right? 😉 Anyway, today we are going to talk about «гражданская война» [the civil war], which is a very serious subject. I heard somewhere that there were possibly «десять миллионов жертв» [ten million victims] in this conflict. I think the exact numbers are disputed, but «короче говоря» [in short], a lot of people died. If you want to read the prior posts in this series, here they are: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Many fascinating accounts of «гражданская война» [the civil war] have been written. «Иван Бунин» [Ivan Bunin––quick quiz: what distinction is he famous for?] wrote «Окаянные дни» [Cursed Days] about his time in Moscow. «Роман Михаила Булгакова Белая гвардия» [Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The White Guard] is based on Bulgakov’s experiences in his «родной город» [hometown] of Kiev during the war.

The first thing to keep in mind about «Киев» [Kiev] in this time is this: «он переходил из рук в руки» [it was passed from one hand to another]. «Например» [For example], «до 7 (седьмого) ноября 1917 (тысяча девятьсот семьнадцатый) год» [until the 7 of November 1917], it was a part of Russia, under «Временное правительство» [the Provisional Government]. For a brief few months, it became part of «Украинская народная республика» [Ukrainian People’s Republic], then it was «столица независимой Украины» [the capital of independent Ukraine]. (Oddly enough, «в то же самое время» [at the very same time], «Харьков» [Kharkov] was also the capital of Ukraine.)

Ukraine was under the control of «Симон Васильевич Петлюра» [Simon Vasilyevich Petliura] and in January 1919, «Рабоче-крестьянская Красная армия» [The Red Army] launched an operation against «Петлюра» and after many days of fighting, «красные войска вступили в Киев» [red troops entered Kiev].

Answer to the quick quiz about Ivan Bunin: he was the first Russian writer to win «Нобелевская премия по литературе» [the Nobel Prize in literature].

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About the Author: Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.


  1. John Canzanella:

    Innocence and Anarchy is a sweeping account of the people (Nikolai Ivanovitch Bobrikov, Herzen, Ogarev, Nechayev, Bakunin, Marx, Czars), forces, and movements that changed the course of history for Russia, France and Finland in the nineteenth century.go to http://www.innocenceandanarchy

  2. catherine ayant:

    The monument on the picture is located in the Russian Cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, closed to Paris. It is a copy of the Monument to the Deads of Civil War, built in the early twenties in Gallipoli, a peninsula in Turkey, where 130 000 Russians were parked in a miserable camp and in very bad conditions after having escaped from Russia in 1921. This first monument in Gallipoli had been detroyed in a earthquake during the 2d WW.