PhD (History), associate professor, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, History Department
UDС 94:329.7 (477) “1919”
The paper studies the content and the matter of negotiations between the Directorate of the Ukrainian People’s Republic’s (the UNR) representatives and the allied (French) military command in Odessa, as well as the Entente nations’ leaders and diplomats in Paris in January-March of 1919. The author argues that a victory of the Entente nations in the Great War did not create a favorable environment for the foundation of an independent Ukrainian national state, for the victorious nations did not tolerate Russia’s disintegration. They did not recognize independence of Ukraine and had a negative attitude towards the Directorate. However, the latter’s control over the Ukrainian territory and its large and battle worthy army shaped a background for its engagement into the united front against bolshevism. During the negotiations in Odessa, the French military command offered a military support to the Directorate in exchange for protectorate of France over Ukraine for the period of war against Bolsheviks. The UNR representatives could hardly accept the terms, and the talks lasted for about two months. Meanwhile, the strategic situation in Ukraine had fundamentally changed. As soon as the Directorate has lost the territories it controlled and its army has been mostly dismissed, the Entente nations lost their interest in dealing with it. Instead, they focused on strengthening Poland and Romania to contain the Bolshevik expansion to the West. It is concluded that in January-March of 1919, the window of opportunities for Ukrainians existed to avoid Bolsheviks’ rule and to become a partner of victorious nations in containment of bolshevism. The cooperation could create other opportunities, especially if Soviet Russia survived. All along of the ineffectiveness and weakness of the regime of the Directorate, the historic chance has been lost.
Directorate, Ukrainian People’s Republic, the Entente nations, France.
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