Declarations of Independence

February 1918 saw the official recognition by the Central Powers of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.  By now, the borders and political identities of Eastern Europe and the old Russian Empire were shifting with astonishing haste.  To the east and south of the new Ukrainian republic alone, as shown in this 1918 map, are the Tauride Republic (which lasted barely a month) and the Republics of the Don Cossacks and the Kuban Cossacks.   Ukraine’s western border is a gap.

The map was produced later that year, with the effects of two major post-February treaties shown – the Russian Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March) and the Treaty of Bucharest (May).  The legend of the map explains that the thick red line shows the “western boundary of European Russia”, the medium one shows the “boundaries of states declared independent of Russian sovereignty by the [treaties]”, while the interrupted red line shows the “approximate boundaries of Russian states which have declared their independence”.

The febrile situation of 1918 can be seen along all Russia’s borders here.  The next exhibit refers to events in the Baltic states.  Exhibits for future months in this exhibition will look at self-declared republics in the Caucasus and further into Asia.

Russia (1918) Maps 275.91.4