6th Guards Airborne Division
The 6th Guards Airborne Division was a Red Army airborne division that fought as infantry during World War II. Formed in December 1942 from an airborne corps, it first saw combat as an infantry unit in the Staraya Russa in March 1943 fought in the Battle of Kursk; the division advanced west in the Battle of the Dnieper. The division fought in the Kirovograd Offensive and the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive in late 1943 and early 1944; the 5th Guards received the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Suvorov for actions during the Uman–Botoșani Offensive fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. The division advanced westward into Hungary, fighting in the Battle of Debrecen and the Budapest Offensive in late 1944. In the last months of the war it fought in the Bratislava–Brno Offensive and ended the war fighting in the Prague Offensive. Weeks after the end of the war, it was redesignated as the 113th Guards Rifle Division, it was downsized into a brigade between 1953, serving in the Taurida Military District.
The division became a motor rifle division in 1957 and disbanded in 1959. The 6th Guards Airborne Division was formed on 8 December 1942 from the 6th Airborne Corps in Noginsk, one of eight new airborne divisions formed due to a shortage of infantry; the former commander of the 6th Airborne Corps, Major General Alexander Kirzimov, continued in command of the new division. Although its personnel received airborne training, the division was organized as a guards rifle division and would fight as infantry for the rest of the war, it included the 14th, 17th, 20th Guards Airborne Regiments, the 8th Guards Airborne Artillery Regiment, smaller units. Before the division went into combat, Kirzimov was replaced by Colonel Mikhail Smirnov on 11 March 1943, promoted to major general on 16 October 1943; the division saw its first combat with the 1st Shock Army in the area of Koshelki south of Staraya Russa on 14 March during the Staraya Russa Offensive. After that, the division was placed in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command.
As part of the 5th Guards Army, the division fought in the Battle of Kursk and the Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive Operation. After the Battle of the Dnieper, the division captured Kremenchuk on 29 September and Znamianka on 9 December, for which it was awarded honorifics. On 8 January 1944, the division helped capture Kirovohrad during the Kirovograd Offensive. In the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive, the division stopped German attempts to relieve the Korsun Pocket. During the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, it operated with the 4th Guards Army. For its performance during the offensive, the division was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on 19 March. For crossing the Dniester, the 6th Guards Airborne was awarded the Order of Suvorov 2nd class on 8 April. 14th Guards Airborne Regiment platoon commander Starshina Sharifzyan Kazanbaev was posthumously made a Hero of the Soviet Union for saving the regimental flag during fighting in early April. In the second half of April, it entered Romanian territory; as part of the 7th Guards Army, it captured Târgu Frumos.
In October, it fought in the Battle of Debrecen. Advancing into Hungary, it fought in the Budapest Offensive. On 5 December, the division broke through the northeastern defensive lines of Budapest as part of the 7th Guards Army, with which it remained for the rest of the war. At the end of December it crossed the Hron, but was forced to retreat in the face of German resistance. On 25 March 1945, the division crossed the Hron in the area of Zhemlyari during the Bratislava–Brno Offensive. On that day, it had a strength of 5,001 officers and men, with more than 1,000 in each of its three rifle regiments; the division was equipped with 2,157 rifles, 851 submachine guns, 109 light machine guns, 49 heavy machine guns, twelve anti-aircraft machine guns, twelve 120 mm mortars divided between each rifle regiment, 51 82 mm mortars divided between the rifle regiments, five 122 mm howitzers, twenty 76 mm divisional guns, eight 76 mm regimental guns, eighteen 45 mm anti-tank guns, 36 anti-tank rifles, 131 vehicles.
After the breaking through the German lines, the division captured Šurany, advanced over the Western Carpathians, captured oilfields in Zistersdorf. The division captured Příbram on 11 May. On 13 June 1945, it was redesignated as the 113th Guards Rifle Division to reflect its infantry role as part of the 25th Guards Rifle Corps of the 7th Guards Army in the newly created Central Group of Forces, its airborne regiments became the 359th, 361st, 363rd Guards Rifle Regiments, the division included the 468th and 473rd Guards Artillery Regiments. The division was withdrawn to Zaporizhia in the Odessa Military District in late 1945 with the corps and downsized into the 43rd Separate Guards Rifle Brigade in April 1948 following the disbandment of the corps in May 1947; the brigade was subsequently moved to Yevpatoria in the Taurida Military District, where it became a division again in October 1953. By 1955, the 85th Guards Tank Regiment was added to the division. On 17 May 1957, the 113th Guards Rifle Division became a motor rifle division at Yevpatoria with the 45th Army Corps.
It included the 359th, 361st and 363rd Guards Motor Rifle Regiments formed from guards rifle regiments with the same numbers, the 85th Guards Tank Regiment and other smaller units. The division was disbanded on 1 March 1959; the following officers are known to have led the division: Major General Alexander Kirzimov Colonel Mikhail Smirnov (11 March 1943–December 1948.
Klooga is a small borough in Lääne-Harju Parish in Harju County in northern Estonia. At the 2011 Census, the settlement's population was 1,203, of which the Estonians were 642. During the German occupation in World War II, Klooga concentration camp, a Nazi labor camp, was situated there as a satellite camp of Vaivara concentration camp. On 19 September 1944, about 2,000 inmates of the Klooga camp were executed and the corpses burned on pyres. Today a big area of the settlement is covered by Estonian Defence Forces' military training field Klooga training area. Klooga has a stations "Klooga" and "Klooga-Aedlinn" on the Elron western route. Kloogaranna
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is on the shore of the Gulf of Finland in Harju County. From the 13th century until 1918, the city was known as Reval. Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 and has a population of 440,776. Tallinn, first mentioned in 1219, received city rights in 1248, but the earliest human settlements date back 5,000 years; the initial claim over the land was laid by the Danes in 1219, after a successful raid of Lindanise led by Valdemar II of Denmark, followed by a period of alternating Scandinavian and German rule. Due to its strategic location, the city became a major trade hub from the 14th to the 16th century, when it grew in importance as part of the Hanseatic League. Tallinn's Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tallinn is the major political, financial and educational center of Estonia. Dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe, it has the highest number of startups per person in Europe and is a birthplace of many international companies, including Skype.
The city is to house the headquarters of the European Union's IT agency. Providing to the global cybersecurity it is the home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, it has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. According to the Global Financial Centres Index Tallinn is the most competitive financial center in Northern Europe and ranks 52nd internationally; the city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku in Finland. In 1154, a town called قلون was put on the world map of the Almoravid by the Arab cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, who described it as "a small town like a large castle" among the towns of'Astlanda', it was suggested. The earliest names of Tallinn include Kolyvan, known from East Slavic chronicles and which may have come from the Estonian mythical hero Kalev. However, modern historians consider connecting al-Idrisi placename with Tallinn unfounded and erroneous. Up to the 13th century, the Scandinavians and Henry of Livonia in his chronicle called the town Lindanisa.
This name may have been derived from Linda, the mythical wife of Kalev and the mother of Kalevipoeg, who in an Estonian legend carried rocks to her husband's grave, which formed the Toompea hill. It has been suggested that the archaic Estonian word linda is similar to the Votic word lidna'castle, town'. According to this suggestion, nisa would have the same meaning as niemi'peninsula', producing Kesoniemi, the old Finnish name for the city. Another ancient historical name for Tallinn is Rääveli in Finnish; the Icelandic Njal's saga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, based on the primitive form of Revala. This name originated from the adjacent ancient name of the surrounding area. After the Danish conquest in 1219, the town became known in the German and Danish languages as Reval. Reval was in use until 1918; the name Tallinn is Estonian. It is thought to be derived from Taani-linn, after the Danes built the castle in place of the Estonian stronghold at Lindanisse. However, it could have come from tali-linna, or talu-linna.
The element -linna, like Germanic -burg and Slavic -grad / -gorod meant'fortress', but is used as a suffix in the formation of town names. The previously-used official names in German Reval and Russian Revel were replaced after Estonia became independent in 1918. At first, both forms Tallinn were used; the United States Board on Geographic Names adopted the form Tallinn between June 1923 and June 1927. Tallinna in Estonian denotes the genitive case of the name, as in Tallinna Reisisadam. In Russian, the spelling of the name was changed from Таллинн to Таллин by the Soviet authorities in the 1950s, this spelling is still sanctioned by the Russian government, while Estonian authorities have been using the spelling Таллинн in Russian-language publications since the restoration of independence; the form Таллин is used in several other languages in some of the countries that emerged from the former Soviet Union. Due to the Russian spelling, the form Tallin is sometimes found in international publications.
Other variations of modern spellings include Tallinna in Finnish, Tallina in Latvian and Talinas in Lithuanian. The first traces of human settlement found in Tallinn's city center by archeologists are about 5,000 years old; the comb ceramic pottery found on the site dates to about 3000 BCE and corded ware pottery c. 2500 BCE. Around 1050, the first fortress was built on Tallinn Toompea; as an important port for trade between Russia and Scandinavia, it became a target for the expansion of the Teutonic Knights and the Kingdom of Denmark during the period of Northern Crusades in the beginning of the 13th century when Christianity was forcibly imposed on the local population. Danish rule of Tallinn and Northern Estonia started in 1219. In 1285, the city known as Reval, became the northern most member of the Hanseatic League – a mercantile and military alliance of German-dominated cities in Northern Europe; the Danes sold Reval along with their other land possessions in northe
Moscow Military District
The Moscow Military District was a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In 2010 it was merged with the Leningrad Military District, the Northern Fleet and the Baltic Fleet to form the new Western Military District. In the beginning of the second half of the 19th century Russian officials realized the need for re-organization of the Imperial Russian Army to meet new circumstances. During May 1862, the War Ministry, headed by Army General Dmitry Milyutin, introduced to Tsar Alexander II of Russia proposals for the reorganization of the army, which included the formation of fifteen military districts. A tsarist edict of 6 August 1864, announced in a Defence Minister’s order on 10 August of the same year, established ten military districts, including Moscow; the District’s territory comprised 12 provinces: Vladimir, Kaluga, Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, Smolensk, Tver and Yaroslavl. The District was intended as a reinforcement source for troops and equipment, being some distance from the frontier, rather than an operational area.
The District dispatched five infantry and a cavalry division south to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–8, as well as sending another division to the Caucasus area. This force totaled around 20,000 horses. Over 80,000 men were called into reserve units; the District housed 21,000 Turkish prisoners of war. During the First World War over a million men were stationed in the district. Much of the garrison was involved in the October Revolution of 1917, consequent establishment of a Soviet regime in the cities of Bryansk, Voronezh, Nizhniy Novgorod, Tver, Yaroslavl. By a resolution of the Moscow military revolutionary committee on 17 November 1917, Corps Commander N. I. Muralov was assigned as the new commander of the district. In the period of the Russian Civil War and military intervention in Russia 1917 - 22 the District prepared military personnel for all the fronts and supplied the Red Army with different forms of armament and allowances. From June to the middle of September 1919 the District conducted 33 callups totalling more than 500,000 people.
In Moscow the 1 Moscow Rifle Division, Warsaw revolutionary infantry regiment, 2nd revolutionary infantry regiment were formed, Latvian forces were brought to the Latvian Rifles Division. In Voronezh two cavalry divisions were formed, two rifle divisions and two rifle regiments in Nizhniy Novgorod, the 16th Rifle Division in Tambov. Artillery units too were being raised in the capital area. After the end of Civil War in the troops of region were demobilized, as a result of which their number was reduced from 580,000 to 85,000 in January 1923, the District was reorganised on a peacetime basis. In the 1920s the District had 10 rifle divisions: the 1st Moscow Proletariat Red Banner Rifle Division, the 6th Оrlovskaya. Autumn maneuvers began to be conducted yearly here in the district; the 2nd Rifle Corps was stationed in the district from 1922 to 1936. In the beginning of the 1930 tanks started to be introduced, including the MS or T-18, T-26, T-27, BT, T-28, the heavy T-35. In 1930 the first mechanized infantry brigade in the Soviet Army was formed in the district.
The Russian Ground Forces' official site notes that the first tactical parachute landing took place in the District on 2 August 1930. In World War II the District formed three fronts, 23 armies, 128 divisions of all arms, 197 brigades of all arms, an approximate total of 4.5 million men. In 1944–5 alone the District sent to the front 1,200,000 soldiers. From summer 1945 to summer 1946, in order to supervise the demobilisation process, the District was subdivided into four: the Moscow, Voronezh and Smolensk Military Districts. General Kirill Moskalenko took command of the District in 1953 and would be a Marshal of the Soviet Union after leaving his post; the Voronezh Military District was reactivated in 1949 and was active until 1960. In 1955 the district's forces comprised the 1st Guards Rifle Corps, the 13th Guards Rifle Corps, the 3rd Guards Rifle Division, the 15th, the 31st Guards, the 38th Guards Rifle Divisions, the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, the 23rd Guards, 65th, 66th Guards Mechanised Divisions, the 71st Mechanised Division, the 38th Guards Airborne Corps.
On 22 February 1968, for the large contribution to the cause of strengthening the defense of the state, for its successes in combat and political training, in view of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Army plus its important role in the 2nd World War, the District was awarded with the Order of Lenin. In 1979 Scott and Scott reported the HQ address as being A-252, Chapayevskiy Per. Dom 14; the District's dispositions at the end of the 1980s were: 13th Guards Army Corps, Gorkiy. In 1990 this corps was under the command of General Fyodor Reut. 60th Tank Division, Dzerzhinsk 206th Motor Rifle Division, Tambov District Troops 2nd Guards'Taman' Motor Rifle Division, Kalinnets 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, Naro-Fominsk 26th Guards Tank Training Division, Vladimir 32nd Guards Motor Rifle Divisio
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 637,827 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the three Baltic states, home to one third of Latvia's population and one tenth of the three Baltic states' combined population; the city lies at the mouth of the Daugava river. Riga's territory lies 1 -- 10 m above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain. Riga is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga's historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. Riga was the European Capital of Culture along with Umeå in Sweden. Riga hosted the 2006 NATO Summit, the Eurovision Song Contest 2003, the 2006 IIHF Men's World Ice Hockey Championships and the 2013 World Women's Curling Championship, it is home to the European Union's office of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. In 2016, Riga received over 1.4 million visitors. It is served by the largest and busiest airport in the Baltic states. Riga is a member of Eurocities, the Union of the Baltic Cities and Union of Capitals of the European Union.
One theory about the origin of the name Riga is that it is a corrupted borrowing from the Liv ringa meaning loop, referring to the ancient natural harbour formed by the tributary loop of the Daugava River. The other is that Riga owes its name to this already-established role in commerce between East and West, as a borrowing of the Latvian rija, for threshing barn, the "j" becoming a "g" in German — notably, Riga is called Rie by English geographer Richard Hakluyt, German historian Dionysius Fabricius confirms the origin of Riga from rija. Another theory could be that Riga was named after Riege, the German name for the River Rīdzene, a tributary of the Daugava. Another theory is that Riga's name is introduced by the bishop Albert, initiator of christening and conquest of Livonian and Baltic people, he introduced an explanation of city name as derived from Latin rigata that symbolizes an "irrigation of dry pagan souls by Christianity". The river Daugava has been a trade route since antiquity, part of the Vikings' Dvina-Dnieper navigation route to Byzantium.
A sheltered natural harbour 15 km upriver from the mouth of the Daugava — the site of today's Riga — has been recorded, as Duna Urbs, as early as the 2nd century. It was settled by an ancient Finnic tribe. Riga began to develop as a centre of Viking trade during the early Middle Ages. Riga's inhabitants occupied themselves with fishing, animal husbandry, trading developing crafts; the Livonian Chronicle of Henry testifies to Riga having long been a trading centre by the 12th century, referring to it as portus antiquus, describes dwellings and warehouses used to store flax, hides. German traders began visiting Riga, establishing a nearby outpost in 1158. Along with German traders the monk Meinhard of Segeberg arrived to convert the Livonian pagans to Christianity. Catholic and Orthodox Christianity had arrived in Latvia more than a century earlier, many Latvians baptised. Meinhard settled among the Livs, building a castle and church at Ikšķile, upstream from Riga, established his bishopric there.
The Livs, continued to practice paganism and Meinhard died in Ikšķile in 1196, having failed in his mission. In 1198, the Bishop Berthold arrived with a contingent of crusaders and commenced a campaign of forced Christianization. Berthold died soon afterwards and his forces defeated; the Church mobilised to avenge the issuance of a bull by Pope Innocent III declaring a crusade against the Livonians. Bishop Albert was proclaimed Bishop of Livonia by his uncle Hartwig of Uthlede, Prince-Archbishop of Bremen and Hamburg in 1199. Albert landed in Riga in 1200 with 500 Westphalian crusaders. In 1201, he transferred the seat of the Livonian bishopric from Ikšķile to Riga, extorting agreement to do this from the elders of Riga by force; the year 1201 marked the first arrival of German merchants in Novgorod, via the Dvina. To defend territory and trade, Albert established the Order of Livonian Brothers of the Sword in 1202, open to nobles and merchants; the Christianization of the Livs continued. In 1207, Albert started to fortify the town.
Emperor Philip invested Albert with Livonia as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire. To promote a permanent military presence, territorial ownership was divided between the Church and the Order, with the Church taking Riga and two-thirds of all lands conquered and granting the Order a third; until it had been customary for crusaders to serve for a year and return home. Albert had ensured Riga's commercial future by obtaining papal bulls which decreed that all German merchants had to carry on their Baltic trade through Riga. In 1211, Riga minted its first coinage, Albert laid the cornerstone for the Riga Dom. Riga was not yet secure. In 1212, Albert led a campaign to compel Polotsk to grant German merchants free river passage. Polotsk conceded Kukenois and Jersika to Albert ending the Livs' tribute to Polotsk. Riga's merchant citizenry sought greater autonomy from the Church. In 1221, they acquired the right to independently self-administer Riga and adopted a city constitution; that same year Albert was compelled to recognise Danish rule over lands they had conquered in Estonia and Livonia.
Albert had sought the aid of King Valdemar of Denmark to protect Riga and Livonian lands against Liv insurrection when reinforcements could not
7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division
The 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division is an elite guards division of the Russian Airborne Troops. The 7th Guards Airborne Division was formed in September 1948 based on 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment which fought in Eastern Europe in World War II. In October 1948 the division was relocated to Lithuania. During the Cold War period, the division served in the suppression of the Hungarian and Czech revolutions. On August 1993, the division was relocated to Russia, it took part in various counter-insurgency operations in the Caucasus region. On 1 December 2006 it was renamed as 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division. In 2014 the division's 247th Guards Air Assault Regiment took part in the War in Donbass in Ukraine. There were two separately formed 7th Guards Airborne Divisions in the Red Army and Soviet Ground Forces/Soviet Airborne Troops; the first division was formed during the Second World War at Ramenskoye in December 1942. It fought at Demyansk, Korsun, on the Dnieper River, at Targul Frumos and Budapest.
It ended the war with 4th Guards Army of the 3rd Ukrainian Front in May 1945. As part of a postwar military reorganization, this division was retitled the 115th Guards Rifle Division in June 1945; the second formation of the 7th Guards Airborne Division was started in September 1948 based on 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment. The first formation of the division was formed during the Second World War at Ramenskoye in December 1942, it fought at Demyansk, Korsun, on the Dnieper River, at Targul Frumos and Budapest. On May 8, 1945, the divisional commander, Major General Dmitrii Aristarkhovich Drichkin, set up his headquarters in the village of Erlauf, some 60 miles west of Vienna and 50 miles east of Linz. Anxious to meet the Allies, he sent out scouts. At midnight, he met Major General Stanley Eric Reinhart, commander of the U. S. 65th Infantry Division. For the duration of their presence on the Danube river, both commanders continued to cooperate in an unusually effective manner. Twenty years public affairs officer Captain John J. Pullen described their first cordial encounter for the National Observer.
For the 50th anniversary, Erlauf erected a Soviet-sponsored memorial. It features a local girl, linking arms with a GI on her right, a Soviet soldier on her left. To this day, an enlarged photo and a small exhibit mark the spot where this historic encounter took place: A life-size Major General Reinhart, smiling at General Drichkin, as they compare their watches one minute past midnight, on 9 May 1945, the moment the unconditional surrender of Germany became effective; as part of a postwar military reorganization at the end of June 1945, the first formation of the 7th Guards Airborne Division was retitled as the 115th Guards Rifle Division. The 22nd Guards Tank Division was activated on 4 June 1957 in Novomoskovsk, Dnepropetrovsk Oblast, from the 115th Guards Rifle Division; the baptism of fire of the second formation division's predecessor regiment took place in 1945, fighting around Lake Balaton under the 37th Guards Rifle Corps, 9th Guards Army, 3rd Ukrainian Front. On 26 April 1945, the 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment of the 103rd Guards Rifle Division was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, second class, for exemplary performance.
In commemoration, the division's official day is 26 April, by an order of the Defense Minister of the USSR. At the end of the war, the 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment was in the city of Czechoslovakia. During the war, the regiment was thanked on six occasions by the Supreme Commander. In all 2,065 of its soldiers and officers were decorated for valor and heroism by the Soviet Union; the 7th Guards Airborne Division was established on 15 October 1948 on the basis of the 322nd Guards Air Landing Regiment of the 103rd Guards Airborne Division at Polotsk in the Belorussian Military District, becoming part of the 8th Guards Airborne Corps. The division was relocated to the cities of Kaunas and Marijampole, Lithuanian SSR. Personnel from these bases took part in actions against Lithuanian partisans. Units in this premier division of airborne troops have mastered the landing of Antonov An-8, An-12, An-22, Il-76 aircraft, tested a number of new parachute systems, all generations of BMD, 2S9 Nona artillery systems.
In 1956, the division was involved in "Operation Whirlwind", the suppression of the Hungarian revolution. On 3 November 1956, the 108th Parachute Regiment landed at the Tököl airbase in Il-12 and Li-2 aircraft and disabling six antiaircraft batteries positioning themselves to defend the base. On 4 November 1956 the regimental staff, together with fighters from the 119th Parachute Regiment, entered the city of Budapest and took part in street fighting until the city was secured on 7 November. In 1968, the division participated in Operation Danube to suppress the Prague Spring uprising; the 108th Regiment distinguished itself in the most dangerous and difficult missions, for which about two hundred of its personnel received high government awards. On 23 June 1969, troops of the 108th Airborne Regiment were tasked to fly from Kaunas to Ryazan, where they were to demonstrate their vehicle assault landing skills to the Minister of Defence of the USSR, Andrei Grechko; the group of three An-12 aircraft took off early in the morning, reaching a cruising altitude of 3,000 metres.
Approaching the city of Kaluga, a plane carrying the staff of a company and battalion command collided with an Ilyushin Il-14 passenger plane, at 3000 meters without clearance, with the loss of all aboard. The division was involved in many major exercises and maneuvers, such as "Shield-76", "Neman", "West-81", "West-84" and "Watch-86", in the latter three exerc
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic; the dominant religions in the country are Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2, making it the largest country within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world; the territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was split between Poland and the Russian Empire, merged into the Russian-dominated Soviet Union in the late 1940s as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991 Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but most sources have since moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses. Following its independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. In 2013, after the government of President Viktor Yanukovych had decided to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia, a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan began, which escalated into the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that led to the overthrow of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government; these events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, the War in Donbass in April 2014. On 1 January 2016, Ukraine applied the economic component of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union.
Ukraine is ranks 88th on the Human Development Index. As of 2018, Ukraine has the second lowest GDP per capita in Europe. At US$40, it has the lowest median wealth per adult in the world, it suffers from a high poverty rate and severe corruption. However, because of its extensive fertile farmlands, Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters. Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe after that of Russia; the country is home to a multi-ethnic population, 77.8 percent of whom are Ukrainians, followed by a large Russian minority, as well as Georgians, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Jews and Hungarians. Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative and judicial branches; the country is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the GUAM organization, one of the founding states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older widespread hypothesis, it means "borderland", while some more recent linguistic studies claim a different meaning: "homeland" or "region, country"."The Ukraine" used to be the usual form in English, but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, "the Ukraine" has become less common in the English-speaking world, style-guides recommend not using the definite article.
"The Ukraine" now implies disregard for the country's sovereignty, according to U. S. ambassador William Taylor. The Ukrainian position is that the usage of "'The Ukraine' is incorrect both grammatically and politically." Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites which include a mammoth bone dwelling. The territory is considered to be the location for the human domestication of the horse. Modern human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni–Trypillia culture flourished in wide areas of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was Scythia. Beginning in the sixth century BC, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras and Chersonesus, were founded on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea.
These colonies thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, the Khazars took over much of the land. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Antes were located in the territory of; the Antes were the ancestors of Ukrainians: White Croats, Polans, Dulebes and Tiverians. Migrations from Ukraine throughout the Balkans established many Southern Slavic nations. Northern migrations, reaching to the Ilmen l