Right-Bank Ukraine

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Right-Bank Ukraine


the historic name for the territory along the right bank of the Dnieper River from 1667 to 1793.

The Andrusovo Armistice of 1667 placed the Right-bank Ukraine under Polish rule, and the term itself, the “Right-bank Ukraine,” first appeared at that time. The Buchach Peace of 1672 divided the Right-bank Ukraine into three parts. Turkey received Podolia—the region along the Bug and the left bank of the Dnestr. Bratslav Province (part of present-day Vinnitsa Oblast and parts of Khmel’nitskii Oblast) and the southern part of Kiev Province fell under the rule of the right-bank cossack hetman P. D. Doroshenko, a vassal of Turkey. The rest of the Right-bank Ukraine belonged to Poland.

Turkish rule in the Right-bank Ukraine was abolished in 1683. As a result of a war with Turkey and by the provisions of the Karlowitz Congress of 1698–99, Polish rule was restored over part of the Right-bank Ukraine, and a harsh yoke of national, religious, and social oppression was established. The popular masses of the Right-bank Ukraine rose up against the regime of the Polish nobility (szlachtd) from 1702 to 1704 and in 1734, 1750, and 1768. In 1793, as a result of the second partition of Poland, the Right-bank Ukraine was united with the Left-bank Ukraine and became part of the Russian Empire.

In contemporary literature the concepts of the “Right-bank Ukraine” and the “right bank” are applied to the territory of present-day Kiev, Cherkassy, Kirovograd, Zhitomir, Vinnitsa, Khmel’nitskii, Rovno, and Volyn’ oblasts. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) a battle was fought in the Right-bank Ukraine for its liberation from the fascist German aggressors. The liberation was carried out during the Dnieper-Carpathian Strategic Offensive Operation of Dec. 24, 1943, to Apr. 17, 1944, which included several front operations linked by a common strategic plan.

By late 1943 the liberation of the Left-bank Ukraine by Soviet troops and the capture of strategic bridgeheads on the right bank of the Dnieper had created conditions favorable for the liberation of the Right-bank Ukraine. At that time the Right-bank Ukraine was held by German Army Group South (First and Fourth Panzer and Sixth and Eighth field armies, under Field Marshal E. von Manstein) and part of the forces of Army Group A (Rumanian Third Army and the 44th Separate Army Corps, under Field Marshal E. von Kleist). The army groups were supported by the Fourth Air Fleet and the air force of monarchist Rumania. The total enemy strength was about 1.8 million men, 2,200 tanks and assault guns, 21,820 artillery guns and mortars, and 1,560 combat airplanes. The fascist German command assumed that the spring thaw that had made the roads nearly impassable would preclude any large offensive operations by the Red Army until the summer and that it could therefore concentrate the necessary forces and restore the defense along the Dnieper.

The concept of the Soviet Supreme Command was to deliver powerful strikes along the entire front from Ovruch to the mouth of the Dnieper in order to break up the enemy defense, encircle the enemy groupings and destroy them piecemeal, liberate the Right-bank Ukraine, and advance to the southwestern borders of the USSR. The execution of the plan was assigned to the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Ukrainian fronts, which were to be assisted by part of the forces of the Black Sea Fleet and by Ukrainian partisans. The four fronts had 21 combined-arms, three tank, and four air armies, totaling 2,086,000 men, 31,530 guns and mortars, 1,908 tanks and self-propelled gunmounts, and about 2,370 combat airplanes. The fronts were coordinated by representatives of General Headquarters—Marshal of the Soviet Union G. K. Zhukov for the First and Second Ukrainian fronts and Marshal of the Soviet Union A. M. Vasilevskii for the Third and Fourth Ukrainian fronts.

On Dec. 24, 1943, the troops of General of the Army N. F. Vatutin’s First Ukrainian Front initiated the Zhitomir-Berdichev Operation. With powerful strikes they routed the opposing forces of the Fourth and First panzer armies and liberated Rado-myshl’, Novograd-Volynskii, Zhitomir, Berdichev, and Belaia Tserkov’. By January 14 they had advanced 80 to 120 km west and southwest and enveloped the enemy’s Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii grouping from the northwest. The Czechoslovak 1st Brigade under L. Svoboda fought alongside the Soviet troops at Belaia Tserkov’. To close up the breaches in the defense, the fascist German command had to bring up 12 divisions to the area of operations from the reserves and from other sectors of the Soviet-German front.

From Jan. 5 to 16, 1944, the troops of General of the Army I. S. Konev’s Second Ukrainian Front carried out the Kirovograd Operation, driving the enemy back 40 to 50 km. The troops of the front liberated the oblast center and important road junction of Kirovograd and enveloped the enemy grouping in the region of Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii from the southeast. During the Korsun’ Shevchenkovskii Operation of 1944, carried out from January 24 to February 17, the troops of the First and Second Ukrainian fronts encircled and destroyed ten enemy divisions and one enemy brigade.

At the same time, the troops of the First Ukrainian Front’s right wing, made up of the Thirteenth and Sixtieth armies, carried out the Lutsk-Rovno Operation, which lasted from January 27 to February 11. Assisted by partisans, they defeated the Fourth Panzer Army; cleared the vast Poles’e region of the enemy, including the cities of Lutsk, Rovno, and Shepetovka; and posed a threat to the enemy’s Proskurov-Chernovtsy grouping. From January 30 to February 29 the troops of General of the Army R. Ia. Malinovskii’s Third Ukrainian Front and General of the Army V. I. Tolbukhin’s Fourth Ukrainian Front carried out the Nikopol’-Krivoi Rog Operation, in which they defeated the German Sixth Army; liberated the cities of Krivoi Rog, Nikopol’, and Marganets; drove the enemy back to the Ingulets River; and seized bridgeheads on the western bank of the river.

In early March 1944 the troops of the First, Second, and Third Ukrainian fronts, as well as the Second Byelorussian Front, which had been reactivated on February 24 under Colonel General P. A. Kurochkin, resumed the offensive along a front from the Pripiat’ to the mouth of the Dnieper. From March 4 to April 17 the First Ukrainian Front, under the command of Marshal of the Soviet Union G. K. Zhukov (from March 1), carried out the Proskurov-Chernovtsy Operation. The troops of the front advanced from 80 to 350 km; defeated the enemy Fourth and First panzer armies; liberated Ternopol’, Proskurov (present-day Khmel’nitskii), Chernovtsy, and Kamenets-Podol’skii; and reached the foothills of the Carpathians. From March 5 to April 6 the troops of the Second Ukrainian Front carried out the Uman’-Botoşani Operation, in which they routed the German Eighth Army; forced the Iuzhnyi Bug, Dnestr, Prut, and Siret rivers; advanced to the state frontier of the USSR; and continued to wage combat in Rumania.

Meanwhile, from March 6 to April 14 the troops of the Third Ukrainian Front, assisted by part of the forces of the Black Sea Fleet, carried out the Bereznegovatoe-Snigirevka Operation of 1944 and then the Odessa Operation of 1944. They soundly defeated the German Sixth and Rumanian Third Armies; liberated the south of the Right-bank Ukraine, including the cities of Nikolaev, Kherson, Ochakov, and Odessa; reached the lower course of the Dnestr River; and captured several important bridgeheads on the western bank. From March 15 to April 5 the troops of the Second Byelorussian Front carried out the Poles’e Operation. Under exceptionally difficult road conditions they advanced 30 to 40 km, forced the Stokhod and Tur’ia rivers, and reached the approaches to the cities of Ratno, Kovel’, and Turiisk.

As a result of the operations carried out by the Soviet troops, the Right-bank Ukraine was liberated, and the enemy was repulsed 250 to 450 km. Ten enemy divisions and one brigade were completely destroyed. Five divisions suffered such heavy losses that they were deactivated, and 60 divisions, including 12 panzer and three motorized divisions, lost up to 50 percent and ten divisions up to 70 percent of their personnel. From January to April the Hitlerite command was forced to transfer to the Right-bank Ukraine 34 divisions and four brigades from Rumania, Hungary, France, Yugoslavia, Denmark, and Germany itself. Nine other divisions were brought up from the reserves and from other sectors of the Soviet-German front. The advance of the Soviet troops to the approaches of the frontiers of Poland and Czechoslovakia and into Rumania radically changed the military and political situation in Europe and in the Balkans.


Istoriia Ukrainskoi SSR, vol. 1. Kiev, 1969.
Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1941–1945, vol. 4. Moscow, 1962.
Vasilevskii, A. M. Delo vsei zhizni. Moscow, 1973.
Grylev, A. N. Dnepr—Karpaty—Krym. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Most of Ukraine fell to the Russian Empire under the reign of Catherine the Great; in 1793 right-bank Ukraine was annexed by Russia.
The small but distinguished team of scholars that we assembled includes Faith Hillis (University of Chicago), author of a recent monograph exploring efforts in 19th-century right-bank Ukraine to harness the forces of nationalism in defense of the Russian Empire; John-Paul Himka (University of Alberta), who has written extensively about religion and nationalism in Galicia, on last-judgment icons in the Carpathians, and on the reception of the Holocaust in postcommunist Ukraine; William Jay Risch (Georgia College), author of a monograph on the role of the USSR's western borderlands, and the city of L'viv specifically, in the Soviet state's demise; Alexei Miller (European University, St.
This led to a series of almost continuous wars and the depopulation of Right-Bank Ukraine, a period in Ukrainian history subsequently referred to as "the Ruin." Ultimately, only the polity on the Left Bank managed to survive under Muscovite protection.
Pavio Teteria, a nobleman in the Polish king's service, who would later become the pro-Polish hetman of Right-Bank Ukraine, compared Cossacks on both banks of the Dnieper to members of one body and, in a November 1660 letter, called on them not to spill the blood of their brothers.
On 18 (28) August 1665, (20) the Crimean Tatars dismissed Hetman Stepan Opara, a self-proclaimed hetman of Right-Bank Ukraine who had earlier risen to power with their support.
According to Baranovych, even though historical narratives and the Bible provided numerous examples of how people who had forgotten God were punished, similar examples could be found in recent Ukrainian history, when Right-Bank Ukraine was ravaged by the enemy.
(3) Faith Hillis, Children of Rus': Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013), 21-113.
After an overview of Kiev's earlier history, the book really starts with the second partition of Poland in 1793, which made Kiev the primate city of newly incorporated Right-Bank Ukraine and restored in it a Polish and Jewish presence.
Hillis's focus on Right-Bank Ukraine is thus particularly welcome.
Following the Polish revolt of 1830-31, however, the imperial government sought more firmly to integrate Right-Bank Ukraine into the Russian administrative structure and to reduce the influence of the local Polish nobility.
Sixty years after the end of World War II, the question of how that war was experienced within the portion of Right-Bank Ukraine that had spent the interwar era under Soviet rule still awaits a definitive answer.