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"Ukraine" or "the Ukraine"?

The term "Ukraine" is fairly ancient, and originates some time in the 11th century. It is actually a geographic term. It derives from a Slavic word krai, which means a part of a land, region, territory, a cut from a larger piece. It indicated the land that East Rus' people cut out for themselves when Slavic' people started to restore their statehood after Mongol and Tatar invasion, that destroyed Kievan Rus'.

Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Ukraine was split between Poland and the Soviet Union. Eastern Ukraine became the Ukrainian SSR (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic), and was created on December 25, 1917. It was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union since the USSR was formed in 1922, and until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. At the onset of World War II, in 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland and incorporated Western Ukraine into the Ukrainian SSR. After World War II it was internationally recognized as an independent state in its own right (with a seat in the United Nations), and was referred to as "the Ukraine". The capital of the Ukrainian SSR was first Kharkov (in 1918-1934) and then Kiev. Crimea was transferred to the SSR in 1954 from the Russian SFSR. Ukraine declared independence in 1991 as "Ukraine".

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