Volyn Oblast

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Volyns'ka Oblast
Волинська область
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Location of Volyn oblast

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Detailed map of Volyn Oblast

Total (2004)
Area 20,200 km²
Raions 16
Cities 11
City districts -
Urban localities 22
Villages 1,053

Volyn Oblast or Volhynia (Волинська область, Volyns’ka oblast’ or Волинь, Volyn’ in Ukrainian) is the most north-western oblast (province) of Ukraine, bordering Belarus to the north and Poland to the west. The capital of the oblast is Luts'k (Łuck). Kovel (Kowel) is the westernmost town and the last station in Ukraine of the rail line running from Warsaw through to Kyiv.

History of Volyn region

See also: Volhynia

Volyn was once part of Kyivan Rus before becoming an independent local principality and an integral part of the early Ukrainian state of Halych-Volynia. In the 1400s, the area came under the control of neighboring Lithuania, in 1569 passing over to Poland and then in 1795, until World War I, the Russian Empire where it was called the Volynskaya Guberniya.

In Krzemieniec there was a Polish language post-secondary school named Liceum Krzemienieckie. It was closed by the Russian government in 1830. In this province communities of Ukrainians (Greek Catholic and Orthodox), Jews, Poles (Roman Catholics) as well as smaller groups of Czechs and Germans lived together in a peaceful manner.

Map of Volyn Region Districts
Map of Volyn Region Districts

After World War I, the area was assigned to Poland as the Wolhynian Voivodship. In contract to the situation in the Eastern Galicia, the Polish government actively promoted Ukrainian organizations. However, in the course of converting the large latifundia estates owned by Polish nobles into farms former soldiers, mostly ethnic Poles, had priority. This was the key factor in dissatisfaction of the Ukrainian population, despite the fact, that Polish rule saved them from Soviet atrocities, including Soviet collectivization.

During World War II, Volyn was invaded by the Soviet Union and annexed subsequently to Nazi-Soviet pact. As in other Polish provinces the Soviets massacred retired Polish officers and the Polish intelligentsia and then followed waves of deportations to the eastern part of Soviet Union, mostly of Poles. Before the Nazi capture of the province, Soviets also massacred people waiting for deportation (see: prisoners massacre).

The Nazis completed their "holocaust" of the Jews of Volhynia in late 1942. Unlike Poles that were treated as enemies the Nazis had an ambivalent feeling towards Ukrainian guerillas who were known as UPA, Ukrainska Povstanska Armia (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) which was started in this region and then spread to other regions of Ukraine. The UPA fought sporadically with the Nazis and with Soviet partisans. The UPA held that an ethnically pure Volhynia after the genocide of Jews also meant elimination of Poles (see Massacres of Poles in Volhynia). In course of the actions of the UPA the majority of the Polish population of the region was murdered. This also completed holocaust of Jews that had been hidden in the local Polish villages.

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Rivers in the district
In January 1944 the Red Army re-entered Volhynia. The Polish Home Army founded the 27th Infantry Division to fight Germans together with Soviets. However, the unit was abandoned and partially destroyed by the Nazi army. The rest of this Division was demobilized by the Red Army due to the fact that the unit obeyed the Polish government.

In the immediate aftermath of World War II the Polish-Soviet border was redrawn based on the Curzon line. The Poles who remained in the region were transferred to the "Recovered Territories" of western Poland (the former easternmost provinces of Germany).

The region was re-united with the rest of Ukraine by a unilateral decision of the Soviet authorities.

External link

Subdivisions of Ukraine Flag of Ukraine
oblasts: Cherkasy | Chernihiv | Chernivtsi | Dnipropetrovsk | Donetsk | Ivano-Frankivsk | Kharkiv | Kherson | Khmelnytskyi | Kirovohrad | Kiev | Luhansk | Lviv | Mykolaiv | Odessa | Poltava | Rivne | Sumy | Ternopil | Vinnytsia | Volyn | Zakarpattia | Zaporizhia | Zhytomyr
autonomous republic: Crimea
cities with special status: Kiev | Sevastopol

de:Oblast Wolhynien es:Volyn (regin) pl:Obwód wołyński uk:Волинська область


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