Page:The New Europe - Volume 4.djvu/196

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The New Europe]

[23 August 1917


made the speedy solution of the Ukrainian question all the more necessary.

The manifesto of the Ukrainian Rada was published on 24 June. The most important parts of it ran as follows:—

Without separating from Russia, and without breaking away from the Russian State, let the Ukrainian people on its own territory have the right to dispose of its life, and let a proper Government be established in the Ukraine by the election of a Ukrainian National Assembly, a Diet, on the basis of universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage. Only such an assembly has the right to issue laws which are to establish permanent order in the Ukraine, while those laws which affect the entire Russian State must be issued by an All-Russian Parliament. No one knows better than ourselves what we want, and what are the best laws for us. No one better than our own peasants knows how to manage our own land. For that reason we wish, after all private, State, Tsarist, Ministerial, and other lands have been handed over throughout Russia to the various peoples, and after a constitution has been drawn up by the All-Russian Constituent Assembly, that the constitution and public order in our Ukrainian territories should be entirely in our own hands, that is, in the hands of a Ukrainian Diet. . . . We thought at first that the Central Russian Government would lend us a hand in this work, and that we, the Ukrainian Central Rada, would be able, in co-operation with it, to organise our country; but the Provisional Russian Government has rejected our demands and has refused the stretched-out hand of the Ukrainian people. We have sent out delegates to Petrograd to submit to the Russian Provisional Government our demands, the principal of which are as follows:—That the Russian Government should publicly, by a special Act, proclaim that it is not opposed to the national will of the Ukraine and to the right of our people to autonomy; that the Central Russian Government should, for the decision of all affairs affecting the Ukraine, have by its side our High Commissioner; that the local authority in the Ukraine itself should be vested in the person of a Commissioner elected by ourselves, acting as the representative of the Central Russian authority; and that a definite portion of the taxes collected from our people into the State Exchequer should be handed over to us, the representatives of the Ukrainian people, for cultural and national needs. All these demands have been rejected by the Central Russian Government, which did not want to say whether it recognised our people’s right to autonomy and to dispose of its own life. It has evaded a direct reply by referring us to the future All-Russian Constituent Assembly. It has refused to have by its side our High Commissioner. It has refused to co-operate with us in bringing about a new order in our country, and it has refused to appoint a Commissioner for the Ukraine in order that we may administer our country in harmony and in order. The Government further refuses to hand over to us the taxes, collected from our people, for the