This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Ukrainian State" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Ukrainian State
Українська Держава (Ukrainian)
Ukrainska Derzhava
Anthem: Ще не вмерла України
Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy
"Ukraine has not yet perished"
State seals[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Territories controlled (dark green) and claimed (light green) by the Ukrainian State
Territories controlled (dark green) and claimed (light green) by the Ukrainian State
StatusClient state of the German Empire
50°27′00″N 30°31′00″E / 50.45°N 30.5167°E / 50.45; 30.5167
Common languagesUkrainian
Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) and Greek Catholic Church
GovernmentProvisional semi-constitutional monarchy under an authoritarian military dictatorship
• 1918
Pavlo Skoropadskyi
• Apr-May 1918
Mykola Vasylenko
• May-Nov 1918
Fedir Lyzohub
• Nov-Dec 1918
Sergey Gerbel
Historical eraWorld War I
• Established
29 April 1918
• Disestablished
14 December 1918
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ukrainian People's Republic
Ukrainian People's Republic

The Ukrainian State (Ukrainian: Українська Держава, romanizedUkrainska Derzhava), sometimes also called the Second Hetmanate (Ukrainian: Другий Гетьманат, romanizedDruhyi Hetmanat),[8] was an anti-Bolshevik government that existed on most of the modern territory of Ukraine (except for Western Ukraine) from 29 April[9] to 14 December 1918.[10]

It was installed by German military authorities after the socialist-leaning Central Council of the Ukrainian People's Republic was dispersed on 28 April 1918. The Ukrainian State was governed by Pavlo Skoropadskyi, the hetman of all Ukraine, who outlawed all socialist-oriented political parties, creating an anti-Bolshevik front with the Russian State. It collapsed in December 1918, when Skoropadskyi was deposed and the Ukrainian People's Republic returned to power in the form of the Directorate.[10][11]


The country lay in Eastern Europe along the middle and lower sections of the Dnieper on the coast of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian State covered most of the territory of modern-day Ukraine—minus West Ukraine, Budjak and Crimea. Its territory however extended into today's Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Poland.

To its northeast Ukraine established a preliminary demarcation line with the Russian SFSR, on the east it had a border with the Don Republic, to its south were the Black and Azov Seas, while the Crimean peninsula—the Crimean Regional Government—came under the control of Sulkevych. To the southwest along the Dniester lay a border with the Kingdom of Romania, to the west Ukraine bordered the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. To the north were the German-occupied territories of Ober Ost and the Belarusian People's Republic.


See also: Ukrainian–Soviet War and 1918 Ukrainian coup d'état

As a result of the Bolshevik aggression, the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic that initially pursued anti-military policy sought military support after the capital Kyiv was sacked on 9 February 1918, by Mikhail Muravyov. On 9 February, Ukraine signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the coalition of the Central Powers and by March all Bolshevik forces of the Russian SFSR were removed from the territory of Ukraine. The German Army Group Kyiv was created in order to protect Ukraine from further Bolshevik aggression and headed by the German field marshal Hermann von Eichhorn.

On 25 April, the administration of Army Group Kyiv suspected the government of Vsevolod Holubovych of kidnapping of Abram Dobry [uk], the chairman of the Foreign Trade Bank in Kyiv. Through that bank the German occupational forces were officially conducting all financial operations with the Reichsbank in Berlin. The next day, Eichhorn issued a decree according to which all criminal cases on the territory of Ukraine could selectively fall under the jurisdiction of the German field military court instead of the Ukrainian court system. At the next session of the Central Rada, Holubovych stated:

Who is this Mr Dobry? Is he a subject of the German State? No, he is not a far relative nor a godparent, he is a stranger. And just because that stranger who legally has no connections with Germany and gave no halters to issue a decree of such colossal weight was abducted, the decree was issued.

On 29 April, a party congress of bread producers consisting of some 6,000 delegates from all eight governorates of Ukraine was taking place[9] in the building of the Kyiv Circus. After receiving information about the situation at the Congress from his couriers, Pavlo Skoropadskyi later arrived in his car to the event where he was elected the Hetman of Ukraine. After that all participants moved to St. Sophia's Square, where Skoropadskyi was blessed by Nykodym, the Vicar of Kyiv and Galicia (Metropolitan Vladimir was executed by Bolsheviks). That night the Hetman supporters took over government building of military and internal affairs as well as the State Bank. The following day, the elite and most loyal formation of the Central Council, the Sich Riflemen, was disarmed.

Pavlo Skoropadskyi, Hetman of Ukraine

Skoropadskyi issued his manifesto (hramota) "To the All-Ukrainian Nation" and the Law of the Provisional State System.[12] Desiring stability, the Austro-Hungarian and German forces welcomed the coup; Skoropadskyi co-operated with them, making him unpopular among many Ukrainian peasants. The new state retained the tryzub (coat of arms) and the national flag but reversed the design to light blue over yellow. The Sich Riflemen opposed the coup and were disbanded along with the "Bluecoats", a Ukrainian division formed from POWs in Germany and Austria-Hungary named after their blue uniforms.

Internal opposition was provoked by the requisitioning of food stocks and restoration of land to the wealthy landowners. Opponents of the Skoropadskyi regime committed acts of arson and sabotage and, in July 1918, assassinated Hermann von Eichhorn, the commander of German troops in Ukraine. In August 1918, the anti-Skoropadskyi coalition succeeded in forcing him to re-form the Sich Riflemen. By then it was becoming obvious that the Central Powers had lost the war and that Skoropadskyi could no longer rely on their support. He thus looked for support from conservative Russian elements in society and proposed joining a federation with Anton Denikin and the White movement. This further eroded his standing among Ukrainians.

In December 1918, Skoropadskyi was deposed and the Directorate was established as a form of the Ukrainian People's Republic.[10][11]

Administrative divisions

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Administrative division of the Ukrainian State. The green line indicates the extent of the State's territorial claims.
Governorates, okrugs and claimed areas of the Ukrainian State
Unit Central city Starosta
Zhytomyr Dmytro Andro
Katerynoslav Ivan Chernikov
Kyiv Ivan Chartoryzhski
Kamianets Serhii Kyselov
Poltava Serhii Ivanenko
Kharkiv Petro Zaleski
Kherson Semen Pyshchevych
Brest-Litovsk Olexandr Skoropys-Yoltukhovski
Chernihiv Mykola Savicki


Main article: Anti-Hetman Uprising

Ukraine in November and December 1918
  Demarcation line with the Russian SFSR
 Dashed  Negotiations with Crimea and Kuban for joining the Ukrainian State
 Dashed  Neutral zone between Russia and Ukraine prescribed by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Skoropadskyi inspecting troops from the "Greycoat" division

Almost the entire commanding staff of the Ukrainian State armed forces consisted of officers of the former Imperial Russian Army.[13] Most officers were not supportive of the Ukrainian cause and viewed it as a way to make it through tough times.[13] At the same time, wide masses of the population did not have a developed sense of nationalism and mainly chose to follow socialist and communist principles.[13]

Following the armistice ending World War I, Ukrainian socialists formed the Directorate of Ukraine (the "Directory"), whose forces were spearheaded by the Sich Riflemen and "Greycoats".[clarification needed] Although German and Austrian troops had not yet withdrawn from Ukraine, they had no further interest in fighting. Most of Skoropadskyi's own forces changed sides and joined the Directory.[13]

On 16 November 1918, starting in Bila Tserkva, fighting broke out in the Hetmanate. Skoropadskyi had to turn to the thousands of Russian White Guard officers who had escaped to Ukraine with the intention of joining Denikin's Volunteer Army in the region of the Don river further east. They[clarification needed] were assembled into a "Special Corps" but proved unable to resist the Directory's forces led by Symon Petliura. Skoropadskyi abdicated his position as Hetman on 14 December, as the Ukrainian People's Army took Kyiv. He was expelled and the Hetmanate was replaced by the provisional government of the Directorate.


According to the "Laws on the Provisional State System of Ukraine", the leading position of the country was occupied by the Christian Orthodox faith.[14] At the same time, citizens of Ukraine who belonged to other denominations had the right to profess their religion and rites.

The Russian Orthodox Church, and later the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, ruled in Central and Eastern Ukraine. However, in Western Ukraine there was friction between Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics and Jews. In the conflicts, the Ministry of Confessions of the Ukrainian State and the Council of Ministers morally and materially supported the Orthodox clergy.

On 25 June, the government allocated 3 million rubles to help priests who moved to Volhynia, Kholmshchyna, Grodno, Podolia, and Polesia, which were annexed to the Ukrainian State. On 2 July, 120,000 roubles were allocated for the maintenance of the Orthodox clergy in the lands of Kholmshchyna, Podlachia and Polesia.[15]


  1. ^ "У Стамбулі випадково знайшли документ з підписом українського гетьмана: фото унікальної знахідки". РБК-Україна. 14 November 2020. Archived from the original on 28 January 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  2. ^ "За культурою народу й особами своїх правителів Україна була європейською державою". 29 August 2018. Archived from the original on 12 July 2023. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  3. ^ "Магія печатки". Antikvar. 20 January 2021. Archived from the original on 16 April 2024. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  4. ^ Знак Державної скарбниці УД вартістю 100 карбованців. 1918 р.
  5. ^ Знак Державної скарбниці УД вартістю 100 карбованців. 1918 р.
  6. ^ Знак Державної скарбниці УД вартістю 1000 карбованців. [13 листопада] 1918 р.
  7. ^ Знак Державної скарбниці УД вартістю 1000 карбованців. [13 листопада] 1918 р.
  8. ^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (18 June 2010). A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples, Second Edition. University of Toronto Press. p. 520. ISBN 978-1-4426-9879-6.
  9. ^ a b Subtelny, Orest (1988). Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-5808-6.[page needed]
  10. ^ a b c Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States 1999. London: Europa Publications. 1999. p. 849. ISBN 1-85743-058-1.
  11. ^ a b Yekelchyk, Serhy (2007). Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530546-3.[page needed]
  12. ^ "Закони про тимчасовий державний устрій України" [Laws on the provisional state system of Ukraine]. Державний Вістник [State Herald] (in Ukrainian). No. 1. 16 May 1918. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d Rukkas, Andriy (12 April 2013). "The Army and Independence". The Ukrainian Week. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  14. ^ Kyrydon, A. M. (2013). Релігійно-церковне життя в період Гетьманату: проблемне поле взаємодії [Religious and church life in the period of Getmanat: the problem field of interaction] (PDF). Національна та історична пам'ять [National and Historical Memory] (in Ukrainian) (7): 252–259. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2022. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  15. ^ Boyko, O. (2009). Територія, кордони і адміністративно-територіальний поділ Української Держави гетьмана П. Скоропадського (1918) [Territory, borders and administrative-territorial division of the Ukrainian State of Hetman P. Skoropadskyi (1918)] (PDF). Регіональна історія України [Regional History of Ukraine] (in Ukrainian) (3): 217–232. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2022.

Further reading