After the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Empire in 1783, Novorossiya was settled by Ukrainians and Russians. Despite promises in the Treaty of Pereyaslav, the Ukrainian elite and the Cossacks never received the freedoms and the autonomy they had expected. However, within the Empire, Ukrainians rose to the highest Russian state and church offices. In a later period, tsarists established a policy of Russification, suppressing the use of the Ukrainian language in print and in public.
19th Century, World War I and Revolution:
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the territory of today’s Ukraine was included in the governorates of Chernihiv (Chernigov in Russian), Kharkiv (Kharkov), Kyiv 1708–1764, and Little Russia 1764–1781, Podillia (Podolie), and Volyn (Volhynia)—with all but the first two informally grouped into the Southwestern Krai.
After the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), Catherine the Great and her immediate successors encouraged German immigration into Ukraine and especially into Crimea, to thin the previously dominant Turk population and encourage agriculture. Numerous Ukrainians, Russians, Germans, Bulgarians, Serbs and Greeks moved into the northern Black Sea steppe formerly known as the “Wild Fields“.
With growing urbanization and modernization, and a cultural trend toward romantic nationalism, a Ukrainian intelligentsia committed to national rebirth and social justice emerged. The serf-turned-national-poet Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861) and the political theorist Mykhailo Drahomanov (1841–1895) led the growing nationalist movement.
Beginning in the 19th century, there was migration from Ukraine to distant areas of the Russian Empire. According to the 1897 census, there were 223,000 ethnic Ukrainians in Siberia and 102,000 in Central Asia. An additional 1.6 million emigrated to the east in the ten years after the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1906. Far Eastern areas with an ethnic Ukrainian population became known as Green Ukraine.
Nationalist and socialist parties developed in the late 19th century. Austrian Galicia, under the relatively lenient rule of the Habsburgs, became the center of the nationalist movement.
Ukrainians entered World War I on the side of both the Central Powers, under Austria, and the Triple Entente, under Russia. 3.5 million Ukrainians fought with the Imperial Russian Army, while 250,000 fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army. Austro-Hungarian authorities established the Ukrainian Legion to fight against the Russian Empire. This became the Ukrainian Galician Army that fought against the Bolsheviks and Poles in the post-World War I period (1919–23). Those suspected of Russophile sentiments in Austria were treated harshly.
World War I destroyed both empires. The Russian Revolution of 1917 led to the founding of the Soviet Union under the Bolsheviks, and subsequent civil war in Russia. A Ukrainian national movement for self-determination emerged, with heavy Communist and Socialist influence. Several Ukrainian states briefly emerged: the internationally recognized Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR, the predecessor of modern Ukraine, was declared on 23 June 1917 proclaimed at first as a part of the Russian Republic; after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Ukrainian People’s Republic proclaimed its independence on 25 January 1918), the Hetmanate, the Directorate and the Bolshevik Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (or Soviet Ukraine) successively established territories in the former Russian Empire; while the West Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Hutsul Republic emerged briefly in the Ukrainian lands of former Austro-Hungarian territory.