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The New Europe]

[23 August 1917


returned to Russia after remaining some time abroad. He is well known in the Ukraine as a novelist and dramatist. Yefremov, the other Assistant President, is known as a publicist; politically he belongs to the Radical Democrat Party.

The formation of the Central Rada was soon followed by the opening of the Ukrainian Army Meeting. The main object of this meeting was to demand the immediate nationalisation of the army. It insisted on the creation of a Ukrainian national army and the division of Ukrainian officers and soldiers in the rear into separate units. It is this demand which has met with the strongest opposition on the part of the Russian Government, who have been backed by the C.W.S.D. Kerenski has steadily refused to divide the Russian forces into separate national armies, realising that such changes would seriously disorganise the army at the front and might also cause dissensions between the different nationalities. He has, therefore, consistently rejected the claims of the Poles, Ukrainians, Letts and Esthonians to a separate national army, though he has made concessions in the case of troops in the rear of the fighting armies. When in Kiev, on 1 June, Kerenski spoke on this subject as follows: “We consider it impossible at the present moment to regroup the armies on the principle of nationality. After the war we can deal with the question of changing the form of grouping the army, but not now. For this reason we have stopped the organisation of Esthonian, Lettish and other national detachments.”

Shortly afterwards another Ukrainian deputation went to Petrograd to present to the Provisional Government their demands for Ukrainian autonomy. These demands were both political and military. In the first place they asked for the publication by the Provisional Government of an act approving of Ukrainian autonomy, and agreeing that the Ukrainian question should be brought up at the Peace Conference in connection with the fate of Galicia and those parts of Ukrainian territory seized by the Germans. They also requested the appointment of a Special Commissioner for Ukrainian affairs and the control of all elementary, middle and high schools. Their military demands were for the formation of separate Ukrainian army units in the rear, and, where possible, at the front.

The answer of the Russian Government did not satisfy