Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative designed to denigrate the history of Ukraine, Ukrainian statehood and its independence.
When Ukrainian lands became part of the Russian Empire, they formally lost all traces of their national distinctiveness. The territories were reorganised into regular Russian provinces administered by governors appointed from St. Petersburg. In religious policy, the Tsarist regime promoted the elimination of Ukrainian peculiarities. Although the largely Polish Roman Catholic Church was allowed to continue, Catherine launched a program of administrative conversion of Ukrainians from the Uniate Church. The anti-Uniate campaign was partially reversed by her immediate successors but was renewed with vigour by Nicholas I.
In 1863 the minister of the interior, Petr Valuev, banned virtually all publications in Ukrainian, with the exception of belles lettres. The ban was reinforced by a secret imperial decree, the Ems Ukaz, of Aleksandr II in 1876 and extended to the publication of belles lettres in Ukrainian, the importation of Ukrainian-language books, and public readings and stage performances in the language. The prohibition even extended to education.
The other claims about the statehood of Ukraine are also groundless. Ukraine is recognised in international law as a sovereign nation-state, with its own flag, nationality, language and with a democratically-elected president and parliament.
The history of Ukraine dates back to the era of the Kyivan Rus’ in the 9th-13th centuries. A national movement developed during the ages while Ukraine was ruled by Russia; Ukrainian nationalists took part in the revolutionary movements that led to the demise of the Russian empire.