Vladimir Kornilov: On Independence Day Zelensky Fed Ukrainians with Fairytales

“In Ukraine, the pseudo-historical tale about the ‘capture of Dunkirk by Zaporozhye Cossacks’ has been heard for a long time. In addition, even in textbooks it is present along with other scams,” said the historian and political scientist Vladimir Kornilov to the “Vzglyad” newspaper. The President of Ukraine Zelensky, congratulating the country on Independence Day, offered a reminder about how the Cossacks under the leadership of Bogdan Khmelnitsky and Ivan Sirko took the French fortress.

“Although it is not quite correct to say that Ukraine is 28. After all, we have done a lot by the 91st year. Baptism of Kievan Rus’ took place … Cossacks led by Bogdan Khmelnitsky and Ivan Sirko conquered the Dunkirk fortress,” stated the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky in his congratulations on the occasion of “Independence Day”.

The campaign of Khmelnitsky and Sirko to Dunkirk is a common tale, but not confirmed by any historical source and repeatedly denied by Ukrainian historians themselves after their study of documents, explained the historian, political scientist, and journalist Vladimir Kornilov.

“Allegedly in 1645 Zaporozhye Cossacks on their boat-chaikas sailed the Baltic Sea and in support of the French took possession of the Dunkirk fortress, which was held by the Spanish. And it is described with such details how at night the Cossacks raised white flags, deceived the Spanish…” notes Kornilov.

During the Thirty Years’ War in 1645, French troops under Prince Condé besieged (rather than captured) Dunkirk, and by the way, it was not the first battle of this war near this city – it was not until 1658 that the French managed to defeat the Spanish here (which was depicted in numerous paintings – see photo).

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Concerning the “participation of Zaporozhye Cossacks,” as historians explain, “roots grow” from the book of the French author of the 17th century Pierre Chevalier – the biography of the then Ambassador of France in Rzeczpospolita Count of Bregy. The author claimed that the Ambassador had facilitated the recruitment of Zaporozhye Cossacks to serve the French King. “Khmelnitsky being in France” was written by the historian of the 19th century Nikolay Kostomarov, but the “father of Ukrainian historiography” Mikhail Grushevsky never mentions this episode. However, as Polish historians claimed, based on archives, it was about hiring Poles, not Ukrainians.

“This nevertheless did not prevent President Zelensky from using this myth in his official statement,” said Kornilov. As he noted on his Facebook page, with the same success the comedian-president could refer to the animated series about the Cossacks who won the first European football championship and gave aliens a much needed pail for a flying saucer. “This is what Ukrainian historiography is now,” added Kornilov in comment to the “Vzglyad” newspaper.

“In Ukraine all of history and historiography is built on myths pulled from thin air. It is possible to read in some books, including those claiming to be scientific, that, say, the Orly airport in Paris was named after the great Ukrainian figure and writer of the world’s first constitution of Pylyp Orlyk,” said the interlocutor. Orlyk’s constitution was also mentioned by Zelensky in his address to the nation.

“No one cares to know that the name ‘Orly’ appeared almost before the name ‘Paris’, and Orlyk did not make any constitution,” said Kornilov. “Indeed, the name of the municipality of Orly, where the airport is located, is derived from the Latin ‘Aureliacum’, and on the place of Paris in Roman times was the settlement of Lutetia. And an associate of Mazepa and an ally of the Swedish Pylyp Orlyk in 1710 drew up not the ‘first constitution in the world’, but some appeal to the Cossacks, written on the model of proclamations of the kings of Rzeczpospolita (which they signed upon accession the throne).”


Vzglyad, Mikhail Moshkin

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