It's not Rocket Science... a Missile Expert's Scientific History casts new light on Ukraine's Past

Georgii Chornyi is not a typical historian rifling through dusty archival documents to shed light on the past. He is a trained Ukrainian aeronautical engineer whose mathematical skills would allow him to calculate a flight path to the moon, or the trajectory for a nuclear missile fired from Voronezh to strike Paris.

He won an award for his work on military equipment and missile technology in 2018 and was an associate professor at Ukraine's National Aviation University from 2002 to 2012. So, why did he begin writing about Ukraine's history? And why is his new book “Who are We Ukrainians?” so important?

Chornyi is boldly critical of much Ukrainian historiography arguing that many Ukrainian historians learned their trade in the Soviet Union and look upon Ukraine with “Moscow's Eyes.” Their work is, he claims, affected by Russian chauvinism.

He may have a point. Russia has devoted enormous energy to imposing its view of Ukraine on Ukrainians and, also, on western experts. But how can he change that? Chornyi brings his training as a scientist to bear upon the past and creates a new paradigm of Ukrainian history. He uses, like any historian, written records and archives about the past. However, he synthesises these with research in linguistics, genetics and archaeology. Using these methods Chornyi traces Ukraine's history right back to Trypillia and indeed the Ice Age.

Chornyi's work has created a new history of Ukraine and, indeed, reclaimed the country's past from historians either influenced by Russia or unable to use the scientific research he has boldly tackled. It will be of interest for Ukrainians and others looking to understand this fascinating country's past.

“Who are We Ukrainians?” will be published by Kalyna Language Press in late 2021.

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Image: By Geokiv - Фото Георгія Чорного зроблено на пероні станції "Дорогожичі" Київського метроПерша публікація: Фото Георгія Чорного було опубліковане в його книзі "Нариси з історії конструкторського бюро" у 2011 р., CC BY-SA 4.0,

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Steve Komarnyckyj

Steve Komarnyckyj

Steve Komarnyckyj's literary translations and poems have appeared in Index on Censorship, Modern Poetry in Translation and many other journals. He is the holder of two PEN awards and a highly regarded English language poet whose work has been described as articulating "what it means to be human" (Sean Street). He runs Kalyna Language Press with his partner Susie and three domestic cats.

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