Пётр Иванович Хара was born on May 15, 1908, in the Staromlinovka Staro-Kermechensky (now Velikonovosilkovsky) village in the Donetsk region, the son of a peasant Greek family. We do not know so far the family history or the actual Greek surname. However, a short story about Greek presence is vital to understand Пётр life. Greeks came to the Crimea — a dramatically mountainous peninsula that juts into the Black Sea — in the 5th century B.C., or maybe even the 7th, or just possibly, based on some archaeological digs there, the 9th. The Greeks arrived in present-day Ukraine before the Tatars, before the Russians, before the Jews, and possibly even before the Ukrainians themselves. In fact, maybe Ukraine’s oldest existing ethnic group. What’s indisputable, though, is that when they got to the region around today’s Donetsk, in easternmost Ukraine they were most definitely the first settlers. The Crimean Greeks lived for about 300 years under the rule of the Muslim Khanate, and when imperial Russia made a move to conquer the Crimea they asked Catherine the Great to offer them her protection. She ordered them to leave the area they lived in for the past two millenniums and set up in a new land just acquired in her Empire, far to the east. She practically moved the entire Greek population there. She awarded lands to the Greeks and...
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