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A Story of Ukraine: Taras Shevchenko


When was the last time you wrote a poem that got you thrown in prison? For most people, the answer is . . . never. However, this story is about a man from Ukraine whose poetry upset Russia so much that Tsar Nicholas I threw him in prison. This man was Taras Shevchenko. Join host Ben Brainard and explore the long and difficult history between Ukraine and Russia through the eyes of an artist who brought recognition to the suffering his people faced under Russian rule in the 19th century. It’s an important story that gives context to the current War in Ukraine and examines the relationship between two countries whose people have much in common, yet have been treated very differently from one another. It’s also a story that will help you understand some of the difficult realities of their relationship today.

About the Host

Ben Brainard is originally from Daytona Beach and has toured across the country. He’s also produced several shows for Army Reserve units. During quarantine, Ben found viral success producing “The Table,” a sketch comedy series about how the various states of the US are handling current events.

About Honest History

Honest History creates award-winning books, magazines, and this show for young historians across the world. Our mission is to inspire kids to create a positive impact on history themselves. Learn more at and @honesthistory.


This episode was written by Brooke Knight and produced by Randall Lawrence. Original theme music was written and recorded by Luke Messimer.