Harvard History Professor Richard Pipes in his The Formation of the Soviet Union provided the timetable of how the Bolsheviks addressed ‘the Ukrainian question’: “The first public indication that the principle of national self-determination (in Lenin’s interpretation) required also theoretical change came on December 12, 1917, in an article by Stalin. With no record of having favored this principle, Stalin, at any rate, had previously abstained from criticizing Lenin’s views openly, as many other Bolsheviks had done. Now, writing in connection with the Ukrainian crisis, Stalin asserted that the Soviet government could not permit national self-determination to serve as a cloak for counterrevolution. The Council of People’s Commissars, he wrote, was ready to recognize the independence of any republic but “upon the demand of the working population of such an area”… A month later he restated his case against Lenin’s theory even more strongly: “It is necessary to limit the principle of free self-determination of nations, by granting it to the toilers and refusing it to the bourgeoisie. The principle of self-determination should be a means of fighting for socialism.”
“Before November 1917 the Bolsheviks, like the Mensheviks, had opposed the federal idea, but now that the state had fallen apart, the prerevolutionary arguments against this concept were no longer valid. Federalism, which had been a centrifugal factor as long as Russia was one, now became a centripetal force, an instrument for welding together the scattered parts of a disintegrated empire. For this reason, within a month or two after they had seized power, the Bolsheviks reversed their old stand and took over the Socialist Revolutionary program of a federated Russia. The first official statement to this effect was drawn up by Lenin in January 1918, in connection with the Bolshevik attack on the Ukraine: “The Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of the Ukraine . . . is proclaimed the supreme authority in the Ukraine. There is accepted a federal union with Russia, and complete unity in matters of internal and external policy . . .”! Simultaneously, Lenin prepared a general statement which served as a model for a resolution adopted by the Third Congress of Soviets held at the end of January 1918. “The Soviet Russian Republic,” he wrote, “is established on the basis of a free union of free nations, as a federation of Soviet national republics.”
A couple of important additions to the quotes above.
First, Lenin was an imposter himself so the decisions he made or decrees he adopted were not legal by definition. As a reminder, Lenin and his conspirators seized power in 1917 in an illegitimate coup d’état.
Second, the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) which was declared during the same period, was recognized de jure by many countries in the region.
These two facts alone show that Lenin could not possibly have been “an architect of the Ukrainian nation” as Putin claims. Lenin quashed Ukrainian statehood in 1918 and replaced the pre-existing Ukrainian state institutions with fake “Soviet” ones.