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Heroes and Villains

David R. Marples


Texte intégral

Map of Ukraine
Source: Clem, Ralph S., Craumer, Peter R. “Shades of Orange: The Electoral Geography of Ukraine’s 2004 Presidential
Elections,” Eurasian Geography and Economics, Vol. 46, No. 5 (July-August 2005), p. 368.
Reproduced with permission of V. H. Winston and Son, Inc.

  • 1 Taras Kuzio and Paul D’Anieri, ed., The Dilemmas of State-Led Nation Building in Ukraine (Westport (...)

1Independent Ukraine emerged in August, 1991, and was ratified by a national referendum in December of this same year. However, the roots of the modern state are to be found in the period of Perestroika, under Mikhail S. Gorbachev, when civil society first began to emerge. Ukraine began the process of building a new nation, accepting the existing borders as “inviolable” and eventually agreeing to be a non-nuclear state with its own currency and constitution. The latter suffered a few crises, and at the time of writing, Ukraine appears to have opted for a parliamentary system over a presidential one, though the ramifications of that change—effective in 2006—have yet to be seen. Several scholars have offered analyses of the newly independent Ukraine and the respective presidencies of Leonid Kravchuk (1991-1994) and Leonid Kuchma (1994-2004), leading up to the mass uprising in Kyiv in November-December 2004 known as the Orange Revolution.1 In January 2005, when Viktor Yushchenko became the third president, he announced his intention to have Ukraine join Euro-Atlantic structures such as the European Union and NATO, which implied—to what degree is a moot point—a move away from the Russian orbit. Ukraine’s grassroots population had demonstrated its resistance to what was perceived as corruption, authoritarianism, and the restrictions on the media by the government of the day. But it has also appeared to support a fundamental change of direction from the Soviet period, some fifteen years after acquiring independence.

2This book examines a question related to the concept of nation building, namely the construction of a national history. Arguably, there are several national histories and several interpretations of the past, and it may not be possible to determine which particular version is in the ascendancy. However, in Ukraine’s case, the version in place—the Soviet narrative—has clearly been superseded and is obsolete. Yet that interpretation has remained influential in certain regions, particularly those of the east and south, and continues to sway the way residents of Ukraine perceive their state. By the mid-1990s, Mykhailo Hrushevs’kyi’s magisterial History of Ukraine could be found in Kyiv book-stores, offering a sweeping interpretation of some ten centuries of history that refuted the Soviet version of Kyivan Rus’ as the birthplace of modern Russia, to the exclusion of the other East Slavic peoples: Ukrainians and Belarusians. Instead, it provided a Ukrainian conception of Ukrainian history, ostensibly for Ukrainians. The merits of this version need not be debated here, nor even the symbolic importance of such pre-20th century heroes as Bohdan Khmel-‘nyts’kyi, Ivan Mazepa, or even the “true” founder of the modern Ukrainian state, the bard Taras Shevchenko, whose statue is now almost as common as that of V. I. Lenin used to be in times past. Instead, the focus is limited to the 20th century, and what I consider to be the most formative period, the leadership of Stalin (1928-53) and its impact on what was then termed the Ukrainian SSR and independent Ukraine. This period represents the most tragic era in the history of Ukraine, and one of the most profoundly influential in the formation of contemporary thinking about the modern nation and its relationship to the past. For it is in this period that Ukraine suffered its most dramatic and tragic experiences: the Famine of 1932-33, the Purges, the impact of the Nazi-Soviet Pact that saw its western territories incorporated into the USSR; the German invasion; and the bitter fighting as a result of national insurgency in the western regions that saw conflicts between several players: the retreating Germans, the advancing Red Army, the local Polish population, and the local Ukrainians.

  • 2 See, for example, Kate Brown, A Biography of No Place: from Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland (...)
  • 3 Levko Luk’yanenko, “U lystopadovi zhalobni dni,” in M. V. Drodets’ka ed., Komu buv vyhidnyi holodo (...)
  • 4 A dissenting view is offered by political scientist Mikhail A. Molchanov, who comments on Ukraine’ (...)

3How are these events portrayed in contemporary Ukraine? That question forms the backbone to this monograph because the raison d’être of the modern state seems predicated on the way it views its past. This perspective introduces two common elements of Ukraine’s association with the past: glorification and victimization. The former was also a hallmark of Soviet writing and has simply been emulated, but the objects of glorification have changed radically. In the case of the victimization, Ukraine is portrayed as a pawn of the Soviet regime, and more specifically of a Russian government based in Moscow. In turn, victimization implies an element of suffering. The argument in the modern context might run something like: because of our past suffering under a Moscow-based regime, we are now entitled to an independent state. The suffering has permitted the prevalence of a national conception of history that perceives and isolates Ukraine’s past as a lengthy struggle against foreign oppressors, principally Russians and Poles, but also for a time Germans as well. It is simplistic in that the residents of the territory that currently comprises Ukraine included many groups,2 and the towns in particular were noted for the virtual absence of ethnic Ukrainians, at least until the Soviet period. One could argue, however, that the victimization theory adds both legitimacy and propriety to the modern state. Levko Luk’yanenko, Ukraine’s first ambassador to Canada, recently compiled a lengthy list of foreign repressions in Ukraine in an article that claimed in essence that the leaders of the former Soviet Union were largely members of a single ethnic group, namely Jews.3 His article can be considered an extreme form of this same theory of outsiders controlling Ukraine until recent times.4

  • 5 The most famous literary example of Ukrainian dissidence was the treatise by Ivan Dzyuba, Internat (...)
  • 6 The nuclear power industry in Ukraine was described by one observer as the thoughtless expansion o (...)
  • 7 See, for example, D. J. Peterson, Troubled Lands: the Legacy of Soviet Environmental Destruction ( (...)

4Though it is postulated here that the defining moments for modern Ukraine may have occurred in the Stalin period—also the high point of persecution and suffering—there were other events which could be fitted into the general pattern. These include a general phenomenon in the USSR of the 1960s and 1970s, i.e., Dissidence, which took numerous forms including national, religious, and scientific.5 Dissidence was limited, however, in that it did not seek to replace the Soviet state, but only to ensure that it abided by the Constitution. Nevertheless, as discussed in Chapter 5, the Dissidents to some extent were the successors of the wartime generation of Ukrainians, some of whom fought a lengthy campaign against the Soviet occupants in the western areas for more than a decade after the “Great Patriotic War” ended. Also significant was the Chornobyl (Chernobyl) disaster in the Gorbachev era—an event that likewise affected Belarus. Chornobyl was also perceived as a result of the operation of outside forces, this time Moscow-based ministries and officials who ran nuclear power stations in Ukraine.6 It could therefore be appended to the chronology of Ukraine as victim. Chornobyl was also a precursor of the modern Rukh movement, which like the Popular Fronts in the Baltic States was linked closely to concern over environmental issues. Though the uproar over Chornobyl and especially official secrecy about the aftermath soon died down, it should not be forgotten that the mass demonstrations that ensued and the political formations that resulted—such as the Green movement and Green Party—played an important role in undermining the Soviet regime.7 Chornobyl also united several republics that suffered its consequences, most notably Belarus and the Baltic States.

  • 8 The term comes up regularly in discussions of twentieth-century Ukraine. How should it be defined? (...)
  • 9 HURI refers to the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University; CIUS is the Canadian Instit (...)
  • 10 Most notable was the book commissioned by HURI: Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collect (...)

5Lastly, a key factor for Ukraine has been the maintenance of certain perceptions of the past outside the country by a large and politically active Diaspora that arrived in its new homes during or immediately after the Second World War and whose life experience and outlook were conditioned by their experience of the 1920s-1940s. For the most part these new arrivals emanated from the Halychyna (Galicia) region of Western Ukraine, a population with no experience of Soviet rule prior to 1939, but with very firm views on the events that had affected their compatriots in Eastern Ukraine, particularly the Famine of 1932-33, the Purges, and the Soviet occupation of 1939-41 and post-1944. Notably, the interpretation of the Famine as genocide8 was initiated in the North American Diaspora, whence it emerged in Ukraine after Perestroika opened up contacts between Ukrainians and their relatives abroad—we will explore this issue in more detail below. Similarly, journals such as Suchasnist’ provided national interpretations of organizations such as the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) and the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army), and the émigrés who left Ukraine during or after the Second World War, though often politically divided, provided a plethora of works about the tyranny of the Stalin regime, the Famine, etc. On a more academic level, institutions like HURI and CIUS9 have issued numerous publications about critical events, many of them by émigré political scientists, historians, and economists but others by scholars of non-Ukrainian background.10 The result has been the elaboration of a national history (and other disciplines) outside Ukraine that could be taken up as part of the contemporary state and its official past following the collapse of the Soviet regime and its own version of history, with Russia as the benevolent elder brother and friend of Ukraine. The new histories issued in Ukraine virtually all take up these émigré themes and interpretations to a greater or lesser degree. For a time, after independence, Ukrainian schools relied completely on textbooks by Western academics such as Orest Subtelny, whose book, Ukraine: a History, published originally in 1988, became an international best seller. More recently, however, domestic historians have provided a broad variety of new histories of Ukraine geared to all levels of the population. The latter part of this study examines some of these histories in more detail in order to discuss their contents and omissions.

6Any monograph that concentrates on discourse and narratives about events, rather than the “reality” of what actually occurred will face some criticisms. It is necessary to be selective—which discourses, and why? Are some sources more important than others? Conceivably the historian could study interpretations almost endlessly without coming to a conclusion or even approaching the end of the sources themselves. And what sort of time period should be imposed? The earliest writings on the Stalin period that attempted serious revisionism, as opposed to Khrushchev’s reinterpretation of Stalin’s crimes, occurred in the late 1980s after Gorbachev’s decision to deepen “de-Stalinization” throughout the Soviet Union by allowing discussion in the official media. In Ukraine’s case, some newspapers and journals proved very dilatory about changing long-held views, particularly the two central Kyiv newspapers: Pravda Ukrainy and Radyans’ka Ukraina. However, such obduracy was also instructive in demonstrating the influence of hard-line Soviet interpretations during a period of change. It seemed logical to begin around 1987-88, when the media in Ukraine began to open up to new debates, often pushing the limits of what could be discussed to new levels, but at a time when the Famine, for example, had just been acknowledged by the party leadership, thus signaling discernible progress in dealing with “blank spots” in Ukrainian history. Thus this book monitors the media, journals, and monographs, and offers an illustrative survey of school textbooks from 1987-88 to the present (2005-06).

  • 11 On 28 November 2006, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a bill, which described the Famine of 1932-33 (...)

7In what ways was the study to be restricted in terms of content? My decision was to focus on those events that were most crucial and most controversial in terms of the construction of a new national history in the modern state. Two key issues stood out above all. The first was the Famine of 1932-33, known to one school of analysts as the Holodomor and an act of genocide against the Ukrainians as a nation, and to another as more a reflection of the ruthlessness of the regime but without a national component per se. While this study was being researched, on the 70th anniversary of the event several international governments recognized the Famine as genocide and issued acts or laws to say so.11 Accepting the Famine as an act of genocide would also sever irrevocably the history of the Soviet state centered in Moscow from Ukraine, with its then capital of Kharkiv and, from 1934, Kyiv. Like no other event, it would portray Ukraine as a victim of a foreign nation and an outsider on Ukrainian territory. The inclusion of the Famine was thus self-evident, and the question is examined in detail in Chapter 2. The second event covers a much longer period and is more complex in its evolution, namely the development of integral nationalism in Ukraine, and its interwar and wartime formations in the shape of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, and later the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, often simplified in Soviet and post-Soviet works by the acronym OUN-UPA. OUN-UPA in general occupies the bulk of this book, and significantly it has been evoked by Viktor Yushchenko as an organization whose members merit rehabilitation and full recognition as veterans of the Second World War.

  • 12 I have used the term Volhynia throughout to refer to the north-western territories of Ukraine that (...)

8The emphasis on OUN-UPA embraces several topics and the debates surrounding them. Chapter 3 examines the OUN from its formation in 1929 to the period immediately following the 30 June 1941 Act of Independence in L’viv, covering personalities, as well as the immediate impact of the Nazi- Soviet Pact. Chapter 4 looks at the various attempts to “heroize” OUN-UPA in the wartime period, and the changing portrayals of the way the UPA conducted warfare, as well as the thorny question of its alleged collaboration at various junctures with the German occupants. Chapter 5 continues chronologically by focusing on OUN-UPA after 1943, its sustained and brutal conflict with Soviet security forces, as well as the formation of the SS Division “Halychyna.” This is followed in Chapter 6 with the period of “ethnic cleansing” of the Polish population in Volyn and Rivne regions, Operation Vistula, and the various academic and media debates that rose to a crescendo on the 60th anniversary of the dramatic events in Volhynia.12 Chapter 7 then turns to the writing of new history textbooks in Ukraine and the attempts to rehabilitate OUN-UPA. It also provides a detailed focus on the efforts of the Yushchenko government to incorporate both the Famine and OUN-UPA into mainstream thinking as integral parts of the revised conception of Ukraine’s national history. The final chapter looks at the Report by the Working Group to analyze the OUN and UPA and the degree to which its conclusions have been accepted. An analysis is provided as to how this revisionism of historical events relates to the current political changes that have occurred in Ukraine. The Conclusion offers an analysis of the current state of historical thinking on these complex events and a personal interpretation of them. It is hoped that the Conclusion will in this way offer some opinion of the narratives, which might otherwise appear to be lacking consensus. My own perspective, it is fair to say, was added somewhat reluctantly, but constitutes a recognition that a readership requires more than the reflection of events through prevailing discourses.

  • 13 See, for example, Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: a Reassessment (New York: Oxford University P (...)

9Concerning the choice of sources, the intention has been to provide representative perspectives from the different regions of Ukraine, as well as to demonstrate the viewpoints in mainstream newspapers. The book has also tried to incorporate the perspectives of the different generations, with a special focus on the youth newspaper Ukraina moloda as well as the organs of World War II veterans’ associations, or those propagating the views of veterans, such as Za vil’nu Ukrainu. Journals covered include the central Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, which might be perceived as the main arbiter of what is debated and acceptable in Ukraine today, but also a number of journals used for schools. In some cases the contents of the journal or newspaper were read but deemed unsuitable for this project, and the decision not to include the Purges as a key focus was also quite deliberate. It stemmed from the fact that the impact of the Purges on Ukraine, while devastating, may not provide many insights that did not apply to their effects on other regions of the former Soviet Union. The events are well known and have been studied in depth.13 They also form part of a completely different debate as to whether residents of the Soviet Union in the 1930s lived in a state of terror. Finally, the Purges, after 1956, were not subjected to radical changes of interpretation, other than perhaps the question of national content—whether some republics suffered more than others, etc. They were subjected to official government inquiries, based on at least three congresses of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, namely the 20th, 22nd, and 27th. The Soviet leadership acknowledged that most of their victims were innocent and maintained that this cleansing of the party and society was unwarranted by the internal situation. Hence the Purges are no longer an event that has been in some way covered up or misinterpreted, deliberately or otherwise. They could of course be studied purely in their Ukrainian dimension, but to do so would require a separate study.

10Lastly one must consider the question of context. My focus in this book is exclusively on Ukraine, but were the latter’s experiences unique, either during the years covered in the narratives, or after 1991 as an independent state, attempting to comprehend the past and fit it into a national dimension through the rewriting of history? In general, what happened in Ukraine—the Famine aside—mirrors to some extent what occurred in Central Europe as a whole during the interwar period and the years of the Second World War. Like many of the national groups seeking statehood, and indeed those that already possessed it after the Paris peace treaties, many Ukrainians perceived that embracing democracy would not resolve their dilemma or improve their situation. Integral nationalism appears today an extreme political creed, but it was familiar to political activists of that era. Similarly, all the states of central Europe with the exception of Czechoslovakia could be described at the least as authoritarian. That statement is not to condone the preeminence of extreme political views but rather to understand them. This monograph may appear critical of some of the views expressed, for example, by the two wings of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, but that is not to say that they were not fairly typical of the period. Moreover, the Ukrainians were perhaps the largest group not to emerge after the First World War with their own statehood (aside from a brief period following the Russian Revolutions of 1917). Worse still, the majority of Western Ukrainians who ended up in the restored Polish state were not treated as equals. By the end of the 1920s their position was not much better than that of an internal colony of Poland. At this time there was even envy of their brethren in Soviet Ukraine, then reaching the peak of an indigenization program (though also on the verge of extensive repressions).

  • 14 Norman Davies, Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory (London: Macmillan, 2006).

11The Second World War was perhaps the most significant and most discussed cataclysm of the 20th century. Even in 2006 that debate has continued. As Norman Davies has demonstrated recently,14 it is an event that has been written and interpreted principally by the victors. Because of this tendency, anti-Soviet Ukrainians, among others, have emerged with a rather bad press. Despite the fact that the Cold War that followed highlighted many of the darker sides of Soviet rule, Western analysts have tended to see those who joined the insurgency against the Red Army as ipso facto collaborators of the Germans or, even worse, as perpetrators of some of the worst atrocities that occurred in Eastern Europe. However, to take such a position is manifestly unfair. Ukrainians after all had experienced first-hand the worst excesses of Stalin and Stalinism. In what way could they assess the relative merits and defects of being ruled by Hitler or Stalin other than by what they had experienced? Thus for many in Ukraine, the date of 22 June 1941 was perceived as the day of liberation from a tyranny. On the other hand, some of the individuals and groups described herein may be said to have gone further, to have embraced some of the same policies as the German occupants and to have taken their enthusiasm at being “freed” too far. All one can say in an introduction is that the Ukrainians in all areas of Eastern Europe in which they lived were placed in a very difficult situation—between two of the most ruthless dictatorships ever devised, and with no prospect of neutrality or non-involvement.

12Likewise, turning to the contemporary period, Ukrainians faced some familiar problems once they acquired statehood following the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Their views derived largely from their background and geographical location. For the more nationally conscious (Western) Ukrainians, independence was the culmination of long-term aspirations that began—at the least—in the early part of the century, and for others allegedly even earlier, perhaps back to the 17th century Hetmanate of Bohdan Khmel’nyts’kyi. The collapse of empires in the 20th century left behind many former colonies that struggled with national identity and often lacked the prerequisites of a modern state. The fall of the Soviet Empire cannot realistically be compared to, say, that of the British Empire, not least because of its disparate nature and the fact that its territories were contiguous. Some ten years after the end of the Soviet regime, all the new states were struggling to develop economically and in terms of establishing democracies, other than the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In Central Asia, the rulers essentially had not changed from Communist times. In the Caucasus, there were severe problems between the titular nations and minorities over territory and rights to autonomy. Russia had been at war with one of its autonomous territories, Chechnya, albeit with an interruption, for twelve years.

13On the other hand, perhaps Ukrainians, more than any other group, were attempting to come to terms with their recent past. In neighboring Belarus to the north, there seemed to be a consensus that the Soviet era had been a period of progress (at least economically), and those politicians who advocated national development toward Europe and away from Russia, or demanded that Belarusian should be the only state language, were regarded as extremists and failed to attract the support of more than one-fifth of the population during any election campaign. Ukraine was divided regionally and by language, though the importance of the latter is somewhat hard to measure. The various regions perceived the past quite differently, even though these perceptions were not necessarily static. Was the Soviet Union the epitome of evil or a benevolent and paternal master that saw the advancement of Ukrainians, as well as other non-Russian nations, in an egalitarian manner? For more than seventy years, residents of Eastern and Southern Ukraine had been subjected to one very specific interpretation of the past, particularly as applied to the 20th century. The alternative view was dismissed as being propagated by “bourgeois nationalists” in Western Ukraine, Ukrainians living abroad, as well as by imperialist powers such as the United States and Britain. It seems doubtful if any other post-Soviet republic emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet state with such ambivalent and diametrically opposed attitudes. In brief, residents of Ukraine did not know who they were because they had no overriding perception of the immediate past and what it had signified. The Soviet view was no longer relevant, but for many Ukrainians there was nothing with which to replace it.

14Hence although one can offer a comparative approach, and suggest that what occurred in Ukraine formed part of a general experience that could be applied to other republics of the former USSR or the former Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, that statement would not really be accurate. Ukraine’s experience was formulated by events of such magnitude as to defy comprehension. Only Belarus could lay claim to such a lengthy and brutal period of foreign occupation during the Second World War, and even this small neighbor to the north had not suffered the devastation of the Famine of 1932-1933. In addition, few republics were more diverse in territorial makeup. Ukraine’s regions included lands that had been, in recent memory, under the sway of six different governments (Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Nazi Germany), and the most Ukrainian of its cities, L’viv, had been part of the Austrian Empire and Poland in the first half of the century. Demographically, Ukrainians had not been an urban phenomenon until the 1960s and 1970s. For many years, both Soviet and non-Soviet-controlled areas had seen most Ukrainians devoted to agricultural pursuits, while other ethnic groups formed the majority in the towns. To Ukrainian peasants, urban dwellers represented “the other” regardless of any ethnic divisions. Urban Ukrainians are a relatively recent phenomenon and for that matter a Soviet phenomenon. Soviet education and propaganda managed in the eastern regions to inculcate views held by the Soviet elite, and to some extent those opinions are still in place.

15All these factors make the present book more complicated than it might at first appear. Ukraine’s past is often assessed by Western standards, just as much of present-day world politics reflects a Western dimension, from the Internet upward. That is one reason why, in my view, it is unwise to be too judgmental about some of the polarized attitudes toward the recent past or the failure to construct a viable and united state based on the sort of principles that would be acceptable in Washington, D.C. or London. On the other hand, what this monograph has tried to do is to examine the narratives from a distance, without necessarily offering critiques of views that might seem outrageous to the Western observer or for that matter to those who have condemned what is termed “the Ukrainian nationalist perspective.” It is sometimes said that Eastern Ukrainians lack national consciousness or that they have been Russified so heavily that they no longer know their own language and culture. But who defines that culture? Who is to determine whether a worldview is misguided or weaker than an alternative view that may accentuate national attributes or virtues? Is a Ukrainian, for example, who thinks that the Red Army liberated Ukraine in 1943-44 backward or of an antediluvian mindset? Conversely, must citizens of an independent Ukraine accept the view of a relatively small and fanatical liberation movement against the Moscow regime that maintained, first and foremost, the need to end Russian control over Ukraine that dated back several centuries? It was with such questions in mind that I began this study.


1 Taras Kuzio and Paul D’Anieri, ed., The Dilemmas of State-Led Nation Building in Ukraine (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2002); Taras Kuzio, Ukraine: Perestroika to Independence (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000); Andrew Wilson, Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2005); Bohdan Nahaylo, The Ukrainian Resurgence (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999); and Marta Dyczok, Ukraine: Movement without Change, Change without Movement (Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 2000).

2 See, for example, Kate Brown, A Biography of No Place: from Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004).

3 Levko Luk’yanenko, “U lystopadovi zhalobni dni,” in M. V. Drodets’ka ed., Komu buv vyhidnyi holodomor? (Kyiv: Telesyk, 2003), pp. 3-17.

4 A dissenting view is offered by political scientist Mikhail A. Molchanov, who comments on Ukraine’s victimization in the past as follows: “Though denied their national state, Ukrainian aristocracy actively participated in medieval Lithuanian and Polish-Lithuanian states of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and Ukrainian clergy—in the building of the Russian Empire since the 1700s. Ukrainians, as no other people, were intimately connected with the structures of power in Moscow Czardom, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union… Communists never lacked Ukrainian representation in the party’s apex, not only in Ukraine proper, but also in Moscow and other parts of the Soviet Union. Ukrainians constituted the weighty proportion of the Red Army brass; a KGB career starting in Ukraine and ending in Moscow was not exceptional either.” Mikhail A. Molchanov, Political Culture and National Identity in Russian-Ukrainian Relations (College Station, TX: Texas A & M University Press, 2002), p. 39.

5 The most famous literary example of Ukrainian dissidence was the treatise by Ivan Dzyuba, Internationalism or Russification: a Study in the Soviet Nationalities Problem, 3rd ed. (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1974).

6 The nuclear power industry in Ukraine was described by one observer as the thoughtless expansion of atomic power stations in densely populated regions. Yurii Shcherbak, Chornobyl’ (Kyiv: Dnipro, 1989), p. 221.

7 See, for example, D. J. Peterson, Troubled Lands: the Legacy of Soviet Environmental Destruction (Boulder, Colorado: The Westview Press, 1993), pp. 210-211.

8 The term comes up regularly in discussions of twentieth-century Ukraine. How should it be defined? According to the definition adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948, Article 2 stipulates that: “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

9 HURI refers to the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University; CIUS is the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta. Both were founded through contributions from local Ukrainian communities in the 1970s.

10 Most notable was the book commissioned by HURI: Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986). CIUS Press authors who were born in Ukraine but migrated to Europe or North America include Iwan S. Koropeckyj, Borys Lewytzkyj, and Peter J. Potichnyj.

11 On 28 November 2006, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a bill, which described the Famine of 1932-33 as genocide against the Ukrainian people. A previous draft had termed it genocide against the Ukrainian nation. The vote total, however, was 233-1, a bare majority in the 450-seat parliament (the remaining MPs abstained from voting). It has been speculated that these 200 deputies either did not wish to offend Russia or were concerned about the sentiments of their own constituents. The motion received support from President Viktor Yushchenko and some 70 % of the general population. See CBS News, 29 November 2006.

12 I have used the term Volhynia throughout to refer to the north-western territories of Ukraine that today are comprised by Volyn and Rivne oblasts (provinces). Strictly speaking, in terms of the transliteration system applied, the correct spelling should be Volhyniya. However, the familiarity and use of “Volhynia” are such that I have applied this spelling throughout.

13 See, for example, Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: a Reassessment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); Robert W. Thurston, Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996); J. Arch Getty, Origins of the Great Purges: the Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985); J. Arch Getty and Roberta Manning, ed., Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993); and J. Arch Getty and Oleg V. Naumov, The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999). On Ukraine specifically, see, for example, Yurii Ivanovich Shapoval’, Volodymyr Prystayko, and Vadym Zolotar’ov, ChK-HPU-NKVD v Ukraini: osoby, fakty, dokumenty (Kyiv: Abrys, 1997); and V. M. Danylenko, H. S. Kas’yanov, and S. V. Kul’chyts’kyi, Stalinizm na Ukraini: 20-30-ti roky (Lyiv: Lybid, 1991).

14 Norman Davies, Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory (London: Macmillan, 2006).

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Légende Map of UkraineSource: Clem, Ralph S., Craumer, Peter R. “Shades of Orange: The Electoral Geography of Ukraine’s 2004 PresidentialElections,” Eurasian Geography and Economics, Vol. 46, No. 5 (July-August 2005), p. 368.Reproduced with permission of V. H. Winston and Son, Inc.
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