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Heroes and Villains

David R. Marples


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1Having examined the various opinions through discourses on the Famine, the OUN, and the UPA, and other aspects of Ukraine in the Second World War at different levels, one can offer a few comments first concerning the current state of historical knowledge. Though it is posited that historical truth is elusive and perhaps impossible to ascertain—and for the purposes of writing a national history, somewhat rarely applied—the opening of archives and academic debates provides some enlightenment on the issues under discussion. An outsider will want to know whether the Famine of 1932-33, for example, was an act of genocide; or whether the OUN and UPA committed crimes during the war and afterward; or whether it is possible to construct a new history that draws a line directly through these events to the period of independence, announced by the Ukrainian Parliament on August 24, 1991. Such a construct would create a portrait of persecution (the Famine) followed by a movement for liberation (OUN and UPA) that was ultimately successful through the establishment of an independent Ukraine, removing along the way other agents of political change. The question also arises as to the accuracy of the various narratives or the extent to which school textbooks portray the most widely accepted versions of events from the point of view of scholarly inquiry. Still, any interpretation of events is ultimately subjective, and it is fair to say that for every key issue discussed in this book, there are at least two sides, and sometimes more.

2The Famine of 1932-33 remains a controversial topic, despite the plethora of writings and the release of volumes of documents and eyewitness accounts. No serious scholar denies that the Famine took place or that its consequences were catastrophic. However, it may be fair to say that political activism with regard to the issues, including the adoption of resolutions by various governments to recognize it as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, has preceded the conclusion of the scholarly debate. That may reflect the fact that in the minds of many, the Famine as a genocide is not open to question. There are two well-known genocides that occurred in the 20th century: the Holocaust of the European Jews in the Second World War; and the elimination of the Armenian population by the Turks during the First World War. The Holocaust is accepted as an act of genocide almost universally and certainly by the academic community. The Armenian genocide, according to writing at the present time, led to increased tension and the death of an Armenian journalist in Turkey. The Turkish government does not accept that there was a conscious decision by Turks to eliminate Armenians. The number of victims in Ukraine was the same or greater than that of the Jewish Holocaust. But did the Stalin regime set out deliberately to resolve the national question in Ukraine by eliminating Ukrainian peasants?

  • 1 I include in this group Mark B. Tauger, R. W. Davies, Stephen G. Wheatcroft, Michael Ellman, Lynne (...)

3James E. Mace and others have demonstrated that Stalin, Molotov, and others were preoccupied with the political situation in Ukraine, partly because of the levels to which the process of “Ukrainization” had progressed, and also because of suspicion of Polish influences and Polish intentions generally. The Soviet regime at the least knew of the problems that grain requisitions had caused and chose to exacerbate them by extracting all foodstuffs from the starving villages. Nothing was left in reserve. Neighboring republics, such as Belarus and Russia, were hungry but not starving, though one should note a similar situation in the ethnically mixed Kuban, as well as large-scale losses of life two years earlier in Kazakhstan. The key issue revolves around the reasons why the Famine occurred. Here, one has to deal with the fact that the supposition that the Famine was directed exclusively at Ukrainians cannot be accepted unequivocally based on current research by scholars outside Ukraine. Here is perhaps the crux of the matter: aside from the output of Mace, the most authoritative studies have been written by scholars who do not accept the genocide theory.1 That is not to say that this school of thought is static or that it might not be convinced by new archival evidence illustrating that their conclusions are erroneous. To date, however, these figures have been quite adamant that the sources they have consulted support their conclusions. And, as a result, there is a clear lack of consensus on the Famine that devastated the eastern regions of Ukraine, and which is now approaching its 75th anniversary.

  • 2 See, for example, Douglas Tottle, Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: the Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hit (...)
  • 3 We have cited earlier the foundation of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University and (...)

4It is also evident that there is a strong political dimension to the diversity of views, which encompasses some of the issues discussed herein. First and foremost is the direct rhetorical link from the Famine, through the events of the war years, the OUN and UPA, to the present independent government of Ukraine. The view of the Famine as genocidal was propagated by émigrés, some of whom identified with the “nationalist” perspective of the Second World War, and originated—mostly—from Western Ukraine. There are numerous examples of writings in the West, scholarly and otherwise, which condemn their perspective out of hand and regard those who write from the “nationalist” viewpoint as right-wing extremists and sympathizers of the OUN and UPA, the fellow travelers of Nazi Germany, and anti-Communist to a fault.2 In other words, the sentiment of these writers is that the advancement of the Famine as genocidal emanates from the same sources that would wish to recognize UPA insurgents as veterans of the Second World War. In turn, those who would reject the latter may have some doubts about the former issue. In addition, postwar scholarly writing in the West about the Soviet Union traditionally centered on Russia rather than the non-Russian republics until the recent period.3 Western higher educational institutions for years neglected the other fourteen republics in the USSR. Even today it is reasonable to state that Russia gets an inordinate amount of attention from scholarly publishers, academics, journalists, and writers, even at a time when Ukraine (for example) is independent, and is a state with a long history, as well as a population and area the size of France. Rightly or wrongly, these scholars helped to determine general views of the development of the Soviet Union, and some are deeply entrenched today, so much so that something as radical as a Famine-Genocide in Ukraine is unacceptable. As noted, the lack of serious scholarly studies by those who think otherwise has perpetuated the situation.

5Regarding the Famine, one can say the following: it remained a state secret for 54 years, a tragedy that escaped world attention because of its deliberate concealment by the Soviet regime under Stalin. The prelude was the decision to collectivize villages in the Soviet Union in 1929, a crash campaign that was supposed to be voluntary, but which at the same time was initiated under the slogan: “the liquidation of the kulaks as a class.” It was the biggest social upheaval to that point in modern history, a “second revolution” that has been well researched by historians in the former Soviet Union and the West. Peasants were divided arbitrarily into rich, middle, and poor, with the former targeted for deportation, and sometimes even executed as common criminals. In practice the campaign removed peasants in all three categories who were opposed to the collectivization campaign. Aside from a brief respite in the spring of 1930, when the government halted collectivization because of the violence that had ensued, collectivization continued at a relentless pace. Stalin wanted the formation of collective farms—artels—that could guarantee grain quotas to the state and supply the rapidly growing towns as well as the Soviet army.

  • 4 A classic work on this period is Lynne Viola, The Best Sons of the Fatherland: Workers in the Vang (...)

6Collectivization was carried out by outsiders, most notably the so-called 25,000ers; volunteers from the urban areas who were sent into the countryside to help create the new farms.4 Additionally it involved the establishment of Machine-Tractor Stations in each district, ostensibly to lease machinery to the farmers. But in the early 30s, these were of little use to the farmers as they lacked tractors and other equipment. Rather they constituted an additional form of political control over the countryside. With the removal of the socalled kulaks, the rural regions were deprived of their better-off farmers, usually the most efficient and skilled leaders of the villages. Peasants destroyed livestock rather than see it collectivized. Sometimes they held “feasts” over several days to consume what they owned. The outcome was a catastrophic decline in heads of cattle over the period of all-out collectivization. Once the collective farms were established, then grain quotas were fixed annually to be given up to the state before the farms were permitted to feed themselves. There was notably a discrepancy between the projected harvest—taken before harvesting—and the actual yield. Most of the main grain-growing areas were Ukrainian or inhabited by Ukrainians, including the republic itself, the Kuban, and the North Caucasus. The Volga region of Russia was also of critical concern, as was the territory of Kazakhstan, which was nomadic, and in which one in three among the population died in 1930-31.

7It remains unclear whether 1932 was an especially bad harvest year for Ukraine. Certainly, however, the situation had become critical in agriculture. By August 1932, the infamous decree had been issued that made it a criminal offence for anyone to take so much as an ear of grain from the field before the state quota had been filled. At the third conference of the Communist Party of Ukraine in the summer of 1932, which was attended by Stalin’s close associates Vyacheslav Molotov and Lazar Kaganovich, Ukrainian leaders and local officials tried to draw the attention of the Moscow officials to the alarming situation developing in Ukraine. In August of that same year, however, Stalin wrote a letter to Kaganovich in which he expressed his suspicions about Ukrainian peasants while also questioning the loyalty of the Ukrainian party leadership in the capital city of Kharkiv. Stalin maintained that these leaders were still under the influence of the late Symon Petlyura as well as agents of Polish leader Jozef Pilsudski. Stalin wrote that the USSR might “lose Ukraine” and demanded that it be given prompt attention by his officials. One can posit that two problems were linked together by Stalin: on the one hand, he was concerned about Ukraine; on the other, his anxiety also reflected his overriding fear of Poland’s intentions, and memories of Polish-Ukrainian collusion in the war against Soviet Russia in 1919-20.

8On 22 October, the Soviet regime created Extraordinary Commissions, which began to function in the following month. Pavel Postyshev led the Commission in the Volga region, Kaganovich the one in the North Caucasus, whereas the one in Ukraine was under the control of Molotov. The Ukrainian commission operated with unusual savagery. First of all it carried out the requisitioning of the grain quota, which had been maintained at the same level as the previous year, even though the harvest gathered was considerably lower. The commission soon ran out of grain, and therefore a new penalty was imposed—the requisitioning of meat and potatoes from those in “debt” for grain procurements. The demand was then transformed into the confiscation of all food supplies accumulated from the new harvest, including sugar, fruits, on-ions, etc. The stated reason, to cite the Ukrainian party secretary Stanislav Kosior, was “to teach the peasants a lesson.” Once the grain had been taken, the peasants on these farms were the first to perish, and once stocks of food had been confiscated then the death toll from starvation rose by dozens of times.

9Stalin began to be fearful of the results of his policies. He installed internal military police to prevent starving peasants from crossing the border into Belarus or Russia. He appointed Postyshev as Second Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, but in reality with plenipotentiary powers and answerable only to Stalin. Postyshev and other party officials in Moscow not only took an active part in requisitioning grain from the now-starving peasants, they also began a purge of the Ukrainian leadership. This purge was soon extended from the party to Ukrainian cultural leaders, scholars, and teachers, to remove what were termed “nationalists,” “enemies,” and unreliable elements. A new round of deportations was also begun. A combination of factors negated any kind of aid or support from the West, including the work of pro-Stalinist journalists, such as Walter Duranty, the New York Times’ correspondent in Moscow, and the ambivalent attitudes of Western powers to what was occurring in the Soviet Union. Paradoxically the United States established diplomatic relations with the USSR at the height of the Famine. Other countries chose to accept the official version that the “food problems” in the USSR were no worse than those in the West as a result of the Great Depression.

  • 5 Mark B. Tauger, “The 1932 Harvest and the Soviet Famine of 1932-1933,” Slavic Review, Volume 50, N (...)

10The Famine in the year 1933 was a catastrophe created and implemented by man. It did not have to happen. There is ample evidence that the Soviet leadership was aware of the scale of the disaster but chose to extract food from the already hungry farmers nevertheless. At least 4 million starved to death in what was then the Ukrainian SSR. There were further victims in the Kuban and North Caucasus. Entire settlements were depopulated (including as we have seen in the narratives, those inhabited by non-Ukrainians, such as Jews and Germans), and what seems the most tragic factor of all, there was no source of aid to the families that had been deprived of all sources of food. One can say, as Tauger has demonstrated,5 that drought and poor harvest contributed to the serious problems that occurred in 1932. But in 1933 there was a tragedy of a vastly different dimension—the thousands of starving became millions, and the region reaped the full effects of Stalin’s disastrous collectivization program. The Soviet authorities would later eliminate the witnesses to this tragedy; it would eliminate all those outside Stalin’s immediate circle. The Famine would be an event confined to whispers and silent memory. When war broke out in 1941, the population of Ukraine was lower than it had been in 1926; even in the postwar decades that imbalance had not been addressed. The Famine remains a symbol of man’s inhumanity to his own kind. But was it premeditated murder of a particular ethnic group? Was it permitted to happen in order to punish the recalcitrant peasants, most of whom happened to be Ukrainian, or to eliminate Ukrainians? The answer is far from clear though that does not diminish the enormity of the event. That there was a national element to official policies seems evident from Stalin’s correspondence, but one must ask also to what extent that element simply stood in the path of the ruthless plans of the leadership, just as the nomadic population of Kazakhstan could not be permitted to exist under the circumstances brought about by the mass collectivization of agriculture.

11Turning to the OUN and UPA, it is possible to offer a narrative that appears to be justified by current historical inquiry. It might run as follows. Un-der the difficult conditions of Polish rule that followed the First World War, many politically active Ukrainians chose to abandon democratic parties and reverted to extremism. In the 1920s the Communist Party of Western Ukraine (an autonomous section of the Communist Party of Poland) wielded some influence. However, by the late 1920s and early 1930s, and particularly during the period of Polish Pacification, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), formed from the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO), became the most dynamic of Ukrainian organizations, albeit in an underground and illegal format. The OUN was a terrorist organization devoted to attaining an independent Ukraine, and influenced by the Fascist and other authoritarian movements then prevailing in Europe. Although it was not in any way unique for its extremism, the OUN nonetheless represented a polarized political out-look. Following the rift in the organization and its division into the two wings under Bandera and Mel’nyk, the OUN continued, as earlier, to cooperate with different structures of Nazi Germany, the most likely agent of change in Eastern Europe. Following the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the division of Poland, it became clear that the OUN wished to use the anticipated German invasion to bring about political change in the territories populated by ethnic Ukrainians. The same Pact also effectively united Ukrainian territories in one entity (the Ukrainian SSR), other than the western region of Transcarpathia.

12With the outbreak of the German-Soviet war, both wings of the OUN cooperated with the advancing German army. A distinction should be made between the OUN-M, which continued its collaboration throughout the war years, and the OUN-B, which broke with the German administration, after the latter’s failure to approve the independent Ukraine proclaimed in L’viv on 30 June 1941. The announcement of that state, on the other hand, was premature and not clearly supported by a majority of the population. It is also un-certain how severely Bandera and his followers were treated by the Germans in the initial weeks after the 30 June proclamation. Reports say that the OUNB immediately began to oppose both the new occupiers and the Soviets appear exaggerated. With the lapse of several months, nevertheless, German intentions had been made plain, and the OUN-B, with its commitment to achieving an independent Ukraine, could no longer cooperate realistically with a former ally. The moderation of its prewar doctrine duly followed at the Third Extraordinary Congress of the OUN of 21-25 August 1943, when the “Fascist” elements of the original program were discarded. By this same date, the OUN-B had been superseded as a military formation by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, though the ideology remained that of the OUN-B, and the latter served as the guiding force for a campaign that now turned against the Soviet Union and Red Army. The turning point in this supposed transformation of OUN-B thinking was the Battle of Stalingrad, which ended on 2 February 1943, and the subsequent retreat of the German Wehrmacht. To most observers it was clear that Hitler’s Eastern campaign was doomed to failure. For Ukrainians, like others such as Lithuanians and Latvians, the only potential source of future aid for their cause was an alliance with the democratic powers of the West.

13UPA, in turn, was prepared to take the same gamble. Its activities date from the spring of 1943, once the forces under the influence of the OUN-B had triumphed over the original band following Taras Bul’ba-Borovets’; as well as the OUN-M. Politically, placing the date of its foundation at October 1942 was expedient because it suggested that UPA’s beginnings occurred at a time when the Germans were still advancing, and the final victor in the war unpredictable. The notion, widely disseminated today, that the army turned its forces on the two totalitarian enemies simultaneously, is far-fetched. The UPA had two enemies, but the other one was the Polish population in Volhynia and Galicia. This is not to suggest that it cooperated wholeheartedly with the Germans; rather there were conflicts from the spring of 1943 to the spring of 1944 that were sporadic and largely spontaneous. By the latter date, the two sides agreed to cooperate, a move according to Peter J. Potichnyj (a young participant of the UPA shortly afterward) that was expedient from UPA’s perspective. The Germans were losing the war but were still strong enough to deliver powerful counterattacks against the advancing Red Army. Under Klyachkivs’kyi, the UPA initiated an ethnic cleansing of the Polish population of Volhynia that, as we have seen, took up to 60,000 lives. It was conducted with a brutality not seen again in Europe until the civil war in former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. That statement is not to deny that the UPA membership was varied. It contained non-Ukrainians, former soldiers of the Red Army, and people whose ideological outlook was far from extreme. However, those who led the organization brought about a fanatical insurgent group that paid little attention to humanitarian concepts. Poland responded with attacks on the Ukrainian population that was deported from Poland from 1944 onward.

  • 6 The figure derives from a personal conversation with John-Paul Himka, Edmonton, Alberta, on 24 Jan (...)

14Once the Red Army returned to the territories inhabited by UPA, the UPA-Soviet conflict escalated to a scale unprecedented in the modern history of Ukraine. It is estimated that the population in this region was around four million (following the drastic reduction of ethnic Poles),6 and at least 10 % of that figure had some association with the UPA according to the figures provided by the Soviet side. Two points can be made here. The first concerns the policies of the USSR toward the reoccupied region: an amnesty that seems to have been well received was followed by brutal repressions carried out by troops of the internal security forces under the leadership of party secretary Nikita Khrushchev. Simultaneously a propaganda campaign attempted to identify the UPA with the German occupiers, as collaborators and traitors. Such tactics escalated the violence. In truth what occurred can be described neither as a civil war nor a war of liberation against a foreign occupier. There were ethnic Ukrainians on both sides and—perhaps more to the point—it was mainly innocent people that wished to remain on the sidelines who became the new victims. It was a war without quarter, without any form of toleration or human decency. Further, from the Soviet perspective, Western Ukraine was not unique. The entire Western borderlands were regarded as politically untrustworthy and in need of large-scale repressions. Many who were not killed or injured were deported, further uprooting the lives of people whose had been disrupted in one way or another for the past fifteen years. The population in short was to be subdued by brutality and force and there was no question that the ruthless German occupation was to be succeeded by an equally savage, long-term Soviet one. It is posited that Soviet tactics were needless following the amnesty and they exacerbated the situation, not least by eliminating the freedom of choice for the occupied population concerning their future.

15UPA, reorganized into a military formation under the leadership of Roman Shukhevych, offered little solace, either. Its actions were directed first and foremost at eliminating Soviet security officials and Red Army soldiers, and there is ample evidence of the location and consequences of many of these conflicts. In this sense it could be said to be defending Ukrainian lands against an occupier. On the other hand, its viciousness toward ethnic Ukrainians who opted not to join its ranks, or wavered in such a decision, was also much in evidence. As Timothy Snyder has noted, the UPA may have killed as many local Ukrainians as it did Soviet forces, and to this tragic toll must be added the Polish victims cited above. Retribution in the form of removal of limbs, or the deaths of family members of those who refused support, was common. In a fight literally to the death, there was no room for compromise. From the “killing fields” of Western Ukraine it is rather difficult to determine, in any historical narrative that can make up a modern national history, the heroes and villains. What often surprises is less the violence than how well it was organized and directed. The UPA was fighting in its view the same powers that had persecuted Ukrainians and destroyed their national culture in the 1930s. But it was also fighting its own people, and since 1940, such in-fighting had regularly resulted in butchery, even among people whose political outlook was similar. It epitomized the polarization of political life in Ukrainian territories that were yet to fall under Soviet rule and it is difficult to portray the period other than as the saddest chapter in the long history of Ukrainians.

16Many questions remain following the appearance of the various narratives of the late 1980s to 2006. Why, for example, is the Famine-Genocide recognized by Ukrainians in the Diaspora and in Western Ukraine (and Kyiv), but has yet to be accepted very widely in the regions in which it occurred? How does one deal with Eastern Ukrainians, many of whom continue to regard Russian as their first language and the USSR as part of their heritage, and refuse to accept the OUN and UPA as anything other than traitors? Is one conception necessarily more advanced than the other? Can people be blamed for their upbringing or having different perceptions of what Ukraine means and how one interprets one’s past? The bard Taras Shevchenko is one of the few figures universally accepted as part of this past. Narratives are changing, but there is as yet no pervasive discourse about the recent period that is acceptable by the broad majority of Ukraine’s population. Does it matter? President Yushchenko and his government think that it does, and scholars, intellectuals, and writers have tried vainly to come up with a narrative of historical memory that can be applied to the independent state. Such a text cannot come solely from the Diaspora, which preserved for years its own viewpoint of the Stalin years. That is because one version of events cannot simply replace the former one with a similar and bewildering simplicity of interpretation. Much that happened during the Soviet period may have been bad, but not everything. Ukrainians became literate with an educational level as high as anywhere in the West. The Soviet authorities permitted the veneration of certain figures for their own purposes: Ivan Franko, Shevchenko, and others. Many Ukrainians achieved scientific, economic, and political eminence under the Soviet regime.

  • 7 In this regard, one might cite the critique of representation of the past in the city of Drohobych (...)

17Ultimately a national history may be written that embraces the memory and perspectives of all Ukrainians, as well as all peoples who live or lived in Ukraine during the tumultuous and tragic events of the twentieth century.7 Ukrainians are no different from any other group in having a past that con-tains bravery and atrocities, and errors and achievements. They are not and should never be perceived solely as victims of one power or the other, as depicted in the sort of writing that can look at the past only in terms of persecution at the hands of Russia or Poland, or—lamentably and unforgivably—to blame the Jews for the Famine of 1932-33. Nor can misdeeds, such as those described above that were committed by UPA, be erased from the national memory. Ukrainians are probably no better and no worse than other peoples in offering a conception of the Second World War that contains more distortions than corroborated facts. That statement would embrace the victors in that war as well as the defeated powers. Like other states, they have as yet failed to deal with these events in a satisfactory manner and there is a possibility that they will never do so, and that the darker aspects will simply be concealed—many have already been forgotten. It would be refreshing and perhaps a form of self-healing, however, if Ukrainians could offer a conception of their recent past that looked at all aspects of these events, recognizing in passing that heroes could be criminals and that—Soviet propaganda aside—the reticence in many parts of Ukraine about the OUN and UPA would appear to be justified.

18This book has examined narratives of the events that elicit much emotion and anger, and as such it cannot satisfy everyone. However, that was never the intention. The goal was to illustrate the changes in interpretation and the long, and possibly futile, attempt to construct a national history that might have general appeal to the population and can help to define the modern nation. The complexity is demonstrated by the political situation at the time of writing with a democratic, Western-leaning but fundamentally weakened president, Viktor Yushchenko, and his former nemesis and representative of the Donets’k clan, Viktor Yanukovich, as Prime Minister. Ukraine seems already to be slipping back into the ways of the Kuchma regime, and whether it will ever resurrect again the euphoria generated by the Orange Revolution is a moot point. Yet it is clear that in politics, as in historical memory and the reconstruction of the past, the only solution is some form of compromise. There can be no second-class Ukrainians and no single perception of the past. One cannot “restore historical truth” as one writer demanded, because there is no such thing. But one can examine the past from a multi-dimensional perspective without waiting—as commented in the editorial in the Kyiv Post—for all these old men with their bitter memories to die. It is a task on which some Ukrainian historians have embarked and one hopes that it is within this post-Soviet independent state that the question is, to some extent at least, resolved.


1 I include in this group Mark B. Tauger, R. W. Davies, Stephen G. Wheatcroft, Michael Ellman, Lynne Viola, Moshe Lewin, and perhaps Robert Conquest who seems ambivalent on the question. These scholars have been responsible for an enormous quantity of work on Stalin’s policies in agriculture in the late 1920s and early 1930s. See, for example, R. W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933 (The Industrialization of Soviet Russia) (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

2 See, for example, Douglas Tottle, Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: the Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard (Toronto: Progress Books, 1987); and Jeff Coplon, “In Search of a Soviet Holocaust: a 55-Year Old Famine Feeds the Right,” Village Voice, 12 January 1988.

3 We have cited earlier the foundation of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University and the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta in the 1970s. However, both these institutions were founded with the support and active participation of the local Ukrainian communities. It was relatively rare, for example, to find scholars working on Ukrainian topics in US institutions prior to Ukrainian independence.

4 A classic work on this period is Lynne Viola, The Best Sons of the Fatherland: Workers in the Vanguard of Soviet Collectivization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

5 Mark B. Tauger, “The 1932 Harvest and the Soviet Famine of 1932-1933,” Slavic Review, Volume 50, No. 1 (Spring 1991): 70-89.

6 The figure derives from a personal conversation with John-Paul Himka, Edmonton, Alberta, on 24 January 2007. That total seems plausible. In 1931, the total population of Ukrainian ethnic territories under Polish rule is reported to have been 6.5 million people. See Ivan Teslya and Evhen Tyut’ko, compilers, and Lyubomyr Wynar, ed., Istorychnyi Atlas Ukrainy (New York: Ukrainian Historical Association, 1980), p. 154.

7 In this regard, one might cite the critique of representation of the past in the city of Drohobych, Western Ukraine, by the Israeli scholar Shlomo Avineri. Professor Avineri writes: “One can well understand that a new nation-state like Ukraine would be zealous in establishing its identity and claim historical continuity even in areas which, because of their mixed heritage, have been disputed. This is natural: other nations—today much more established—have done the same: who remembers that Nizza was once a Savoyard, i.e. “Italian” town? Yet the historical one-sidedness and falsification so rampant in Drohobycz—as well as in other areas in Western Ukraine—carries with it too many under-currents of the old Bolshevik 1984-like falsifications of history: communism is gone, but the combination of ethno-centric nationalism and Bolshevik ruthlessness remains. One can imagine what is being taught in schools in Drohobycz—and all over Ukraine.” Shlomo Avineri, “Airbrushing History in the Ukraine,” Jerusalem Post, 2 September 2003.

© Central European University Press, 2007

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