The theme of this lecture is normalization: how it came to seem that Soviet power in general, and Soviet power in Ukraine in particular, came to seem eternal in the 1970s.
People with connections to Ukraine, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, struggled for power. Having consolidated power in 1964, Brezhnev sought after a formula that would justify a Soviet Union where the Stalinist transformation was complete but nothing like communism had actually been achieved.
Brezhnev (pictured below meeting Nixon) sought a world where the Soviet Union would seem eternal and unquestionable, and where national questions would cease to matter. The borrowing of technology from the West replaced any attempt to reform the Soviet system. Marxism was no longer of serious interest. Political legitimacy was to be claimed form the past: by a russocentric nostalgia for the victory of the Second World War.
Brezhnev, who changed his own passport nationality from Ukrainian to Russian, undertook a new form of russification in Soviet Ukraine. Ukrainian culture mattered as folklore to be kept in private life; Ukrainians themselves were to merge in a larger russophone culture of administration designed to keep the system going.
History, in other words, was over. Although of course it wasn’t! This lecture also describes new forms of Ukrainian dissident politics, the political ideas of the diaspora, and the beginnings of Ukrainian-Polish reconciliation.
Rudnyts'kyi, "The Political Thought of Soviet Ukrainian Dissidents"
Yekelchyk, Stalin's Empire of Memory, chapters 5-7 and epilogue.
Ivan Dzyuba, "On the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Murders in Baby Yar" (and accompanying materials), in Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern and Antony Polonsky, eds., Polin, vol. 26, 2014, 381-389.
Marxism, dialectics, consumerism, nationalism
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in USA 1943
Babyn Iar, Baby Yar, Kyiv
Brest 1596, Uniate Church, Greek Catholic Church
Treaty of Pereiaslav 1654
Ivan Dziuba 1965 "Internationalism or Russification"?
Leonid Brezhnev 1964
Great Fatherland War
Petro Shelest, V. V. Shcherbyts'kyi
1975 Helsinki Final Act
Ukrainian Helsinki Society 1976
CIUS Alberta HURI Harvard
Jacek Kuroń, Adam Michnik
Bunt Młodych, Polityka
George Shevelov, "Youth of the Fourth Kharkiv"
Borys Levyts'kyi, contemporary USSR
1959 book "Executed Renaissance" 1000 pages
Juliusz Mieroszewski, ULB, geopolitics
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As you already know, this Russification extended well beyond the borders of the Soviet Union. When I was growing up, the Soviet Union was Russia and Russia was the Soviet Union. No one ever said it out loud; it was an unspoken assumption. And I've read books written in the 21st century in which authors refer to Soviet prisoners of war (WWII) as Russian POWs, one German, the other British. So the Russification campaign was successful. And it's annoying as hell when books written in the 21st c., some of them very recent, use Russian spellings for Ukrainian place names. Kharkov! for example.
In the age of information, ignorance is a choice 👩🏻💻 Never stop learning!