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Historians at War: History, Politics and Memory in Ukraine

  • IRYNA VUSHKO (a1)
Extract

The on-going military conflict in eastern Ukraine has revitalised historical discussion and history battles in the country rendering history more relevant than ever before. Since 2014 different sides in the conflict have used historical references, specifically to the Second World War, to validate their actions. Moscow most notably claimed to be protecting the population of eastern Ukraine from Ukrainian ‘fascists’: the story of a three-year Russian boy allegedly crucified by Ukrainian nationalists on Russian state television was enhanced by references to atrocities that Ukrainian nationalists allegedly perpetrated during the Second World War. It is not, of course, the first time a regime has used history as a justification for military aggression or territorial annexation. Across Europe in the twentieth century, history has been used to defend political goals, and politics has been used to write history. The bellicose politicisation of history became the norm in Ukraine in 2014.

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References
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2 http://likbez.org.ua/ua/ On Halushko: http://likbez.org.ua/ua/author/kigal (last viewed 30 Oct. 2017).

3 Scholars contributing to the project work (and some teach) at Ukraine's National Pedagogical Institute in Kyiv, Institute of History at Ukraine Academy of Sciences, Kyiv; Institute of National Memory, I. I. Mechnikov National University, Odessa; Institute of Historical Urbanism at Ukraine Academy of Sciences, Kyiv, Institute of History and Philosophy, Cherkasy.

4 One exception to this rule is the periodical Ukraina Moderna, which runs peer reviews for select publications: https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A3%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%97%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D0%9C%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B0 (last viewed 30 Oct. 2017).

5 Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Istoria Ukrainy-Rusy. 10 vols. (Kyiv-L'viv: 1905–1936).

6 An English translation was published in Canada: Hrushevskyi, Mykhailo, History of Ukraine-Rus. 12 vols. (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1997–). On Hrushevskyi see Plokhy, Serhii, Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005).

7 On a shift beyond nation in Western historiography see Zahra, Tara, ‘Imagined Non-Communities: National Indifference as a Category of Analysis’, Slavic Review 69 (Spring 2010): 93119 ; King, Jeremy, Budweisers into Czechs and Germans. A Local History of Bohemian Politics, 1848–1948 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002); Bjork, James E., Neither German nor Pole. Catholicism and National Indifference in Central European Borderland (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008).

8 Halushko, Kyrylo et al., Narodzhennia kraiiny. Vid kraiu do derzhavy. Nazva, symvolika, terytoriia i kordony Ukrainy (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016).

9 On ethnic hierarchies see Kappeler, Andreas, ‘Mazepintsy, Malorossy, Khokhly: Ukrainians in the Ethnic Hierarchy of the Russian Empire, in Kappeler, Andreas, Kohut, Zenon E., Sysyn, Frank E. and von Hagen, Mark, eds., Culture, Nation, and Identity. The Ukrainian-Russian Encounter (1600–1945), (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 2003), 162–81.

10 On Novorosia in Russian political and historical discourse see http://novorus.info/news/history/ (last viewed 30 Oct. 2017). Recent works on Malorosia and Ukrainians as Malorussians include Beziiev, D.A., Ukraina i Rech Pospolitaia v pervoi polovine XVII v. (Moscow: Prometei, 2012), specifically 92–119.

11 Halushko et al. Narodzhennia kraiiny, 1.

12 Ibid., 57.

13 The most recent Likbez publication on Ukraina and Malorosia is Kyrylo Halushko, ‘Ukraina i Malorosia - tse odne i tezh same?’ http://likbez.org.ua/ua/ukraine-and-little-russia-are-one-and-thesame.html (last viewed 30 Oct. 2017).

15 For the classics of Russian historiography from the nineteenth century, see Vasilii Kliuchevskii, Kurs russkoi istorii. 5 vols. (St-Petersburg: 1904–1922). Recent works on Kyivan Rus’ as the beginning of Russian statehood include Denisov, Yurii, Istoriia russkoi zemli ot Avarskoi do Mongolskoi imperii (Moscow: Finta, 2016); Igor’ Froianov, ed., Lektsii po russkoi istorii: Kievskaia Rus’ (St.-Petersburg: Russkaia kollektsiia, 2015). The Soviet classic on Kyivan Rus’ is Grekov, Boris, Kievskaia Rus’ (Moscow: AN SSSR, 1944). Essential reading on the beginning of Ukrainian statehood includes Hrushevskyi, Istotria Ukrainy-Rusy.

16 For a discussion of Queen Anna in Likbez, see Videiko, Mykhailo et al., Tini zhadanykh predkiv. Vid sklavyniv do rusyniv. Pradavnia Ukraina, Rus' i pohodzhennia ukrainciv (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016), 308–10; on Yaroslav and his place in Ukrainian and Russian historiography, see Ibid., 312.

17 Halushko et al., Vid kraiu do derzhavy, 57–8.

18 Horobec, Viktor’, Kniazi i het'many usiiei Ukrainy. ‘Cherez shabliu maiem pravo’. Zlety i padinnia kozac'koii derzhavy 1648–1783 rokiv (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016), 18 .

19 Horobec’, Kniazi i het'many usiiei Ukrainy, 147.

20 For the thesis about re-unification see Kochegarov, K.A., Russkoie pravitelstvo i semia ukrainskogo getmana Ivana Samoilovicha v 1681–1687 (Moscow: Institut Slavianovedenia, 2012), 3 ; Almazov, A.C., Politicheskii portret ukrainskogo getmana Ivana Samoilovicha v kontekste russko-ukrainskich otnoshenii, 1672–1687 (Moscow: 2012), 7 . An old Soviet account in celebration of unity: Vossoiedinenie Ukrainy s Rossiei, 1654–1954. Sbornik stattei (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1954).

21 Some examples of scholarship on the Cossack Ukrainian state include Smolii, Valerii, ed., Ukrains'ska derzhava druhoii polovyny XVII-XVIII st: polityka, suspil'stvo, kul'tura (Kyiv: Instytut Ukrainoznavstva Ukrainy, 2014); Fihurnyi, Yuri, Ukrainsʹke etnoderzhavonatsiietvorennia (XV–XVIII st.) v ukrainoznavchomu vymiri (Kyiv: 2014); Chukhlib, Taras, Kozats'kyi het'manat. Problemy miznarodnoho utverdzhennia (Kyiv: Nash chas, 2007).

22 An English-language monograph on the ‘making of the Cossack myth: Plokhy, Serhii, The Cossack Myth. History and Nationhood in the Ages of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

An English language account is Kohut, Zenon, Russian Centralism and Ukrainian Autonomy: Imperial Absorption of the Hetmanate, 1760s–1830s (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988). Recent Ukrainian works with a similar argument include Brekhunenko, Viktor, Moskovs'ka ekspansiia i Pereiaslavs'ka rada 1654 roku (Kyiv: 2005); Chukhlib, Taras, Sekrety ukraiins'koho polivasylitetu. Khmel'nytskyi-Doroshenko-Mazepa (Kyiv: Vydavnychyi dim “Kyievo-Mohylians'ka academia, 2011).

23 Some examples of novel and interesting social history of early modern Ukraine that do not necessarily focus on the Cossacks include Yakovenko, Natalia, Dzerkala identychnosti. Doslidzhennia z istorii idei v Ukriani XVI–XVII. st. (Kyiv: Krytyka, 2002); Starchenko, Natalia, Chest’, krov i rytoryka. Konflikt u shliahets'komu seredovyshchi Volyni. Druha polovyna XVI–XVII stolittia (Kyiv: Laurus, 2014).

24 Yavornyc'kyi works were published in the Russian Empire in Russian. They have been translated into Ukrainian and reprinted in several editions after 1991. The original publication is Vladimir Yavornitskii, Istoria zaporozhskikh kozakov. 3vols. (St-Petersburg: 1892–1895).

25 Examples of recent works on ‘Russian Crimea’ include Chudinov, Valerii, Russkii Krym i Russkoie more: tysiacheletniaia istoria (Moscow: Tradicia, 2015); Starikov, Nikolai, Rossia, Krym, istoria (Moscow: Piter, 2015); Cherniakhovskii, Sergei, Vershina Kryma: Krym v russkoi istorii i krymskaia samoidentifikacia Rosii (Moscow: Knizhnyi mir, 2015); Volodikhin, D., ed., Rossia i Krym: 1000 let vmeste. Sbornik stattei pamiati akademika B.D. Grekova (Mosow: Rossiiskii institut strategicheskikh issledovanii, 2015). All defined Crimea as a Russian territory.

26 Bachyns'ka, Olena et al., Lycari dykoho polia. Pluhom i mushketom. Ukraiins'kyi shliakh do Chornoho moria (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016), 4 .

27 Halushka, Andrii et al., U kihtiakh dvohlavykh orliv. Tvorennia modernoii nacji. Ukraina pid skipterom Romanovykh i Habsburhiv (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016).

28 Notable exceptions are works by Yaroslav Hrytsak. See for example his Prorok u svoii vitchyzni. Ivan Franko ta ioho spil'nota (Kyiv: Krytyka, 2006).

29 Rukas, Andrii et al. Na bii za voliu. Peremoha cherez porazky. Ukraina u viinakh i revoliuciiakh 1914–1921 rokiv (Kharkiv: Klub simejnoho dozvillia, 2016).

30 Ibid., 37, 43.

31 Viatrovych, Volodymyr et al. Vid Reikhstahu do Ivodzimy. U polum'ii viiny. Ukraina ta ukrainci u druhii svitovii (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016).

32 Ibid., 89.

33 On collaboration, memories and responsibility see, for example, Khromeychuk, Olesya, ‘Undertermined’ Ukrainians. Post-War Narratives of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ Division (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013); Himka, John-Paul, ‘The Lviv Pogrom of 1941: The Germans, Ukrainian Nationalists, and the Carnival Crowd’, Canadian Slavonic Papers 53, 2,3,4 (June, Sept., Dec. 2011): 209–43.

34 See Viatrovych, Volodymyr, Za lashtunkamy, ‘Volyni-43’. Nevidoma pol'sko-ukrains'ka viina (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016). An alternative and in my view more nuanced Ukrainian analysis is Iliushynl, Ihor, Protystoiannia v Zakhidnii Ukraini 1939–1945 (Kyiv: Vydavnychyi dim Kyievo-Mohylianska Akademia, 2009). One of the best, in my opinion, Polish accounts with balanced interpretations is Motyka, Grzegorz, Od rzezi wołyńskiej do akcji “Wisła”. Konflikt polsko-ukraiński 1943–1947 (Cracow: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2011).

35 There is a large body of literature on the Ukrainian nationalist movement between and during the wars. For some representative publications see Zaitsev, Oleksandr, Ukraiins'kyi integral'nyi nacionalizm (1920–1930-ti roky). Narysy intelektual'noii istorii (Kyiv: Krytyka, 2013); Cyril Amar, Tarik et al., Strasti za Banderoiu: statti ta esse (Kyiv: Hrani, 2010); Patryliak, Ivan, Peremoha abo smert’: ukraiins'kyi vyzvol'nyi rukh u 1939-1960 rr. (L'viv: Chasopys, 2012).

36 ‘Poland's Parliament Declares Volyn Massacres “Genocide”, Ukraine Laments Move’: http://www.rferl.org/a/poland-parliament-declares-volyn-massacres-/27874252.html (last viewed 30 Oct. 2017).

One example of Polish nationalist interpretation that describes the Volhynia events as a ‘massacra’ is Siemaszko, Ewa and Siemaszko, Władysław, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na ludności polskiej Wołynia 1939–1945 (Warsaw: Von Borowiecki, 2000).

37 On the politics of memory in Ukraine see, for example, Oxana Shevel, ‘The Politics of Memory in a Divided Society: A Comparison of Post-Franco Spain and Post-Soviet Ukraine’, Slavic Review, 70 1 (Spring 2011): 137–64.

38 Viatrovych et al., Vid Reihstahu do Ivodzimy, 177, 180.

39 Iefymenko, Henadii et al., Ukraina radians'ka. Iliuzii ta katastrofy ‘komunistychnoho raiu’ 1917–1938 roky (Kharkiv: Klub simeinoho dozvillia, 2016).

40 On intentional famine in English see Snyder, Timothy, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2012); Naimark, Norman, Stalin's Genocides (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).

41 The literature in Ukrainian on the famine is too big to list here. For a general overview of history and historiography see Kasianov, Georgii, Danse Macabre: Holod 1932–1933 rokiv u polityci, masovii svidomosti ta istoriohrafii. Holod 1932–1933 (1980-ti – pochatok 2000-kh) (Kyiv: Nash chas, 2010).

42 See for example: Naimark, Stalin's Genocides.

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