AUR#770 Oct 8 Who Dares To Stand Up For The Future?; Donbass; Art; Destruction of Historical Memory Of Ukrainian People; Weighed On Scales Of History

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               –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
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    Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
COMMENTARY: By James D. Hobbs
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Oct 05 2006

               Ukrainian pollsters paint favourable picture of eastern region
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Hanna Khrypunkova
Den, Kiev, Ukraine, in Ukrainian 28 Sep 06; p 1
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Oct 03, 2006

Press Office of the President Viktor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, October 6, 2006

                             CONTEMPORARY ART CENTRE
     Victor Pinchuk’s art foundation is intended “to modernise Ukrainians”
By Anna Somers Cocks, The Art Newspaper
London, United Kingdom, Thu, Oct 5, 2006


                                 OF THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE
      Statement issued by civic human rights organizations and the Ukrainian
      intellectual community in Ukraine and the world in connection with the
            destruction of the historical memory of the Ukrainian people.

[1] Dmytro Pavlychko, Head of the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council;
[2] Pavlo Movchan, Head of the All-Ukrainian Prosvita Society;
[3] Ivan Drach, Head of the Executive of the Ukraine-World Society;
[4] Roman Krutsyk, Head of the V. Stus Kyiv City Organization of the
     Memorial Society;
[5] Anatolii Pohribny, Head of the Kyiv branch of the Union of Writers
     of Ukraine;
[6] Volodymyr Serhiichuk, Ph.D. (History), Professor and head of the
      scholarly division of the Memorial Society
PRESS CONFERENCE, UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, Sep 28, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #770, Article 5
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, October 8, 2006

     A long-forgotten atrocity of the second World War is now remembered
            due to a poem and the music it inspired, writes Arminta Wallace.
Armita Wallace, Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland, Friday, Oct 06, 2006

APPEAL: By the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC)
TO: The Honorable Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine
New York, New York; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Monday, 2 October 2006

                         Fifteen years of modern Ukrainian statehood
                     Apropos of 15 years of Ukrainian independence
By Dr. Stanislav Kulchytsky, Deputy Director,
Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #17, #18, #19
Kyiv, Ukraine, May 30, June 16, June 20, 2006

                                 Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine
Dr. Marko R. Stech, Project Manager
Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Newsletter, Oct 2006

COMMENTARY: By James D. Hobbs
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Oct 05 2006

Why does the Ukrainian president remain committed to a “Westernization
course”, including the WTO, EU and NATO?  Why does he consider this to
be his mission on behalf of the Ukrainian people?  Why does he appear to be
(nearly) alone in his dedication to Ukraine’s democratic future?

Can you imagine a soccer team playing a play-off game at its home stadium?
The visiting team takes the field followed by the home team; but before the
match commences, the crowd begins booing and harassing the home team;
then the home team players, except for three, the captain, the goalie and
one defensive player, leave the field; from the sidelines they begin
threatening their teammates on the field.

Then the crowd continues to boo and to harass – the players on the field,
the players on the side lines and the coaches.

Does this make sense?  Why would true fans behave in this way?  Does this
crowd wish to lose?  As I observe Ukraine, this is what I see – the media
and the people are against everything; they want nothing that is being
offered.  With such (lack of) support, why are the three players on the
field even trying to overcome all these odds to WIN their cause?

The Ukrainian President deserves appreciation among Ukrainians; Westerners
consider this lack of respect as strange. With over 50  years in and out of
politics, forty of these involved with politicians (as a candidate, as an
elected official and as a political operative), I can certainly sympathize
with the delicacy that has been required of him to navigate his presidency.
Considering his ‘non-support’, the accomplishments of his 21 months in
power are huge.

One must ask how more can be achieved when:
1) the courts need to be reformed first before successful prosecution of
former officials, corruption and other high-level crimes can take place,

2) the Ukrainian Constitutional Court was “empty” for such a long period of
time and

3) the VR, and Cabinet, continues to undermine his every move? One must ask,
why do the people and the media “appear” to support opposition to Ukraine’s
future that the president works toward? The media’s ‘words’ (other than
being critical of him) seem to support the very same direction that
President Yushchenko is so greatly committed to.

Who of you could sustain the criticisms from so many and remain committed to
a cause that will benefit future generations?

Granted, many are disenchanted because the ORANGE has not remained intact.

But does blaming this person, or another, for the Orange demise, reverse the
March 2006 election?  With any who would suggest that Yushchenko is the
reason for a lost Orange coalition, where are the facts?

The voters in the parliamentary elections are more to blame; the “true”
orangies gathered less than 38% of the vote!  The (now freer) media failed
the “true” orangies — they failed to announce the real gains and
accomplishments and to explain that the people must vote Orange to continue
with even greater accomplishments.

If you are disgruntled with the current parliamentary mix, ask what more
could you have done to have changed it.  Word is that many who spent weeks
on Maidan in the 2004 cold did not vote in the March 2006 elections. Many
are responsible and all must share whatever blame!

There is no weakness in calmly, and diligently, maintaining commitment to
the 2004 doctrines and goals presented on Maidan, as Yushchenko has
struggled with diversions and distractions from within and from without.

Is he wrong to try advancing beliefs that will enable the future of
Ukraine’s people to achieve a more perfect democracy and to achieve
economic, social and political freedoms? From my observation point, it
appears that others, with economic and political power, are “for themselves
… for the right now”.

Perhaps Maidan’s expectations were excessive; some would say that Viktor
Yushchenko was to be Ukraine’s “messiah”, but within less than two years,
you condemn him?  What do you expect?  What support have you given to
the goals that you embraced a mere two years ago?

President Yushchenko is demonstrating uncanny restraint, and self control;
this requires more strength than “exploding”. He is consistent with his
goals for Ukraine’s people, with his honesty, with his democratic beliefs
and with his dedication to those beliefs espoused on Maidan.

Ukraine has abandoned its president; its president has not abandoned
Ukraine, nor its people.  With a pragmatic (not political brutality)
approach to the March elected parliament, and a (2004 dubious
constitutional) provision that allows parliament to select the prime
minister, the president stood firm with a National Unity pact. These reflect
a democratic stance and professionalism that deserve admiration, not

Until the Ukrainian people accept that everything does not happen
immediately, but requires a dedicated, lifetime commitment, and that they
must support their “best hope” with words and votes — then corruption
cannot begin to decrease and morality won’t blossom.  Patience must
accompany expectations.

Ukraine’s president is aware that if he is alone, Ukraine has little hope.
But with Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk and others speaking, there are at
least a few who stand with him. Who else dares?

Hopefully the Constitutional Court will soon begin considering some of these
essential issues so Ukraine, and the president, can ascertain what will, and
who is to determine its future!

There are no “real” political parties in Ukraine – the nearest to such are
the Communists and the Socialists. To assure, and to warranty a democratic
future, political parties must be formed and based on platforms of beliefs
and political goals; and political parties must be identifiable by, for and
with Ukrainians — the people.

Political beliefs and goals can, and should, evolve and maintain a
correlation with socioeconomic progress.  Such goals can hardly exist when
the name of the political party is the name of a person.

The “head of government” should be elected by the people, be that the prime
minister or the president.  Otherwise how is Ukraine different from 20 years
ago?  How can democracy relate to the people, or the people to democracy?

Ukrainians, it is your future.  Supporting the same cause as the president
does not require you to like him, but you could be more encouraging to his
efforts; he might even score a goal for your team.  You do need to support
your democratic future … if that is your belief, your hope.

Today, tomorrow and for the remainder of your life, you must dare to stand,
and speak out, for your (and for your children’s) democratic future!
James D. Hobbs is the founder of a U.S. firm performing strategic
assessments for businesses and management.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
             Ukrainian pollsters paint favourable picture of eastern region

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Hanna Khrypunkova
Den, Kiev, Ukraine, in Ukrainian 28 Sep 06; p 1
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Oct 03, 2006

Residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk Region are not at all like stereotypes
usually painted of them, a major daily has reported. A poll conducted by a
Donetsk agency shows people from Donetsk believe themselves to be “kind,
sincere, hospitable, friendly, and optimistic”.

Donetsk residents are foremost concerned about the standard of living and
wages, but also believe Russian should be a state language along with
Ukrainian. Based on the poll from Donetsk about Donetsk, the author
concluded that old stereotypes are wrong.

The following is the text of the article by Hanna Khrypunkova, entitled
“People from Donbass are not the same anymore”, published in Den on 28
September, subheadings have been inserted editorially:
                               A PICTURE OF DONBASS
Today, half of the people from Donbass consider themselves citizens of
Ukraine first, and only after that – citizens of Donetsk Region.

A social portrait has been “painted” of the people in Donetsk Region. A
work-loving person who is always kind, optimistic and very generous and

who also loves his region and his country, is patient with other people and
never complains about the fickleness of fate – that is how Donetsk
sociologists see a collective image of the modern Donetsk resident.

At the same time, the experts are unanimous in trying to dethrone the
existing stereotypical “portrait” of the man from Donbass, who is sometimes
proffered as a drunken, boorish and incredibly dull person who is
encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

In other words, the truth is that Donetsk residents are completely
different, just not everyone is aware of that because most Ukrainians have
far from enough information about life in Donbass in order to make clear
judgements about the people there.

Specialists from the Donetsk Informational-Analytical Centre (DIAC) have
decided to right this situation. Literally a few days ago, they presented
society with their research dedicated to the company’s fifteenth

The main goal of the research was to try to spread Ukraine’s knowledge about
the Donbass and also review the subject of the regional self-identification
of people from the land of mining and the main characteristics of a
generalized Donetsk resident. The research was carried out in the first 10
days of September of this year and polled 800 people in Donetsk Region.

During the poll all respondents tried to give answers as exactly as possible
to a number of questions on their views of the situation in the region and
the country and their thoughts about the main symbols of the mining region
and its people, of which they could be proud and also about the main
achievements of the people of the Donbass in leisure, work, reading and even
regional cuisine.

Overall, the research showed that most Donetsk residents today are
dissatisfied with what is going on in Donetsk Region and in Ukraine in
general: 35 per cent are certain that everything has only got worse
recently, while another 45 per cent are not inclined to be so pessimistic
but still could not pinpoint anything especially good.

Only 17 per cent assessed the recent changes in the country as positive.
Things are much the same for their assessment of the economic situation in
the Donbass: 42 per cent think that it is poor, nine per cent say it is very
poor and only three per cent think it is good.
                                    PRIMARY CONCERNS
As far as the most topical issues in the regions, Donetsk residents are most
frequently concerned with rises in prices and inflation (59 per cent
expressed this view), as well as poverty and low wages and pensions (49 per
cent), housing and communal utility issues (38 per cent) and the low
standard of living (24 per cent).

A separate block of issues is comprised of housing problems (13 per cent),
the ecology and green zones (26 per cent), pollution (15 per cent),
unemployment (11 per cent) and the poor health system (10 per cent).

At the same time, one must note that Donetsk residents are ready to actively
tackle all these issues and half the residents of the region are ever more
sure that the black days will eventually end and the situation in the
Donbass will improve. And the overwhelming majority of citizens (95 per
cent) unanimously believe Donetsk to be their home town and are ready to
help it overcome its problems.

By the way, Donetsk residents are no less anxious about the country overall,
and half the people from Donbass foremost consider themselves to be citizens
of Ukraine and residents of Donetsk Region only after that. And only a third
of those polled put their regional self-identification in first place.

To tell the truth, on the other hand only half the citizens of Donbass are
feel pride in the fact that they are Ukrainians while 78 per cent
unanimously take pride in their being from Donetsk.

Of course, half of residents in Donbass identifying themselves as Ukrainian
and being proud of it is not much. But in light of the fact that people in
the mining regions literally have it in their blood to place themselves
first with the Russian state and desire to live a bit apart the other life
in the country, then even this result is a big success for them.

By the way, according to the assessment of DAIC expert Anastasiya
Kolomoyets, this comparing themselves to Russia is already losing ground in
Donbass: “If there had been a choice for Donetsk residents to answer that
they felt themselves to be “citizens of Russia”, this choice would not even
get one per cent!”, the sociologist says.

And these words are confirmed by numbers: 52 per cent of respondents believe
the Russian Federation is simply a friendly state, while 36 per cent see it
as a trade and economic partner. And no-one spoke in favour of the Donbass
coming under the authority of Russia.

Although on the other hand, the majority of Donbass residents actively
favour having two state languages in the country – Russian and Ukrainian,
and almost 90 per cent say they use only the Russian language in all
situations in life.
                                 PATRIOTS AFTER ALL
Everything in this sense shows we have something to work on though on

the other hand, it is already good that half of Donetsk residents consider
themselves patriots of their country and region.

Besides patriotism, most of those polled named a number of other
characteristics shared by Donetsk residents which show one can put together
a certain image of the person from Donbass essentially replacing the
traditional understanding of the same.

Donetsk residents would paint a social self-portrait with the following
characteristics: industrious, able to work, patient, kind, sincere,
hospitable, friendly, optimistic, of strong spirit and will, of an open
heart, generous and long-suffering.

All the negative characteristics which earlier made up the image of a
Donetsk resident (drunkenness, apathy, anger and laziness) all feel to the
background during the poll and did not even garner 10 per cent together.

And most of the respondents seemed to try to dethrone the stereotype
according to which residents of the Donbass are foremost people intolerant
of people from other regions: almost all of those polled said that mostly
friendly or calm relations hold sway in the country and that they do not
intend to ruin them.

On the other hand, it is worth pointing out that there is also a completely
different view of Donetsk residents in the Donbass itself, which
significantly differs from the indicators given above.

This view is based on the data of sociologists who have long ago come to
believe that things are far from simple in the moral atmosphere in Donbass.

For example, psychologist Igor Kolhanov said it is simply impossible to
raise a child in Donetsk Region today while instilling in him only good
qualities. It is all a matter of something like a “genetic memory” among the
residents of the region which was first settled by exiled criminals.

Moreover, statistics show that one in 10 residents of Donetsk, or for
example one in four in Snizhnyy city, knows first hand what prison means.
And this biographical fact in turn makes an impression not only on the
person who experienced it, but on that person’s friends and relatives.

The result is anger, aggression, incomprehensible cruelty and rudeness which
quietly reflects on all those around. And so the Donbass still has its own
spirit of moral and psychological negatives which do not allow Donetsk
residents to be fully open and make use of only their better qualities.
                                        HOPE IN THE FUTURE
Yet the same psychologists say there is hope that this mood will be overcome
in the near future. And the basis for overcoming it could be the desire of
Donbass residents to have peace and quiet at home as they have demonstrated
for the past while.

According to the poll, Donbass residents prefer the following types of
relaxation: reading, handicrafts, housework and raising children.

Moreover, more and more residents of the mining region are drawn to
classical literature or music which has a note of nostalgia for times past,
which testifies to their affinity for being at home. And psychologists say
that people who have long ago put home in first place are not likely to be
capable of any unjustified social explosion and extreme plots.

By the way, it is clear that this mood accounts for the feeling Donbass
residents have about their future: most of them view the future with hope
(44 per cent) or optimism (28 per cent). Though on the other hand, thinking
about the future evenly divides them among optimism (21 per cent) and fear
(24 per cent).

And so it turns out that people from the Donbass are turning into a people
different from the customary view literally right before the eyes of

The traditional view of a person from Donetsk is gradually transforming and
giving way to a new view and most of the myths and stereotypes which existed
in the country as recently as 2004, have no place today.

Today people in the Donbass say they would be united foremost by a rise in
the standard of living, stability and order in the state and also by a
strong state which would guarantee social justice. And experts say this
could be considered the best proof of love for their home region and for
Ukraine in general.                             -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Press Office of the President Viktor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, October 6, 2006

KYIV – Victor Yushchenko has met with First Deputy Premier Mykola Azarov,
Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha, Deputy Premier Dmytro Tabachnyk,
Culture Minister Ihor Likhovy, First Deputy Chief of Staff Ivan Vasyunyk,
First Deputy Kyiv Mayor Anatoly Holubchenko, UkrNDIproektrestavratsiya
Head Anatoly Antonyuk, Privat Chairman Ihor Kolomoysky and Interpipe
President Viktor Pinchuk to discuss plans to implement the Art Arsenal

The Head of State said the creation of the Art Arsenal museum complex was
“the project of national importance.” He believes government and business
must become partners to benefit the country and to preserve and develop its
cultural heritage.

The participants of the meeting discussed technical and economic aspects of
the project. They decided it would be funded from three sources: charitable
donations, Ukraine’s budget and Kyiv’s budget. Mr. Azarov said the
government would encourage businessmen to invest in the construction.

Mr. Kolomoysky, one of Ukraine’s wealthiest tycoons, declared that “the
alloy of private interests and state experience” would be useful for the

Mr. Pinchuk, who opened one of Europe’s largest private modern art
museums in September, said it was expedient to hold a transparent
international competition to choose the best contractor.  [They did not
do this for the Holodomor Complex and see what they got. Morgan]

He believes such an approach would help draw the attention of the
international community to the project and consequently to Ukraine.

The President appreciated these ideas and invited Mr. Kolomoysky and
Mr. Pinchuk to join the Art Arsenal Council.                -30-

FOOTNOTE: It is hoped President Yushchenko will soon convene
such a meeting to see how to get the HOLODOMOR COMPLEX
approved, funded and built by November of 2008 for the 75th
commemoration of the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine (induced
starvation, death for millions, genocide). 

Reports from Kyiv lately say there are zero funds allocated at the

present time in the next government budget for the Holodomor
Complex and the funds for the new Institute of Memory have been
cut substantially.

We need to encourage President Yuschenko to work just as hard or

harder for the Holodomor Complex as for the Art Arsenal. 
AUR EDITOR Morgan Williams.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                            CONTEMPORARY ART CENTRE
     Victor Pinchuk’s art foundation is intended “to modernise Ukrainians”

By Anna Somers Cocks, The Art Newspaper
London, United Kingdom, Thu, Oct 5, 2006

KIEV. “We’re not yet used to organising parties like this”, said the laconic
young Ukrainian. This was the opening in Kiev on 16 September of the
PinchukArtCentre, funded by 45-year old Ukrainian billionaire Victor

The big band had swung through “In the Mood”, the symbolic wall
had been knocked down and the stage fizzed with fireworks.

Everyone had been promised a surprise, but it was no surprise that the
polystyrene blocks caught fire. Fortunately, this was in the courtyard
behind the art centre; everyone trooped out calmly and no serious damage
was done.

The art centre with its 2000 square metres of galleries occupies three
floors of an ornate early 20th-century building downtown. It has been
converted by the French architect Philippe Chiambaretta into elegant
white-cube spaces with pleasant, diffuse lighting and granite floors, laid

Mr Pinchuk has many connections with Paris and he was advised to appoint
Nicolas Bourriaud, formerly of the Palais de Tokyo, as his curator for
international art.

The opening show is of ten international and ten Ukrainian artists, the
latter chosen by art historian Olexandr Solovyov, and this split is to be
the basis of future buying policies

They started buying in 1993 and last year a first selection was presented at
the Venice Biennale, alerting the world that Mr Pinchuk was a new player on
the international art scene.

The curators have a pretty free hand, and what is currently on show could be
described as hip eclectic, with some painting (Sarah Morris, Alexandre
Gnilitsky, Thomas Ruff etc.), some kinetic and environmental (Institution of
Unstable Thoughts, Charles Sandison), some photography (Oleg Kulik, Boris
Mikhailov), some video (Ilya Chichkan, Carsten Höller).

If there is a detectable slant, it is towards the slightly mechanical, a
tribute to Mr Pinchuk’s origins as an engineer. Hence Olafur Eliasson’s
walk-in circular construction of steel lozenges, which seems to change shape
as the lights within vary in intensity, and French artist Xavier Veilhan’s
clanking, banging, Constructivist-looking machine.

The Ukrainian artists hold up well against their better known Western
counterparts (Mr Solovyov estimates that there are about 20 contemporary
artists in the Ukraine worthy of the title who manage to live by their art)
and the next exhibition is to be devoted to them exclusively.

Collaborations with outside institutions, such as the Jumex Collection in
Mexico City, are also being considered. Labelling is minimal, but there is
to be an education department next to the white-floored bar with great views
over the city, which is certain to become one of the coolest places in town.
Admission is free.

Like all rapidly developing economies (it has growth rate ot 8.4%), Ukraine
is running at widely differing speeds. The crowd at the opening were
Versace-inspired, with more bling and fetishistic high heels than at the
Oscars. Bentley cars have a showroom in Kiev, but most people use the
subway, where tickets cost the equivalent of a dime. Many of the country
folk still barely have a cash economy.

It is how this economy will modernise that interests Mr Pinchuk, a man whose
fortune started with his invention of a new kind of metal tubing. With
perestroika in the 80s, he was managing to sell these to industry all over
the Soviet Union. He then diversified, and this February sold his Ukrotsbank
to Italy’s Banca Intesa for $1 billion.

Mr Pinchuk suffered a set back after the recent elections (he is the
son-in-law of ex-president Leonid Kuchma), when the purchase he had made
of Ukraine’s largest steel company under the previous government was
rescinded and resold to Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Government also scotched his plans to house the art centre in the former
Arsenal by announcing that it was going to put a museum there itself, a
“project as conservative and ambitious as it is risky and utopian”,
according to the launch booklet of the Pinchuk Art Foundation.

So Mr Pinchuk is rich and powerful but not invulnerable, and well publicised
international links with the outside world, such as this art centre, may
well be part of a protective strategy. But he has also established his
credentials as a bona fide benefactor: for the past ten years he has been
funding medical training and equipment for premature babies, and he has put
money into Aids care.

An admirer of the financier George Soros, who in the 90s financed projects
in the former Eastern bloc to stimulate the development of Western civic
values, Mr Pinchuk is also investing in the training of the country’s future
leaders by funding higher education, by creating a School of Economics in
Kiev and a cooperation programme with the Aspen Institute in Colorado.

At the opening he stressed that he hoped the international language of
contemporary art would teach the Ukrainians about modern ways of thinking.

He himself prefers not to live with this kind of art, however. His
collection is of late 19th- and early 20th century art, stretching as far as
the Soviet Avant-garde.

His new house outside Kiev is to be neo-classical, and in the meanwhile,
three hectares of his 19-hectare estate are being turned into a real
Japanese garden under the guidance of a Japanese expert, with more
specialised gardens to come, including one exclusively of Ukrainian species.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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                              OF THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE
      Statement issued by civic human rights organizations and the Ukrainian

      intellectual community in Ukraine and the world in connection with the
           destruction of the historical memory of the Ukrainian people.

[1] Dmytro Pavlychko, Head of the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council;
[2] Pavlo Movchan, Head of the All-Ukrainian Prosvita Society;
[3] Ivan Drach, Head of the Executive of the Ukraine-World Society;
[4] Roman Krutsyk, Head of the V. Stus Kyiv City Organization of the
     Memorial Society;
[5] Anatolii Pohribny, Head of the Kyiv branch of the Union of Writers
     of Ukraine;
[6] Volodymyr Serhiichuk, Ph.D. (History), Professor and head of the
      scholarly division of the Memorial Society

PRESS CONFERENCE, UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, Sep 28, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #770, Article 5
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, October 8, 2006

We are living in a time when each nation seeks to master its history as
profoundly as possible, no matter how tragic it is. It is crucial to learn
one’s past without prejudice in order to step more confidently toward the

This is perfectly understood by the wise Jewish nation, which devoutly
preserves every trace of its millennial history.

An example of this is the arrival in Kyiv a few days ago of hundreds of Jews
from around the world to mark the 65th anniversary of the tragic events that
took place in Babyn Yar.

One hundred and fifty soldiers came from Israel to serve as an honor guard
detail at the site of the mass burials. The president and government of
Ukraine were the patrons of these actions aimed at honoring the memory of
the victims of the Jewish Holocaust.

However, for the sake of objectivity, it should be recalled that at least
half the victims at Babyn Yar (if not more) were gypsies and Ukrainians,
who were viciously destroyed by the Nazis.

Among the victims were also entire crews of ships of the famous Dnipro
Flotilla as well as the defenders of Kyiv-soldiers and commanders of the
Southwestern Front.

Here is the grave of the unvanquished Olena Teliha and other Ukrainian
patriots shot by the Gestapo in 1942, whose memory are for some reason
not being honored on the state level.

At the same time we express dismay at the encroachments on the holy of
holies-the destruction of the memory of the Ukrainian nation. We are
troubled by the fact that the disputes around the tragedy of the
artificially engineered Holodomor of 1932-1933 are intensifying.

Increasing in frequency are provocative statements by pro-communist
forces whose goal is to turn the commemoration of the Holodomor
tragedy into a farce.

After the end of the competition to decide the layout of the memorial
complex in honor of the victims of Ukraine’s holocaust, the Holodomor,
political forces from the pro-government coalition launched a campaign
to stop the construction.

As a result, the draft of the 2007 state budget of Ukraine has not allocated
a single penny for the building of this memorial.

The state has terminated its financial support of the museum exposition
“Not To Be Forgotten” (on the crimes of communism in 1917-1991) at
the Memorial Society, which hosts up to 10,000 students and pupils free
of charge every year.

Based on international experience and in accordance with the Presidential
Decree, on 31 May 2006 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine passed
Resolution No. 764 “On the Creation of the Ukrainian Institute of National
Memory.” The institute was granted appropriate status as the central organ
of the state executive power with its range of posts and special

After all, the victims of the Holodomor, communist repressions, and Hitler’s
genocide are scattered throughout the Ukrainian lands. The destruction of
the Ukrainian ethnos lasted for centuries. Ukraine’s tragedy is such that no
one has yet succeeded in grasping its scale, causes, or consequences.

Thus, the young generation of Ukrainians is not able to fathom its nation’s
past, formulate a clear-cut vision of the national idea, or develop a
state-building strategy that could unite the nation on the basis of its
fundamental values.

The task placed before the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory is to
meticulously restore the backbone of our nation with historical consistency
and objectivity.

However, the formation of its structure is being impeded by the rise to
power of openly anti-Ukrainian officials of the new-old government. The
institute had not even begun its work when, as a result of various
officials’ efforts, the budget was reduced out of existence.

Furthermore, in contradiction to the above-mentioned resolution of the
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, responsibility for the Ukrainian Institute
of National Memory has been transferred to the officials in charge of the
State Archives of Ukraine.

This move in fact liquidates the very status of the Ukrainian Institute of
National Memory as the principal manager of budget funds granted by the
cabinet resolution.

This deliberate or ill-advised destruction of a state institution that was
initiated by a Decree of the President of Ukraine and confirmed by a
resolution of the previous government prompts serious questions regarding
the continuing formulation of Ukrainian state policy on the preservation of
national memory.

One example of the cynical attitude to the victims of political repressions
in Ukraine is the site of the mass secret burials that took place in the
1930s and 1940s in Bykivnia Forest. According to various experts, the
number of victims in Bykivnia is equal to the number of victims buried in
Babyn Yar.

All the data point to between 100,000 and 150,000 victims. But neither
agencies of prosecutorial supervision nor state officials are showing any
interest in the objective disclosure of the crimes of the past or in
establishing their true scale.

As Andrii Amons, the investigator from the Military Prosecutor’s Office,
stated in the final resolution “On the Closure of the Criminal Case,” the
Bykivnia burials have not been thoroughly investigated because the deadline
for investigative actions has lapsed and because of lack of time-meaning,
the Ukrainian government has neither the time nor the desire to deal with
the excavations.

Who should take on this work throughout Ukraine, to conduct searches in
the Solovky Islands, Mordovia, the camps of the former GULAG-every-
where that Ukrainians were destroyed-if not the Ukrainian Institute of
National Memory?

Meanwhile, in the last few months unsanctioned excavations ordered by
unknown organizations in Poland are being conducted on the territory of
the National Historical-Memorial Preserve “The Graves of Bykivnia.”

It has been learned that individuals can hire a special team in Kyiv and,
ignoring Ukrainian laws, exhume and bury whatever they want. Witnesses to
this were the participants of the World Forum of Ukrainians, who visited
Bykivnia on 20 August 2006. There they saw fifteen new burial sites
connected to the search for the remains of executed Polish officers.

Here, in the presence of representatives of Poland, who after examining
bones and skulls and not finding anything of interest to those who ordered
these illegal exhumations, hired workers calmly dump all these remains in
sacks designed for waste and without following accepted procedures,
place them in pits and cover them up with earth.

What other state in the world would countenance such vandalism and
mockery of the memory of innocent executed people?

Despite the fact that the territory of the Bykivnia burials was declared a
State Historical-Memorial Preserve in keeping with the Resolution of the
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 546 of 22 May 2001, and which was
granted national status by the Decree of the President of Ukraine, this has
not stopped the architects of these unsanctioned exhumations.

The Specialized State Enterprise “Memorials of Ukraine” has not reacted
to either the bill of indictment about these violations or the instruction
issued by the Main Administration for the Protection of the Cultural
Heritage of the Kyiv City State Administration to put an immediate halt to
the arbitrary exhumations.

Furthermore, one of the initiators of the excavations, Andrzej Pszywoznik,
who is the secretary of the Council for the Protection of Monuments to the
Struggle and Martyrdom of Poland, is spreading inaccurate information in
the Polish press that 103 burial sites containing the remains of Polish
officers have been found in Bykivnia.

Even the following fact is ignored: the previous investigation designated
the Bykivnia burials as a crime site and therefore any exhumations must be
carried out after a new criminal case is reopened and in the presence of an
investigator charged with conducting a forensic medical examination.

A similar attempt to conduct unsanctioned excavations took place in 2001,
when symbolic graves appeared in the National Preserve at Bykivnia,
complete with the crosses and symbols of a foreign state. What next?

Without denying the possibility that remains of Polish citizens who were
repressed by the Stalinist regime may be found in Bykivnia Forest, the
Ukrainian side should organize an objective investigation of the
circumstances surrounding their deaths and a search of burial places,
relying on newly opened KGB archives and based on international
agreements and European laws.

Under other circumstances, the actions of the Polish side may be viewed as
instigating an international conflict, an example of which was the incident
at the Polish Orliata war cemetery in Lviv.

Preventing a similar situation could be possible only if the Ukrainian side
on the state level were represented by the Institute of National Memory,
which would prohibit illegal acts on the territory of the National Preserve
at Bykivnia and direct the excavations within the legal purview of Ukraine’s

The circumstances of jointly experienced tragedies, when various nations
fell victim to the Soviet totalitarian regime, should lay the foundation of
completely different, good-neighbor relations. The bones of our victims
and foreign victims should not reside in joint graves.

Dmytro Pavlychko
Head of the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council

Pavlo Movchan
Head of the All-Ukrainian Prosvita Society

Ivan Drach
Head of the Executive of the Ukraine-World Society

Roman Krutsyk
Head of the V. Stus Kyiv City Organization of the Memorial Society

Anatolii Pohribny
Head of the Kyiv branch of the Union of Writers of Ukraine

Volodymyr Serhiichuk, Ph.D. (History)
Professor and head of the scholarly division of the Memorial Society

FOOTNOTE: Original text in Ukrainian. Translated privately into English.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     A long-forgotten atrocity of the second World War is now remembered
            due to a poem and the music it inspired, writes Arminta Wallace.

Armita Wallace, Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland, Friday, Oct 06, 2006

TS Eliot wrote that April was the cruellest month, but if he were around
nowadays, he might do his sums again and come up with September. It’s a
grim season for anniversaries.

Before the first week is out, the Western world is plunged into what seems
to have become an annual reworking of the dreadful events of the 11th; and
the month ends with the commemoration of another dreadful event in our
history, albeit one of which most of us remain blithely unaware.

Every year, on September 29th, people gather at a place called Babiy Yar, in
Ukraine, to mourn the deaths of those who were massacred there by the Nazis
in 1941.

Babiy Yar is a ravine on the northwestern outskirts of Kiev. The Nazis
occupied the city on September 19th, 1941; barely 10 days later, a notice
was posted all over town.

It read: “All [ Jews] living in the city of Kiev are to report by 8 o’clock
on the morning of Monday, September 29th, 1941, at the corner of
Melnikovsky and Dokhturov Streets (near the cemetery).

They are to take with them documents, money, valuables, as well as warm
clothes, underwear, etc. Any [ Jew] not carrying out this instruction and
who is found elsewhere will be shot. Any civilian entering flats evacuated
by [ Jews] and stealing property will be shot.”

The chillingly matter-of-fact tone was, of course, deliberate. Everyone in
Kiev – including the Jews, many of whom turned up early in order, as one
account puts it, “to ensure themselves a seat on the train” – assumed the
notice signalled the beginning of an orderly deportation. Instead it
unleashed an orgy of savagery.

According to official German records 33,771 Jews were killed in two days;
but the killing did not stop there. Babiy Yar became the burial place not
only of Jews but of Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians, Czechs, gypsies and
prisoners of war.

It was not unusual for dozens, sometimes hundreds, of civilians to be shot
if one or two people disobeyed a Nazi order either in Kiev or at the nearby
concentration camp at Sirez.

Patients of the Pavlov psychiatric hospital were gassed and dumped into the
ravine. Others, including pregnant women and children, were buried alive.

No one will ever know how many people died at Babiy Yar, but estimates put
the figures at more than 100,000, including 40,000 Jews.

The graves are now marked by commemorative monuments, including one to
the children who died there; but when the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko visited
the ravine 20 years later, the place was bleak and bare.

“I went back there,” Yevtushenko said in a recent interview, “and there was
not one sign of what happened. They were using it as a garbage pit! Garbage!
That very evening, within three hours, I wrote the poem. I wrote out of

“No monument stands over Babiy Yar,” is the opening line of Yevtushenko’s
scathingly evocative poem. “A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone .
. .”

It goes on to identify the poet in a very personal way with the suffering of
the Jewish race, beginning with the wanderings in the deserts of ancient
Egypt and moving through Jesus, Dreyfus and Anne Frank, and ends with a
ringing denunciation of anti-Semitism.

The publication of the poem Babiy Yar in the autumn of 1961 catapulted
Yevtushenko to fame within Russia and, shortly afterwards, internationally.
Shostakovich came across it in an official journal and, when he was
hospitalised soon afterwards with heart problems and a broken leg, he made a
point of reading more of Yevtushenko’s work.

At home in his Moscow apartment, the poet got a phone call from the composer
asking for permission to set Babiy Yar to music. When Yevtushenko agreed,
Shostakovich said, “Splendid. Thank God, you don’t mind. The music is ready.
Can you come here right away?”

Babiy Yar became the first movement of Shostakovich’s 13th symphony, each
of whose five movements treats a different Yevtushenko poem. The other four
are less overtly political than Babiy Yar , but their meaning is no less

One of them, Fear , with its lines about “the secret fear of being
denounced,/ the secret fear of a knock at the door”, must have spoken
volumes to Shostakovich, who at one point in his chequered career used to
spend the night in the corridor outside his apartment so that when the
authorities came to arrest him they would not disturb his sleeping family.

Its passionate synthesis of words and music, plus the enormous forces
generated by the combination of full-size orchestra, male choir and bass
soloist, makes Shostakovich’s 13th symphony a work of considerable
evocative power.

“It had never occurred to me,” Yevtushenko wrote of the piece , “that [ the
poems] could be united like that . . . in connecting all these poems . . .
Shostakovich completely changed me as a poet.”

The rest of the story of this astonishing piece of music ought to read: “and
the symphony was a huge success and everyone lived happily ever after.” In
the shifting political sands of the former Soviet Union, however, fairy-tale
endings were few and far between.

Yevtushenko’s poem drew parallels between the German atrocities and the
officially sanctioned – and officially outlawed – anti-Semitism of the
Soviet regime.

Predictably, it attracted a vicious backlash from those who accused the poet
of writing only about the Jewish losses at Babiy Yar and ignoring Russian
and Ukrainian deaths; meanwhile the presence of Yevtushenko’s words in its
first movement ensured that the symphony, written to commemorate the victims
of one paranoid and cruel regime, fell foul of another.

Indeed, it almost never saw the light of day at all. The conductor chosen by
Shostakovich to premiere the work refused to perform it, probably for fear
of the consequences if he did. The replacement conductor, Kyrill Kondrashin,
decided to engage two soloists for the first night, even though there is
only one solo part – a wise move, as it turned out.

On the day of the premiere, 15 minutes before the dress rehearsal was due to
begin, the first soloist telephoned to say that he was cancelling due to
illness. The second singer had not been asked to attend and no one knew
where he was, but he happened to turn up some 20 minutes later.

The show went on – but not before Kondrashin took a call from the minister
for culture of the Russian Federation, suggesting that he might like to play
the symphony without the first movement. He respectfully declined.

As Kondrashin recalled in Elizabeth Wilson’s biography Shostakovich: A Life
Remembered , “At the end of the first movement, the audience started to
applaud and shout hysterically. The atmosphere was tense as it was, and I
waved at them to calm down. We started playing the second movement at
once so as not to put Shostakovich into an awkward position.”

Nevertheless the official response was a deafening silence “It was not
recommended for further performance,” Kondrashin noted wryly. “In our
country, musical works are not banned, they are ‘not recommended for

It is something of a shock to realise that all this took place less than
half a century ago. And it’s clear that in a world where the victims of
massacres still go unmourned and political regimes are still paranoid and
cruel, Shostakovich’s 13th symphony still has a powerful message to put

As Tim Ashley wrote in the Guardian , it is “one of the composer’s most
hard-hitting works – at once a demand that we learn from the past and a
bleak reminder that Krushchev’s ‘thaw’ failed to fully eradicate the
excesses of the Soviet era.”

The RTE National Symphony Orchestra, the gentlemen of the RTE
Philharmonic choir and the Russian bass Nikita Storjev perform
Shostakovich’s Symphony No 13, Babiy Yar , at the National Concert

Hall tonight.   -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

APPEAL: By the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC)
TO: The Honorable Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine
New York, New York; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Monday, 2 October 2006


The Ukrainian World Congress appeals in a written petition to the President
of Ukraine to secure a place in the museum of the former concentration camp.
We present the full text of the letter:

1 October 2006

The Honorable Viktor Yushchenko
President of Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine

Honorable Mr. President!

One of the places that with great sorrow etched itself in the memory of all
of mankind is the largest of Hitler’s concentration camps
“Auschwitz-Birkenau,” where, according to unofficial data, from 1.5 to 4
million representatives of nearly all countries of Europe were subjected to
utter destruction.

Every day hundreds of people of various nationalities, including youth, head
to this place to learn the truth about this horrific crime against humanity
and honor the guiltless fallen prisoners.

As is well-known, during the post-war years a State museum
“Auschwitz-Birkenau” was created on the territory of the former
concentration camp (Oswiecim, Poland) that became a symbol of terrible
suffering and death.

In our day the former prison barracks have been converted into museum
expositions on the nationalities of various states (each of the
nationalities is given one floor of a two-storey barrack).

Here you can see documental information, including enlarged fotographs and
informative sketches about the fate of the sons and daughters of various
nations who dwelt in the German mills of death.

Today the Jews, Poles, Czech, Slovaks, Hungarians, French, Dutch, Austrians,
Yugoslavs, and Roma have such expositions, and the opening of Italian and
Belgian expositions is planned. One of the barracks presently under
reconstruction is designated for the Soviet prisoners.

Because of the “non-governmental status” of Ukraine until recently at
Auschwitz an exposition about the imprisoned Ukrainians, the number of
which is fairly substantial, was not created.

Among them [the imprisoned Ukrainians] is a large number of imprisoned
Soviet servicemen, over 300 members of OUN (Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists) that were arrested of the 30 June 1941 declaration of Act on
the restoration of a Ukrainian statehood, and hundreds of Ukrainians that
fell into German hostility because of resistance to the inhumane actions of
the Nazis.

We are aware that to this time Ukraine has not appealed to the Auschwitz
complex committee for the allotment of space for a Ukrainian exposition,
and the [committee] recognizes only the application of individual states.

The Ukrainian World Congress is anxious about this issue in light of the
necessity to organize an exposition and also in conjunction with the fact
that most of the barracks have already been given away to other nations for

We note that the two-storey 14th barrack is precisely the one in which
multiple groups of Ukrainian political prisoners stayed (among them were two
brothers-Vasyl and Oleska-of the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists S. Bandera). It is currently under reconstruction.

The 14th and 17th barracks are closely tied to the fate of a large number of
Ukrainians that carried out their last days there, suffered inhuman torture
and met with a harsh death at the hands of Nazi executioners. We are aware
that even your deceased father was imprisoned at Auschwitz.

This is why we believe that you personally deeply understand and share our
desire to honorably memorialize the memory of Ukrainian victims of the
Auschwitz terror. There is not a better opportunity than this for the
creation of a Ukrainian exposition on the terrain of the largest Nazi
concentration camp.

In connection with the above, the Ukrainian World Congress asks you,
Honorable Mr. President, to address the administration of the Auschwitz
complex with a request to allot one of the floors of the 14th barrack for a
Ukrainian exposition.

The Ukrainian World Congress and the World League of Ukrainian Political
Prisoners, in turn, are prepared to assist in the design of this exposition
and in securing the necessary funds for this work.

We ask you also to note that it is imperative to act immediately. In the
case of rejection regarding the 14th barrack, you could make inquiry
regarding the 8th, 9th, 26th and 28th barracks currently unengaged in

With respect,

In behalf of the Ukrainian World Congress

Askold Lozynskyy, President

TEL. (416) 323-3020 . FAX (416) 323-3250; E-MAIL:
225 E. 11th STREET, NEW YORK NY 10003 USA .
TEL. (212) 254-2260 . FAX (212) 979-1011
NOTE:  Original text was in Ukrainian. Translated privately into English.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
                       Fifteen years of modern Ukrainian statehood
                    Apropos of 15 years of Ukrainian independence

By Dr. Stanislav Kulchytsky, Deputy Director,
Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #17, #18, #19
Kyiv, Ukraine, May 30, June 16, June 20, 2006

PART I —————————


With this feature article by Stanislav Kulchytsky, a noted historian and
regular contributor to our newspaper, the editors of The Day are launching a
series of articles dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Ukrainian

The Day is also prepared to give the floor to those who wish to offer their
analyses of events and processes during the years of independence. We will
make every effort to provide our readers with the opinions of observers and
the main figures during this period.

Summer is quickly approaching along with the 15th anniversary of Ukraine’s
national independence. On such festive occasions it is traditional to
discuss progress and achievements. An analysis of shortcomings is usually
done during intervals.

In this feature I will have to break with this tradition because we have
considerably fewer achievements than problems that remain to be solved,
because we are using our newly acquired freedom to elect hetmans on the
national and regional levels.

What is disturbing is not the result but the process, so to speak. The
presidential campaign, which began in the summer of 2004, smoothly morphed
into a campaign to elect a prime minister. There is already talk of the next
presidential campaign.

The 2004 presidential campaign and the 2006 parliamentary elections
demonstrated a rather clear picture of the structuring of political forces.
What comes first: rallying the electorate around politicians’ slogans, or
pretenders to the highest government posts borrowing the population’s
slogans and demands?

In Soviet times the masses accepted the slogans of the ruling party; today
people are imposing their demands on politicians. This is a normal
phenomenon, because we are living in a democratic country. However, the
problem is that before we were living in a totalitarian country, which left
its mark on our mentality.

If politicians are not populists, they try to reconcile the demands and
moods of various social strata. Analyses of the challenges facing this
country are usually undertaken by politicians, political scientists, and
journalists. When unresolved problems are rooted in the past, then
historians must step in.

In the early years of independence Ukraine was portrayed on billboards as an
attractive child dressed in blue and yellow clothes. However, children who
were born in 1991 are already in their teens; 15 years of independence is
long enough to reveal sociopolitical trends.

To carry out such an analysis, a historian must select two interrelated yet
markedly different categories: society and the state. Society personifies
ordinary people, while the state embodies the political elite.

In developing this analysis it is necessary to make constant references to
the Soviet period. It is extinct, but it has left behind countless
unresolved problems.

Whatever justifiable allegations exist in regard to the principal
distinctions between the European and Eurasian civilizations and the impact
of both on modern Ukrainian realities, Soviet realities are incomparably
more powerful.

Not coincidentally, the republics of the former USSR are known all over

the world as post- Soviet countries.

Soviet realities had a deceptive resemblance to the Euro-Atlantic
civilization during the period of industrialization. In actuality, they
reflected a civilizational mutation that emerged when the traditional
society was being transformed into a civic one.

Social scientists are still recording only discrete features of the Soviet
legacy in post-Soviet society, mostly in emotionally negative terms
(generally referred to as sovokism). Nevertheless, we must regard our past
without excessive emotion and admit that the hardships during the period of
transformation were unavoidable.

The main result of the past 15 years is the separation of society from the
state. The USSR was a kind of state-society where all organizational
structures were built into the rigid system of dictatorship controlled by
the Communist Party, with every citizen politically and economically
dependent on a small circle of individuals, who controlled the ruling party,
the state, and the whole country.

As years went by, the Soviet method of production, distribution, and life
became increasingly inadequate in meeting the challenges of the times. The
Kremlin’s feverish attempts to bring the resource potential of the
superpower into conformity with its obligations placed the issue of
upgrading the political system on the agenda for the first time since 1917.

However, the lifting of Communist Party committees’ control over the organs
of Soviet rule in 1988 triggered a revolutionary process, something the
architects of bureaucratic restructuring never expected. So-called informal
organizations, i.e., (organizations that were independent of communist and
KGB control) started to mushroom in the Soviet Union.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) lost its status as a state
structure and then collapsed along with the socioeconomic order and
multinational union state. As it transpired, they could exist only in the
force field of the party’s dictatorship.

The emergence of such “informal” civic and political organizations, some of
which formed the Movement for Restructuring in Ukraine (Rukh), was proof of
an active social response to the manifestations of the Soviet order’s
systemic crisis. The revolution of 1991 in the Soviet Union united these
increasing active informal organizations with other revolutions known in

We began to see in such informal organizations an engine of the
revolutionary process, i.e., the active beginning without which the
overthrow of the old order, change of government, and transformation of
ownership relations were impossible.

At the same time, the events of 1991 and subsequent years were proof of the
inherent weakness of the civic – political forces that were born contrary to
the will of the former state party. These forces demonstrated beyond a
reasonable doubt their inability to take power and transform ownership

This is not surprising, as they could not have become stronger within the
short period of time available to them from the start of perestroika. Just
as dissidents could not exist in the years of Stalinist terror, no political
organizations independent of the state could exist in the
Khrushchev-Brezhnev era of liberalized terror.

The question is: why did the revolution nevertheless take place and who
carried it out? A comparative analysis of the sociopolitical development of
the USSR’s union republics after the attainment of independence will help
answer this question.

The Baltic countries were part of the Soviet Union for a markedly shorter
period, compared to the other Soviet republics, including the main part of
Ukraine. Their citizens remembered Stalin’s mass purges, and their attitude
to the Soviet government was negative.

This secured for the “informal” organizations of the Baltics nationwide
support for taking power, transforming ownership relations, and integrating
into the European Union.

In the CIS countries, except the western oblasts of Ukraine, the memories of
the Stalinist purges died out with the generation whose adult life coincide
with the 1920s-1930s. The succeeding generations did not experience the mass
repressions and were educated in Soviet schools.

“Informal” organizations did not have mass support in these countries, and
power remained in the hands of the Soviet Communist Party nomenklatura.
Bearing this in mind, can we regard the representatives of the old-new
government as the motive force of the 1991 revolution?

This question should actually be formulated on a different plane. Facts
indicate that the revolution took place regardless of who was in power at
the time.

The social cataclysm of the early 1990s in the USSR took a course that was
markedly different from other bourgeois revolutions whose motive forces were
emerging within the traditional society under the influence of the
irreversible development of market relations. Within the Soviet order no
alternative socioeconomic structures could have emerged.

The events of 1991 marked the death of a system that was essentially
different from normal civilization. Installed by the means of mass terror,
this system had totally exhausted all the reserves that had allowed it to
exist, after which it self-destructed.

In trying to find an epithet for the 1991 revolution in the Soviet Union,
one should bear in mind its organic, albeit indirect, connection with the
events of 1917 in the Russian empire. The Russian revolution consisted of
two parallel trends, one bourgeois-democratic and the other, Soviet

By conscripting millions of peasants into the standing army, the tsarist
government created its own gravedigger. The Bolshevik Party, thanks to its
appropriation of peasant and workers’ slogans, penetrated the soviets and
then came to power on their shoulders.

After establishing its dictatorship, the Bolsheviks proceeded steadily to
discard Soviet slogans that had nothing to do with their doctrine, and by
spring 1918 they began to establish the communist socioeconomic order by
means of reforms that were instituted from the top. These reforms so changed
the population’s lifestyle that they fully deserve being defined as

Accordingly, the self-collapse of the artificial order created in 1918-1938
should be regarded as a revolution, although it was opposite in nature,
i.e., anticommunist.

An analysis of a post-Soviet society should be preceded by a theoretical
introduction. Looking at the surrounding world, we correlate it with our
own, without any adjustments. In order to determine precisely where we are
in time and space, it is necessary to analyze our own and others’
experience, while using identical criteria. Therefore, let us start with the

Three main dimensions of the historical process must be singled out:
technical, economic, and sociopolitical. Regardless of their
interrelationship, each of them has a specific dynamic and even a different
vector of changes in various times – positive (progress) or negative

According to the level of technological development, the history of human
society is divided into three stages: preindustrial (agrarian), industrial,
and postindustrial. In the countries of the Euro-Atlantic civilization
industrial societies began forming in the second quarter of the 19th century
under the influence of the transition from manufacturing to factory-plant

The transition to a postindustrial society was initiated by the Second World
War. In recent times this type of society is often called an information

The economic dimension of the historical process is determined by the degree
of commodity-monetary relations and the market, and the sociopolitical one,
by the movement from traditional and hierarchical to democratic, and in the
long run, a civic society.

The traditional society was ruled by a monarch, who held all power in his
hands; occasionally not just secular power but also religious. The
transformation of a traditional society into a democratic one was marked by
the partial, and then total, loss of the monarch’s sovereignty.

A civic society is the product of democratic development. It consists of the
totality of economically self-sufficient sociopolitical structures that
enable citizens to form, on a constitutional foundation, the staff of
government bodies and to control their activities on a daily basis.

During the civilizational crises of the 20 th century (e.g., the Great War
of 1914-1918 and the Great Depression of 1929-1933), in some countries
political forces emerged from the masses, which destroyed or subjugated all
other political structures, and formed their own state and established
totalitarian control over society.

Totalitarianism is defined most succinctly and accurately through a paired,
but opposite, concept: democracy. Democracy means society’s rule over the
state, whereas totalitarianism means the state’s rule over society. Soviet
totalitarianism created something never seen before in the history of
mankind: a state-society.

Millions of people were vested with real powers, which ensured the
functioning of the Soviet order. In addition, the uncontrolled constitution
of the “worker-peasant” state could do whatever it wanted with them.

Every society, except for the original one, is structured simultaneously on
two planes: ethical and social. The agrarian stage in the development of
human civilization was characterized by the huge predominance of the
peasantry in the social structure, natural economy, and primitive technology
that did not change for hundreds of years.

The social differentiation of an agrarian society was remarkably ramified
because it was influenced by property, professional-bureaucratic,
territorial, religious, and sometimes even ethnic factors. There were no
social dynamics in this kind of society. In normal conditions it was almost
impossible to switch to a more privileged social estate (soslovie in

In an industrial society, social estates were transformed into classes, a
qualitatively superior form of social organization. The bourgeoisie
developed more dynamically as a class and was directly involved with
technological progress, entrepreneurship, and the market.

The bourgeoisie never hesitated to use forceful means to destroy obsolete
social orders, in the absence of peaceful alternatives. With the bourgeoisie
the concept of revolution entered the history of mankind.

Concentrated in the hands of entrepreneurs was capital whose functioning is
impossible without manpower. The proletarization of peasants, craftsmen,
merchants, and other petty owners was always noted, but only in the presence
of capital did it become the point of departure for the formation of the
working class.

In the formative phase, the bourgeoisie and the working masses evolved as
antipodal classes. In their Communist Manifesto Karl Marx and Friedrich
Engels made the mistake of expanding this particular feature of the age of
original capital accumulation to the whole historical perspective.

Marx made another mistake when he claimed that it was possible to remove
from the process of production the owner of capital or the manager, who was
equally interested in effective entrepreneurship.

Finally, Marx was wrong when he declared that the worker would always remain
a proletarian. Today hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to train and
retrain a skilled worker throughout his productive life.

He cannot be categorized as a proletarian if only because he does not take
part in the production process with his own capital. Neither does a manager
use his own capital in production.

Marx’s errors were corrected by Western European social democratic parties,
which succeeded in establishing cooperation between labor and capital. In
contrast, the Bolsheviks tried to revive the ideas of the Communist
Manifesto 70 years after its appearance. In the end, the country they now
had under full control found itself on the sidelines of the historical
process for the next seven decades.

Contrary to Marx’s assumptions, nationalization of the means of production
did not turn the nation (society) into an owner. As a result of the
communist revolution, the means of production became the private property of
the state, or to be more exact, of the state party and its narrow circle of
leadership. The organ that embodied the political and economic dictatorship
was too distant from any enterprise.

It could not act as an agent of production, like the owner of capital or his
trusted representative. The Bolshevik command economy served as the ideal
foundation for a totalitarian political regime, but it remained an
artificial and stillborn creation.

In any discussion of the ethnic dimension of society it is necessary to
point out its special inertness. In an agrarian society, the ethnic
community functioned in the form of tribal unions or nationalities. In an
industrialized society a nationality became a nation, in other words it was
marked by a higher degree of economic, political, and psychological

This coalescence was facilitated by the removal of class barriers, the
development of market contacts, improved communications among regions, and
the rise of the population’s cultural level.

Nationalities corresponded to the imperial organization of the state. When
they were transformed into nations, they felt cramped within the empire, so
they proceeded to undermine it from within. The nation-forming process was
formed by objective preconditions for the transformation of the traditional
society into a democratic and civic one.

When the Bolsheviks again devised the goal to assemble one of the last
traditional empires, they had to invent a new outward appearance for it in
the form of a union of free and equal republics. Their constitutions
confirmed that each republic had the right to withdraw from the federation,
but the Soviet anthem insisted on the “inviolability” of the union.

In time, they sought to fill the term “Soviet people” with concrete content.
The Theses of the CC CPSU, commemorating the centennial of Lenin’s birth
(1970) and Leonid Brezhnev’s speech during the 24 th Congress of the CPSU
(1971) contained a clause about the Soviet people as a new historical
community that grew out of the international unification of nations.
However, this theoretical construction was kept alive only for as long as
the Soviet Union existed.

A civic society in any country is the result of that country’s lengthy
development under the conditions of democracy. In fact, the transition from
an industrial to a postindustrial society in the technological and economic
sphere corresponds to the transition to a civic society in the
sociopolitical sphere. The main characteristic of a civic society is its
completely natural attention to human rights.

The maturation of a civic society takes place simultaneously with the
formation of a political nation. Essentially this is the same process, but
viewed from a different angle. In time, the cohesion of people representing
various nationalities is transformed into a political nation, which is a
symbiosis of social and ethnic communities structured around the state-
building nation.

There is no doubt that globalization, as a manifestation of dynamic changes
in the technological and economic sphere, is speeding up transformational
processes in the sociopolitical sphere. In their commonly accepted sense the
terms “class” and “nation” no longer fully correspond to the realities of a
postindustrial civil society.

However, the maturity of the state- building nation and national state is
the necessary prerequisite for the success of such transformational

Citizens are categorized by their political persuasions as conservatives,
liberals, socialists, and communists. In countries with an unresolved
national question, the spectrum of parties includes nationalists – or “pure
ones” – those whose political orientation is specified (national democrats,
national socialists, etc.).

As long as nationalists restrict themselves to appeals to take good care of
their own nation, they constitute no threat to the surrounding world. If
they wish their nation “the best as well as happiness” by oppression,
physical destruction, or forcible changes in the mentality of people of
other nationalities, they should be described as dangerous even for their
own country.

The nation-building process in Ukraine, as elsewhere in Eastern Europe,
began 100-150 years later than in Western Europe. Nevertheless, the
Ukrainian ethnic nation, with its 1,000-year-old history of existing in
different forms, was created. Its formation was not impeded even by the
border between the Russian empire and Austro-Hungary.

However, the formation of the nation in imperial conditions left an impact
on its qualitative parameters. The specific weight of the intellectual and
economic elite among Ukrainians was low.

The Soviet period of the nation-building process cannot be assessed
narrowly. The Bolsheviks recognized the existence of the national republics
and allowed them some space to develop, including through declarative
constitutional guarantees of secession from the union state, in the
conditions of the dictatorship.

The Ukrainian SSR united most of the Ukrainian ethnic territories and became
an economically and culturally advanced republic, and founding member of the
United Nations. At the same time, it was in the epicenter of the Stalinist
terror, which was aimed at forestalling all attempts to achieve sovereignty
for the largest national republic.

As directed by the ruling party leadership, the nations of the USSR were
arrayed in a multistepped hierarchy. The Russians occupied the highest rung,
followed by the representatives of the nations after which the various union
republics were named.

The concept of titular nation emerged in this connection. In third place
were the peoples of the national autonomies within the union republics.
Fourth place was relegated to “non-titular” nations, who did not have their
own union or autonomous republics.

Therefore, the Soviet Union was built on the dangerous foundations of
ethnocratism, which asserted the inequality of citizens according to
national determinants.

Those who believe that we started our life in 1991 on a fresh page are
wrong. We are still captives of our past, including the sphere of national
interrelations. We did not have bloody international conflicts, although in
other republics this indubitable consequence of Lenin’s “nationalities
policy” manifested itself in dramatic and tragic forms. Still, our society
cannot be described as a civic one.

A political nation without problems is formed only in a prosperous country.
Migrants strive to assert themselves in the new environment, so they master
the language of the host country, become its citizens, and adopt its
national interests as their own. At the same time, they can preserve their
language, culture, and religion. Legislation on national minorities
guarantees their rights.

In Ukraine the situation is completely different. Ethnocratic principles
have long since ceased to exist, because they were unnatural and could
exist only in the force field of dictatorship.

However, people who spent a significant part of their lives in the Soviet
Union still remember their former status as representatives of their
nationality, and for many this causes a degree of psychological discomfort.

For a long time, the problem analyzed here was an abstract one, until it
surfaced during the confrontation between the west, center and east, and
south in the 2004 presidential elections and the 2006 parliamentary
elections. We regarded this problem from the point of view of a
confrontation of political elites, which has a right to exist.

However, politicians are only exploiting objective circumstances
(consciously or subconsciously), so let us try to analyze these

How was the Russians’ top place implemented in the Soviet hierarchy
of nationalities? Before we attempt to answer this question, several
qualifications are in order.

One must immediately discard the claim of Ukrainians’ colonial status in the
Soviet empire, the differing mentalities of Ukrainians and Russians, etc.
The Soviet Union was an empire, of course, but it was different from
traditional or colonial ones. It is true that the Kremlin preferred Russians
because they were the numerically largest nation in the empire.

However, the Kremlin “internationalists” had no favorite nations and loved
only themselves and their posts. In creating political conveniences for
people of a certain nationality, they were only concerned with strengthening
their power and not with the well-being and happiness of the chosen people.

The Soviet government, despite its undoubted populist nature (as a result of
rootedness in the masses) did not depend on the will of the electorate.
Therefore, people of a nationality were not responsible for the activities
of the totalitarian Kremlin regime.

If we analyze the situation of Russians in the Soviet Union (allowing for
the above-mentioned reservations) we are instantly struck by their
institutional inequality in comparison with the citizens of other national

Despite the fact that the republican Communist Party-Soviet centers were
merely territorial branches of the central union center, the Kremlin decided
that setting up a full-fledged center of the Russian Federation was

The Soviet republics could not exist without a capital city, so a purely
symbolic center was created in Moscow: the Council of People’s Commissars of
the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (Sovnarkom of the RSFSR),
which supervised minor enterprises and agencies.

Large enterprises and all other branches of the Soviet economy on the
territory of Russia were subordinated directly to the Sovnarkom of the USSR.
There was no party center, and local party committees were subordinated to
the CC CPSU. The Bureau of the CC CPSU for the RSFSR was instituted after
the 20th Communist Party Congress, yet it too enjoyed only symbolic rights.
In other words, what we know as Russian statehood was imperial rather than

After Mikhail Gorbachev’s constitutional reform Soviet organs became
independent of party committees. As a result, Gorbachev found himself
unexpectedly confronted in Moscow by competition from the Russian center of
power headed by Boris Yeltsin.

Yeltsin showed how the union republics could use the previously inactive
provisions of the Soviet constitutions to achieve sovereignty. The republics
were quick to follow his example, and the Soviet Union collapsed.

The collapse of the USSR was a natural phenomenon. The fall of the communist
socioeconomic order was also inevitable. After putting an end to mass terror
in the early 1950s, the Soviet government was gripped by a systemic crisis
that sooner or later would result in the collapse of all its structures.
This double collapse, however, took the last Soviet generation completely by

We often underline the fact that 90 percent of the Ukrainian population
voted for independence during the nationwide referendum. But it was held
after the Moscow putsch of political leaders whose goal was to destroy all
of the gains of democratization and to return our society to Brezhnev’s
hateful times. Under different conditions the results of that referendum
could have been less defined.

The fall of the USSR and the Soviet order are different phenomena. However,
in the consciousness of most citizens they merge into one because they
occurred at the same time. As a result, people replied differently to two
essentially identical questions asked by the Ukrainian National Academy’s
Institute of Social Studies in 2004.

When they were asked “What is your attitude to the collapse of the USSR in
1991?”, only 20.1 percent of respondents gave a positive answer; 66.1
percent were indifferent or had a negative attitude to this historic event,
i.e., two-thirds of all respondents.

In response to the differently formulated question “What is your attitude to
Ukrainian independence proclaimed in 1991?” 43.7 percent gave a positive
answer, while 35.9 percent, or nearly one-third of respondents, were
indifferent or disapproved.

A comparison of both formulations indicates that people had something else
on their minds when they were replying to both questions. It is not
difficult to ascertain the reasons for their disappointment in their
government. They were becoming aloof from it because it was dominated by
oligarchs and corrupt bureaucrats.

The category of “titular” and “nontitular” nations was connected to the
ethnocratism in the structure of the Soviet Union. In fact, these are two
hypostases of one and the same category. The collapse of the union state led
to the disappearance of ethnocratism and, accordingly, to “titular” nations.

In each of the post-Soviet states emerged a two-tiered national structure
made up of the former “titular” ethnic nation, as the center of
crystallization of the future political nation, and national
minorities-ethnic material alien to this crystallization process. The
Russians found themselves in the most uncomfortable situation because they
had been the state-building nation during the existence of the USSR; in
other words, they had felt at home in each union republic.

Today those living outside the Russian Federation have found themselves in
the unusual role of ethnic minority. The only exceptions are Kazakhstan and
Ukraine where, owing to their large numbers and/or degree of Russification
of the native population, Russians do not regard themselves as a minority
and in fact are not one.

There are quite a few people in Ukraine who are determined to treat Russians
as an ethnic minority. However, objective statistics show that the Ukrainian
and Russian population of Ukraine can be categorized into three more or less
numerically similar linguistic-ethnic groups: Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians,
Russian-speaking Ukrainians, and Russian-speaking Russians. Logically there
should be a fourth group: Ukrainian-speaking Russians. These people do
exist, but they are numerically insignificant compared to the other groups.

This division of the bulk of Ukrainian society (excluding national
minorities) into linguistic-ethnic groups is more or less clearly observed
in the answers offered to questions posed by the personnel of the Institute
of Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, who have
been monitoring social changes since 1994.

These polls show that the share of Ukrainian citizens communicating mostly
in Ukrainian within their families increased from 36.7 percent in 1994 to
41.8 percent in 2005, while the number of those using mostly Russian
increased from 32.4 to 36.2 percent accordingly.

The number of people who use Ukrainian or Russian, depending on the
circumstances, dropped from 29.4 percent to 21.6. The number of people who
use other languages in their families or who declined to answer decreased
from 1.5 percent to 0.2.

The latter two figures are provided in order to illustrate the overall
dynamic. The linguistic situation among representatives of national
minorities can be determined only by conducting surveys in their milieu.

The number of Ukrainian-speaking families has increased by five points and
that of Russian-speaking ones by four points. The increment is largely due
to those whose linguistic status within the family is undetermined. Changes
in the language sphere tend to be slow as a rule. These active and rather
controversial dynamics allow one to arrive at two important conclusions.

First, in Soviet times Ukrainians in cities where Russian was dominant (it
was dominant everywhere except in the western oblasts) often switched to the
foreign language in their families so that they could feel more comfortable
outside their families. This inferiority complex is gradually disappearing
in independent Ukraine.

Second, non-Ukrainian citizens of Ukraine feel no discomfort in the language
domain because the number of those who choose Russian as the language of
family communication is increasing.

One cannot draw conclusions about the nature of the processes connected
with the formation of a political nation by relying on the dynamic of
linguistic-ethnic self-identification. The emergence of a unified community
of people joined by citizenship does not harm national identity. At the same
time, a comparison of the population’s linguistic-ethnic self-identification
and national-spatial self-identification allows one to assess the civic
maturity of Ukrainian society (see Table 1)

We see that few members of our society regard themselves as representatives
of their ethnos or, conversely, as cosmopolitans. These opposing stages of
national-spatial self-identification, according to their historical dynamic,
are equally uncharacteristic of both Ukrainians and Russians living in

In the postwar Soviet Union persecuted Jews, who considered themselves above
all representatives of their own nation, were branded as cosmopolitans. But
at the time this term carried out masking functions to conceal state

Among those who still regard themselves as citizens of the Soviet Union
there are few Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians but many Russian-speaking
Ukrainians and especially Russian-speaking Russians. These people cannot be
regarded as individuals with an exclusively imperialist mentality. Most of
them are probably people who are nostalgic for their quiet, safe life, even
if it was the bare minimum.

The large percentage of people in all linguistic-ethnic groups, who do not
regard themselves as citizens of Ukraine, is striking. For Ukrainians this
may be explained by their cooling attitude to the social parameters of
national statehood whose construction began in 1991. Two-thirds of
Russian-speaking Russians who live in Ukraine are still gravitating toward

In response to this, the leadership of the Russian Federation has begun to
pay serious attention to the needs and moods of their countrymen
(nonresidents of the RF) in the CIS countries. The main conclusion of this
comparison of national-spatial self-identification and linguistic-ethnic
self-identification is disheartening: Ukrainian society is only at the
initial stage of forming a political nation.

In the event of a negative development of socioeconomic processes,
increasing numbers of Ukrainian citizens will end up in Russia’s sphere of
gravitation, and the consequences will be tragic for national statehood.

PART II ———–


Earlier I mentioned that the collapse of the USSR and the Soviet system were
different phenomena, but in the public’s mind they merged into one. This
thesis should be developed by stressing not the differences but the common
features of these phenomena, namely the collapse of a civilization based on
a doctrinal rejection of private ownership.

A socioeconomic order is a category that is directly linked to a population,
a people, and a nation. The state is a category linked primarily to the
political elite. Therefore, let us examine the evolution of the Ukrainian
political elite.

In an attempt to free their mentality of Marxist-Leninist postulates, our
intellectual elite jumped at the idea of a civilized approach proposed by
the British historian Arnold J. Toynbee. Ukrainian history started being
depicted as a battlefield between the Western and Eurasian civilizations,
and Catholic and Eastern Orthodox religious world views.

But to a decisive degree only the recent past influences contemporary
political, socioeconomic, and cultural processes. Not coincidentally, the
countries of Central and Eastern Europe are referred to as postcommunist or
post-Soviet ones.

Ukraine should also be described as a postgenocidal country. For several
decades the politically active segment of Ukrainian society, its
intellectual potential, was destroyed in a systematic and deliberate

In 1932-1934 Stalin broke the backbone of the freedom- loving Ukrainian
peasantry and the national intelligentsia that had emerged from the peasant
milieu, and in 1937 he made special efforts to destroy the entire Politburo
of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine
during the mass terror.

The Bolshevik party was building a “bright future” for Soviet citizens under
the slogan of liquidating private ownership of the means of production.

Communist Party committees were created according to the principle of
“democratic centralism,” with the result that all power over society, the
state, and the party was in the hands of a “chosen few,” namely the
Politburo of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party
(Bolsheviks)/All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)/CPSU.

Under these circumstances, nationalized (socialized) ownership of the means
of production remained private but concentrated in the hands of several
people, who ruled the state party.

As Soviet propagandists declared, the building of communism was supposed to
secure the distribution of material and cultural benefits among the members
of society in accordance with their needs. Since the state could satisfy
only minimal, survival, needs, communist construction was carried out under
the guise of building the socioeconomic foundations of socialism.

The political dictatorship instituted by the Bolsheviks in the first months
after the October coup was initially maintained only through terror. The
creation (also by means of terror) of the political dictatorship’s
socioeconomic foundations made every citizen materially dependent on the

This multinational union state was ruled by the Soviet Communist Party
nomenklatura, later identified by the Soviet emigre Mikhail Voslensky as a
new privileged class. In actuality, this clan (not class) of leaders had
absolute control over its subordinates, yet was totally without rights
vis-a-vis their superiors.

The nomenklatura clan was a nervous system created by the Bolsheviks as a
state-commune, and it exercised rigid control over all civic-political and
trade union organizations that were also built according to the principle of
“democratic centralism”.

But it was not a carrier but the leader of the dictatorship implemented by
the party’s leaders; and from 1929 to 1953-by Stalin personally. After
Stalin’s death the systematic execution of leading cadres ended, but the
institutional situation of the Communist Party nomenklatura did not change.
Like before, its boundless control over society was connected to positions.

Deprived of his position, an individual lost everything and became marginal.
One should not be surprised that the nomenklatura shed few tears over the
collapse of the Soviet system. For them, maintaining power was the main
thing. After the disappearance of the CPSU leadership’s dictatorship this
power had been acquiring new, even more attractive, content.

The totalitarian construction of power burned through the social environment
of Ukraine. There were no tangible manifestations of pre-Soviet
socioeconomic and political structures left in the republic. What was left
was a sense of national separateness that united the society atomized by

Despite fundamental regional distinctions, Ukrainian citizens continued to
identify themselves as a single nation and displayed an unwavering will to
make their republic sovereign. The Kremlin-bred Soviet Communist-Party
nomenklatura understood this. It turned to its nation only when Mikhail
Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin began fighting for power in Moscow.

In the early 1990s a revolution was brewing in this country oversaturated
with radios, TVs, and a developed network of newspapers. Thanks to the
modern mass media, the people became direct participants in political

Under these circumstances public thought became a weightier factor for the
representatives of the political system than the order in which they had
been raised. This was manifested most vividly in the Supreme Soviet of the
Ukrainian SSR, when it adopted the Declaration of National Sovereignty of
Ukraine. The impellent forces of the national revolution in Ukraine were
formed in the course of revolutionary events.

This revolution quickly involved so-called informal organizations united by
the Popular Movement (Rukh) of Ukraine. At the same time, millions of
citizens, representing every nationality, who were working in various union
structures, adopted an unambiguous stand.

Most of the members of the Communist Party of Ukraine supported the idea
of the republic’s sovereignty – and of their party. This fact could not have
been ignored by the Soviet Communist Party nomenklatura, people who had
been tested during the first free elections to the Supreme Soviet of the
Ukrainian SSR and local soviets in 1990, and who had retained power.

In the Supreme Soviet they were opposed by the National Council, which
consisted mostly of members of Rukh. However, they could only submit
proposals, which the majority of Soviet Communist Party deputies either
approved or rejected.

This majority acted quickly and decisively in the stormy atmosphere
following the debacle of the Moscow coup in August 19-23, 1991. On August
24, acting jointly with the opposition at an extraordinary session of the
Supreme Soviet, they voted in favor of independence for Ukraine and the
departization of all state organs, institutions, organizations, as well as
the army and law enforcement agencies.

The government was instructed to arrange the transfer to Ukrainian ownership
of former union enterprises, introduce a national currency, and secure its

On August 25 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, represented mostly by the
Soviet Communist Party nomenklatura, adopted a decree on the nationalization
of the property of the CPU and the CPSU on the territory of the republic. On
August 30, the decree “On the Prohibition of the Activity of the Communist
Party of Ukraine” was adopted. Can we assume that the nomenklatura was
acting against its own interests?

On the contrary! It had become dangerous for the Soviet nomenklatura to
remain members of a party that was no longer yielding any dividends because
it had lost its official status. The political elite occupied Soviet seats,
including those in the Supreme Rada, which gave them real power. Therefore,
they easily disowned their colleagues, who had been too slow to reorient
themselves and continued to occupy important posts in Communist Party

The political elite was inexperienced because it had always been taught to
act on orders from the union center. It implemented market transformations
by blindly copying decisions made in Russia or countries with an advanced
market economy. As a rule, bills passed by the Ukrainian parliament, as
recommended by Western experts, were cut off from reality.

The discrepancy between the new legislation and economic practice resulted
in the weakening of the state’s influence on economic progress. Thus were
laid the foundations of the criminalization of Ukraine’s economy.

The nonparty-affiliated status of the post-Soviet elite was the result of
the ban on the CPSU and the low popularity of political parties. The “party
of power” now consisted only of those former nomenklatura members who
had been filtered through the elections.

They had no serious rivals. Those who tried to push party functionaries out
by adopting anticommunist slogans mostly failed. The qualifications of such
rally politicians were low.


An entire spectrum of leftist, rightist, and centrist political parties
formed in the mid-1990s. Inter-party squabbles were intensifying, even
though half of the party leaders were former CPSU members. The multiparty
system existed in and of itself, at a certain distance from both the bulk of
the population and the power structures.

Which party was in power or in the opposition was anyone’s guess.
Nevertheless, conditions emerged for a structuring of political life.
Society was becoming less atomized, i.e., disunited on the personal level.

The inability or unwillingness of Ukrainian lawmakers to develop transparent
heavy plans to privative large industries did not stop this process.
Privatization followed a pattern that was most disadvantageous to the bulk
of the population, according to which unlawful and uncontrollable
clannish-monopolistic alliances emerged.

By taking advantage of their connections with representatives of the
executive and legislative authorities, they secured themselves super-profits
and inflicted tremendous losses on the central budget.

During 1991-1993 only 3,600 enterprises and organizations, mostly small
businesses, were transferred to private (and cooperative) ownership. The
privatization campaign, supervised by Leonid Kuchma’s Presidential
Administration acting hand in glove with the legislative branch, introduced
crucial changes in the Ukrainian economy.

In late 2001 the number of state-owned entities on the Single State Register
of Enterprises and Organizations of Ukraine read as follows: 2,808 out of
97,637 in industry, and 1,772 out of 53,530 in construction.

Those who had a talent for business and contacts in high places became
owners of denationalized property. Members of the nomenklatura, together
with Soviet “shadow” businessmen, enterprising Komsomol members, semilegal
co-operative operators from the perestroika era, and leaders of criminal
structures swarmed around state property, grabbing the best pieces of the

The lengthy absence of laws and regulatory procedures in the privatization
sphere was not coincidental; they would interfere with the process that
became popularly known as prykhvatyzatsia (grabitization).

A significant part of the national economy was distributed among a handful
of oligarchs. Powerful financial-industrial groups (PFGs) uniting
technologically interrelated enterprises and cooperating banks emerged.

In assessing the results of market reforms that were launched in 1994, it
should be remembered that no one could have proposed a rational approach
to privatizing factories and plants that had been state property for three

In a similar fashion, only the powerful PFGs connected with the state and
formed on the basis of a supermonopolized and noncompetitive economy
stood a chance of reaching the world market.

However, the fact remains that the monopolistic associations assured
themselves super-profits thanks to their growth with the representatives of
executive and legislative authorities.

Similar processes were taking place in the Russian Federation. Striving to
keep the post-Soviet countries under control, Yeltsin made sure they would
keep receiving energy supplies from the RF at prices lower than those on the
world market. The patterns of industrial links between Western Siberia and
the Donetsk-Prydniprovia economic region remained approximately the same as
in Soviet times.

Supplied with cheap gas, the owners of metallurgical enterprises sought to
devalue their products and could offer them at prices acceptable to foreign
market consumers.

Whereas in the early 1990s the Soviet Communist Party elite wanted to
distance itself from Russia by ideological barriers in the form of the state
symbols of the Ukrainian National Republic, in the early 2000s an alliance
started taking shape between Russian state institutions that controlled
economic life in their country and Ukrainian oligarchs, who remained
interested in steady and cheap energy supplies.

The Swedish-American professor, Anders Aslund, who studies market reforms in
Russia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, has described the Ukrainian postcommunist
regime as “a rent seekers’ state.” He considers rent in the specific
postcommunist meaning of this term to be income that was many times higher
than revenues from entrepreneurship in a competitive environment.

Members of the “party of power” had mostly built their fortunes via large
enterprises that became their property or their relatives’ and purchased at
token prices in return for “assistance” in entrepreneurial or political
activity with hard currency.

Are any specific political figures or the whole political elite responsible
for the situation that developed in Ukraine at the beginning of the new
century? There is no longer any room for doubt. On the debris of a
sociopolitical order that self-destructed they built a structure to which
Aslund has applied that unattractive term.

But one should not demand from these kinds of people something that they are
inherently incapable of accomplishing. They cared for their own interests,
and in its atomized state, society was incapable of impeding them.

Gradually, however, economic and political structures were formed in
Ukrainian society, which were capable of loudly declaring their interests.

A conflict between the “party of power” embodying the communist past and
society undergoing a process of self-organization was inevitable under these
circumstances. The Ukrainian people prevented the emergence of a horrible
mutant, communist feudalism with a capitalist face.

Not everyone considers the social cataclysm linked to the 2004 presidential
elections as a revolutionary event. We are accustomed to understanding the
notion of a “true” revolution as one that is accompanied by civil wars and
bloodshed on a large scale. During those months, however, we experienced a
cataclysm that changed all of us, not just the leadership.

In the early 21st century, as a result of the process of society’s
self-organization, changes in the “party of power” became apparent. These
changes lacked institutional or personalized clarity.

The leader of an anticommunist party or a so- called oligarch could be close
one day to the center of power and stand on one side of the barricade, yet
emerge the next day from the presidential milieu and cross over to the other
side. These moves were and still are part of the overall transformation of

The new alignment of political forces on the eve of the parliamentary
elections in 2002 and 2004 was proof of the birth of a civic society.
Differences among the leftist parties had undergone a qualitative change;
for the first time communists and socialists found themselves on the
opposite sides of the barricade.

Differences within the ruling party had also undergone changes; for the
first time it was divided into those who were pushing Ukraine to an opposite
path with the aid of slogans calling for a return to Europe, and those who
linked their political future to the consolidation of democracy. During the
parliamentary elections in 2002 the PFGs were divided into two camps.

Monopolistic alliances that controlled heavy industry and had set up
powerful banks were the same kind of elements of society’s self-organization
as rightist parties, independent trade unions, and all the other “informal”
structures (to use a term from the late 1980s).

In terms of the speed and effectiveness of self-organization they were
naturally ahead of other structures of society that could restrict their
hypertrophied claims to ownership and power.

Striving to assert this status, the oligarchs began to set up their own
political parties capable of fitting into the constitutional system and
protecting their interests within state bodies.

Pavlo Lazarenko was the first to embark on this road; within a few months he
had created the regional bloc “Hromada” and succeeded in surmounting the
four-percent barrier during the 1998 parliamentary elections.

The self-organization of the PFGs developed at various speeds. The
Dnipropetrovsk clan was the first to be formed, and its members had personal
connections with the centers of power in Moscow and Kyiv, dating to the
Soviet period.

Later, the Donetsk clan grew stronger, developing on the same industrial
base. The Donetsk-Prydniprovia economic region, formed as a result of three
consecutive phases of development (in the pre-revolutionary empire, during
the first five-year plans, and during the 1950s- 1960s) was one of the most
powerful in Europe.

In the 1990s it saved Ukraine’s economy from collapse by earning hard
currency through the sale of heavy industry’s semifinished products. The
clans were saving their own regions and the whole country, but above all
they cared for their own interests.

After assuming power, the electoral bloc “For a United Ukraine” fell apart
into its various components. The electoral bloc “Our Ukraine”, after winning
the elections (a victory that would later turn into a failure) rallied
organizationally around Viktor Yushchenko.

Their failure is explained by the fact that, according to the 1996
Constitution of Ukraine, the highest post was that of president. Meanwhile,
Our Ukraine was in opposition to the president of Ukraine.

The further unification of the Yushchenko bloc and the strengthening of
links with other Kuchma opponents were the necessary prerequisite for a
possible success in the 2004 presidential elections.

The opposition of political forces in conjunction with the presidential
elections almost instantly merged into a confrontation linked to the
parliamentary elections of 2006. The subjects of the new confrontation were
complicated by the entirely predictable breakup of the Orange coalition
“Power of the People.”

This bloc fell apart in the same natural way as “For a Single Ukraine!”
which was formed to compete in the 2002 parliamentary elections. Those who
experience defeat unite, hoping for a return match. Those who win cannot
distribute the fruits of victory among themselves.

Optimism may be derived from the fact that after the Orange Revolution, the
representatives of the political elite have learned how to ask for
government posts from ordinary citizens, who cannot control them on a daily
basis owing to the absence of advanced civic institutions, but who have the
sovereign right to have their say during elections.

With every passing year this society, atomized by communism, is becoming
increasingly diversified in terms of parameters. Nor is it surprising that
during the collapse of the Soviet system the former Soviet Communist Party
nomenklatura seized control over this society.

However, it is natural that in the absence of dictatorship it is ultimately
society that wins the contest with the state, embodied in the “party of

All bureaucrats-those who are first red, then blue-and-yellow, then orange
and white-blue, and any other possible color – should work not with the
population, which is expecting benefits from them, but with citizens, who
know that they are the ones who sustain them through taxes.


I must mention here a TV program that stirred up so much comment in the
Ukrainian press. This was an appearance by Russian State Duma Vice-
Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky on the ICTV channel on the eve of the 2006
parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

What struck me was not his predictable freakish style but the response to it
from Klara Gudzyk, a talented Den/The Day journalist. “Zhirinovsky’s
appearance on the talk show made a lasting impression on our country.

It emphasized again that Russians and Ukrainians are such different people
with such dissimilar mentalities that they should not live in a shared
apartment. It is better to move quietly apart, so that if necessary, we can
shut the door tight against all kinds of Zhirinovskys” (Den, March 24,

This message is basically wrong. Firstly, one should not jump from
Zhirinovsky to Russians and Ukrainians: this kind of generalization is
groundless. Secondly, “quietly moving apart” will not work.

We can, of course, deny Zhirinovsky entry into Ukraine, although this would
only do him too much honor. But we cannot abandon a shared apartment or move
out of the room in which we all live on 603,000 square kilometers. The heart
of the matter is not the attitudes of certain Russian politicians, who wish
to seize these square kilometers, but, above all, our own.

Ukrainian citizens should grasp the essence of the “Russian question” that
arose in Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR. By ignoring it, our
political elite cannot properly address the following multifaceted problem:
what attitude should we adopt to the Russian Federation and to Russia inside

We pretend that these are two different questions and disregard the
sentiments of millions of people, which can be figuratively called inner
Russia. This may raise the danger of a union between “inner Russia” and the
Russian Federation in a crisis situation. In that case we may cease to exist
as a people distinct from the Russians and as a country independent of

We are “doomed” to cooperating with the Russian Federation, but this should
be done on the principle of equality. It is no good reiterating that Ukraine
is not Russia while at the same time quietly consuming cheap Russian energy

Too many people in both states are convinced that Ukraine is still part of
Russia. When politicians begin to use this conviction in an attempt to win
or strengthen power, they run the risk of sitting on a powder keg.

Russia should not be accused of being dangerous to us. The conditions that
made a considerable proportion of Ukrainians think that the prospect of
being absorbed by Russia is not a tragedy have been forming for long

The same historical conditions instilled a firm conviction in many Russians
that we do not exist as a self-sufficient nation. The “Russian question”
must be reconsidered and resolved.

It would be equally wrong to blame Russia for the woes that befell Ukraine
in the 20 th century. Like citizens of Soviet Ukraine, Russian citizens are
not responsible for what the Kremlin did because they could not influence
the totalitarian government, either.

Time does not wait. Ukraine must develop dynamically to defend its right to
exist outside of Russia’s borders. The outside world must understand that
the vast majority of this country’s population regards absorption within
Russia as a tragic and undesirable prospect.

The Russian Federation long ago exited from the crisis caused by the
collapse of the Soviet system. President Vladimir Putin declared that the
fall of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the

The Kremlin wants to restore control over the post- Soviet space and give
Russia a place that corresponds to its nuclear potential and raw-material

In its relationship with “inner Russia,” the Ukrainian state should display
understanding, tolerance, and restraint. The Russians should not be treated
as a national minority that came to settle on the land of ethnic Ukrainians.

About a half of Ukraine’s present-day territory (excluding the western
regions with their different historical destiny) was once colonized jointly
with the Russians in the wake of the Russian Empire’s conquests during and
after the 17th century.

The Ukrainian Central Rada succeeded in drawing the borders of the Ukrainian
National Republic (UNR) on an ethnographic basis, and the Bolsheviks also
recognized them, albeit not immediately, as the borders of Soviet Ukraine.

Bilingualism in Ukraine is a problem that requires special attention. When
the Ukrainian Institute of Sociology asked the question “Do you think it
necessary to grant Russian the status of an official language in Ukraine?”,
52 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative in 1995 and 48.6
percent in 2005, while a negative answer came from 32.6 and 34.4 percent,

Out of all respondents, 15.3 percent were unsure in 1995 and 16.8 percent in
2005. Therefore, society is increasingly inclined to accept Russian as an
official language.

When addressing this problem, one should have a clear picture of what
bilingualism in Ukraine is. It would be wrong to claim that the entire
population of Ukraine has a command of the two languages. In fact, you will
not find a Ukrainian who does not speak Russian.

On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of ethnic Russians do not know
Ukrainian. This results from the fact that in the Soviet Union the Russian
language was the medium of interethnic communication. If an individual knew
Russian, s/he did not feel it necessary to master local languages.

Our duty is to create comfortable conditions for non-speakers of Ukrainian
to exist in a Ukrainian- language environment. One must still remember that,
in spite of all concessions, the introduction of Russian as a second
official language will immediately thwart attempts to form the Ukrainian
political nation.

To make this conclusion convincing for everyone without exception, citizens
of Ukraine, we must look at the problem through the eyes of Russian
nationalists. Between Feb. 20 and March 7, i.e., on the eve of the
parliamentary elections in Ukraine, the Internet portal carried a
colossal (five quires) propagandistic opus entitled “Ukrainian Matrix:
Overloading” by Aleksei Orlov.

Orlov cannot see Ukraine or the Ukrainian people under his very nose. After
perusing Ukrainian history school textbooks, he exclaims in an emotional
outburst, “In our age of electronic media, before everybody’s eyes, an
unbelievable history of an entire ‘country’ is being concocted.

This history has a direct bearing on the interests of Russia and really
takes your breath away: they are not writing a history of ‘Ukraine’ but are
butchering and rewriting our history, the history of Russia and Russians as
a great ethnos.

All that has occurred in the past on the territory of present-day Ukraine is
being automatically declared as ‘Ukrainian’ history. Caution: the largest
ever project! ‘Ukraine’ has declared itself the successor of Ancient Rus’,
i.e., it has in fact robbed Russia of her history!”

The idea that the past of every republic, region, or city belongs to the
indigenous population is so simple and logical that any other opinion on
this matter seems unnatural. In Soviet times, the Kremlin quite ably
camouflaged this “inconvenient” idea with the claim about the common
historical origin of the three Eastern Slavic peoples.

In other words, the problem came to be regarded from a different angle. But
today’s Russian nationalists do not wish to share the historical legacy. It
was quite easy to advocate this view before the 1917 revolution, when
Ukraine was just a combination of nine mostly Ukrainian-populated provinces
of European Russia. But now the times are different.

What are the Russian nationalists counting on now? Orlov says, “The return
of Ukraine into the fold of Russia requires Herculean efforts that must
involve Russia, on the one hand, and Russians in Ukraine, on the other. This
work needs a comprehensive program of actions.”

Orlov’s booklet offers a program. Without going into detail, I will name the
main points: education, missionary work, more intense research, propaganda
of Russian culture, repelling information attacks, giving Ukrainian citizens
access to Russian television, supporting compatriots (ethnic Russians in
Ukraine), and supporting the Russian Orthodox Church.

It is necessary “to openly publicize the goal of “Russia’s Ukrainian
 policy:” uniting Russia and Ukraine, i.e., reuniting the historically
common lands and the divided nation.”

Orlov admits that we may not like this. What is to done in this case? Here
is his answer: “Beat with the ruble. Pursue an extremely tough economic

policy towards present-day Ukraine. No concessions, no exemptions.
Pure pragmatism, by no means confined to immediate monetary profit
and intended for a long-term political prospect.”

The point “Beat with the ruble” answers the question of whether it was an
accident that this program appeared on the very eve of the Verkhovna Rada

Here it is: “In purchasing Ukrainian goods, we are in fact sponsoring
Ukrainian separatism. Why not impose prohibitive duties on Ukrainian goods
and pass something like the US Jackson-Vanik amendment? We must also
make a strenuous effort to explain to the population of Ukraine that we are
struggling against the anti-people government, not against the people, that
the election of other rulers in the imminent elections will not only be a
correct step from the viewpoint of the Russian people’s history and common
human justice but will also be of concrete and tangible benefit to each

It is the government of Russia that should implement the aforesaid program
items. Yet, according to Orlov, the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine
should also care about “the restoration of Russian unity.” The main thing is
to organize a referendum on the status of the Russian language.

“The status of Russian as a second official language all over present-day
Ukraine is a crucial question in the struggle between Western and Russian
civilizations for Little Russia. Granting this status will immediately
thwart the efforts to force the populace to learn the ‘mova’ (Ukrainian
language – Ed.).

The overwhelming majority of the citizens of today’s Ukraine speaks and
thinks in Russian, which most convincingly proves that they are part of the
Russian nation.”

Why were these undisguised utterances made just on the eve of the elections?
Fifteen years of living without a dictatorship is too short a period for
society to be able to dictate to the state about how to bring order in the
country. It takes longer spans of time for a civil society to mature.

For this reason, the constitutional dependence of political figures on
society can only be put into practice during an election. So the election
becomes a moment of truth, when the public voice gains strength. This is the
time that Ukrainian and foreign politicians make desperate efforts to
manipulate the will of voters.

The manipulators can expect success. It is no secret that in Ukraine, like
in other ex-Soviet republics, millions of socially disadvantaged people feel
nostalgic for the Soviet era. They do not regard the horrible
Leninist-Stalinist terror as part of their own lives.

The repressions bypassed them (except for the population of the western
regions), and in the early 1950s the government put an end to mass-scale
terror altogether. This made the Soviet state unstable, and, to retain its
power, it had to enlist public support by showing genuine care about the
people’s well-being.

In addition, millions of people, including those who achieved success in
post-Soviet times, are also feeling nostalgic for imperial grandeur. There
are many more people of this kind in Russia, but they are not so few in
Ukraine. Many representatives of the Russian political elite take into
account the feelings and views of these people.

Reviving Russia’s might has been the official course of its leadership since
2000. For various reasons, this course should not look like a policy of
restoring the empire. This is why Russian nationalists are on the rise now.

Nationalist propaganda is convenient because it removes the problem of the
direct subordination of other CIS states to the Russian Federation.
Nationalists stubbornly refuse to see Ukraine and Belarus as independent
states. They look upon Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians as one and the
same nation.

In their propaganda they have replaced the goal of restoring the empire with
the problem of reuniting the single Russian ethnos that was disunited after
the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Finally, one must underline the differences in the historical experience of
the older generation that still remembers the postwar years. Mass-scale
repressions were carried out in Ukraine’s western regions only.

Residents of central and eastern Ukraine, as well as the Russian population,
did not see all the horrors of Stalinist terror, while the members of the
previous generation, who are no longer alive, failed to hand down their life
experiences to their children.

These children, and their children, were educated in a school system that
was unable to paint a true picture of the Soviet system, which on the one
hand was very populist, and on the other, painstakingly carried out the evil
will of the dictator.

As a result, the residents of the southern and eastern regions do not accept
the evaluations in school textbooks, which are borrowed from the Ukrainian
Diaspora and Western historiography.

It should be admitted that these appraisals are often based on pure emotions
rather than scholastic assessment. For example, it is wrong to claim that
the Soviet Army occupied Ukraine, when it was liberating the latter from the
German, Romanian, and Hungarian invaders in 1943-1944.

The historical memory of Ukrainian citizens is an important element of state
building. So the state should make special efforts to enable the current
generation of Ukrainian citizens to know their unembellished national
history.                                                     -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                               Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine

Dr. Marko R. Stech, Project Manager
Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Newsletter, Oct 2006

The oldest recorded names used for the Ukrainians are Rusyny, Rusychi,
and Rusy (from Rus’). In the 10th to 12th centuries those names applied
only to the Slavic inhabitants of what is today the national and ethnic
territory of Ukraine, but later a similar designation was adopted by the
proto-Russian inhabitants of the northeastern principalities of Kyivan

The modern name Ukraintsi (Ukrainians) is derived from Ukraina
(Ukraine), a name first documented in 1187. Until the 19th century the
Ukrainians, with few exceptions, lived on their aboriginal lands. In the
last few decades of the 19th century Ukrainians under Russian rule began
a massive emigration to the Asian regions of the empire, and their
counterparts under Austro-Hungarian rule emigrated to the New World.
Today approximately one-quarter of all Ukrainians in the world live
outside of Ukraine.

Geographically, the Ukrainian language is classified with Russian
and Belarusian as an East Slavic language. Actually, like Slovak, it
occupies a central position: it borders on some West Slavic languages, and
it once bordered on Bulgarian, a South Slavic language… Learn more about
the ethnocultural features of Ukrainians and the history and unique
features of the Ukrainian language by visiting:
or by visiting: and
searching for such entries as:

UKRAINIANS. The East Slavic nation constituting the native population of
Ukraine; the sixth-largest nation in Europe. According to the concept of
nationality dominant in Eastern Europe the Ukrainians are people whose
native language is Ukrainian whether or not they are nationally conscious,
and all those who identify themselves as Ukrainian whether or not they
speak Ukrainian. Attempts to introduce a territorial-political concept of
Ukrainian nationality on the Western European model have been
unsuccessful until the 1990s.

Because territorial loyalty has also been manifested by the historical
national minorities living in Ukraine, the accepted view in Ukraine today
is that all permanent inhabitants of Ukraine are its citizens (ie,
Ukrainians) regardless of their ethnic origins or the language in which they
communicate. The official declaration of Ukrainian sovereignty of 16 July

1990 stated that ‘citizens of the Republic of all nationalities constitute the
people (narod) of Ukraine’.

UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE. The second most widely spoken language of the
12 surviving members of the Slavic group of the large Indo-European language
family. Today Ukrainian borders on Russian in the east and northeast, on
Belarusian in the north, and on Polish, Slovak, and two non-Slavic
languages-Hungarian and Rumanian-in the west. Before the steppes of
southern Ukraine were resettled by the Ukrainians, this was an area of
contact with various Turkic languages, such as Crimean Tatar.

Within its geographic boundaries the Ukrainian language is represented
basically by a set of dialects, some of which differ significantly from the
others. Generally, however, dialectal divisions in Ukrainian are not as
strong as they are, for example, in British English or in German.

STANDARD UKRAINIAN. The standard, or literary, version of the
Ukrainian language evolved through three distinct periods: old (10th-13th
centuries), middle (14th-18th centuries), and modern (19th-20th centuries).
The cardinal changes that occurred were conditioned by changes in the
political and cultural history of Ukraine.

In the 19th century Ukrainian Romantic writers raised the possibility of a
serious, full-fledged literature based on the vernacular, and the
southeastern dialectal base of modern Standard Ukrainian became established.

Taras Shevchenko first met the challenge of forging a synthetic, pan-
Ukrainian literary language encompassing both the historical (eg, the use of
archaisms and Church Slavonicisms) and the geographical dimension (the
use of accessible dialects). The new literary Ukrainian began to be used in
scholarship and publicism in the early 1860s.

 CYRILLIC ALPHABET (kyrylytsia). Slavic system based on the Greek
majuscule script. When, after their expulsion from Moravia in 885, the
disciples of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius settled in Bulgaria, they had
recourse to the Greek alphabet as a replacement for the Glagolitic alphabet
developed by Saint Cyril. The Greek alphabet was adapted to Slavic and
supplemented by letters from the Glagolitic that rendered phonemes lacking
in the Greek language.

The original Cyrillic alphabet had 36 to 38 letters, some of which were used
only, or primarily, in the writing of Greek words. With the expansion of
eastern Christianity, the Cyrillic alphabet spread from Bulgaria to other Slavic
lands. The Cyrillic alphabet (with certain modifications) is still used today in
the Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Serbian writing

DIALECTS. Ukrainian dialects are classified into two basic groups-the
northern (Polisian) and the southern dialects-between which there extends a
wide belt of ‘transitional’ dialects. The northern dialectal group is
subdivided into the east Polisian (east of the Dnieper River), the central
Polisian (between the Dnieper and the Horyn River), the west Polisian
(between the Horyn and the Buh River and Lisna River), and the Podlachian

The southern group of dialects is divided into two subgroups: the
more uniform southeastern dialects (central Dnieper dialects, Slobidska
Ukraine dialects, and steppe dialects) and the southwestern dialects, which
are highly differentiated and include South Volhynian dialects, Podilian
dialects, Dniester dialects, Sian dialects, Bukovyna-Pokutia dialects,
Hutsul dialect, Boiko dialect, Middle-Transcarpathian dialects, and Lemko
The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries about Ukrainians
and the Ukrainian language was made possible by a generous donation from
Professor JOSEPH A. KARNAS of Toronto, ON, Canada, in memory of
his mother KSENA KARNAS.
ABOUT IEU: Once completed, the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine will be
the most comprehensive source of information in English on Ukraine, its
history, people, geography, society, economy, and cultural heritage. With
over 20,000 detailed encyclopedic entries supplemented with thousands of
maps, photographs, illustrations, tables, and other graphic and/or audio
materials, this immense repository of knowledge is designed to present
Ukraine and Ukrainians to the world.

At present, only 10% of the entire planned IEU database is available on the
IEU site. New entries are being edited, updated, and added daily. However,
the successful completion of this ambitious and costly project will be
possible only with the financial aid of the IEU supporters. Become the IEU
supporter ( and help the
CIUS in creating the world’s most authoritative electronic information
resource about Ukraine and Ukrainians!
Dr. Marko R. Stech, Managing Director, CIUS Press
Project Manager, Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine
Project Manager, Hrushevsky Translation Project
Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
University of Toronto, 20 Orde Street, Rm. 124
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1N7, tel: (416) 946-7326; fax: (416) 978-2672,
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