AUR#854 Aug 5 The Richness Of Her Life; Fourth of July In Kyiv; Trypillian Culture; Death of Mary Manko; Was Ukraine Under Soviet Occupation?

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Being in Kyiv in June and early July allows one to experience the
wonderful long days of summer…….dawn begins at 4 a.m. and
the night does not take over until 10:00 pm. Those eighteen long
hours of daylight are now being shortened to seventeen, then to
sixteen and fifteen. The sixteenth anniversary of Ukraine’s new
independence in 1991 will soon be celebrated followed by a
parliamentary election. Days, months, and years are passing which
is good as this allows a new generation of leaders to develop who
will understand the amazing opportunity still before Ukraine to
become a great nation…..leaders who will not be driven almost
totally by their Soviet past, personal power & personal wealth.

Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer

Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

In the second stage of her career, after my sister and I left home,
my mother went back to our family’s roots in Ukraine where she
worked on legal reform for a decade.
By Chrystia Freeland, The Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, July 14 2007

Historical parallels between the US and Ukraine
By Mykola SIRUK, The Day Weekly Digest
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Prepared by Mykola SIRUK, The Day Weekly Digest #23
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Preserving the secrets of the ancient trypillian civilization
By Svitlana BOZHKO, special to The Day
The Day Weekly Digest #22, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 24 July 2007

By Cecil Angel, Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan, Mon, July 17, 2007

By Oksana MYKOLIUK, The Day Weekly Digest #21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 17 July 2007

UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, July 13, 2007

COMMENTARY: By Lubomyr Luciuk, The Kingston Whig-Standard
Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Soviet epoch was a kind of civil war for Ukraine.
COMMENTARY: Ostap Kryvdyk, political scientist, activist
Original article in Ukrainian, translated by Eugene Ivantsov
Ukrayinska Pravda On-line, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 17, 2007

By Prof. Stanislav KULCHYTSKY, historian, professor
Two Parts: The Day Weekly Digest, #20, #21,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 10 & 17 July 2007

ANALYSIS: By Yurii Shapoval, Scholar, Historian
The Day Weekly Digest #18, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 19 June 2007

OP-ED: By Anne Applebaum, Columnist
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, July 24, 2007
In the second stage of her career, after my sister and I left home,
my mother went back to our family’s roots in Ukraine where she
worked on legal reform for a decade.

By Chrystia Freeland, The Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, July 14 2007

Death used to be part of everyday western life. Think of the Victorians and
how even their clothes signalled to society a family’s bereavement. Indeed,
death was so familiar that, if it came at the right moment, it was seen as a
good thing – better, sometimes, than continued life.

Remember Hamlet, who passes up a chance to kill Claudius because he is
at prayer and so might go straight to heaven were he to be dispatched.

Nowadays, our cultural default mode is rather different. As Nora Ephron
writes in her latest essay collection: “Death doesn’t really feel eventual
or inevitable. It still feels . . . avoidable somehow.” Yet, as the baby
boomers age, the opposite approach – facing death, or trying to – seems to
be gaining some social traction.

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s memoir of her husband’s death,
has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 20 weeks and Away from
Her and Evening, two new films about disease and dying, are in the cinemas.

The way we die may be changing, too. In an echo of the natural childbirth
movement, which sought to de-medicalise how we begin our lives, some
American doctors are bringing death back into our homes.

“My impression is that most patients still die in hospital; our goal is to
get them to die at home,” Dr Ronald Blum, director of the Beth Israel Cancer
Center in New York, told me. “Hospitals are terrible places for people at
the end of life to be.”

Dr Blum is the oncologist who treated my mother, Halyna Freeland. She died
last Friday morning, in the Manhattan apartment we have all lived in for the
past year. My mother shared Dr Blum’s bleak view of hospitals.

Spending her last days at home was appropriate for another reason: somehow,
despite her total ignorance of popular culture (a couple of weeks ago she
asked who “this Paris Hilton” was), my mother was an early adopter of what
would turn out to be enduring social trends. She did yoga, recycled and
bought organic food years before these became mainstream practices.

My mother, who would have turned 61 on September 2, thought of herself as
a child of the 1960s in a more profound way. Social change was the central
theme of her life. The standard gloss on the boomers is that they could
afford to dream of world revolution because they were the children of
prosperity. Perhaps.

But my mother was a child of deprivation: third in an immigrant family of
six, she was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany and did not speak
English when she started school in Edmonton, Alberta, the Canadian city that
provided a refuge for her family. For reasons I still can’t fully
understand, my mother said she never felt poor growing up.

She did feel driven to help others. An early focus was the native people of
the Canadian north that she defended as a lawyer in the 1970s. She was an
ardent feminist: one of my favourite achievements was her precedent-setting
child custody victory for a divorced lesbian mother.

In the second stage of her career, after my sister and I left home, my
mother went back to our family’s roots in Ukraine where she worked on
legal reform for a decade.

My mother did all of these things with none of the self-righteousness that
can make virtue so annoying. She loved a glass of wine, a delicious meal, a
handsome man.

She hated apparatchiks, hypocrites and people who put self-interest ahead
of the common good, qualities that meant she never lasted long in large

But she never hated the people whose politics she disagreed with. My mother
was a lifelong atheist by intellectual conviction. Yet, when we were growing
up, she insisted my sister and I go to church every Sunday with our

It is hard to overstate just how out of sync with the local cultural mores
her leftist, feminist views were in the rural Alberta of our childhood:
suffice it to say that her nickname, among the crown prosecutors she jousted
with, was “the little communist”.

But Jack Watson, now a justice on the Alberta Court of Appeal, recalls that
she pursued her politics with a “sincerity and public spiritedness which
drew approval even from her colleagues of more conservative outlook –
which was basically most everyone else”.

My mother managed to be a workplace pioneer while never devaluing home
and hearth. So much so, in fact, that her final career was to be my family’s
housewife: six years ago, she retired from her NGO in Kiev to come and live
with me and raise my daughters.

On her deathbed, my mother cursed sometimes and took what pleasures she
could – mostly, in the end, reading middle-brow crime novels. But her main
concern was with other people.

Some of her final instructions included: stop drinking bottled mineral
water, because it harms the planet; be gentler with my six-year-old and find
a sport that suits her; and give my prenatal books to our pregnant

I wish I could say that the richness of my mother’s life and the grace of
her leaving it have left me at peace – and I think I expected that they
would. I was wrong.

Even as, in the words of her oncologist, my mother’s body “melted
away”, I realise now how sheltered I was by her fierce love.

I’m coping for now by thinking that this is her final lesson to me – the
vast gap she has left behind is the kind of shape I have to try to fill to
become a good mother myself. -30-
Chrystia Freeland is the FT’s US managing editor,
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Historical parallels between the US and Ukraine

By Mykola SIRUK, The Day Weekly Digest
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The American Independence Day festivities at the residence of US
Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor in the Podil district of Kyiv
were marred by the whims of the weather [rain showers], but the host
managed to treat his guests to an excellent California barbecue, a variety
of alcoholic beverages, and pastries.

He also gave an excellent speech in which he masterfully drew historical
parallels between Ukraine and the United States. He noted that national
holidays are always occasions to think about the history of one’s country.
The ambassador shared his views on US history, broaching aspects that,
in his opinion, relate to similar periods in Ukrainian history.

The first aspect has to do with the Constitution of the United States, which
was adopted some time after the Declaration of Independence, owing to
certain misunderstandings with the British friends.

The Americans overcame those hardships and are now very proud of their
independence. Independence is a very good thing, but the first constitution,
adopted in 1781, did not work, so much so that it had to be discarded eight
years later and a new one adopted.

Another aspect dealt with business interests and those of state
administration. Some of the founding fathers, Ambassador Taylor pointed
out with a touch of humor, were wealthy landowners, like those who own
metallurgical plants in today’s Ukraine. Later, Americans like Melon,
Rockefeller, and Carnegie acquired huge fortunes and learned to donate
money for social needs.

In order to separate business interests from the national decision-making
process, the United States instituted a system of complete transparency
whereby all top government officials had to declare their tax returns. Also
tough bills were passed in regard to conflicts of interests.

The third aspect, the ambassador went on to say, concerns the US Supreme
Court. It was some time before it won its current prestige and respect from
the public. When the United States was between 30 and 40 years old,
President Andrew Jackson opposed a ruling passed by the Supreme Court
headed by Justice John Marshall.

He said that Marshall had made his decision, now let him struggle to have it
implemented. The ambassador added that this phrase would probably ring a
bell for Viktor Baloha.

Years passed and as US democracy matured, so did the Supreme Court,
which was steadily gaining prestige. So, when it passed a very complicated
political ruling in 2000, which determined the outcome of the presidential
elections, no one called it into question.

Ambassador Taylor said that the Americans have accumulated 231 years of
experience, both good and bad. They are very proud of their independence
and democracy. They are also proud that here in Kyiv they are supporting
and assisting Ukrainian democracy and independence.

He toasted American and Ukrainian independence, pronouncing the traditional
Ukrainian toast budmo! in Ukrainian, to which the guests respectfully
replied, “God save America!” -30-
FOOTNOTE FROM THE EDITOR: I was fortunate to be in Kyiv
in June and early July and be able to attend the 4th of July reception.
A few passing rainshowers could not dampen the festivities. The
Ambassador is to be congratulated for arranging such a great party.
The following companies assisted in sponsoring the 4th of July
reception at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence.

American Medical Center,
American Ukrainian Travel Business Center
Aon Limited Representative Office
Atlantic Group
Avon Cosmetics Ukraine
Bechtel National, Inc.
Bunge Ukraine
Cargill AT Joint Stock Company
Chadbourne & Parke LLP;
Cisco Systems Management B.V. in Ukraine
Citibank Ukraine JSCB
CJSC Ministeel Mill “ISTIL” (Ukraine)
Coca-Cola Beverages Ukraine Limited
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Delta Medical
DuPont Ukraine LLC
“Empire Business Brokers – Ukraine”
Freescale Semiconductor
IP Honeywell Ukraine
“Kodak (Eastern Europe) Ltd.” Rep Office
Mars Ukraine
Max-Well SOCPC Ltd.
McDonald’s Ukraine
Microsoft Ukraine LLC
Motorola; OTIS ZAT
Pfizer HCP Corp. Representation Office in Ukraine
Procter & Gamble
SC Johnson
SigmaBleyzer Private Equity Investment Group
SkyNet Worldwide Express
Sun Microsystems
Survey Software Services, Inc.
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P
TransNational Resource, LLC
“3M Ukraine” LLC
Wrigley Ukraine
Link: (shows seven photographs)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Prepared by Mykola SIRUK, The Day Weekly Digest #23
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Day is launching a new column called “Our Country through the Eyes
of Foreigners.” We have asked all the ambassadors to Ukraine, as well as
foreign politicians and experts, to answer the following two questions.

1. What impressed you most about Ukraine?
2. Can you list three reasons to love Ukraine?

We are certain that our readers would like to hear what foreigners think
about Ukrainians and how they view our country. Below William Taylor,
US Ambassador to Ukraine, presents his views.

1. “The first time I visited Ukraine in 1992 it was a totally new country,
and our aid programs were also totally new. At that time American aid
programs for Ukraine were chiefly humanitarian. There were some fears then,
however groundless, that the Soviet Union’s disintegration could lead to
food deficits and other humanitarian problems.

I was a member of a mission that was supposed to evaluate the situation in
some republics of the former Soviet Union. I remember my first visit to
Kyiv, and how I struggled to distinguish between the left bank of the Dnipro
and its right bank, and how I was stunned by the beauty of the city, even
though it was not in such great shape as it is now.

I remember that I was impressed by the churches that were in an excellent
state. It was interesting to see cobblestone streets. That was my first
impression of Ukraine and Kyiv.

I’d like to remind you that from 1992 to 2002 I visited Ukraine at least
once a year, and sometimes two or three times a year. I was able to watch
Ukraine changing and developing over those 10 years. During that period I
was astounded most of all by the changes in the people’s way of thinking. It
was captivating and inspiring.

I am glad you asked me this question because I just recently came back from
a five-day vacation in the Crimea. Everybody who has been to the Crimean
seaside will say that its landscape is fantastic.

I had already been to Yalta, Symferopil, Bakhchysarai, and Sevastopil. But I
have never had a chance to drive along the coastline. My wife and I drove
from Sevastopil to Kerch and then back to Alushta. We will never forget that
trip and we will return there many more times.

Of course, Ukraine has other wonderful spots too. The Carpathian Mountains
are very beautiful. On our way back from the Crimea we stopped in the
Askania-Nova Nature Preserve, where we saw an endless virgin steppe. That
was beautiful too.

2. The first reason is the people, their willingness to improve their lives,
position themselves in Europe, leave the times when Ukraine was just a part
of the Soviet Union, and move towards democracy and economic development.
That is very inspiring.

Another reason is Ukraine’s leadership position. I think that Ukraine, as a
European country, has potential. It is able to move this great country
towards European institutions and bring other parts of this region along to

The third reason is what can be called Ukraine’s geographical beauty.”
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Preserving the secrets of the ancient trypillian civilization

By Svitlana BOZHKO, special to The Day
The Day Weekly Digest #22, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Who does not dream of traveling to faraway places? Sometimes our desire
for a change of scenery is thwarted by lack of time or money. But you don’t
have to go far to acquire some fresh impressions.

Obukhiv and Kaharlyk raions in Kyiv oblast are famous for their unique
scenery and you don’t have to travel more than 60 to 80 km from the
Ukrainian capital. Here you will find unique places that have preserved the
secrets of the ancient Trypillian civilization.
Trypillia is rightly considered the most wonderful pearl on the
archeological crown of Kyiv oblast, where over a hundred years ago a local
history student named Vikentii Khvoika discovered the Trypillian culture.

According to scholarly data, this Slavic civilization existed only for 1,500
to 2,000 years. Other research sources indicate that Ukrainians are the
descendants of Europe’s first Trypillian land-tilling culture that existed
for 3,500 years, from 5,700 to 2,200 BC.

Researchers continue to debate this hypothesis. One of its opponents is
Academician Petro Tolochko, who believes that Trypillia is a narrow and
well-trodden path in history. Among its proponents is the equally reputed
academician, Yurii Shylov, who regards Trypillia as the cradle of the entire

The inhabitants were the ancestors of Ukrainians, who at one time settled in
the Balkans. Anthropologist Serhii Seheda claims that the Trypillian-Aryan
tribes and today’s Ukrainians form an uninterrupted line to this very day,
and that the Trypillians laid the foundations of the Ukrainian nation.

While scholars debate this issue, the Kyiv City State Administration’s
Culture and Tourism Department offers tours of the area, where locals in
their vegetable plots are still digging up pieces of earthenware dating back
8,000 years. If you are lucky, you will see some archaeological digs that
take place there on a regular basis.

Although the most important archaeological finds were made during Khvoika’s
lifetime and sent to museums in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kyiv, the local
history museum has numerous items on display that prove that the Trypillians
were the first to invent the wheel (6,500 years ago), domesticated horses
and cows (8,000 years ago), and cultivated 12 varieties of grain (including
three kinds of wheat, barley, rye, and peas). Trypillian ceramics are

Long before the Sumer and Chinese civilizations our forefathers decorated
their earthenware with signs and symbols that would spread across Europe
and the Orient, including yin and yang; svarha, the symbol of the sun; the
cross, symbolizing the sun, fire, and eternal life; and an image of the
Primeval Mother – the woman-protectress.

Among the unsolved mysteries of Trypillia are the bipartite ceramic pieces
(“binoculars”) whose designation is still being debated: they may have been
ritual vessels, candlesticks, or musical instruments, like African tam-tams.

Tourists should proceed from the State Archaeology Museum to the private
Museum of Trypillian Culture. It was not founded by civic organizations or
prosperous businessmen but by enthusiasts with medium incomes, including
collector Oleksandr Polishchuk, construction worker Volodymyr Lazorenko,
artist Anatolii Haidamaka, and scholar Yurii Shylov.

This museum is the cultural gem of Kyiv oblast, and its exhibit is based on
Polishchuk’s collection currently valued at seven million dollars. All the
items on display were salvaged, collected in ravines and quarries, where all
these artifacts were discarded.

In the 1930s, a special resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union instructed every school to engage in regional
history studies, along with archaeological digs, and establish regional
history museums.

On the outskirts of Trypillia anyone could unearth an archaeological
treasure. Among the finds were genuine masterpieces. For many years,
fragments of earthenware collected dust in school and village museums
without professional restoration.

When the Communist Party was no longer there to supervise the process, all
this was junked. In one of the many ravines on the slopes of the Dnipro
River Polishchuk found three tons of fragments of unique earthenware. The
restoration of a 40-cm jug cost the collector between 100 and 800 dollars.

Says Polishchuk: “Owing to private collections, our country has retained its
archaeological wealth. Otherwise, all of it would have long been exported,
especially to Russia, where a number of oligarchs, including Bryntsalov, are
admirers of Trypillian culture.

I see my goal in life to promote this culture in Ukraine and the rest of the
world, so that the greatest possible number of people can learn about it.
Since this museum opened two years ago, 12,000 people have come here.
Visitors are charged a token admission fee, while the management has to pay
all taxes as a business entity, without any concessions, including
electricity, gas, and land lease bills.

Polishchuk is convinced that in order to attract more tourists a tourism
infrastructure has to be developed. His plans include the creation of a
Trypillian village complete with wooden and thatched- roofed two-story
structures built exactly the way they were constructed 8,000 years ago, with
the addition of modern household equipment and amenities. Five hectares
have already been allocated for the project.
Whereas enthusiasts like Khvoika and Polishchuk saved the Trypillian culture
from oblivion, the villages on the right bank of the Dnipro, with their
inimitable environs and folkways, suffered the same lot as Atlantis, when
they were inundated by the Kaniv water reservoir in the early 1970s.

There is a memorial to this Soviet man- made disaster, a church that looms
over the waters in the vicinity of Rzhyshchiv. It was built by a group of
monks on the highest point in the village of Husyntsi in 1857. Its golden
domes could be seen from a great distance.

The church experienced alternating periods of well-being and persecution and
ruination. In 1969 the chairman of the local collective farm used his budget
to finance major repairs. He was then reprimanded by the oblast party
committee. Locals still remember the chairman with love.

Thanks to his restoration, this church has endured 30 years of standing in
water. Today it stands on a silted island, as though raised above the water
by human or heavenly forces.

A few years ago an executive of the Top Service Company undertook to
reconstruct the church (his dacha was located nearby). He hired a developer,
who fixed the windows and covered the roof with asphalt felt, but that was
the end of it because the philanthropist was later arrested and jailed on
murder charges.

Apparently, Bishop Serafym of Bila Tserkva wants to revive this house of
God. If so, in several years his plans will come true, and we will have
another Church of the Mother of God on the Water. Today it will cost you
15-20 hryvnias to hire a boat from a Rzhyshchiv fisherman to get there and
explore this unique historic site.

To reach the small island and hear the voice of the sunken Ukrainian
Atlantis in the sonorous silence of the temple, you will have to walk
through clumps of water chestnut, which was entered on the World
Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species after the 1933 famine
in Ukraine. You will realize that the past sometimes returns to the present.
FOOTNOTE: I have worked with Oleksandr Polishchuk on several
projects over the past 12 years, including the publication of a large
book about Ukrainian postcards. Oleksandr is to be congratulated
for his contribution to Ukrainian historical programs. EDITOR
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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By Cecil Angel, Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan, Mon, July 17, 2007

On the corner of Charest and Commor in Hamtramck, the Ukrainian American
Archives and Museum, Inc. is getting its second wind.

Buoyed by new immigration from the Ukraine, museum officials are moving in a
new direction while keeping with their old mission of connecting people with
their history.

The museum used to have a much higher profile when Hamtramck was the
center of Ukrainian life in metro Detroit, and most families attended the nearby
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. In those days, there was an annual
Ukrainian Festival in downtown Detroit.

But times have changed since the museum was founded in 1958 by Roman
Dacko, an immigrant who, with his wife Ivanka, collected art, coins,
documents, photographs and other artifacts.

Most of the change was about the double-edged sword of successfully
assimilating into American life.

“A lot of our people have become successful, established businesses and
are influential in their communities,” said Svitlana Leheta, the museum’s
president. As many Ukrainians embraced their American identity, their
Ukrainian roots became less important.

Nowadays, the museum gets very few visitors to see its exhibits that range
from centuries-old Ukrainian artifacts to sculptures from various regions
and other art from living artists in the United States, according to
Chrystyna M. Nykorak, the museum’s executive director.

Now, museum officials want to move to Warren where the Ukrainian Cultural
Center is located and where there are many Ukrainian businesses, Nykorak

“We’re trying to update our appearance and flow into the 21st Century,” she
said. “People forget you.”

Leheta said that the museum’s profile has been so low in recent years that
it may make it difficult to raise funds for the new building, but she is
hopeful. “We’re trying to be more visible in the community,” she said.

Ideally, the new museum building would be 10,000-12,000 square feet with
enough room for large exhibits and for classrooms where embroidery and
other subjects would be taught, Leheta said.

Another way the museum is lifting its profile is by videotaping the
histories of older Ukrainians and Ukrainian Americans in Michigan.

One of those interviewed was Dr. Paul Dzul, 85, of Grosse Pointe. He was
born in the village of Milno in Ternopil Oblast and came to the United
States as a refugee in 1949.

He said that he is a strong supporter of the museum and its mission to
preserve Ukrainian culture in Michigan.

“The new generation, they’re not as close to the Ukraine as we were because
they were born in the United States,” Dzul said. “It’s important. It’s a
heritage. Whoever is Ukrainian should know about his roots.”
Contact CECIL ANGEL at 313-223-4531 or
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Oksana MYKOLIUK, The Day Weekly Digest #21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 17 July 2007

When experts from the Institute of Archeology of Ukraine’s National Academy
of Sciences were carrying out routine annual excavations at 1a Naberezhno-
Khreshchatytska Street, located in the Podil district of Kyiv, they
discovered an early 12th-century burial ground. There is a huge modern
structure being built a few meters from the excavation site, and the
Parliamentary Library is on the other side.

“We began excavations in early June and came across the first burial site a
few weeks ago. Then we found another one. We have already found 10 such
sites,” says Vsevolod Ivakiv, junior research associate at the Institute of
Archeology and the supervisor of the excavations.

“An examination showed that these are ancient Christian burials of ordinary
Podil inhabitants buried in wooden coffins: it is common knowledge that this
area was populated by craftsmen. What surprised us was the untraditional
burial layout: bodies were usually placed with their heads pointing to the
west, but here they lie facing east and south.

Maybe people were mistaken about the sun’s position. We will look into this
further. At the moment I can only say that the excavations have just begun.
There is a lot of work to do, and we may come across something even more
interesting every hour or even every minute.”

Reinforced concrete piles are sticking out of the pit in which the
archeologists and historians are working: locals say this is what is left of
the parliamentary library. In other words, when this library was being built
decades ago, nobody paid any attention to the burial places that could not
have gone unnoticed.

The Day was told at the Institute of Archeology that builders often
deliberately ignore archeological finds to avoid unnecessary bother: they
come across something interesting but continue the construction at a site
that may be of great interest to historians. This happens in other cities
besides Kyiv.

The burial site in Podil is unique. According to Ivakiv, in Kyivan Rus’ such
burial grounds were usually located on the outskirts of towns and other
settlements. This one is now the “outermost” graveyard, which can only mean
that this was Podil’s most outlying point in the 12th century, and the
burial ground may be the boundary of an ancient Rus’ settlement. This is a
very important discovery for historians because there are still a lot of
blank spots on the map of ancient Kyiv.

Archeologists cannot confirm that there was a church near these graves: they
still have not found any remnants. It won’t be easy to find them because
there used to be a library built on top of the burial site and the
hypothetical church, and nobody will ever know what the builders destroyed
at the time. But the experts who are working at the site claim that in the
Kyivan Rus’ era these kinds of graveyards were situated only near churches.

Yurii Tsymbal, a history student from the University of Lublin in Poland,
showed us the places that he thinks are the foundation of an ancient place
of worship. He is sure that if a church is found, scholars will be able to
draw up a true historical map of Podil, which would be a real boon for

“Everything is important for history, every ‘trifle’ that we find,” Tsymbal
says. “We often find interesting things in Podil, especially near the ‘upper
city,’ Andriivsky Uzviz and Zhytnii Marketplace, where there used to be a
road and houses belonging to wealthy nobles.

All this is now the subject of detailed archeological and anthropological
research. Anthropologists will eventually decide whether our finds will
be handed over to a museum or dealt with another way.”

The archeologists note that they work in three to four pits in Podil every
year. But no one in the last few years has uncovered such a huge burial
ground. Ivakiv says they are planning to continue excavating. They are
working enthusiastically, using only spades and special brushes.

Their only complaint is the rain that is slowing down their work and the
noise coming from the construction site. They are chary of talking about
the importance of the excavations because any minute they may make
another discovery. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, July 13, 2007

KYIV – The Biggest treasure in the history of independent Ukraine:

more than 10 thousand coins of the Crimean khanate times, were
found in the wood on the Tepe-Oba mountain in the region of
Feodosia (the Crimea).

The director of the Feodosia Money Museum Oleksandr Oleshchuk

disclosed this to UNIAN.

According to the words of O. Oleshchuk, “the treasure was found by

chance in a jug (which has a look of teapot), which was dug up at a
small depth in the wood on the Tepe-Oba Mountain.
This is the biggest treasure in the history of the independent Ukraine.
Before that, the biggest treasure was also found in Crimea, in Chufut –
Kale (Bahchysaraj region – UNIAN). 4 thousands 250 coins were
found at that time”, said the director of the Feodosia Money Museum.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

COMMENTARY: By Lubomyr Luciuk, The Kingston Whig-Standard
Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Wednesday, August 1, 2007

We buried her under a maple. Seeing Mary’s grave sheltered by a tree
whose leaf symbolizes our country was comforting. Nearby stands a
spruce. That evergreen would have reminded her of the boreal forest
she knew as a young girl.

Even though she was born in Montreal, Mary was branded an “enemy
alien” and transported north to the Spirit Lake concentration camp, along
with the rest of the Manko family. Thousands of Ukrainians and other
Europeans like them were jailed, not because of anything they had done,
but only because of where they had come from, who they were.

What little wealth they had was taken, and they were forced to do hard
labour for the profit of their jailers. The Mankos lost something even more
precious, their youngest daughter, Nellie, who died there.

Mary Manko Haskett passed away 14 July, the last known survivor of
Canada’s first national internment operations. She was 98. For years she
lent her support to the Ukrainian Canadian community’s campaign to
secure a timely and honourable redress settlement.

Disappointingly, she did not live to see that happen, despite the Honourable
Stephen Harper’s own words. On 24 March 2005 he rose in the House of
Commons to support fellow Conservative Inky Mark’s Bill C 331 – The
Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act, saying: “Mary Haskett, is still alive..
I sincerely hope that she will live to see an official reconciliation of
this past injustice.” The Prime Minister might now ask the bureaucracy

why his wish was ignored.

The government did, at least, send a representative to Mary’s funeral,
Conservative MP Mike Wallace, (Burlington) who read a prepared
statement, subsequently added to the website of the Secretary of State
for Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney: ” We were saddened to hear of
the death of Mrs. Mary Manko Haskett, the last known survivor of
Canadian internment camps during the First World War and the
postwar period.

On behalf of Canada’s New Government, I would like to extend my
condolences to Mrs. Haskett’s family, as well as the Ukrainian-Canadian
community. Born and raised in Montreal, Mary was six years old when

she and her family were detained in the Spirit Lake internment camp.

Despite advice from British officials that ‘friendly aliens’ should not be
interned, Ottawa invoked The War Measures Act to detain 8,579 ‘enemy
aliens’ including Poles, Italians, Bulgarians, Croats, Turks, Serbs,
Hungarians, Russians, Jews, and Romanians – but the majority (perhaps
as many as 5,000) were of Ukrainian origin.

Many were unwilling subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus
not ‘enemy aliens’ at all. For years. Mrs Haskett and others argued that
‘Canada’s first internment operations’ herded together individuals based
on nationality – many of them Canadian-born – and compelled them into
forced labour.

Despite the original wartime justification for these measures, many were
kept in custody for two years after the Armistice of 1918. We are all
grateful for Mrs. Manko Haskett’s dedication to the cause of remembering
and commemorating this important event in Canada’s history.”

Official condolences for those recently deceased, for example Bluma
Appel and Ed Mirvish, can be found on the Canadian Heritage website.
The innocuous text cited above wasn’t included, however, being deemed
“too political.” And so yet another indignity was heaped upon Mary,
posthumously. Remembering her means recalling what was done to her
and by whom. That’s a no-no. While this gaffe may be corrected, even
if Mary wasn’t rich or a patron of the arts, it’s too late. We got the

Years ago Mary provided a prescription for the redress campaign. She
insisted we should never demand an apology, or compensation for
survivors, or their descendants. Instead we should ask, politely, for
recognition and the restitution of what was taken under duress.

Those funds, to be held in a community-based endowment, would
underwrite commemorative and educational projects that, hopefully,
will ensure no other ethnic, religious or racial minority suffers as
Ukrainian Canadians once did.

While no survivors remain, and even their descendants are senior citizens,
a new generation of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage took up Mary’s
cause nearly two decades ago, even though none of us had any ties to
the victims. That changed the day of Mary’s funeral, when my mother
and sister returned from western Ukraine. They knew about Mary but,
being away, did not know she had died.

They brought the news that my cousin, Lesia, had married Ivan Manko,
himself distantly related to Mary’s parents, Katherine and Andrew,
whose graves are found in Mississsauga’s St. Christopher’s Catholic
cemetery, not far from Mary’s mound.

This crusade was always about righting an historical injustice and, in
that sense, is political. It just got personal too. -30-
NOTE: Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk is director of research for the Ukrainian
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (


[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
The Soviet epoch was a kind of civil war for Ukraine.

COMMENTARY: Ostap Kryvdyk, political scientist, activist
Original article in Ukrainian, translated by Eugene Ivantsov
Ukrayinska Pravda On-line, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Soviet epoch was a kind of civil war for Ukraine. It was a war against
those who remembered. The official history was edited. People were afraid
even privately to tell about themselves and relatives. Victors get to write
history. But is a new “victor” rising from the ashes?

Family photos were burned. People kept quiet the names of their relatives so
that nobody would hear.A new generation was growing up under severe
‘censorship of memory’. They knew nothing of the past and knew only of the

“If you want to defeat your enemy then bring-up his children,” says an old
wisdom. The nation ‘occupied itself’ having surrendered to the empire. A new
kind of society was formed.

The fact that the Ukrainian language is not the mother tongue for half of
Ukraine and that Ukrainian culture is foreign for many of Ukraine’s citizens
is the result of the Soviet occupation.
Hopelessness and provincialism of life in Ukraine forced ambitious and
talented people to migrate to the big cities. Their talents served the
empire. For instance, the world community does not know that baroque
composers Berezovsky and Bortnyansky were Ukrainians.

For the entire world they were Russians, like all people living in the USSR.
All athletes who represented the USSR in the world competitions were
registered as Russians.

The price of collaboration for Ukrainians was the impossibility of breaking
up with the empire. It was always characteristic of Ukrainians: from
Bezborodko and Gogol to Khrushchev and Ivashko. The empire became the
flesh and the blood of many Ukrainians. To deny the empire meant denouncing

Another fact is that millions of Ukrainians were born in the USSR. They had
no other choice at the time as there was no independent Ukraine. They knew
nothing of the past or alternate reality.

The daily routine swallowed them up. The Soviet system had enough positive
moments: more or less happy childhood, bettering of housing conditions, own
cultural and social life.

People could not live in a totally artificial environment and that is why
there were many positive initiatives for which the empire took credit.

Of course, there were alternative possibilities (such as traveling across
the USSR or unique perks of the army) which are absolutely impossible now.

Indeed, there were honestly deserved awards with the communist symbols on
them. In such a way, human achievements were merged with the propaganda.
In this way the USSR made every citizen’s life a mere profile.
What is the way out? We need to separate the honor, industry and talent of
the ordinary people from the evil of the empire because these people would
act equally honestly under any system fulfilling their duties as parents,
friends, professionals and citizens.

The thing is that their good deeds must not stand in the same line with the
Holodomor of 1930s, mass repressions of the 1950s, Afghanistan and
Chernobyl in the 1980s.

There is no way out for the ardent supporters of the USSR, the victims of
Soviet propaganda or those who used to work in the Soviet bureaucratic
machine which was a true paradise for them. They will die thinking of the
empire. The Soviet patriotism is doomed like the Nazi ideology which is now

The system cannot be half-criminal. However, we must not forget about all
the decent people when criticizing the system. For instance, German does not
mean Nazi.

Many normal people lived in Nazi Germany who were opposed to Nazism. These
people baked bread, tilled the ground, made clothes, traded, wrote books and
taught children. But these honest people are not an indulgence for Hitler.
On the other hand, the system is not the final judgment for them.

We, ordinary Ukrainians, did not affect the decisions of the Soviet imperial
monster. We did not choose the negative communist ideas. The ideas were
imposed on us. We had no choice. That is why it is deemed the spiritual
occupation of the country.

Participation of Ukrainians in the management of the local governments and
some branches of the central authority is no reason to call Ukrainian Soviet
Socialistic Republic (Ukrainian SSR) “Ukraine.”

Everything that was Ukrainian in the system was rather incidental to the
system. But, look, nobody is speaking about the Ukrainian SSR now. It was
even more fictitious than other Soviet myths. It does not exist in
post-Soviet memory. They speak of the Union of the Soviet Socialistic
Republics only.

We must recognize Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic as a false
motherland which substituted our true Motherland – an Independent Ukraine.
The half-true Soviet Ukraine is an absolute lie in fact. Rebuilding
consciousness rebuilds the nation.

Now, we have the Ukrainian state. Despite its Soviet era which has not yet
been written into history, it will be an independent country free of its
colonial past.

It is our Motherland.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Prof. Stanislav KULCHYTSKY, historian, professor
Two Parts: The Day Weekly Digest, #20, #21,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 10 & 17 July 2007

The Museum of the Soviet Occupation, which opened in Kyiv in the first
half of June, sparked a furor in society. In its 19 June 2007 issue The Day
carried an article by the historian Yurii Shapoval, entitled “Museum of
occupation – but who were the occupiers?” along with a selection of
commentaries from various experts.

Afterwards we invited everyone to take part in a discussion. Below is an
article contributed by Professor Stanislav Kulchytsky. In our opinion, the
debates around this museum will not end soon.

The Kyiv branch of the Memorial Society has a museum exposition entitled
Not to Be Forgotten, which traces the history of political repressions
during the Soviet era. The bulk of the collection consists of excellent
color panels prepared by Dr. Shapoval, which trace the Soviet policy of
repressions in various periods.

In literally five minutes you can hang these panels on walls, gather an
interested audience, and give a lecture about political repressions in
Ukraine for several hours.

I was in New York when Roman Krutsyk, the head of Kyiv’s Memorial
Society was on a visit to the United States to show the English version of
these panels, and I must confess that they attracted considerable public
interest. I know that these teaching aids are used by history teachers.

At one time I recommended that our ministries purchase them from the
society. They did, and this is as much as I can say about the Memorial
Museum in Demyivka, which has been open since 2001.

Suddenly in June political passions started whirling around this museum.
Unknown intruders smashed its windows. Our media reported on the Russian
Ambassador’s negative reaction. The reason behind all these events was the
renaming of the exposition as the Museum of the Soviet Occupation.
The renaming of this museum was the litmus paper that revealed certain
social trends that I personally regard as proof that the regime had the
character of an occupation. Unlike other regions, here the
communist-party-Soviet nomenklatura suffered a shattering defeat.

Perhaps not everyone will agree with the statement that the Soviet regime in
the western regions of the Ukrainian SSR had an occupational nature. People
commenting on the issue often focus their attention on the fateful fact of
the reunification of the Ukrainian lands, but they forget to take into
account the population’s resistance to Sovietization in the course of which
half a million residents of that small region fell victim to repressions. It
should be admitted that the reunification opportunity that arose in 1919 and
1939 might not have occurred a third time.

However, we must not forget that Stalin did not immediately use the motive
of the reunification of the Ukrainian and Belarusian lands. The pact that
was signed on Aug. 23, 1939, when Europe was still at peace, stated that the
Polish territories were to be divided along the Vistula River, as a result
of which Warsaw found itself on the border between Germany and the Soviet

There are divergent views of our recent past. Some of us believe that the
Soviet power was occupational by nature in Ukraine. Others, within the wide
range of views on this regime, from nostalgically positive to compellingly
negative ones, categorically disagree with this statement.

The task of the scholar who studies this problem should be a dual one.
First, he must work out his own concept of Soviet power, relying not so much
on life experience (which is always biased) as on an unbiased analysis of
objective facts. Second, it is crucial to establish why the experience of a
given individual or a group of people (e.g., a generation) formed this or
that configuration of historical consciousness.

This is a difficult task, especially given the parameters of a newspaper
article. Therefore, I would like to make it easier for myself. It is worth
dwelling on the historical consciousness of the people who inhabited the
territories that were annexed to the Soviet Union after 1938. At issue are
the citizens of the western oblasts of Ukraine and the Baltic countries.

The Kremlin’s policy was aimed at destroying or deporting those who offered
active resistance to Sovietization in these regions, as well as speeding up
the migration to those regions of people from other regions of the country.

The forcible seizure of these territories, along with the above-mentioned
aspects of the nationality policy, indicates that the Kremlin rule bore the
character of an occupation there. True, this was a rather specific
occupation in that it was not at all similar to the occupation during the
Great Patriotic War. While recognizing the illegitimate nature of the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, whereby the Baltic republics were annexed to the
USSR, the Kremlin sought to provide them with better living conditions than
in Central Russia.

This gave an additional benefit to the government because it was a stimulus
for the influx of citizens to these republics from other regions. The living
standard in the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR was practically the
same as in the eastern ones, and within a historically short period of time
the central government achieved great changes in overcoming their
backwardness through the development of industry, culture, and health care.

The Western Ukrainian lands were annexed to the USSR, without any rhetoric,
as parts of the territory of prewar Poland. It was only when Germany’s
invasion of Poland caused the outbreak of a new world war that the Kremlin
relinquished its claims to ethnic Polish lands and limited itself to
providing “fraternal aid” to the population of the Ukrainian and Belarusian

True, Stalin compensated for this relinquishment, set forth in the
Soviet-German treaty of Sept. 28, 1939, by transferring Lithuania from the
German to the Soviet sphere of interest.

In concluding the subject that will now be dropped from the stated problem,
I would like to emphasize the main point: the Sovietization of the
territories annexed to the Soviet Union after 1938 should not be likened to
that of the Ukrainian lands of the former Russian Empire in 1919-38.

A mechanistic comparison of different chronological periods and historical
processes does not allow opponents to find a common language even with
regard to the question of assessing the power (let alone the whole array of
issues relating to the OUN and UPA problem).

Objective historical facts prove that the thesis about the occupational
Soviet power in the western regions should not be extended to all of
Ukraine. This contradiction, however, is not an attempt to justify that
power. On the contrary, that “workers and peasants'” rule proved to be a
heavier burden on the people.
In order to give a convincing answer to the question posed in the headline
of this article, it is necessary to know how Soviet power was actually
perceived by the populace, and what it was actually all about.

This power was the foundation of the “communist civilization.” The Soviet
way of life was so different from that behind the Iron Curtain that I will
not be wrong when I describe it as another civilization. At any rate, many
people of my generation feel that history presented them with two absolutely
different ways of life.

The noted American political scientist Martin Malia described the communist
state as a logocracy, in other words, a rule established by means of words,
whose propaganda image did not correspond with reality. To me, a former
30-year member of the CPSU, this seems to be the most accurate formula of
Soviet power, and communism as a whole.

Indeed, when it comes to communism, we find ourselves under the spell of
words with a distorted meaning. Even the very term “communism” has entered
quotidian consciousness not as a definition of a real political regime with
an adequate socioeconomic order but as a synonym of a future society of
everlasting well-being.

Six scholars from various countries, who devoted themselves to the study of
communism, united their efforts to create a joint study. Thus, the book Le
Livre noir du communisme: Crimes, terreur, repression (The Black Book of
Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression) was published in France in 1995
[1997 – Ed.].

Translated into many languages, it made its way throughout the world. This
book is about the crimes perpetrated by communist regimes on three
continents: Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The front cover lists the total
number victims of communism – 95 million people.

The final chapter of the Black Book of Communism, written by Stephane
Courtois, has a very short title: “Why?” However, this book does not offer a
convincing answer to this question. Why is communism inseparably linked to
terror, including terror against the very bearers of the communist idea? Why
did society prove helpless before the organizers of mass terror? Why did the
Soviet government become ineffective precisely at the moment when it stopped
encountering resistance within its own society?

Without answering these questions, the Black Book of Communism is a
compendium of horrors rather than an analytical study.

The point is that the communist regime, which struggled to attain total
control over society, always applied two administrative levers in addition
to terror: propaganda and upbringing. The communist idea does not cause
revulsion because outwardly it resembles the Christian one. It fascinated
many people, not least of all because Christian shepherds promised happiness
and harmony only in the afterlife, whereas communist propagandists promised
this during one’s lifetime.

The Soviet leaders had enough time to make the best use of such an effective
means of manipulating consciousness as upbringing, starting at the age of
the Young Octobrists. They also had the means to absolutely distort
information about mass terror and its consequences, or conceal it from the
Young Octobrists who were growing up.

After they returned to their homes, hundreds of thousands of prisoners of
the GULAG never shared their life experiences with their children and
grandchildren because they did not want to create problems either for
themselves or them.

There was, however, a more important reason behind the communist system’s
viability, one that has seldom been considered. While making every
individual completely dependent on it, the regime had to undertake to keep
him fed, educated, given health care, and entertained.

Many people nostalgically recall the paternalism of the totalitarian regime.
This is explained by the fact that these people were young during that era
and not always by the fact that they cannot endure the social tensions of
young capitalism.

After all, the older generation of Germans is clearly divided into two
categories: the Wessis and Ossis (FRG and GDR nationals, respectively).
Sociologists have come up with a definition of the latter’s moods and
emotions: nostalgia.

Foreign researchers fail to comprehend the sources of this nostalgia. Those
who were born and raised under the Soviet regime also found it difficult to
get to the bottom of events that were insulated by thick layers of
propagandistic claptrap. In studying our recent past, we will constantly
have to refer back to ourselves and, drop by drop, squeeze out the
stereotypes that were inculcated in us since childhood.

For a long time my understanding of the political system in the USSR did not
extend beyond the limits of Lenin’s speech “What is Soviet power?” which was
recorded on a gramophone record for the purpose of agitation. At the time
the term “Soviet power” was always written in the upper case, just like the
word “Soviets” in the plural, contrary to the rules of spelling.

But several years of work on the problems of the Holodomor produced an
about-face in my consciousness, and I quickly wrote the article “Do we need
Soviet power?” It was carried by the newspaper Silski Visti with the largest
print run of 2.5 million copies.

The editor, Ivan Spodarenko, considered that title to be incorrect and
replaced it with the neutral heading “What kind of power do we need?” The
text remained unchanged because by that time Gorbachev’s bureaucratic
perestroika had turned into a revolution. My article was published on June
7, 1991.

Since then 16 years have elapsed. During this time the problem of power in
the USSR became one of the central topics of the research program pursued
by the Institute of Ukrainian History at the National Academy of Sciences.

We spent nine years studying various periods of the political regime that
was established in 1917, how that regime formed a socioeconomic order after
its own image. Since 1992 this institute has become the leading institution
researching the topic “Rehabilitated by History,” which is being carried out
in most oblasts under the guidance of Academician Petro Tronko.

Fundamental results have been obtained in the course of studies of the
1921-23 famine, 1932-33 Holodomor, and 1946-47 famine.

This year the institute’s researchers, jointly with colleagues from other
institutions within the social and humanities division of the National
Academy of Sciences, has launched a study of the evolution of political
systems in Ukraine, from the emergence of the first forms of statehood until
the 2004 Orange Revolution. This topic is being studied under the guidance
of Academician Volodymyr Lytvyn, and we hope that it will be put into

Our recent past is a heavy burden on the reformers’ consciousness, and they
cannot do without conducting a historical analysis. Unfortunately, Viktor
Chernomyrdin’s catch phrase, “We meant to do better, but it came out as
always,” once again proved correct.
I consider Aleksandr Yakovlev one of the most outstanding political figures
and thinkers of our times. He was behind the scenes during Gorbachev’s
perestroika campaign and came up with an effective way of shortening the
agony of the party and the state, and its socioeconomic order by at least
10-20 years.

His method was remarkably simple: all that was needed was to sever contacts
between the party committees and the executive committees of the soviets on
all levels, all the way up to the Central Committee of the CPSU and the
Council of Ministers of the USSR.

This political reform was camouflaged as the organizational building of
soviets that existed before the adoption of the 1936 Constitution of the
USSR (in a way, it was a return to Lenin’s heritage). That was why it was
adopted without any particular objections by the All-Union Party Conference
and session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

It turned out, however, that the third generation of the communist elite was
under the spell of the propagandistic image of Soviet power as much as the
rest of us. The full powers vested in the soviets almost instantly destroyed
the communist civilization that had been artificially created by Lenin. They
could not exist without force fields, like phantoms in Stanislaw Lem’s
famous science fiction novel Solaris – in our case, without the dictatorship
of the Communist Party that stood above the soviets.

Later, Gorbachev would bitterly point out that he would have remained
General Secretary of the CC CPSU if he had not launched his reforms. Indeed,
at the time the state had enough resources to last him the rest of his life.

I began to study the Soviet epoch in the mid-1960s, when I was completely
under the influence of the communist doctrine. Now I must admit that my 20
years of research – until the mid-1980s – are of little value. However, the
quality of a scholar’s research legacy is not determined by his positive or
negative attitude to any given doctrine but by his ability to place himself
above doctrines. It seems to me that all those anticommunists should feel
even greater humiliation, as they are still under the influence of certain
stereotypes culled from Stalin’s Short Course of the History of the AUCP(B).

In particular, anticommunists in the nationalist camp make no secret of
their readiness to fight their enemies in the field, even though they are
facing the proverbial windmill. The discussion about the occupational
character of Soviet power is a typical example of tilting at windmills.

Rereading my 16-year-old article in Silski Visti, I find nothing there that
I would refute today. However, my understanding of the Soviet power
phenomenon has become much deeper, among other things owing to the
publication of a series of books containing fundamental collections of
Kremlin documents, entitled Russia: the XX Century, which was launched by
Yakovlev in 1997.

However, I would like to begin the exposition of my views on Soviet power
by refuting the late Yakovlev’s key thesis set out in the foreword to one of
the books in the above-mentioned series (published in 2002). He wrote: “As
vividly proved by the February Revolution, history shows that in the final
analysis both revolution and counterrevolution are carried out by a
politicized minority (e.g., the Bolsheviks in October 1917), given the
passive stand of the masses.”

It is true that, as a rule, revolutions are carried out by a politicized
minority of the population. Relying on sociological studies, we have been
able to establish, more or less accurately, that some five percent of the
Ukrainian population took part in the Orange Revolution. Should anyone
question the word “revolution,” I would in turn ask why those in power began
trembling before the electorate. A postcard signed by a group of unemployed
pensioners reads that, on the initiative of Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky,
they received small amounts of money in conjunction with 11 holidays in

However, a politicized minority did not emerge in the 1917 Russian
Revolution. Its main political product was councils (soviets) of workers and
peasants’ deputies, which reflected the requirements of the lowest strata
that numbered in the millions. A particular feature of this revolution was
the fact that the soviets instantly came out with extremist slogans
demanding the expropriation of large landowners. Unlike the 1905-07
revolution, when workers’ councils, i.e., strike committees, first appeared,
soldiers’ councils were in the forefront of the 1917 revolution.

These were headed by peasants in army uniforms because most of the workers
were engaged in the defense sector. The vox populi of the numerically
strongest and most downtrodden class suddenly appeared to carry weight: for
the first time the world war organized the traditionally scattered peasant
masses into military units and gave them weapons. Within the first week of
revolutionary events armed people organized soviets, liquidated the
autocracy, and turned Russia into a republic.

According to habit, Yakovlev calls the Russian Revolution the February
Revolution. In Soviet historiography, the Leninist coup of November 1917
was distinguished as a separate revolution, as a result of which both
revolutions became known as the February and October revolutions,
respectively, according to the old calendar.

However, he rejected the concept of both revolutions having taken place
during the same year in a rather original manner. He says the October coup
was a counterrevolution that paved the way for a totalitarian system which
would exist by relying on mass terror.

There are two inaccuracies in this thesis. First, a counterrevolutionary
camp did exist in 1917, and it was made up of political forces, including
monarchists, who were on the extreme right flank. Of course, the Bolsheviks
were on the extreme left. Second, the state that was established as a result
of the Leninist coup relied on mass terror only until Stalin’s death. Terror
would not stop in subsequent decades, but it would no longer have a mass

Yakovlev’s approach to the events of 1917 is described here in order to
demonstrate to the reader that, by rejecting myths of the Soviet period,
even individuals with such a mighty intellect tend to create their own
myths. Therefore, hundreds and even thousands of researchers must study
the history of the Russian Revolution day by day in order to reveal the true
dimensions of events, causes, and consequences.

I believe that world historiography has accomplished this task. At any rate,
we can name the main players in today’s political arena, determine their
interrelationships, and understand how Soviet power arose from the flames
of revolution.

From the outset revolutionary democratic parties dominated the contemporary
political arena because they had an influence on the soviets. These parties
did not regard the soviets as bodies of state power. The only organ that
built power in their view was the Constituent Assembly, and here the liberal
democracy agreed with them. The kind of control that the Petrograd Soviet of
Workers and Soldiers’ Deputies had over the workers and soldiers looked like
power, but everyone realized that the power of the mob was not democracy but

Therefore, in the first couple of months after the overthrow of autocracy in
Russia one could see an unprecedented degree of unity of the political
forces. Liberal and socialist democratic parties, which until recently were
ferocious opponents, found themselves united by the fear of anarchy. This
fear made the counterrevolutionary forces support a liberal democracy and
curb their political activities. Later, in a different situation, these
activities manifested themselves in full, in the form of a civil war between
the Reds and the Whites.

The alignment of political forces changed after Lenin returned from
emigration. In his “April Theses” he defined his party’s tactical and
strategic objective: the establishment of Bolshevik dictatorship. The
strategic task was to lay the foundations of a socioeconomic order
formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their Communist Manifesto.

Lenin believed it was possible to take political power by using the soviets
and came up with the slogan, “All power to the soviets!” He led his party
out of the revolutionary democratic camp in order to avoid subsequently
sharing power with the other socialists. He was not bothered by the fact
that the soviets were being influenced by the Social Revolutionaries and the

The Bolsheviks stood for the abolition of private ownership of the means of
production; this means that they were on the same path with the soviets in
the first phase of revolutionary transformations because the soviets
demanded the expropriation of large landowners and the bourgeoisie. Sooner
or later the Bolsheviks would have to fill the soviets with their own people
and lead them in an assault on the government formed by the coalition of
liberal socialist parties.

Meanwhile, anarchy and chaos were spreading with each passing year. For
the participants of the revolution the age of serfdom was still a painful
family memory; their grandfathers had been sold or lost during card games.

Therefore, the potential of class hatred was exceptionally high. Also, the
three-year war that was waged on an unprecedented scale took a heavy toll
on every family, each day producing enmity and mercilessness.

When it transpired that the Provisional Government was postponing the
resolution of agrarian issues until the Constituent Assembly was convened,
peasants dressed in army greatcoats began deserting rear garrisons and the
front in order to divide plots among themselves “fairly.” A pogrom movement
began in the countryside, subsequently described by Soviet historians as an
organized campaign to confiscate landlords’ estates.

Like all the other parties that had left the underground, the Bolsheviks
quickly achieved numerical strength, yet their influence within the soviets
was growing too slowly. That was why, by the late summer of 1917, Lenin
temporarily discarded the slogans based on the party’s strategic objective
and assumed those of the soviets. On the eve of the armed uprising this
party acted like a chameleon merging with the soviets.

The British historian Edward H. Carr launched his 14-volume History of
Soviet Russia with two volumes dedicated to The Bolshevik Revolution,
1917-1923. He describes the Russian Revolution as a Bolshevik one because
in the final analysis the Bolsheviks had colored it red. However, like all
other researchers, Carr let himself fall into the propaganda trap of the
Bolshevik leaders, who combined their truly revolutionary, albeit specific,
action plan with the 1917 revolution.

Nor was it coincidental that Volodymyr Vynnychenko, one of the leaders of
the Ukrainian revolution, described the Bolshevik coup of November 1917
as a workers and peasants’ revolution. Thanks to the Bolsheviks, who had
appropriated the slogans of the soviets, the Soviet revolution triumphed on
Nov. 7.

In December 1917 the Bolsheviks outlawed the Constitutional Democrats
(Cadets) as the main party of liberal democracy. Shortly afterwards, the
All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for the Struggle against
Counterrevolution, Speculation and Sabotage [Cheka] began hunting down
the other parties, including the left-wing Socialist Revolutionaries, their
allies during the October coup. Soviets of workers and soldiers’ deputies,
which personified the antistate foundation, were proclaimed by the
Bolsheviks and actually became bodies of state power.

However, under hair-raising pressure by the Cheka, there was nothing but the
outer shell left of the soviets. The workers and soldiers’ collectives were
no longer able to replace their deputies within these councils. Now these
collectives had to vote in keeping with the discipline for candidates
recommended by Bolshevik party committees.

Beginning in 1917, “Soviet construction” – i.e., the creation of a network
of soviets with a controlled membership – became one of the party
committees’ key fields of endeavor. They were vested with limited state
functions. The lion’s share remained in the hands of the executive party
committees of the soviets.

Owing to this delimitation of authority, the party retained full political
power without assuming responsibility for current affairs. The soviets had
no political meaning whatsoever, yet they were vested with a full range of
executive functions. Any conflicts between the party and Soviet apparatchiks
were warded off by personnel replacements within Soviet institutions, with
leading posts assigned exclusively to members of the Bolshevik Party.

Nor was there anything coincidental about the Communist Party/ Soviet
pairing being identified as the Soviet power. The leaders of the ruling
party deepened their dictatorship within the masses through the system of
soviets. This was accomplished by vesting millions of citizens with minor
administrative or controlling functions.

No one could doubt the popular nature of that political regime because it
also drew its cadres from the lowest social strata. One’s worker or peasant
family background had now become a sign of the highest social quality,
similar to the way aristocratic parentage had been considered earlier.

Thanks to the transformation of the soviets into organs of power and the
Communist Party/Soviet power-wielding pairing, the Bolshevik Party divided
into two parts with essentially different functions. The inner, i.e., the
apparat party, was the nerve center of Soviet, trade union, power [defense,
internal affairs, and intelligence agencies], and other agencies. The outer
party was comprised of millions of rank and file members, who carried out
the function of a “transmission belt” from the masses to the peaks of power.

With its Soviet visage the Communist Party/Soviet pairing addressed the
people. The population elected members of Soviet organs from among
themselves, using lists of party committee- approved candidates as
representatives from the “bloc of party members and nonparty individuals.”
Any unanticipated conduct during the elections was regarded as anti- Soviet,
subject to investigation by the Cheka.

With its party visage the Communist Party/Soviet pairing addressed the
members of the sole ruling party. As a result of that party’s construction
on the principles of “democratic centralism,” its functionaries and leaders
did not depend on the election of rank and file party members, although the
latter constantly elected ruling bodies in accordance with the norms of the

In 1994 Richard Pipes formulated the essence of the Communist Party/Soviet
regime: in the Soviet Union state power was formally in the hands of the
hierarchically organized and democratically elected soviets. In reality, the
latter were a facade concealing the true sovereign, the Communist Party.

This brief formula is absolutely correct but devoid of details, and the
devil is in the details. To begin with, the soviets were not only the facade
but also a very real power. Second, it is true that they concealed the
Communist Party dictatorship, but the true sovereign was the party
leadership, not the party as a whole. Third, elections to the soviets were
organized using “soviet construction” methods that can hardly be described
as democratic.

In sum, these details reveal Soviet power in a somewhat different light. The
crux of the matter is that we will find no soviets in that system of workers
and peasants’ power.

The slide and tilt mechanism was a brilliant technological invention. It
allows two spheres firmly connected to the same axis to perform reciprocal
rotation, thus transforming one type of movement into a different one.
Lenin’s brilliant invention was an articulated political regime, a symbiosis of
the ruling party’s dictatorship whose carriers were at the top of the power
pyramid, and the absolutely real power of soviet bodies spread throughout
the masses.

This power was real in both of its components, the soviets’ executive party
committees and party committees, because it had actual authority and was
free to exercise it. However, the dictatorship authority was vested in only
the highest link in the chain, the Politburo of the CC of the

We are discussing this Communist Party/Soviet pairing because it existed on
the institutional level. In reality, the soviets were a component of the
party. This statement is by no means contradicted by the fact that some
members of the soviets were not members of the party. Together with party
members, they represented social groups, ethnic minorities, women, and
youth in proportions determined by the party committees in advance.

Therefore, a political regime that was named the Soviet power was rooted in
the masses, but in its actions it was absolutely independent of the
electorate. Dictatorial by nature, it applied the means of propaganda and
terror equally effectively. Determined by terror, the absence of
counterpropaganda served to substantially increase the effectiveness of that
power’s propagandistic effect on society.

Using these means, Communist Party leaders could place on the agenda
communist slogans that they had temporarily discarded in August 1917.
(To be continued)

The Soviet Union had a unique opportunity to mobilize its human and economic
resources to reach a single established goal.

On the one hand, this was explained by the fact that Soviet power was deeply
rooted in the masses (not coincidentally, communist ideologues defined it as
a “workers and peasants’ power”), and on the other, by the absolute
inability of the masses, the millions of members of the ruling party, and
even the nomenklatura to influence the decisions made in the very heart of
Soviet power – the Politburo (Presidium) of the Central Committee.

The whole country resembled a lightweight athlete (and lightweight it was,
considering the degree of its economic progress) competing in the
heavyweight division. Miraculously, it succeeded in overtaking the United
States in terms of missiles and space exploration for a long period of time.

However, focusing maximum efforts and means on a single objective always
has a grave effect on the living standard, yet after several decades of
terror there were practically no protesters left.

The fact that Ukraine was at the epicenter of terror tempts some people to
regard Soviet power there as occupational in nature, all the more so as this
power was enforced by three consecutive interventions by Soviet armed

After the empire fell apart, Ukraine had built a national independent state
that was rooted in the same democratic values as the Russian republic under
the Provisional Government. But things were not so simple. The Communist
Party/Soviets tandem gave the Bolsheviks an invaluable advantage over the
White Guard generals, who stubbornly persisted in restoring a single and
indivisible Russia.

In fact, the Bolsheviks shared the generals’ desire, and they had a way of
avoiding confrontation with the national liberation movement of oppressed
peoples, and even of using their human and economic potential for their own
purposes during the Civil War. Russia’s central government demanded only one
thing from these peoples: the Soviets as the basis of their political

The Bolsheviks proved to be masters of social as well as national demagogy.
In January 1918 Russia witnessed two resonant events. The Russian Revolution
was reduced to nil after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.

Almost simultaneously the 3rd All-Russian Congress of Soviets adopted the
Declaration of Working and Exploited Peoples’ Rights, whereby Russia was
proclaimed a republic of workers, peasants, and soldiers’ soviets.

Lenin declared at the congress that “more and more diverse federations of
free nations will group themselves around revolutionary Russia. This
federation will grow completely voluntarily, without lies or iron, and it is

From the heights of our contemporary knowledge we should clearly understand
the deep subtext of these high- flown words. One year earlier, in January
1917, Lenin and his fellow thinkers were still a numerically weak faction in

Within a year they had become a mass party whose goal was to restore the
colossal empire and even to spark a worldwide conflagration. The war was
still going on, and everyone felt that it had to change the world order.

During three and a half years of war in the trenches soldiers on both sides
lost the sense of the value of human life. Workers and peasants kept up
their backbreaking toil, yet what results they produced were instantly
consumed in the inferno of war. The planet was becoming gripped by blind
class hatred, and all the Bolshevik agitators had to do was aim that
destructive force in the right direction.

Lenin’s party used tons of gold bullion supplied by the Kaiser to undermine
state institutions while the war was going on. Now it began to employ
incomparably greater material resources of that country to organize a world
revolution. Dozens of Lenin’s emissaries with bagfuls of hard cash and
valuables confiscated from the bourgeoisie soon dispersed throughout Europe
in order to set up parties for the Comintern [Communist International]

Lenin called his party a drop in the people’s ocean, and he believed that he
had found in the soviets an all-purpose lever of power with which to build a
“state-commune” amidst the debris of the warring empires. The Bolsheviks
knew how to deal with the soviets that, in the eyes of other political
parties, were like wild mustangs.

The British science fiction writer, H. G. Wells, was wrong when he described
the Bolshevik leader as a Kremlin dreamer. The utopian tale about communism
as a system under which each individual would receive as many benefits as he
desired was meant for the masses. For Lenin and his associates, the Soviet
system was merely a convenient form of political and economic dictatorship.

The colossal capacities of the dual structure of Soviet power in
constructing outwardly independent nation-states (all of which were actually
fully under the Kremlin’s control) were no secret to Prof. Richard Pipes, a
noted US expert on Russian history.

In his book “Russia under the Bolshevik Regime” he writes that, once the
territories inhabited by non-Russians were reconquered and drawn into the
new Soviet empire, they obtained the fiction of statehood under the
condition that their institutions also began to be controlled (“paralyzed,”
in Lenin’s words) by the RCP(B).

Lenin never intended to fragment his party on a national basis. The result
was federalism with all the hallmarks of statehood that were ostensibly
capable of satisfying the principal demands of the non- Russian population,
but which concealed a rigid centralized dictatorship based in Moscow.

This long but necessary paraphrase illustrates the concept of national
Soviet statehood, which is widespread in the West.

Everything is correct there, but there is a lack of details. These details,
overlooked by Pipes, conceal the essence of the Bolshevik approach to the
nationality question.

Pipes’s statement that state power in the country of the Bolsheviks only
formally belonged to the soviets may be regarded as a formal one. Pipes
failed to notice that the soviets that existed in 1917 had disappeared.
There is no doubt that the soviets in each link of the power vertical were
completely subordinated to party committees.

There is also no doubt that the wild mustang of the Russian Revolution had
turned into an obedient gelding after the October coup. The mechanism of
this transformation proved to be very simple, verging on primitive; the
soviets became part of the Bolshevik Party and therefore enjoyed full
executive authority.

One cannot, for example, underestimate the role of the Council of People’s
Commissars (Sovnarkom), headed by Vladimir Lenin, which was at the
top of the Soviet power vertical.

All this indicates that the soviets were also a completely realistic power
in the national republics, not a “fiction of statehood.” They were
“paralyzed” along the party line if the Kremlin thought it necessary.
However, the members of the centralized and disciplined Bolshevik Party in
Moscow, who were placed in charge of the national republics, did not have
an easy time of it.

They constantly had to keep watch in order not to lose control of the
situation in the republics and even to make sure that the branches of the
RCP(B)-AUCP(B)-CPSU remained absolutely loyal to Moscow.

The leaders declared that the nationality question was of secondary
importance and that it was subordinated to the class one. In reality, they
were paying close attention to the national periphery in their own state.
They were especially diligent in keeping track of the processes unfolding in
Ukraine, the largest Soviet republic in terms of human and material
resources, which bordered on Europe.

The Soviet empire, created by Lenin’s party, no longer exists, and we now
have the opportunity to study the circumstances behind its birth and death
at the same time. We can establish the collision that emerged when the
Soviet power was being actively promulgated in the national regions.

The nature of this collision was that a totalitarian state with a minimum
number of carriers of dictatorship was simultaneously an aggregate of
countries (known as Union Republics from 1923) where the existence of
national governments on which real administrative authority had been
conferred was permitted.

These national governments were totally subordinated to the central
government, but their very existence created the appearance of a democratic
state for the Soviet federation, in which ruling powers were divided between
the center and its subjects.

But this was a pseudo-federation. In all the Soviet Constitutions the term
“federation” was used only in the names of the republics. A federation is
impossible without a division of power and a dictatorship rules out such a

The communist system was created contrary to the interests and desires of
the majority of the population, especially the peasantry, which comprised
the majority of Soviet citizens. Therefore, mass terror was inevitable
everywhere. However, in concluding the survey of this topic, I think it
would be to the point to raise the following question: Did the intensity of
this terror vary between the Russian and non-Russian regions?

The answer stems from the preceding survey: the multinational country made
up of republics vested with national statehood and considerable
constitutional rights was always threatened by collapse in the event of a
crisis in the Kremlin. Such a crisis would make the dictatorship impossible.
Paradoxically, the more constitutional rights the national republics had,
the greater the threat of repressions they faced from the Kremlin.
Why did the leaders of the RCP(B) place Soviet national statehood into the
building of their “state-commune,” if they realized that this state could
turn out to be a source of separatism? Wouldn’t it have been simpler to form
national republics without any hallmarks of statehood?

There was all the more reason for this, as from its very inception the
Russian Federation was being formed as a centralized state with an
autonomous, i.e., stateless, order in its national regions.

The answer to this question is quite simple. Lenin and the other leaders of
the RCP(B) saw the dangers of national Soviet statehood, but they were
forced to accept a compromise with the liberation movement, which after the
collapse of autocracy had split asunder the former empire into its various
component parts. The building of Soviet Ukraine in the Kremlin is a good
illustration of all the tortuous turns of the Bolsheviks’ nationality

Today, more than ever, we are turning to the events of the Ukrainian
Revolution because its 90th anniversary will soon be upon us.

A discussion of the occupational nature of Soviet rule cannot proceed
without comparisons between these events and the events of the Russian
Revolution. Nor should we forget that the Russian Revolution also took place
on the territory of Ukraine.

At issue is the activity of all-Russian parties, trade unions, and soviets;
the formation by the Bolsheviks of Red Guard armed detachments; and the
Civil War between the Whites and the Reds. In their turn, the events of the
Ukrainian Revolution also spilled out beyond the limits of the territory
where Ukrainians formed the majority of the population (consider, for
example, the Ukrainization of the army on all Russian fronts).

The Bolsheviks got the idea to create Soviet Ukraine during their struggle
against the Central Rada. Lenin believed that it was possible to gain
control over the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) by convening an
all-Ukrainian congress of soviets, according to the Russian scenario, and
electing a substitute for the Central Rada, namely the Central Executive
Committee of Soviets of Ukraine.

In making arrangements for that all- Ukrainian congress, the Sovnarkom
deviated from the previous Russian government’s fundamental principle with
regard to the borders of Ukraine. The Provisional Government had agreed to
recognize Ukraine as a political reality consisting of Kyiv, Volyn,
Podillia, Poltava regions, and part of the Chernihiv region.

At issue was Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s state, which had been annexed to
Russia in the mid-17th century. In other words, Ukraine’s possession of
Sloboda Ukraine and the Azov-Black Sea steppes, colonized mostly by
Ukrainians, was not recognized.

But the chain of soviets under Bolshevik control was more or less developed
precisely in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. Here one could
expect success for the scheme to replace the Central Rada by the Central
Executive Committee of Soviets of Ukraine only in the event that Ukrainian
national statehood was recognized on the territory of its nine gubernias.

The day after the Central Rada ratified the bill on elections to the
Ukrainian Constituent Assembly (Nov. 17, 1917), Joseph Stalin, the Russian
Federation’s People’s Commissar of Nationalities, telegraphed S. Bakynsky,
an official of the regional RSDRP(B) in the Southwestern Territory in Kyiv,
declaring: “All of us believe that you, residents of Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv,
Katerynoslav, and others, must immediately set about convening this

In this text the identification of Bolsheviks according to their place of
residence was unquestioned, albeit intentional, proof of the pragmatic
recognition by the Sovnarkom of the Central Rada’s declared borders of
Ukraine consisting of nine gubernias, including Kharkiv, Katerynoslav,
Kherson, and Tavrida (without the Crimea).

The treacherous plan to “re-elect” the Central Rada in Kyiv did not work,
but the Bolsheviks succeeded in reconvening the All-Ukrainian Congress of
Soviets in Kharkiv, the day after they seized the city.

During the congress in December 1917 the formation of a Soviet republic
formally independent of Russia was proclaimed, and the state was given the
same name that was adopted by the Central Rada: the Ukrainian National

The Soviet government was called the National Secretariat (not Sovnarkom,
like in Moscow). The resemblance to the Central Rada’s General Secretariat
was also quite obvious. After setting up a Soviet center in Kharkiv, the
Sovnarkom could now fight the Central Rada behind the National Secretariat’s

The building of an “independent” Soviet republic in Ukraine was a step that
was forced on the Kremlin. However, as soon as the situation on the fronts
improved, the Bolshevik leaders began rejecting this dangerous move.

After the UNR was occupied by German and Austrian troops, they formed the
Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine – CP(B)U – in Moscow with the status
of a regional organization of the sole centralized party, the RCP(B).

The resolution of the founding congress outlined the task “to struggle for
the revolutionary unification of Ukraine and Russia according to the
principles of proletarian centralism within the boundaries of the Russian
Soviet Socialist Republic.”

However, on Nov. 28, 1918, the Politburo of the CC RCP(B) sanctioned the
creation of a “workers and peasants’ government” of Ukraine. To explain the
reasons behind this decision, I must quote from Lenin’s letter to I. I.
Vatsetis, Commander in Chief of the Red Army: “As our troops advance to the
West and to Ukraine, regional provisional Soviet governments are emerging,
which are tasked with strengthening the local soviets.

The good thing about this situation is that it is depriving the chauvinists
of Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia of the possibility to regard the
movements of our units as occupation, and creating a favorable atmosphere
for the further advance of our troops. Without this circumstance our troops
would find themselves in an unbearable situation in the occupied regions,
and the populace would not greet them as liberators.”

Lenin said these words: “occupied regions.” He ordered the occupation of a
territory that was beyond his government’s influence; in other words, to use
force to attain control over it. However, on the territory under his control
the leader of the Bolsheviks preferred propaganda to terror.

Better results could be achieved by using deceptive propaganda and temporary
concessions than the use of force. He never forgot his party’s strategic
objectives and knew how to back down when he was faced with strong

It was understood that the party leaders intended to build a centralized
state. The 8th RCP(B) Congress, held in March 1919, rather clearly defined
the priorities of the nationality policy: “The party proposes a federated
union of states organized according to the Soviet type as one of the
transitional forms on the road to complete unity.”

For some time afterwards, the Kremlin considered the possibility of
liquidating national statehood and restricting the status of the regions in
question to autonomous entities within the Russian Federation. On March 24,
1919, Lev Kamenev wrote in Pravda: “Generally speaking, it is necessary to
merge Ukraine with Russia.”

But in the fall of 1919, when Trotsky’s troops were liberating Ukraine from
the White Guard occupiers, no one in the Kremlin was talking about the
merger of both countries anymore. Thus, during that trying period most of
Ukraine’s active socialist parties, among them the Ukrainian Socialist
Revolutionaries and Social Democrats, adopted the communist platform. This
was no coincidence.

The resolution “On Soviet Power in Ukraine,” which established the political
line in the republic after Denikin’s occupation, announced the restoration
of national statehood and the repudiation of the transfer to Soviet state
and collective farms in agriculture, as envisaged by the new program of the
The linkage of dictatorship with democracy within the Soviet state framework
created only the illusion of resolving the nationality question. However,
this structure of power fostered the revival of Ukrainians’ freedom-loving
aspirations that were crushed in 1920 by the million-strong army that came
from Soviet Russia.

All appointments at the gubernia and district levels – not to mention the
Soviet Ukrainian leadership – were the prerogative of the Kremlin. However,
after a lengthy period of work in Ukraine such Kremlin appointees often
began to be governed by the interests of the republic.

This was true of Khrystian Rakovsky, who headed the Ukrainian government
since early 1919 (at the time this post was the highest rung on the
Communist Party-Soviet ladder, just like in Russia). There is documented
evidence that he was not very troubled whenever he was confronted by the
invisible force that paralyzed his endeavors. After all, as a member of the
CC RCP(B), he himself was part of this force.

Unlike Rakovsky, Mykola Skrypnyk was sincerely outraged by the restrictions
and directives that ran counter to the Soviet government’s declarations. He
went so far as to make statements about the party’s “double-entry
bookkeeping” in regard to the nationality question.

In both Diaspora and post-Soviet historiography Skrypnyk is an
extraordinarily positive figure. I do not want to engage in polemics about
this assessment. He was a very decent individual with a tragic destiny.

Nor can one overlook his Herculean efforts in derussifying the Ukrainian
Soviet republic and the North Caucasus territories that were inhabited by
ethnic Ukrainians. One should not underestimate his role in transforming
Ukrainians from an ethnographic mass into a nation aware of its historic

It was Skrypnyk who, together with a group of leading members of the
Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, who initially became
Borotbists and later communists, did his best to ensure that the Soviet
power lost its occupational character in Ukraine.

He became one of the leaders of the Bolshevik Party at an early stage and
was a convinced supporter of dictatorial methods of administration. He
was also one of the founders of the notorious Cheka.

Communism – not in its propagandistic jacket but in its practical
implementation – is always linked to dictatorship, and dictatorship – with
arbitrary rule and crimes. It should be noted that the national specifics of
Russian, Ukrainian, or Chinese communism never had an impact on the
essence of the doctrine or on its implementation.

Ukraine could be conquered by a million-strong army, but it was never fully
controlled. Ukrainians had to become convinced that the Soviet government
was their government. Officials, propagandists, Chekists, and teachers had
to communicate in Ukrainian in official institutions, educational
establishments, and the mass media.

Addressing the 7th All-Ukraine Party Conference in April 1923, Trotsky noted
that the estrangement of the ruling party and the Soviet apparatus from the
bulk of the population was dangerous. One hundred times more dangerous, he
believed, were misunderstandings with the peasantry if the latter did not
belong to the nationality that was the ruling one in tsarist Russia.

Hence the conclusion: they needed not only economic linkage with the peasant
market (already established by the New Economic Policy); they also had to
ponder the national linkage: language, school, and culture.

The same thing was said a few days later by Stalin, when he addressed the
12th Congress of the RCP(B), except that he emphasized good relations rather
than misunderstandings and their disastrous consequences: “…so that the
Soviet power becomes dear also to the peasantry of other nationalities, so
that it is understandable to it, so that it functions in their native
languages, so that schools and organs of power are staffed with local
people, who know the language, customs, and manner of life of the non-
Russian nationalities.”

The campaign that was launched by the 12th Party Congress became known
as indigenization (korenizatsiia) whereby Soviet power took root in the
national regions. In Ukraine, indigenization acquired the form of

Gerhard Simon, the noted German expert on the Kremlin’s nationality policy,
correctly noted that indigenization was supposed to prevent the development
of those national forces that had destroyed the Russian and Danubian empires
in 1917-18. Concessions in terms of language, culture, and cadre policy were
intended to put a halt to autonomist and separatist moods.

The policy of indigenization was safe, and even useful to the Kremlin, but
only to a certain extent. The all-Union center did not succeed in
restricting itself to indigenizing Soviet power in such a nationally mighty
republic as Ukraine, a nationally strong republic with great traditions of
liberation struggle. Ukrainization surpassed the limits of a bureaucratic
campaign and became a tool of national renascence.

Bohdan Kravchenko, a noted Ukrainian (formerly Ukrainian Canadian) scholar,
is correct in linking the achievements of Ukrainization with the emergence
of a national communist trend within the ruling party. Indeed, this trend
emerged not so much from the nucleus of Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s former party
as from the appointments to posts of young people, who had joined the party
during mass recruitment campaigns and wholeheartedly believed everything
they read in Soviet newspapers.

The party was thus reinforced by the younger generation of communists whom
Stalin had mentioned in his letter to Lenin (Sept. 22, 1922), when he was
arguing his idea of the “autonomization” of the independent Soviet republics
within the Russian Federation: “We are in a phase of evolution when the
form, law, [and] constitution cannot be ignored, when the younger generation
of communists in the provinces is refusing to understand the game of
independence as just a game, stubbornly accepting words about independence
at face value and equally stubbornly demanding that we implement the letter
of the constitution of the independent republics.”

National communism was extremely dangerous for a party that was built on the
principles of “democratic centralism.”

Organizationally, it weakened the Communist Party-Soviet center, at the same
time strengthening the Kharkiv subcenter, which through its scope already
represented a terrible threat to the Kremlin. Sooner or later the national
communists, led by Skrypnyk, who accepted the norms of the Soviet
constitutions at face value, had to face the Kremlin’s preemptive
repressions. They did.
Soviet occupation is a term that has a right to exist. We can discuss the
occupation of the territories seized by the Soviet Union under the Molotov-
Ribbentrop Pact. We will not find another definition for the status of the
Soviet army that entered certain European countries originally with the
mission of liberation and then stayed for decades.

However, applying this term to the main part of Ukraine is incorrect from
the scholarly and political points of view. Scholarly incorrectness flows
from everything stated above. So I will dwell on its political

The people who had a direct part in the events launched 90 years ago by the
revolution in the Russian empire are long gone. Various attitudes to these
events are possible, and one can occupy the position of a certain political
force or concrete political figure.

All this will just be a game that will have absolutely no effect on the
“dead past.” One should not use historical events to add fuel to the fire of
contemporary political passions. Do we not have enough conflicts to cope
with these days?

However, let us return to the provocative renaming of the exposition “Not to
Be Forgotten” as the “Museum of Soviet Occupation,” mentioned at the start
of this article. Do most members of the Kyiv city organization of the
Memorial Society share the opinion of its head, Roman Krutsyk?

There is the concept of copyright. The bulk of the exposition “Not to Be
Forgotten” consists of color panels prepared by Dr. Yurii Shapoval. He is
adamantly opposed to the renaming and has grounds to protest this, including
in the courts.

Our society responded to this in a sharp and nervous manner, perhaps because
Mr. Krutsyk is not a private citizen but the number-two man at the Institute
of National Memory.

This institute is vested with important and noble functions: to restore the
historical memory of the Ukrainian people, vanquish the myths that were
implanted in the minds of people in Soviet times, and to unify our society.
Will this institute be able to discharge these functions with such a

When we say “Soviet occupation,” we actually mean a completely different
phrase: “Russian occupation.” When we link the hidden concept of Russian
occupation to the name of the exposition “Not to Be Forgotten” – which
portrays the deaths of millions of Ukrainians during the years of building
Leninist-Stalinist communism – in doing so we are placing an explosive
charge in Ukraine- Russia relations and activating the detonator. Mr.
Krutsyk, are you doing this out of love for Ukrainians?

One should not shift culpability for the political regime of one country or
another to that country and the nation that inhabits it.

This should not be done especially when a nation is deprived of the
possibility to elect the people who represent this regime. And it is
especially not worth doing this, considering that Ukrainians and Russians
(along with many other nations) found themselves together under a
totalitarian regime.

It can be proven that Russians did more – and Ukrainians less – to foster
the emergence of that totalitarian regime. There were reasons for this,
partially connected with the national features of both these peoples. For
example, Ukrainians fleeing from agrarian overpopulation preferred to settle
in the free territories of the Asiatic part of the empire rather than work
in industry in cities that were closest to their villages.

As a result, workers’ soviets in Ukrainian cities became part of the Russian
rather than the Ukrainian Revolution. However, the soviets destroyed Russian
democracy (the Provisional Government) the same way they did the Ukrainian
National Republic, whereupon they vanished from the surface of political
life and dissolved into the Bolshevik Party.

If we consider the national composition of this party after the
implementation of the indigenization campaign, we will see that the
proportion of Ukrainian members in it was approximately equal to the
proportion of Ukrainians in the population of the Soviet Union.

Is the multinational RCP(B)-AUCP(B)-CPSU to blame for all the tragedies?
Remember what happened to this party in Ukraine. Stalin destroyed half of
its 500,000 members at the same time that he inflicted the “shattering blow”
(Stalin’s expression) on the Ukrainian peasantry in 1932-33.

No, political regimes cannot be identified with nations. One must look
closer at the reasons why those malignant processes became possible in
the Leninist party, which caused such colossal losses among Ukrainians,
Russians, Germans, Poles, and the representatives of all the peoples that
inhabited Ukraine, Russia, and all the other republics.

If we take a closer look, our analysis, built on a thorough research of
Kremlin archives, will reveal the primary source of all the tragedies: the
communist doctrine.

Is it not paradoxical that a political force which professes the communist
doctrine is part of the Ukrainian parliament and the government of Ukraine
in the 16th year of independence? No, this is not a paradox; this is
postgenocidal Ukraine.
Stanislav Kulchytsky is a historian at the Institute of Ukrainian History,
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

ANALYSIS: By Yurii Shapoval, Scholar, Historian
The Day Weekly Digest #18, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 19 June 2007

In the first half of June Kyiv saw the opening of the Museum of Soviet

The organizers (first of all, the Vasyl Stus Memorian Society) claim the
aim of this is to reproduce a full historical picture of totalitarian
repressions in Ukraine throughout the 20th century so that one learns
extremely necessary political, moral and ethical lessons which would
prevent something of the sort from happening in the future.

What further activated and “catalyzed” the upsurge of public interest (plus
emotions, often sincere but entirely objectionable) was the speech of
President Viktor Yushchenko at a recent press conference: as is known, the
head of state unequivocally supported the establishment of this museum. As
was to be expected, passions are running high.

(For this is a problem that requires an extremely cautious attitude to every
word spoken because there is a danger of an abrupt deepening of the already
dangerous rift in society, a considerable part of which categorically
rejects calling the Soviet era an “occupation.” Why it does so is the
subject of a different serious discussion.)

The Day was one of the first in Ukraine to begin, years ago, a serious
debate on the dramatic pages of national history. And we think it gives the
newspaper a certain moral right to caution: analyzing this overcomplicated
problem, one should not resort even in the least to dishonest politicking;
this approach is absolutely inadmissible, for in this case history becomes a
chip in political gambling.

We admit that the establishment of this museum is sort of a brusque
response of a part of society to the absence of well-planned work to
preserve our historical memory. Can this be a compensation? We think not.

For this reason, The Day invites the readers to hear the first expert
opinions from various regions of Ukraine about the new museum and its
concepts. It is surely just the beginning of a long debate.
Let me start by quoting this joke: “There have been cases when the occupied
wore the occupier’s boots.” I remembered it when I read about the opening of
the Soviet Occupation Museum in Kyiv. Earlier President Viktor Yushchenko
mentioned the need for such a museum.

Quite recently, he countered Olha Ginzburg, Ukraine’s number one archivist
(known to be versed in Soviet history, so much so it rates a separate
story), declaring that he would submit to the museum personal documents
relating to “crimes against the Ukrainian people.”

The hammer-and-sickle communist chairperson of the Derzhkomarkhiv
(State Archives Committee) is opposed to the museum: “Who needs it?
My generation doesn’t.” Well said! The communists don’t have to
remember the crimes engineered by their party.

I have written a lot about these crimes and keep writing, yet I am also
against sharply worded declarations about the creation of this museum,
although for different reasons.

I am depressed by our president allowing himself to be dragged into a
dialogue of sorts with this Red archivist, instead of conducting a policy
that would not allow such characters within firing range of leading posts in
Ukraine’s archival system which is bad enough as it is.

Why does this happen? Because Ukraine does not have a comprehensive
interactive policy of historical memory. The existing policy – as the entire
official policy – has been double-faced since the times of Leonid Kravchuk
and Leonid Kuchma. These leaders did not want to reopen the old wounds
of the Soviet past.

After the Orange revolution in 2004 there appeared fresh hopes for a radical
break with the totalitarian past. However, after Yushchenko and Yanukovych
signed a political memorandum (in other words, an agreement pardoning
political and other bandits), these hopes look unrealistic.

You can visit the Web site of the Party of Regions and read their historical
articles. You become immediately aware that Soviet historical consciousness
is still there and that it is tearing Ukraine apart.

I am even not mentioning the assignment of various important posts to
Communists and Socialists, including the Derzhkomarkhiv. These people
will continue fighting for their “bright future” to the last man.

On the other hand, attempts to “nationalize” the Soviet period in the
history of Ukraine at one stroke, dividing its personages into occupiers and
victims, will not work. This has a direct bearing on the museum-opening
declaration. In fact, it is not opening but renaming, for there is actually
no museum, not even something remotely resembling one with its attributes.

What this is all about is a major exposition, entitled Zabuttiu ne
pidliahaie. Khronika komunistychnoi inkvizytsii (Never to be forgotten. A
Chronicle of Communist Inquisition), on the premises of the Kyiv city
organization of the Vasyl Stus Memorial Society at 6-A Stelmakh St. I am
directly involved in this exposition because I was the one to create it.

Excerpts from documents, a chronicle of historical events, photographs,
copies of documents, even the tape of the first guided tour (later used as
the basis of what turned out a rather clumsy guidebook of the exposition) –
I did them all, just as I did the exposition “Ukrainian Solovki”.
Incidentally, I have an official copyright.

However, exposition is not what matters, but in whose hands it is. As it is,
this exposition is in the hands of people who (a) lack historical knowledge
(mildly speaking); (b) have a one-sided (nationalistic) party affiliation.
Nor was it coincidental that I suddenly found myself crowded out from the
Memorial’s academic council and relieved of my post as its chairman.

Indeed, why should those who believe they know everything there is to know
about history need a professional historian, who divide Ukraine into those
with the national identity and those without it, into friends and foes (just
like those Moscow spin doctors did at one time)? These people have a
black-and-white concept of our past.

Now they have divided this country into the occupiers and the occupied.
Do you think this will help consolidate Ukraine? I think that this will
precisely the opposite purpose. Once there are occupiers, they must be
driven away: the dead ones, from historical consciousness, and the surviving
ones, from this country.

Hence the main question: “Who is the occupier?” Granted, there were
characters like Lenin, Stalin, there was the Kremlin, Moscow, various kinds
of envoys of the Communist Inquisition like Postyshev. Now can we qualify as
an occupier Mikhail Muraviov, who was not a Socialist Revolutionary but who
actually occupied Kyiv in 1918?

What about Volodymyr Zatonsky, Oleksandr Shumsky, Vlas Chubar, Vasyl
Shakhrai, Afanasii Liubchenko, Mykola Skrypnyk, Vasyl Bozhenko, Yurii
Kotsiubynsky, Sydir Kovpak, Demian Korotchenko, Oleksii Kyrychenko,
Nykyfir Kalchenko, Oleksandr Liashko, Petro Shelest, Volodymyr Ivashko,
even Volodymyr Shcherbytsky? And this is only a small part of the list!

There are countless other names of Ukrainians who were assigned major and
minor party, governmental, KGB, interior ministry, and army posts. Were they
all occupiers? If so, it means that we were occupied by our fellow
countrymen. An interesting kind of occupation, indeed.

The thing is that the ideas of social justice and creation of an
alternative, procommunist Ukrainian state were not always brought to Ukraine
with Leninist-Stalinist bayonets. There were people in Ukraine who were
convinced that the model of the Ukrainian National Republic does not answer
the interests of the entire society.

There were also ugly phenomena like UNR internal squabbles, mutual hatred
among the UNR leaders, their inability to control the situation (it suffices
to remember the pogroms) or to implement their own decisions, even laws.
All this undermined the UNR’s prestige.

The fact remains that Bolshevik totalitarianism and Brezhnev’s “bloodless”
authoritarianism were asserted in Ukraine not only by envoys of the Center
[i.e., Moscow], but also by Ukrainians.

This unpleasant issue remains to be studied at sufficient length, yet it has
already been ignored. These autochthonous functionaries should not be
justified or whitewashed. They should be remembered, not ignored.

Then we will understand the logic of the bloody historical confrontation
into which Ukraine was dragged in 1917-20, lest we sow the seeds of another
confrontation. Then we will learn not to simplify views on our past, views
that had their specifics in the center and east of Ukraine (unlike the
Baltic states, Georgia, even the west of Ukraine).

History must not be adjusted to a president’s emotional declarations.
Well, today everyone seems engrossed in historical simplifications and
conformism. Sad but true.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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OP-ED: By Anne Applebaum, Columnist
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My friend Nikita was looking drawn and tired the last time I saw him. He’s a
historian, but he doesn’t have much time for archives these days. Instead,
most of his energy is devoted to fighting the Moscow city authorities who
want the residents of his state-owned apartment building to move out,
presumably to sell the building to developers.

He’s willing to leave the apartment he’s lived in for decades, but the law
requires the authorities to find him a new apartment in the same part of
central Moscow. None had been forthcoming.

Some of the tenants were giving up, even drifting out of town. Nikita
believes in the rule of law, however, so he organized the remaining tenants
to fight for their rights. The result: a rash of broken windows and a few
break-ins. This, I repeat, is a state-owned building.

On the same day that Nikita told me about his apartment troubles, I heard a
story from another friend, Alla. Her previously healthy son had recently
suffered a heart attack after a terrible ordeal:

Criminality and lawlessness may be a big problem for the would-be middle
class in Russia, but it suits those in power to leave things just as they

His girlfriend, a bank manager, had been kidnapped. He had spent months
negotiating her release–the police hardly helped–and the strain became too
much for him. He died in his 30s, with no previous history of heart disease.
Unlike Nikita, Alla no longer believes in the utility of law at all.

But Nikita’s and Alla’s woes weren’t unique. During a week in Moscow, I
heard a dozen more horror stories: My friends, their children and their
acquaintances all seemed to have recently suffered freak accidents, tangles
with Kafkaesque bureaucracy or major swindles.

One had watched as trees were surreptitiously axed in a nearby park. As for
me, my wallet was stolen from my hotel room in the middle of the night,
clearly an inside job.

Most of the stories had nothing to do with politics as such. But they
illustrate something about contemporary Russia that we too rarely discuss:
Putinism isn’t just a foreign policy problem.

The Russian president’s penchant for breaking weapons treaties, threatening
small neighbors, disposing of his enemies and spouting Cold War rhetoric
creates dilemmas for the West. Yet the lawlessness that pervades his country
creates much worse dilemmas for ordinary Russians.

Not all Russians, of course: If you look at the statistics–gross domestic
product, stock market activity, annual growth rates–Russia’s economy
appears to be improving rapidly.

Presumably the oil magnates who are snapping up big houses in Geneva and
London are benefiting from the huge rise in oil and gas prices and the
accompanying boom.

Maybe the retirees whose pensions are now paid on time–in the 1990s, they
would go for weeks without seeing a ruble–benefit, too.

But there is a group that clearly isn’t doing well out of Russia’s economic
growth, and most of my friends–doctors, journalists, teachers, historians,
some entrepreneurs–are part of it. For lack of a better term, I’ll call
this group the would-be middle class.

The mere fact that they live in a post-communist country doesn’t explain
their tribulations. I reckon that my friends in Warsaw must be the rough
socioeconomic equivalents of my friends in Moscow, but my Warsaw
friends are flourishing, despite the chaotic coalition government that runs
their country and despite the corruption that sometimes prevails in their
city government.

They might not be zillionaires, but their children study abroad, their
apartments have new Ikea bookshelves, and they don’t regularly tell horror
stories about their daily lives. They aren’t a would-be middle class;
they’re a real middle class, and eventually they’ll vote like one, too.

It’s a good reminder of something we often forget: Not every prime minister
has to be a genius, and not every economic target has to be met for life to
improve in a developing or transitional country.

But a few basic requirements must be met: a percentage of honest
bureaucrats; a minimal investment in public health and safety; a genuine
separation between criminal mafias and at least most state authorities.
And, of course, a working legal system.

The absence of these ingredients explains, in part, the popularity of
President Vladimir Putin: Many Russians want someone, anyone, to
appear to be in charge. But Putinism in turn reinforces the status quo,

Criminality and lawlessness may be a big problem for the would-be middle
class in Russia, but it suits those in power to leave things just as they
are. (
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