Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains: Creating National History in Contemporary Ukraine

David R. Marples
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 378
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7829/j.ctt2jbn86
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  • Book Info
    Heroes and Villains
    Book Description:

    Certain to engender debate in the media, especially in Ukraine itself, as well as the academic community. Using a wide selection of newspapers, journals, monographs, and school textbooks from different regions of the country, the book examines the sensitive issue of the changing perspectives – often shifting 180 degrees – on several events discussed in the new narratives of the Stalin years published in the Ukraine since the late Gorbachev period until 2005. These events were pivotal to Ukrainian history in the 20th century, including the Famine of 1932–33 and Ukrainian insurgency during the war years.

    eISBN: 978-615-5211-35-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xx)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
    David R. Marples
  5. CHAPTER 1 INDEPENDENT UKRAINE REVIEWS THE PAST
    (pp. 1-33)

    There are several general indications of changing perspectives in Ukraine after independence, a period when the government was preoccupied with elaborating its new relationship with Russia, with its autonomous region of Crimea, and with overcoming a serious economic crisis. Initially, there was some emphasis on taking revenge against the former Soviet regime in the form of an international tribunal. The situation was described by the president of the Kyiv branch of the Memorial association, Roman Krutsyk, who noted the disastrous consequences of Soviet rule in Ukraine. In 1989, when the contents of mass graves—victims of Stalin’s terror—had been...

  6. CHAPTER 2 THE FAMINE OF 1932–33
    (pp. 35-77)

    For independent Ukraine, no event has greater significance in the history of the developing nation-state than the Famine of 1932–33. It brought about a period of intensive suffering on a hitherto unimagined scale. Yet, although the Famine is becoming part of Ukraine’s new national history, its progress to that status has been uneven, littered with public disputes and academic dissension, and with no consensus among historians as to its scale or even its origins. In part, these disputes illustrate the continuing relevance of the Soviet period to life in Ukraine, despite the material and practical steps taken in forging...

  7. CHAPTER 3 THE OUN, 1929–43
    (pp. 79-123)

    This chapter analyzes discourse and writings on the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), founded in 1929 in the territories of Ukraine that were included in Poland as a result of the Paris Peace treaties that followed the First World War. The OUN offered an extreme nationalist perspective somewhat similar to parties in various East European states in the interwar period, though it is compared most frequently with Mussolini’s version of Fascism in Italy. Through the writings of Dmytro Dontsov, a mentor rather than a member, the theory it embraced is known as “integral nationalism.” Though forced into an illegal existence,...

  8. CHAPTER 4 MAKING HEROES: THE EARLY DAYS OF OUN-UPA
    (pp. 125-165)

    This chapter examines interpretations of the topic of OUN-UPA¹ as constituents in the process of constructing a national history in Ukraine, and in particular the changing interpretations of this organization in Ukraine. Several introductory premises need to be stated. First, as earlier, the goal is not to determine factual truth per se, but rather to analyze the prevailing narratives. Second, this chapter includes a sampling of newspapers of different political perspectives and readership published in the period from the late 1980s until the early 21st century, from different geographical regions of Ukraine, as well as journals, scholarly works, and contemporary...

  9. CHAPTER 5 UPA’S CONFLICT WITH THE RED ARMY AND SOVIET SECURITY FORCES
    (pp. 167-201)

    This chapter takes the discussion and debates about the Ukrainian insurgence one step further, into the later war years, with focus on two major issues: first, it analyzes discussions of UPA’s conflict with the Soviet security forces and the Red Army; and second, it looks at writings on the alleged change of outlook and “democratization” of the OUN in 1943–44. It also examines the creation of the SS Division Halychyna, and its place in the narrative about wartime nationalist formations, and to what extent the Division occupies a place today in the nationalist pantheon. In the background were the...

  10. CHAPTER 6 THE UKRAINIAN–POLISH CONFLICT
    (pp. 203-237)

    Of all the volatile issues emanating from Ukraine’s participation in the Second World War, perhaps the most debated has been UPA’s conflict with the Poles, which has been described by Yale historian Timothy Snyder as one of the earliest examples of ethnic cleansing in the 20th century. A landmark of sorts was reached in 2003, the 60th anniversary of the attempted elimination of the Polish population in Volhynia region, when scholars, writers, and journalists on both sides of the border discussed the matter openly, albeit without reaching any firm conclusions. On the level of government politicians, the then opposition leader,...

  11. CHAPTER 7 WRITING NEW HISTORY IN UKRAINE
    (pp. 239-281)

    This chapter examines the emergence of new history in Ukraine, as well as the issue of the rehabilitation of the OUN and UPA, which has been taken on as a goal by the government of President Viktor Yushchenko. The intention is to ascertain the degree to which—after 15 years of independence—Ukraine has changed the way it looks at the recent past, particularly the events cited in this study that are so controversial, painful, and remain in people’s memories. It begins with school textbooks, a prime indicator of how a new generation of Ukrainian citizens will perceive its past,...

  12. CHAPTER 8 ASSESSMENTS
    (pp. 283-302)

    This concluding chapter will be divided into three parts. The first will examine perhaps the most definitive treatment of OUN ideology to date, by historian H. V. Kas’yanov; the second will look at the main findings of the 2004 Government Commission Report on OUN-UPA; and the final section will offer some conclusions on the issues raised in this book—the question of constructing national history in Ukraine, with a focus on the twentieth century and the Stalin years in particular.¹ There is as yet no prevailing narrative, as we have noted from recent school textbooks, but with the passing of...

  13. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 303-314)

    Having examined the various opinions through discourses on the Famine, the OUN, and the UPA, and other aspects of Ukraine in the Second World War at different levels, one can offer a few comments first concerning the current state of historical knowledge. Though it is posited that historical truth is elusive and perhaps impossible to ascertain—and for the purposes of writing a national history, somewhat rarely applied—the opening of archives and academic debates provides some enlightenment on the issues under discussion. An outsider will want to know whether the Famine of 1932–33, for example, was an act...

  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 315-336)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 337-363)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 364-364)