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[Ukrainian Statehood in the Twentieth Century: Historical and Political Analysis. Kyiv: Political Thought, 1996. pp. 3-38.]

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Socialist and Communist Models

James E. MACE



1. Socialism in Modem Ukrainian Political Thought


Be it for good or ill, socialism has been the most influential ideology in twentieth-century Ukraine. From the first attempts to create political parties in Dnipro Ukraine at the turn of the century, through the national liberation struggle of 1917-1921, up to the very break-up of the USSR and later, all Ukrainian (and pseudo-Ukrainian) governments in Dnipro Ukraine were socialist. In his homeland conservative Viacheslav Lypynsky was but a lone voice in the wilderness. Dontsov's integral nationalism never had any significant influence outside Western Ukraine. The problem of "bourgeois" ministers, which so vexed Russia's Provisional Government during the first half of its existence, simply did not exist for the Ukrainian Central Rada, for Kyiv was practically bereft of nonsocialist Ukrainian politicians.

Socialism is not an attempt to model the state; it seeks to remold society itself aided by the state. In this sense the state was assigned the role of an instrument to break down old structures. The core ideology of socialism did not propose anything constructive in terms of modeling the future state. Classical socialism viewed the army and police primarily as instruments of class oppression and believed it sufficient to smash the old state structures for all social problems to disappear. This was a classic nineteenth century ideological system. /4/

The cult of socialist internationalism in Ukraine produced a situation where many Ukrainian socialists felt under constant internal and external pressure and feared to even think about modeling a future Ukrainian state. The positions of Ukrainian and Russian socialists differed in principle. For Ukraine its colonial status was the cause of its national oppression. This is why Ukrainian socialist parties gave such a prominent place in their programs to demands for national territorial autonomy. And it was these very demands which outraged their Russian comrades, accustomed as they were to thinking of Ukraine as an inalienable part of Russia. Thus it became so easy to dismiss Ukrainians as counterrevolutionaries, petty bourgeois, and suchlike. As a result Ukrainians began to protest their innocence of such sins as separatism, nationalism, and feared even the shadow of an independent Ukrainian state.

Even such a radically nationalistic Ukrainian leader as Mykola Mikhnovsky wrote in his proposed program for the Ukrainian People's Party, a proposal which in 1917 was to become the ideological basis of the Ukrainian Party of Socialists-Independentists about the "the clean, bright cathedral of the socialist order" and declared Ukrainians' solidarity with "all oppressed peoples."1

Symptomatically, the student group, which adopted Mikhnovsky's radical nationalist pamphlet Independent Ukraine as its first ideological platform, evolved to orthodox Marxism, and after the split of the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party (RUP) in 1904, the majority dropped all national demands and entered the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDRP) as an autonomous section called the Ukrainian Social Democratic Spilka (Union), retaining an internal organizational structure but without a program of its own.

The more "nationalistic" remainder, which in 1905 was . reorganized as the Ukrainian Social Democratic Labor Party (USDRP) also in 1906 requested admission into the RSDRP, offering a proposal in which it agreed with all points /5/ of the RSDRP program, inserting only a final amendment, a footnote, expressing the weak and ill-defined Ukrainian Social Democratic demand of not even Ukrainian autonomy, merely the right to discuss it, to raise the question within the empirewide political movement.2 This, in turn, called forth categorical opposition from Lenin's Bolshevik center. No merger took place because of the party's "petty bourgeois character," as Lenin's Complete Collected Works would have it,3 for only the complete rejection of all national demands ("petty bourgeois consciousness") would do for the Bolsheviks.4

Ukrainians at the turn of the century were a classic example of a sociologically incomplete people, that is, a people for whom foreign domination assumed a structural character such that even where members of the given group constitute the overwhelming majority of the population, almost all roles in the social division of labor, except for the least prestigious ones, are occupied by members of other groups.5 After the Valuyev Circular of 1863 and Ems Ukaz of 1876, Russia's Ukrainians lacked schools and literature in their native tongue. And even in small towns where in 1870 the local citizens spoke local Ukrainian dialects, by the turn of the century they had adopted "primarily the Russian language or a mixture of Russian and Ukrainian."6 Even in 1917 Ukrainians remained an overwhelmingly peasant folk, little affected by the industrial development of their country. The trade unions and working class were overwhelmingly linguistically Russian, as were the town store and landlord's manor. One key word appears over and over in early twentieth-century. Ukrainian political thought, bourgeoislessness. In 1909, for example, one Ukrainian activist attributed the weakness of the Ukrainian national movement to precisely this lack of a Ukrainian national bourgeoisie.7 By contrast, in 1917 Volodymyr Vynnychenko praised Ukrainian "bourgeoislessness" as a factor promoting national unity in the struggle for national and social justice.8 All Ukrainian politicians recognized it for a fact. Only Lenin /6/ could maintain that every nation has proletarian and bourgeois (i.e., hostile, those whom socialists had to fight) elements. In essence, this Leninist thesis was mere political chicanery. He reserved unto himself the right to define what was "bourgeois," even among other peoples, and thereby justify interference in their internal affairs and unbridled force against such elements.

Naturally, for a nation of tens of millions of peasants, a few thousand intellectuals, and a sprinkling of individuals in other classes, no ideology stood a chance of gaining mass support unless it could articulate both the social and national grievances of a peasantry which still bore vestiges of serfdom. Moreover, the growth of mass socialist movements in Europe during the latter half of the nineteenth century endowed its ideology with an aura of being both progressive and fashionable, one in which the oppressed could expect to find allies in their common quest for freedom and justice.




2. Nineteenth Century Origins: The Socialism of Mykhailo Drahomanov


Since twentieth-century Ukrainian thought long remained under the shadow of Mykhailo Drahomanov as Marxism's most important socialist competitor, to understand twentieth-century Ukrainian socialism, one simply cannot avoid Drahomanov. Although Drahomanov once wrote in a letter to his daughter that "for peoples to develop in the right way, they need political independence,"9 publicly he always advocated a federation of Slavic peoples in which each had equal rights. Obviously, given the complete absence of Ukrainian public schools, any idea of Ukrainian independence was bound to seem hopelessly Utopian.

For Drahomanov the national and social problems were of absolutely equal importance. In 1880 together with Mykhailo Pavlyk and Serhiy Podolynsky he published in Hromada a wonderfully clear and concise program which contains a model of future Ukrainian statehood, a model /7/ which retained its influence to the end of the Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR). It was precisely this program, which gave the UNR its ideological grounding, conditioned its early success, and in large measure led to its failure,10

As was recognized by the late Ivan L. Rudnytsky, a scholar who generally accented the liberal over the radical and socialistic in Drahomanov's political theory, the anarcho-socialism of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon lay at the center of Drahomanov's vision. For Drahomanov every individual, every association, every community had to be free from the dictates of higher instances. His slogan: "This goal is called anarchy (beznachal'stvo), i.e., the autonomy of each individual and the free cooperation of men and groups."11

Two problems arise from this vision. A free association without fixed structure is nonviable, for it lacks the authority to arbitrate among regions and cannot mobilize resources for common defense against other strong political entities. As to federalism, this is an old theory, largely shaped by the American model. As early as 1823 a Society of United Slavs was created in the Russian Empire, hoping to unite all Slavic peoples into a federation.12 However, as Lenin wrote about federalism, any association is possible only when ail parties want the same thing. And Ukrainian and Russian socialists understood federalism very differently, and behind the back of Great Russians always lurked the shadow of the chauvinist Derzhimorda, and Russians constantly seemed ready, as Drahomanov put. it, to go "from a democratic federalist position to an official chauvinist one."13

Drahomanov believed that Ukraine should be a federation of free communities within an international federation of similar communities on the basis of agrarian socialism, without a standing army, with a people's militia, where every citizen had his own arms.

This position would later play a crucial role in the downfall of the Ukrainian Peoples Republic. The breakdown of conventional state structures, adoption of Drahomanov's general socialist demands, the disintegration of the army and /8/ creation of "people's militias," and the universal possession of weapons led directly to the Vynnychenko-Shapoval doctrine of 1917 that Ukraine did not need an army, a doctrine that led to the tragedy of Kruty where only a small band of military cadets stood between Kyiv and Muravev's Red Guards from Russia. For a state which depends exclusively on the good will of its citizens to defend its national security will always be weaker that a state capable of forcing its citizens to fight for it.

Up to the revolution of 1917 the socialism of Drahomanov, where everything begins with self-organization from below, and Marxism, with its national indifference and bias in favor of large states, were the only serious competitors among Ukrainian socialists. Drahomanov himself was highly critical of Marx's centralism, blaming the "German Karl Marx" for the fact that in the First International and especially in its Council states, not peoples, were represented. "Thus," wrote Drahomanov, "it had a section for Russia, although in Russia there are dozens of countries and peoples very different from one another." This was for Drahomanov evidence of the deadliest sin: "In other words, this 'Association' started to work not from the bottom up but from the top down."14

From Switzerland Drahomanov maintained close contact with Ukrainian radicals, especially in Galicia and especially with two young men, Mykhailo Pavlyk and Ivan Franko. While Pavlyk quickly became and remained an orthodox adherent of Drahomanov, Franko had a flirtation with Marxism, returning to Drahomanov's tenet on the central role of the peasantry in building socialism in the mid1880s. Pavlyk, by contrast, looked on the Marxist Utopia as a program for creating a police state, believed that it could find support only among nations already in possession of their own states, and that the slogan "proletarians of the world, unite" really meant "nations of the Russian and Germans empires, Russify and Germanize yourselves." When in 1890 the first Ukrainian political party, the Ruthenian-/9/Ukrainian Radical Party, was formed in Lviv, it was in fact a coalition in which the older followers of Drahomanov -Franko, Pavlyk, and Severyn Danylovych wrote the program minimum and young Marxists Yevhen Levytsky, Mykola Hankevych, and Volodymyr Okhrymovych wrote the program maximum. Observers of the day could not help but notice the contradiction between the program maximum's vague Marxist phraseology about scientific socialism and the program minimum's detailed reforms designed to prevent the pauperization of most peasants, a development which Marxism held to be both inevitable and progressive.15 When at the Radical Party's first congress Marxist Viacheslav Budzynovsky and young Yulian Bachynsky (the future author of Ukranna Irredenta), argued for independence, Franko and Pavlyk rose in opposition. And even after the Radicals adopted a program calling for independence in 1895, Franko adopted the awkward stance that Ukrainian independence need not necessarily mean complete separation from Russia, should the latter adopt a federal system.16

Within the context of socialist models of Ukrainian statehood, it must be emphasized that the most outspoken critic of the creation in 1914 of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (SVU) as an embryo government in exile was not the Bolsheviks or even Lenin, but came from among the Ukrainian socialists themselves. The sharpest critic of the SVU was Lev Yurkevych, who explained that he and like-minded Ukrainians were "not enemies of the idea of Ukraine's independence," but that "our Russian comrades will behave like real internationalists only when their organizations and press in Ukraine together with us recognize the necessity of the struggle for the liberation of our people and together with us to combat at every opportunity all manifestations of national oppression." Thus, for Yurkevych Ukraine's very existence as a state was directly dependent upon how blindly and submissively Ukrainian revolutionary forces supported the Russian revolution. He had such faith in the fairness of international socialism, /10/ above all in its Russian variant, that he even turned to Trotsky with the idea of creating an international socialist tribunal to read the SVU members out of the socialist movement.17

Yurkevych's logic is understandable only within the context of how he viewed future Ukraine. For, although one cannot even suspect Yurkevych of harboring Russophile sympathies, he saw the SVU's very creation in Austrian surroundings, its negotiations with the "bourgeois" Central Powers, i.e., with the "imperialists," and even its membership, which consisted not of "representatives of the toilers" but of patriotically inclined declasse gentry elements as a betrayal of socialist ideals and the idea of Ukraine's "living peasant people."18

The very idea of a "living peasant people" is Utopian. Such a socially homogeneous society is possible only under colonial conditions, where all other places in the social division of labor arc taken by members of other national groups. Otherwise, there simply is no nor can there be a "peasant people," because even the village from time to time needs industrial goods beyond the capabilities of village manufacture. And when the town, where such goods are produced, looks down on the village, when town and country speak different tongues and the town has a colonial relationship with the countryside, contradictions arise inevitably. Without authoritative arbitration between them the possibility arises of those very conflicts which occurred in Ukraine during its struggle for national liberation.

To be sure, Trotsky supported Yurkevych's struggle against the SVU. But in his epistolary response, he wrote that a revolutionary tribunal would hardly deter such "adventurists... who meet with the Austrian police and ride in Austrian cars to the office of the Turkish vizier."19 Why did the SVU so raise Trotsky's ire? Was it not that in Turkey the SVU achieved its greatest success, official recognition of the need to create a future independent Ukrainian state and the promise of support for it? Returning to that most revo-/11/lutionary and most socialist of Ukrainians, Lev Yurkevych, who actively fought any attempt to organize in independent Ukrainian state nucleus, it must be said that his constant attempts to cooperate with Lenin, Trotsky, and Manuïlsky proved fruitless. Lenin above all received his ideas with suspicion and hostility, rejecting categorically all proposals for joint action made by Yurkevych, on whom Ukrainian patriots had turned their back.




3. Models of Ukrainian Statehood During the Revolution


In 1917, in conformity with the socialist project, the upper classes in Russia lost their political role, giving way to self-consecrated representatives of the "toiling masses." These "toilers" in Ukraine actually consisted of two groups who little understood each other: a Ukrainian-speaking peasantry (then 80% of the population) and an overwhelmingly Russian-speaking urban proletariat and army. In Ukraine there were in essence two coterminous revolutions which, under very similar social slogans, remained essentially distinct. For the Russian-speaking working class the revolution in Ukraine had all the traits of the Russian Revolution: Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and local organizations of the main Russian political parties. But in the village, thanks to its self-organization through the Peasant Union and cooperative network led by a Central Ukrainian Cooperative Committee,20 Ukrainian socialists could always mobilize thousands of peasants for urban demonstrations. And this was the key to the strength of the Ukrainian movement and its organ, the Ukrainian Central Rada in Kyiv.

Three political parties dominated the organized Ukrainian movement, the Central Rada, and later Directory of the Ukrainian People's Republic: the above-mentioned Ukrainian Social Democrats (USDRP), the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries (UPSR), and the scmilibcral Ukrainian Party of Socialist Federalists (UPSF). The USDRP had the most experienced party activists, but it /12/ claimed to represent an extremely small social constituency, Ukrainian-speaking proletarians. The party with the largest membership, the UPSR, traced its genealogy to a small group formed in 1903 to reconcile the teachings of Marx and Drahomanov. But as a mass movement it really took shape only in 1917 on the basis of the rural cooperative movement.21 The UPSF was organized on the basis of the liberal Society of Ukrainian Progressives mainly from older cultural and scholarly figures and constituted the most pragmatic wing of the Ukrainian movement.

Ukrainian socialists, like socialists generally, believed that socialism was merely the extension of democracy to the economic sphere. First civil rights had to be gained according to the so-called "bourgeois democratic" model, and then with the support of the toiling majority of the population secure the interests of working people by means of a redistribution of wealth from the wealthy minority to the poor and socialization of the means of production. They hated "exploiters," considered inevitable the latter's action against such a revolution, and were ready to suppress "non-toiling" elements of the population, but as socialists they simply could not admit the possibility of serious disagreements and blood-letting between the toilers of different nations and their socialist representatives. They deeply believed that there neither were nor could there be enemies on the Left. This political culture rendered Ukrainian socialists exceedingly vulnerable both internally and to attack from Russian revolutionaries. Such a political culture played into the hands of imperially-inclined Russian radicals in their struggle with national movements in general. Moreover, within the Ukrainian movement already lurked the specter of endless quarrels, splits, and battle for the image of being real socialists according to the principle, the more one demands for "the masses," the more revolutionary he is. Anyone could at any moment be denounced as a nationalist, reactionary, someone whom "real" socialists had to combat.

USDRP adherents, like Russian Mensheviks and Euro-/13/pean Social Democrats generally, believed in the complete socialization (state ownership) of industry and the evolution of agriculture in the direction of huge, productive, socialized farms. Like all orthodox Marxists, they viewed the peasantry as a petty-bourgeois stratum inevitably doomed to extinction by the spread of capitalist agribusiness and believed that redistributing land from more economically developed gentry farms to individual small-holders would be a dangerously reactionary step. This is quite clear from the very name of an article appearing in the USDRP newspaper, dated November 1917, "What Does the Ukrainian Petty Bourgeoisie Want?"22 The butt of the article's criticism, the UPSR, was, by contrast, a party of class conscious peasants and figures of the rural cooperative movement for whom agrarian reform in favor of the peasantry was a core demand. Like their Russian counterparts, they looked forward to the elimination of private property in land and the creation of a Land Reserve, which would be controlled by the peasants themselves and distribute state, church, and gentry-held land as peasants saw fit. They viewed as desirable the creation of large model farms as a stimulus to the creation of future socialist farming, but at they simultaneously announced that "All lands in Ukraine (the Ukrainian Land Reserve) shall be transferred without compensation to the entire toiling people, which is to redistribute them through village, county (povit), regional, and national land committees elected by the toiling people on the basis of universal, equal, direct, and secret ballot."23 The USDRP was for some months able to block this project, which was adopted only in the Central Rada's Fourth Universal.

Thus, the main internal Ukrainian political battles of 1917 were not over the model of a future state, about which no one thought seriously because all assumed that the socialist revolution would in one fell swoop transform the empire into a family of fraternal and equal nations; they concerned problems of the socialist transformation of Ukrainian society. /14/

To the very end of 1917 not one leading Ukrainian figure seriously thought in terms of Ukraine's complete separation from Russia. Here we need not trace in detail the evolution of various parties' views on how they thought a future federation ought to be organized. Suffice it to realize that to the last possible moment they wanted to transform the empire into a federation in which Ukraine would have complete internal sovereignty and a Ukrainian Constituent Assembly, separate from the All-Russian one, which would resolve all internal Ukrainian political issues.

Throughout 1917 the slogan of virtually all Ukrainian socialists was "national territorial autonomy for Ukraine with safeguards of the rights of national minorities." Here they had in mind the Austro-Marxist of national cultural autonomy to which Lenin was irreconcilably opposed.




4. European Socialism and the Ukrainian Question


The then dominant European political model was either constitutional monarchy or parliamentary democracy. In both cases Parliament played a dominant role and formed the government. Deputies were elected on a territorial winner-take-all basis; proportional representation came only later. In parliamentary democracies presidents were most often relegated to the largely ceremonial role kings played in a constitutional monarchies and had little real power.

In the postwar chaos socialists came to power in Germany, Austria, Poland, and Hungary. In the first three they themselves curbed their social demands in the interests of democracy and preserving their state's independence. In Hungary, Bela Kun's communist revolution lasted but three months, supplanted by the military dictatorship (regency) of Admiral Horthy.

Socialists successfully created three new regimes: Germany's Weimar Republic, post-imperial Austria, and the Second Polish Republic. In Germany and Austria (where Austro-Marxist theorist of the national question Karl /15/ Renner became president), socialists wrote liberal constitutions of the parliamentary type and refrained from any attempt to immediately build "socialism," aware that this would have provoked social conflicts that could destroy their new democracies. They were quite aware that they had to save whatever they could from such vengeful victor states as France.

Becoming ruler of Poland, Polish Socialist leader Jozef Pilsudski left his party voluntarily, explaining to his erstwhile comrades that they had traveled in the same train, but he had decided to get off at the station called "Independence." He told those who wanted to travel farther to the station called "Socialism" that he wished them well, but he had to stay behind to build a Polish state for all Poles. Pilsudski reconciled diametrically opposed political forces around the idea that statehood was the primary goal, the starting point from which all else flowed. And this idea proved quite effective even under the complex conditions of reintegrating the three segments of the new state inherited from three separate empires (Germany, Austria, and Russia). Certainly, the logic of Poland's political evolution was strongly influenced by the general situation on the troubled continent of Europe, the European powers' hope that Poland would constitute a cordon sanitaire against Bolshevik Russia, and France's wish to use Poland as a barrier against Germany.

Thus, among the postwar victors there was a consensus regarding Polish independence and Poland's place and role in the new world. Regarding Ukraine a traditional source of territorial tidbits for Austria-Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Turkey such a consensus failed to materialize not only among Western leaders but even among European socialists, although thanks to lobbying by former UNR President Mykhailo Hrushevsky in August 1919 the Lucerne Conference of the Second International did go on record in favor of Ukrainian independence. Up to that time European socialists had no position on the Ukrainian question. /16/

But, most importantly, Ukraine at; that juncture lacked any influential political force (only the relatively weak Ukrainian Party of Socialist-Indcpendentists) capable of rising above their purely socialist inclinations and adopting Ukrainian independence as their main goal. Political battles, as we have seen, took place over the ways and means of the socialist transformation of society, not over how to build a Ukrainian state. Looking far ahead, this same tradition reasserted itself even in 1991 during the session when Ukraine's parliament discussed the declaration of independence. Many patriotically-inclined deputies made Ukraine's declaration of independence dependent upon the political question of banning the CPSU's activities, failing to understand that such windows of opportunity as the anti-Gorbachev putsch can close with amazing speed and that at such moments any delay whatever can have catastrophic and irrevocable consequences. Fortunately, some had studied the lessons of history, and clearer heads prevailed, although it cannot be forgotten that history, especially in Russia, has a fatal tendency to return to type, with rather bloody consequences for regions Russia considers its own. On this should ponder those Ukrainians who remain committed to independence but have failed to find a common political platform to coordinate their efforts.

European socialists of the early twentieth century for the sake of statehood made every possible compromise and, as a result, preserved their position in political structures, their authority with the people, and, finally, played an important role in securing citizens those social and national rights which they had sought to secure from the start.

But the developed European countries had a literate population, which imperial Russia lacked. The classic problem which had troubled nineteenth century conservative critics of democracy, how to keep the poor majority from looting the wealthy minority into extinction and thus destroying the very values of civilization, was solved in the West, bv the growth of education and rise in living stan-/17/dards assisted by means of various social programs to aid the needy. Imperial Russia had neither. It also lacked official structures capable of carrying out evolutionary programs; its bureaucracy had been trained to live by the twin imperatives of servility and, when in doubt, forbid. Democracy came to peoples simply not ready to accept it and, as in many countries of the Third World, was stillborn.

Another model is offered by Czechoslovakia, where the President de facto played a central role as arbiter among and above, parties, but this was the product of Tomas Masaryk's unique role as father of his nation and its state. There were various coalitions, almost always consisting of five parties, and, for example, German Social Democrats always knew that they would have their turn at the helm of state ministries. Up to the creation of a Nazi movement among the Sudeten Germans, the system was quite effective and stable. And it must be admitted that by the mid-1930s of all the new European states only Czechoslovakia remained democratic, and even there deep flaws existed in the political structure. Czechoslovakia's appearance on the political map took place under conditions very similar to Ukraine's. But there was one huge difference. Most of Ukraine had been governed by Russia, where such things as the Valuyev Circular and Ems Ukase were possible, while Czechoslovakia had been governed by the Habsburgs, a dynasty which never tried to create a nation-state and for whom banning a language from schools and bookstores would have been unthinkable. Czech deputies constituted an influential fraction in the Viennese imperial Reichsrat. Czechs had become a majority of Bohemia's urban population, and Czech political parties (socialist and nonsocialist) were already politically dominant among the Czech people, and had already evolved into a sociologically complete nation with a Czechophone local bureaucracy and national cultural elite. In Ukraine a role similar to Masaryk's as father of the state and nation was played by Mykhailo Hrushevskv. a man whose fate was tragic due both to per-/18/sonal circumstances and the fact that, the cause for which he fought was foredoomed by its external isolation and internal political culture. Ukrainian socialists, and perhaps Hrushevsky above all, simply did not understand what a state is. The state is not only, as Marxists affirmed and Leninists built, an instrument of class oppression, it is above all an instrument of national self-defense.




5. Mykhailo Hrushevsky: What Kind of Ukraine Do We Want?


Mykhailo Hrushevsky was not only the symbol of Ukrainian statehood; in the critical year of 1917 he was the absolute embodiment of the Ukrainian national idea. Head of the Central Rada, first President of the UNR, a man of exceptional intellect and indefatigability, he had no equal in terms of importance and authority in early twentieth-century Ukraine. Scholar, philosopher, historian, literary and art critic, writer, and ethnographer, he took it upon himself to decide practically all issues connected with the birth and existence of the Ukrainian People's Republic.

Like most Ukrainian socialists, Hrushevsky viewed Ukraine primarily as a country of peasants. For him, the words Ukrainian and peasant were virtually synonymous. He considered that the social basis of the revolution in Ukraine so differed from that in both Russia and the West, that it would develop along different lines and resolve social problems differently, and that in Ukraine the social and political role of the peasantry would be decisive for a very long time, if not forever. And, since "future generations of peasants will have the great mission of representing to the world the Ukrainian People's Republic, Greater Ukraine, so far the only state of the working people, which must serve as an example for other democracies, which will in turn one day send their children to us to study, to live, to work, and to lead the state with the participation of working people," the Ukrainian state's first task was to guarantee com-/19/pulsory education for rural children, universally establish schools of agronomy, spread publicistic and literary works, and agitate in order to inculcate in the peasantry pride and bring them up to be real "masters of the land."

Hrushevsky believed that the Ukrainian movement had to extinguish or neutralize all mutual hostility and do everything possible to promote the development of various cultures in Ukraine, not to exacerbate ethnic relations by forced Ukrainization but also not to retreat from the principle of Ukrainian statehood and the establishment of Ukrainian as its official language.

At the same time, however, Hrushevsky posed Ukraine a "grandiose task," stipulating that "we reject the police-bureaucratic order and want to base our administration on broad self-administration, leaving to ministerial administrations only the functions of general oversight, coordination, and the filling in of those gaps which might appear in the operations of self-administration. In this way, the bureaucracy's influence will be very limited." Thus Hrushevsky, albeit unknowingly, at the very beginning of the state's existence limited its capabilities as an instrument of taxation, redistribution of social benefits, and implementer of social programs. This position could and did lead to universal anarchy, the rise of various "independent republics," and finally to utter chaos in the newly-created state.

Hrushevsky did not completely reject the role of the army, but he viewed a universal militia as the normal form of national defense. He viewed the army as something temporary and was ready at any moment to go from a standing army to a militia system. He considered the maintenance of a standing army "a waste of time" and thought it necessary to do everything possible to concentrate into the briefest possible span of time military "technical training, adequate for current conditions, and then further develop it through training sessions organized at various times of the year so that they drain from the country's vital forces the minimum possible productive labor."24 /20/

Hrushevsky gave much attention to Ukraine's future territorial structure. A convinced federalist, he thought about what kind of territorial structure could provide the best opportunities for real democratic self-administration. He considered the extant division into povits and guberniyas unsuitable in this area, the povit being too small to organize wide-ranging social activities and the guberniya too mechanistic, artificial, and large to avoid being divided up. Hrushevsky stated that the best option might be the creation of okruhs, each with a population just short of a million, able to organize "affairs relating to sanitation, roads, agriculture, national resources, industry, and culture. Each would be able to locally organize and set up high schools, a good museum, and a competent theater everything that a povit town is unable to do on its own." Such a territorial structure would make it possible for every okruh to send no fewer than ten deputies to Ukraine's general assemblies, thus making proportional representation of political parties possible. In addition, the sufficiently small size of these entities would mean that all its parts would be interconnected with each other and with its center. All community, political, and cultural forces would be visible to all, and social projects would be carried out with the immediate participation and under the oversight of the community. Hrushevsky proposed a plan for such a territorial structure, based on historical, economic, and cultural regions, using historical names, the neglect of which he considered dangerous, for they had been created "not by the caprice of diplomats or politicians but grew out of geographical and natural conditions, which are not so easily changed."25

Hrushevsky, as this document shows, had no fear of local identities; on the contrary, he believed that stimulating the consciousness of all branches of the Ukrainian nation like vestiges of such historic Ukrainian tribes as Derevlyanians, Polyanians, Siverians, Volhynians, etc., along with its cultural heterogeneity and the spirit of local patriotism would give a strong impulse to regional development. /21/

Hrushevsky considered himself a convinced federalist, completely in the spirit of socialist ideology as he understood it. He firmly rejected all charges of separatism and nationalism but believed that the future Ukrainian state should be based on the demographically dominant Ukrainian national element. 26

Hrushevsky and his allies thought in global terms. As convinced socialists they took upon themselves responsibility not only for Ukraine but for the entire Russian state and all its peoples. In accordance with a resolution of the April Ukrainian People's Congress on relations with other peoples of Russia demanding, inter alia, the restructuring of Russia on a federal basis, on September 21-28, 1917, the Central Rada hosted a so-called Congress of Peoples in Kyiv. Tatar, Georgian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Estonian, Moldavian, Buriat, and Don Cossack representatives took part along with a representative of the Provisional Government.

The Congress recognized that the idea of federalism had deeply penetrated society among numerous nations of Russia and that only on a federal basis could the former Russian prison of peoples continue to exist. The Congress adopted a special resolution calling for Russia's fundamental restructuring according to the principles of decentralization, federalism, democracy, recognition of the equal rights of all peoples, and that in cases where a nationality was spread over the entire empire, like the Jews, they should be accorded extraterritorial personal autonomy. The Congress also went on record in favor of the equality of all languages and of democratically electing territorial constituent assemblies.

The Congress also elected a Council of Peoples to which was entrusted the task of leading the struggle of all nations for "the cathedral of liberty of peoples," a Russian federation. Hrushevsky was elected its head. Federalist traditions remained alive and well in Ukrainian political thought of the day. Ukrainian socialists were fated to travel a long and tragic road of disillusionment concerning the real possibility of independent self-government and democratic /22/ home rule within the bounds of a single Russian state. They overestimated the internationalist tendencies of socialist ideology and underestimated the Russian national myth's aggressiveness toward Ukraine. The Congress of Peoples could have no lasting results because there was little difference in practice between Lenin's one and indivisible Communist Party committed to the "internationalist" process of the "coming together and merger" of nations and the General Denikin's "Russia, one and indivisible."

All that remained for Hrushevsky to was one desperate gambit after the October coup in Petrograd.

The Third Universal of the Ukrainian Central Rada, which he wrote personally, announced, "Without separating from Russia and maintaining her unity, we stand firmly on our own land in order to assist all Russia through our efforts so that Russia might become a federation of equal and free peoples."27 The Central Rada did not take action against the Bolshevik regime but refrained from officially recognizing as Russia's legitimate government, inasmuch as there were no grounds for so doing and also because of his and the Central Rada's strong commitment to federalism.

On December 6 the General Secretariat addressed a note to Lenin's Council of People's Commissars and the various bodies which represented Russia's regions, proposing a new Russian socialist government be created on the following platform:

"The conclusion of a universal democratic peace and the calling on schedule of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly. If you agree, the General Secretariat asks that you not refuse to immediately and directly inform the leadership as to when your representatives could come to Kyiv for a congress called by the Central Rada for the above-mentioned purpose."28

Nothing came of this proposal, since Russia was already on the threshold of civil war, divided into hostile camps, brimming with mortal hatred for each other. For this starry eyed project to bear fruit the Rada would have had to rec-/23/oncile the irreconcilable, to bring together forces which could not be brought together, and it received practically no support. All the Rada accomplished was to call upon itself the wrath of Lenin's Red Guards.

Lenin's answer was an ultimatum on December 19, and six days later a Bolshevik-led group formed a "UNR People's Secretariat" in Kharkiv, which in its turn received "fraternal military assistance" from "big brother." Within a month the Bolsheviks were in Kyiv and a defenseless Ukraine was forced to step out onto the world areas as an independent state, sign a peace treaty with the Central Powers, and ask the latter's assistance against the Bolsheviks. Moreover, the state created by the Fourth Universal was doomed from the outset, inasmuch as the document adopted SR-style agrarian reform, which rendered the Ukrainians incapable of carrying out its Brest-Litovsk commitment to sell the Germans grain. It was only natural that the Germans, as the only real military force in Ukraine, would orchestrate an April coup d'etat, installing a client regime (the Hetmanate of Pavlo Skoropadsky). Later Hrushevsky would again place his socialist ideals ahead of Ukrainian statehood. In 1920, when Russian-speaking Bolsheviks were fighting Petliura's Directory of the UNR, he sent a letter to CP(b)U Secretary Kosior naively requesting that the Bolsheviks transfer power to Ukrainian parties which had adopted the Soviet platform.29

Today, in the fullness of time, when examining Hrushevsky's intellectual and theoretical legacy, one can only be amazed how Bolshevik "theoreticians" could so distort the views and content of the activity of this undoubtedly convinced socialist and democrat that his very name could be made to symbolize Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism and counterrevolution. Hrushevsky's "guilt" resided in one thing: he took all too seriously the idea of a Ukrainian state within a federal Russia, believed too seriously in the internationalism of Russian politicians, and, unlike the Bolshevik leaders, viewed in too humanistic a light the state's role and /24/ place. In other words, he took the idea of socialist internationalism too seriously.




6. The Directory: Dead-End of Ukrainian Socialism


The Directory of the revived UNR faced the same problems which had plagued Hrushevsky. On the one hand was strong pressure from the Entente, which had little sympathy for socialism, Ukrainian or otherwise, and on the other was Bolshevik Russia, which hoped to control Ukraine. And, finally, there was Denikin, who with Allied help sought to restore Russia "one and indivisible."

At such a juncture any hope of rescuing Ukrainian statehood depended upon uniting all pro-Ukrainian political forces, on their unconditional retreat from the principles dividing them and compromises among all political parties, movements, and leaders on the basis of independence as their overriding common goal. And for this it was already too late. Political schism in Ukraine had passed the point of no return. Exerting strong influence on the peasantry were the Borotbists, who supported the Soviet platform, while the Russophone workers largely remained indifferent or hostile to the Ukrainian movement.

The Hetman regime was ousted by a great jacquerie led by Petliura which also destroyed Skoropadsky's Ukrainian army. After the Hetman's fall, the armed peasants simply went home, leaving the UNR virtually defenseless. Petliura was forced to try to create an army from nil. Thus, reserving for himself the title of UNR Supreme Otaman, he began to recognize as otamans (generals) virtually anyone who could command the loyalty of armed followers and proclaimed their loyalty to the UNR. Vynnychenko little exaggerated when he wrote that literally anyone could become an otaman if he declared his readiness to combat the Bolsheviks, and Petliura would then send him a diploma (hramota) and a couple of million newly-printed Ukrainian karbovanets.30 Over the otamans there was no operational /25/ control whatever, and this resulted in the period of the revolution known as the otaman regime. As early as November 1918, Otaman Bolbochan executed the leaders of the Kharkiv Soviet and in the summer of 1919 was shot by Petliura as a pogromist. In the chaos of the period, pogroms swept the country and the commanders who initiated them could deftly switched sides among the various forces pretending to be Ukraine's legitimate government.

The Directory held a Toilers' Congress, to which it might have handed over power, but the congress evolved into a political farce. The Ukrainian socialists who dominated the gathering proved incapable of finding a common language, and no common platform capable of creating a strong central authority and defending Ukrainian statehood was found. Patriotic speeches by Vynnychenko and his allies were delivered within earshot of Bolshevik cannons.




7. National Cultural Autonomy


The Austro-Marxist idea of national cultural (or personal) autonomy arose as an answer of how to preserve the unity of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire. Adopted in the Brunn Program of Austrian Social Democracy in 1899, it aimed at divorcing nationality from territoriality by according everyone a dual political identity, a territorial one based on place residence regardless of nationality and a separate identity based on one's national culture regardless of place of residence. All cultural questions were to fall into the sphere of extraterritorial national bodies, elected by all members of a given ethnic group throughout the state, while territorial bodies would have competence only over questions of a territorial, administrative nature not effecting culture and national identity. The budgetary allocations to national bodies would be based on the proportional size of the given group.31 Within the Russian Empire, Ukrainians and other groups seeking territorial home-rule faced the problem their relationship to other nations who /26/ were dominant in cities and towns, and this made the project very interesting to them. As Yurkcvych had earlier hoped that a demonstration of fairness and internationalism might convince non-Ukrainian socialists in the justice of Ukrainian aspirations, leaders of the UNR hoped that a demonstration of their tolerance toward the aspirations of national minorities might win them support among non-Ukrainian strata of the population.

National cultural autonomy was effected not in Austria, where the successor states were nation-states, but in Ukraine and the three Baltic republics. The Third Universal simultaneously published in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and Yiddish promised, and the Fourth Universal was adopted simultaneously with a law on National Cultural Autonomy, later enshrined as Article Seven of the Constitution of the Ukrainian People's Republic, thus being placed at the center of the socialist model of Ukrainian statehood. This law gave Ukraine's Great Russian, Jewish, and Polish communities the right to form autonomous communities on the basis of the above mentioned Briinn model. Such bodies were accorded the right to elect their own national Constituent Assemblies and Councils, which would have the status of state organs as well as to levy supplementary taxes on their co-nationals for cultural purposes. The Ukrainian state was obliged to finance all such bodies according to the size of their relative population.

All other national groups were guaranteed the right to national cultural autonomy upon presentation to the Supreme Court of a petition signed by not less that 10,000 citizens.

De facto, among Ukraine's national minorities only the Jews organized national autonomy through an elected Soym (Diet). And the pogroms of the otaman period (for Petliura's military dependence on these independent warlords rendered him incapable of guaranteeing law and order) meant that from early 1919 the central focus of activity for the elected Jewish organs was to organize the self-defense of /27/ the Jewish population. Still, the fact remains that Ukrainian socialists hoped above all to give everyone the right to their own cultural and national life.32




8. The Leninist Model


The true Bolshevik model of Ukrainian statehood might best be summed up in Lenin's "there can be no talk of and Stalin's "stop playing at republics." Bolshevik policies toward Ukraine were based on this above all else. On the eve of the first Bolshevik invasion of Ukraine in late 1917, the Central Committee (CC) in Moscow informed their Kyiv comrades that they considered the founding of a separate Bolshevik Party for Ukraine "undesirable." On the even of the second, on December 9, 1918, the Moscow CC sent a telegram to its Ukrainian counterpart in Kursk that the former would send its orders directly to various organs in the future Soviet Ukraine without going through the CP(b)U. And on December 24, 1918, Izvestiya in Moscow had published the laconic announcement that with the annulment of the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk, the Bolshevik Council of People's Commissars ceased to recognize the independence of Ukraine.33 At the beginning of the second invasion there was a pretense that the Bolshevik war against Petliura was really an internal Ukrainian civil war which one side was waging with the Russian Red Army.

But on January 16, 1919, when the Directory declared war on Bolshevik Russia, with whose army it was locked in battle, Lenin and his Bolsheviks dropped even the pretense that the campaign was anything but an attempt to extend Soviet Russia's borders. The best example of the Leninist model of Ukrainian statehood was the second Soviet Ukrainian regime of 1919. Except for Kyiv, there were no Soviets in Ukraine. Appointed urban revolutionary committees and village committees of poor peasants wielded power on the local level. This was wholly in the spirit of great Russian chauvinism. /28/

Later on the open nationalism of the Stalinist and postStalinist periods would not only gradually come to govern its actions but would assume overt aggressiveness. The old wine of the traditional Russian idea was simply poured into the new bottles of "proletarian internationalism," fermented a time, and ultimately exploded into aggression against Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Afghanistan. In the final analysis, the current campaign in Chechnya is an indicator that even without communist ideology the Russian idea remains unchanged. Thus, the Russian peasant, significantly worse off than his counterparts in the nonRussian "borderlands," remained blindly convinced in his national superiority and ready to sacrifice mainly those of other nationalities to save, the latter from themselves. Directly resulting from this were three man-made famines in Ukraine (1921-23, 1932-33, 1946-47), the Stalinist terror, exile of whole nations, barbarous destruction of cultural monuments along with the deformation of the economic system and society in general. With the consequences of such events and processes we are still quite familiar. The essence of the Bolshevik model is a single, all-powerful, all-knowing Communist Party, which has total control over the state and a bureaucracy which consumes society in full.




9. The Schismatics of the Ukrainian Revolution


The political culture of Ukrainian socialism was based on the conviction there could be no reason why the toilers of different nations should fight each other. Radical Ukrainian socialists viewed such concessions to reality as diplomatic relations with "bourgeois" states, attempts to halt the chaos of peasants seizing whatever land they decided on, or self-defense against the Russian Red Guards as counterrevolution. First the UPSR, then the USDRP split when their left wings, the future Borotbists and Ukapists, adopted the "Soviet platform," i.e., the idea of creating an independent Ukrainian Soviet Republic with its own Red Army, /29/ Ukrainian culture, and led by radical Ukrainian socialists. Among the Bolsheviks their views were shared by such individuals as Vasyl Shakhrai and Georg Lapchinsky. Both the Borotbists and Ukapists in 1920 sent the Comintern long memoranda. They hoped to create in Ukraine a Soviet system absolutely identical to that which supposedly existed in Lenin's Russia.

Lenin well understood that if Ukrainian communists had their own army, he would have to deal with them, from time to time negotiate, and (least acceptable for him) make certain compromises. Moreover, this would lead to the demarcation of borders, which could not avoid retarding the "progressive" process of small peoples (like, and perhaps above all, the Ukrainians) being assimilated by their "elder brother."

During the Ukrainian war for national liberation the Borotbists (former UPSR adherents who had substantial influence in the Ukrainian countryside) did everything possible to find a compromise with the Bolsheviks while at the same time attempting to convince their "comrades" of their error in treating the village like a source of resources without any right to political representation in a de facto Russophone state which in 1919 merely organized one Soviet in Kyiv and proclaimed it "Soviet power." After negotiations the Borotbists dropped their demand for a separate Ukrainian army and underwent "merger" with the CP(b)U, whereupon two of their leaders, Vasyl Ellan-Blakytny and Oleksandr Shumsky, were admitted to the Central Committee. Lenin himself called this political neutralization of the Borotbists "a victory worth some good battles."34

The Ukapists (Ukrainian Communist Party) continued to exist as a semi-legal opposition consisting of a few hundred former Ukrainian Social democrats under constant surveillance. Their views were similar to those of the Borotbists.

To silence them the CP(b)U first decided to ignore /30/ their activities and not to engage in any polemics with them. A secret July 30, 1924 Central Committee decision on "the case of the Katerynoslav UKP" declared, "a) It is considered inexpedient to organize a political trial, b) The GPU (secret police author) is directed to exile the most active elements from Ukraine in agreement with the Central Committee secretary."35 In an atmosphere of growing repressions in August 1924 the Ukapists again appealed to the Comintern. On November 13 of that year the CP(b)U Politburo adopted the following resolution:


On the UKP

1. Propositions for joint work with the UKP are to be rejected.

2. It is recognized that the UKP has come to the point where its truly communist elements must break with nationalistic ones.

3. A course shall be pursued toward the self-liquidation of the UKP or toward splitting it in order to divide its communists elements from the nationalistic ones.

Kviring36


How this decision was carried out is apparent from the UKP appeal to the Comintern, which described, "the extraordinary intensification of the repressions directed at our party, especially most recently, in the form of the exile of our members to Siberia and other parts of Russia, mass arrests leading to a nine-day hunger strike by a group of our comrades who had been dismissed from their posts, insane baiting in the press, etc.37

On December 17, 1924, a special session of the Comintern Executive Committee was held with the participation of the UKP representatives and those of the so-called UKP Left Fraction, which had been organized by the GPU and was excluded from the main body of the party in 1923. Mykola Skrypnyk presented the official CP(b)U position, blaming the UKP for anti-Russian propaganda and accusing its members of being hidden Petliura adherents. The Left Fraction representatives basically supported Skrypnyk. /31/Andriy Richytsky, the last head of the UKP, accused the Left Fraction of being GPU's agents provocateurs. He tried to demonstrate his loyalty to the Soviet regime and Communist ideals.

At the same session Oleksander Shumsky, the former Borotbist leader and then Ukrainian Commissar of Education, the same Shumsky who had five years earlier demanded the creation of a separate Ukrainian Red Army, explained the ban on the UKP precisely because of its activities to create support for an idea that was originally Shumsky's:


When you did not grow but were merely a figurative party of 20-30 members, we did not bother you, but when you started to go to the masses and organize them against us, we could not remain mere observers. Thus, for example, as an act of protect against the arrests of your members for trying to dismember the Red Army you collected among the workers 12 signatures and the villages 350-400 (Richytsky: among the workers several thousand).38


Shumsky's appearance provides a vivid example of the Bolshevik political culture then being fostered in the Party. To be a "real" Bolshevik, one had to be ready at any given moment to oppose anything he might have earlier stood for, against those who had been his colleagues and allies. This, in the language of the Marxist-Leninist dialectic, was called party discipline. And just as Shumsky chided Richytsky for adopting the former's former idea of a separate Ukrainian Red Army, two years later Richytsky would be the principle opponent of Mykhailo Volobuyev, whose basic economic ideas had been authored by Richytsky.

In the Comintern the Ukapists were accused of nationalism, being petit bourgeois, of betraying the interests of the working class, and of having played the role of a provacateur in their very act of appealing to the Comintern, for this conflicted with the Comintern statute that in the Comintern only one party per country could be represented. And no one was really ready to view Ukraine as a separate country. The Comintern ordered both the UKP and so-called /32/ Left Fraction to dissolve themselves, and set up a joint commission to co-opt their members to the CP(b)U.

In January 1925 the UKP officially dissolved itself, the Left Fraction following suit in March.39 The Ukapists had always been numerically small and never posed any real threat to the Bolsheviks. After 1919 they did everything in their power to demonstrate their loyalty. This failed to rescue either their organization or, in the end, the lives of its members.




10. "A Model Soviet Republic"


The USSR began as a union of ostensibly equal states from which every member retained the right to secede from the Union, an adequate sphere of economic activity, and independence in developing its national culture. But. already at the VII Ukrainian Congress of Soviets a resolution was adopted "On the Fundamentals of the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" which gave Moscow the ability to swallow up Ukraine's economic, political, and cultural prerogatives.

Finally, the very character of Bolshevik policy in and toward Ukraine bears witness that in planning their massive actions to transform the whole of society, the Bolshevik leadership was unwilling to halt in the face of any barriers, including, and perhaps above all, national ones. One cannot say that for every CP(b)U member without exception, the national interests of Ukraine were chimerical, but at decisive moments as true believers in their Party, built on the basis of extreme centralism, they did what the Center told them and served the dogma on the inevitability of world revolution which would create a world Communist entity with its center, of course, in Moscow.

Thus at the VII Congress, Mikhail Frunze made a speech, the main thesis of which was that, although of course all republics were equal, Russia was Ukraine's "elder sister." Mykola Skrypnyk called "Ukrainian nationalists" /33/ who dreamed of an independent Ukraine "narrow-minded block-heads" (vuzkymy i tupolobymy). Still further went Volodymyr Zatonsky, who called members of the Central Rada who had voted for the IV Universal and Ukrainian independence "chauvinists and traitors to the working class." When foreign observers remarked on the lack of real independence and the fictitious nature of the republics, CP(b)U leader Emmanuil Kviring reacted by accusing them of organizing banditry in Ukraine. Lenin himself worked out the scheme: within the Bolshevik Party even the least deviation in thought led directly to the camp of the "enemies of the people." Thus, it became possible to adopt resolutions where the whole complex of state power was merely what the Center ostensibly voluntarily delegated.

In the Soviet Constitution of 1923 Moscow retained control of foreign relations; border questions; war and peace; state credits; international agreements; the entire system of foreign and domestic trade; foreign concessions; transportation; the post and telegraph services; monetary and financial system; taxation, including republic taxes; setting the rules of land ownership, land use, utilization of subsoil resources, forests, and water throughout the USSR; control over migration; the courts; general legislation governing law enforcement, education, and public health; the system of weights and measures; statistics; and relations with foreigners. And the main thing was that the Center reserved to itself the power to alter the decisions of republic congresses of Soviets, Central Executive Committees, and Councils of People's Commissars. This is especially important, because it rendered the much proffered right of Union republics to secede absolute juridical nonsense. For how could a republic exercise its alleged right to withdraw from the Union, if the Center could alter any decision made on the republic level if it violated the Union Treaty?

The founders of Ukrainian Soviet statehood under Moscow's wing seem not to have thought about, such questions. They believed that it was sufficient to declare the /34/ equality of peoples and both chauvinists and Ukrainophobes would be silenced. Blinded by Marxist dogma, they did not realize that, by branding as traitors and enemies of the people all who had fought for Ukrainian independence, they had implicitly began a campaign against the nation's history along with its traditional, cultural, and spiritual underpinnings.

And from the moment when the last vestiges of the multiparty system were eliminated, a new stage in the history of national communism, complex and dramatic, began.

It should be recognized that despite the forcible imposition of the Soviet system on Ukraine, that system was not and could not be stable. Simply to carve Ukraine up, to proclaim it once again a number of guberniyas, was no longer possible. As a result of the national liberation struggle, national institutions in the spheres of culture, administration, economics, etc. had arisen. Peasants had gotten used to being addressed in Ukrainian.

After the official end of the civil war in Ukraine there were still many guerrilla bands, composed of Ukrainian peasants, who refused to accept the alien authority. In contrast to the situation in Russia, in Ukraine the much-detested committees of poor peasants were not abolished, merely renamed committees of non-wealthy peasants, mainly consisting of lumpenized opportunists.40

And in reality it was to placate the Ukrainian countryside that the Party proclaimed the policy of Ukrainization in 1923. This was a step well beyond formal equality of the Russian and Ukrainian languages and, as Zatonsky put it, a policy of actively fostering the development of Ukrainian culture, of Ukrainizing the Party and state bureaucracies, and of de-Russifying Russified Ukrainians.41 In the beginning Ukrainization was only a matter of culture. Many prominent Bolsheviks in Ukraine found even this hard to swallow. Many, like Central Committee Secretary Dmitri Lebed, believed that taking the side of the culture of the Ukrainian village over the more highly developed culture of /35/the Russophone city would be a step backward.42 Skrypnyk in particular used it as a polemical weapon with which to brand all whose views on the national question differed from his.

Almost immediately after the All Union CP(b) XII congress the party faced an acute problem of leadership. Kviring as CP(b)U First Secretary was, to put it mildly, less than an avid advocate of Ukrainization, but as a loyal Bolshevik he dutifully signed the decree of June 22, 1923 on the Ukrainization of the Party, which demanded that all Party and state functionaries learn to speak Ukrainian within one year. But he quickly edged away from such a demand. At the VIII Congress of Soviets he ostensibly supported Ukrainization while indicating that he thought it had gone quite far enough. Then, in 1925, he was replaced by an at the time apparently ardent Ukrainizer, one Lazar Kaganovich...

The proclamation of Ukrainization in 1923 may be understood as a consequence of the New Economic Policy, as a result of which private small scale production was tolerated. NEP was the ground from which the Ukrainian cultural revival of the 1920s arose led by Ukrainian national communists. Ukrainization (and indigenization in general) was but a step in the "domestic Brest-Litovsk" which began in 1921 with NEP'. It was a reaction to the problem of the peasantry and also an instrument of the intraparty struggle which at the time dominated Soviet politics.

But Ukrainization had two unforeseen consequences. It rapidly reached a point where the national question began to outgrow the peasant question and led to Soviet Ukraine's acting more and more like a nation state. In the first place, the adoption of the Ukrainian language and culture in the cities and in the Party/state apparatus created non-peasant centers of support for Ukrainian national aspirations. From 1926 to 1932 the proportion of Ukrainians in the industrial proletariat grew from 41 to 53%. At the beginning of 1933, that is, on the eve of the abandonment of Ukrainization /36/ 88% of all factory newspapers in Ukraine were printed only in Ukrainian. This meant that the national question in Ukraine was outgrowing its traditional rural parameters and was becoming a question of the productive forces of the non-Russian republics and their industrialization.

Secondly, Ukrainization gave legitimacy to national self assertion by Ukrainian communists. The so-called national communism of Shumsky, Khvyliovy, Volobuyev, and Skrypnyk comprised only a portion of this activity. At a time when many European states did not recognize the rights of national minorities and even Galicia was subject to intense pressures of Polonization, the appearance in Ukraine of Ukrainian literature, schools, and institutions created the illusion of Soviet Ukraine's evolution into a real nation state. Ukrainization convinced many Ukrainian figures, especially in emigration, that Soviet Ukraine offered the last best hope of creating a real Ukrainian state. In this sense opposition to such a state seemed absurd, especially after peasant resistance began to wane. One by one such figures as Tiutiunyk, Hrushevsky, and Chechel began to return. In 1924 sixty-six prominent Ukrainian figures among such former UNR ministers as Mykola Chechel, Pavlo Khrystiuk, and Mykola Shrah published in the official newspaper Visty VUTsVK a "Declaration to the Ukrainian Soviet Intelligentsia and Soviet Society as a Whole," expressing their satisfaction with the policy of Ukrainization and their loyalty to the Soviet government.42




11. The Stalinist Variant of Proletarian Internationalism


"So long as the state exists, there will be no freedom. When there is freedom, there will be no state." This Leninist dictum, which long pretended to absolute truth, would not be so horrendous were it not for the Bolshevik tradition of turning thought into a dogma cum absolute postulate. The Stalinist reading of this pedestrian, off-hand remark was completely in the spirit of this tradition: while the /37/ state exists, there will be no freedom of any kind. The Center's tendency to centralize and concentrate power, begun under Lenin, escalated sharply after the defeat of the United Opposition. The political monopoly on truth gave rise to intolerance toward any manifestation of thinking differently. Once Stalin gained absolute personal power, he ceased even to pretend that the national question was for him a question of fulfilling the principles of proletarian internationalism.

Indigenization and NEP made it possible to placate the regions. The militarization of the Party made it possible to transform it not only into an obedient apparatus of state administration, but also of the manipulation and administration of the human psyche, for, as the late E. H. Carr put it, the Party swallowed the state, then the state swallowed the Party,44 taking upon itself total control of the press and intellectual activity in general. The militarization of thought, the sowing in society of fear of real and imagined enemies, all those endless "fronts" cultural, ideological, historical, linguistic, grain procurement, etc., "battles" with hostile class elements, kulaks, kulak henchmen, subkulaks, nationalists, wreckers, spies, terrorists, fascists, and enemies of the people actively created in mass consciousness an alternate reality. Throughout all this seemingly unsystematic, even insane bacchanalia, a certain logic and goal remained constant.

On February 10, 1929, Pravda published a review by Pavel Gorin of the textbook, History of Ukraine in its Briefest Outline by Academician and Chair of the History Section of the Ukrainian Institute of Marxism-Leninism Matvyi Yavorsky, and institute chaired by Ukrainian Commissar of Education Mykola Skrypnyk. The reviewer, after brutally "exposing" the author's class hostile errors, openly wondered how the Ukrainian Commissariat of Education could have not only allowed such a pernicious work to be published but even recommended it to schoolchildren. Later reviewers "revealed" that the basic error from which all Yavorsky's other deviations flowed was his /38/ insistence on treating Ukrainian history as a process distinct from Russian history. Here we may discern an indirect campaign against Ukrainization and its main implementer and supporter, Skrypnyk. The latter could deflect the blow, publishing an article on Yavorsky's various errors. Then came a campaign against Yurynets. Skrypnyk again duly criticized the head of his philosophy section in the press but could not save his institute. In June 1931 the CP(b)U Central Committee passed a resolution condemning Skrypnyk's institute for various nationalistic deviations and supplanted it with an All-Ukrainian Association of Marxist Leninist Institutes (VUAMLIN). This meant that Skrypnyk lost a podium from which he could voice his views.

In 1930 at the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine show trial the GPU "uncovered the wrecking" of linguists who had actively participated in standardizing Ukrainian spelling. In late 1930 the journal Politfront, where Khvyliovy worked with Skrypnyk's support, was shut down. The circle was closed. Stalin was preparing a general offensive against Ukraine, a war against peasanty and Ukrainian intelligentsia in order to break down some elements of Ukrainian self-sufficiency. In 1932 Moscow took control of higher education. In July of that year Skrypnyk spoke at the III All-Ukrainian Party Conference, taking a manly stand against the coming offensive against the Ukrainian village.

On February 28, 1933, Skrypnyk was transferred from the Commissariat of Education to the Ukrainian State Planning Committee. In March Moscow began a campaign against nationalist deviations in Ukraine and Belarus. In late April the CP(b)U Central Committee called an allUkrainian conference on questions of national policy. Soon the XII CP(b)U Congress resolved that, although there might still be some problem with Russian chauvinist, in Ukraine the main enemy was and remained Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism. Ukraine embarked upon a tragic period of total Russification, where going over to Russian meant a demonstration of political loyalty to the regime. /39/







1 Ukrainian Political Parties of the Turn of the Century: Programmatic and Informational Materials (Kyiv, 1993: in Ukrainian), p. 63.

2 M. Ravich-Cherkassky, History of the Communist Party (b) of Ukraine (Kharkiv, 1923: in Russian), p. 189.

3 V.I. Lenin, Complete Collected Works (hereinafter PZT, all references are to the Ukrainian edition), XII, p. 449.

4 Ibid., XII, p. 218.

5 See Bohdan Krawchenko, Social Change and National Consciousness in Twentieth-Century Ukraine (London, 1985), pp. 1-45.

6 George Shevelov, The Ukrainian Language in the First Half of the Twentieth Century (Munich, 1987: in Ukrainian), pp. 17-18.

7 Ukrainska khata, 1909, No 7, p. 383.

8 The Revolution and the National Question in Russia and the USSR in the Twentieth Century (Moscow, 1930: in Russian), III, pp. 157-158.

9 As cited by Pavlo Sokhan, Borys Hrinchenko and Mykhailo Drahomanov: Dialogues on the Ukrainian National Cause (Kyiv, 1994: in Ukrainian), p. 7.

10 From the Beginnings of ther Ukrainian Socialist Movement: Mykhailo Drahomanov and the Geneva Socialist Circle (Vienna, 1922: in Ukrainian), pp. 151-153.

11 Ivan Rudnytsky, Essays in Modern Ukrainian History (Cambridge, MA, 1987), I, pp. 301-302.

12 M.A. Rubach, "Federalist Theories in Russian History," Russian Historical Literature in a Class Light (Moscow, 1930: in Russian), II, p. 10.

13 M. Drahomanov, "Little Russian Internationalism," From the Beginnings of the Ukrainian Socialist Movement, p. 163.

14 From the beginnings of the Ukrainian Socialist Movement, p. 128.

15 John-Paul Himka, Socialism in Calicia: The Emergence of Polish Social Democracy and Ukrainian Radicalism, 1860-1890 (Cambridge, MA, 1983), pp. 112, 118,167.

16 Ibid., p. 169; idem., "Young Radicals /398/ and Independent Statehood: The Idea of a Ukrainian Nation-State, 1890-1895," Slavic Review, XL:2, 1982, pp. 219-235.

17 Dmytro Doroshenko, from the History of Ukrainian Political Thought During Word War I (Prague, 1936: in Ukrainian), pp. 76-77.

18 Ibid., p. 95.

19 Ibid, pp. 79-80.

20 Krawchenko, op. tit., p. 56. On the Central Ukrainian Cooperative Committee during the Revolution, cf. V.I. Marochko, Ukrainian Peasant Cooperation: Historico-Theoretical Aspects, 1861-1929 (Kyiv, 1995: in Ukrainian), pp. 46-83).

21 On the UPSR see Ark. Zhyvotko, "On the History of the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries," Vilna spilka. No 3, 1927-1929, pp. 128-132; Pavlo Khrystyuk, Notes and Materials on the History of the Ukrainian Revolution (Vienna, 1921-1922: in Ukrainian), I, pp. 35125; Jury Borys, "Political Parties in Ukraine," Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution (Cambridhe, MA, 1977), p. 135.

22 Robitnycha hazeta, November 29, 1917.

23Ukrainian Political Parties at the Turn of the Century: Programmatic and Informational Documents (Kyiv, 1993: in Ukrainian), p. 123.

24 This and previous citations are from the article "Foundations of the New Ukraine" which, in our opinion, reveals most fully Hrushevsky's views on the future Ukrainian statehood in: Mykhailo Hrushevsky, On the Threshold of a New Ukraine: Articles and Source Materials (New York, 1992: in Ukrainian), pp.39-56.

23 Mykhailo Hrushevsky, "A New Division of Ukraine," ibid., pp. 99-103.

26 "What Kind of Autonomy Do We Want," Hrushevsky, Selected Works (New York, 1960: in Ukrainian), pp. 142-149.

27 Pavlo Khrystyuk, op. tit., II, p. 51.

28 Ibid., p. 55.

29 A Great Ukrainian: Materials on M.S. Hrushevsky's Life and Work (Kyiv, 1992: in Ukrainian), pp. 270-273.

30 Volodymyr Vynnychenko, The Rebirth of a Nation (Kyiv-Vienna, 1920: in Ukrainian), III, p. 352.

31 See Horace B. Davis, Nationalism and Socialism: Marxist and Labor Theories of Nationalism to 1917 (New York-London, 1967), pp. 149163.

32 See Solomon I. Goldeman, Jewish National Autonomy in Ukraine, 1917-1920 (Chicago, 1968).

33 Bolshevik Organizations of Ukraine During the Period of the Establishment and Consolidation of Soviet Power (Kyiv, 1962: in Russia), p. 419; Khrystyk, op. at, IV, p. 32; M.I. Kulichenko, The Communist Party's Struggle to Solve the National Question (Kharkiv, 1966: in Russian), p. 231.

34 V.I. Lenin, PZT, XI, p. 254.

35 How and Why the Comintern Executive Committee Dissolved the UKP (Kharkiv, 1925: in Russian), p. 36.

36 From the Archives of the AllUkrainian Cheka, GPU, NKVD, KGB, 1994, No 1.

37 How and Why the Comintern Executive Committee Dissolved the UKP, p. 121.

38 Ibid., p. 94. /399/

39 M.Halahan, "The Liquidation of the UKP," Nova Ukraina, 1925, No 4; Visty VUTsVK, March 14-15, 1925 (both in Ukrainian).

40 Krawchenko, op, tit., p. 65.

41 V.Zatonsky, The National Problem in Ukraine (Kharkiv, 1927: in Ukrainian), pp. 3-4.

42 E.F. Hirchak, On Two Fronts in the Struggle Against Nationalism (Moscow-Leningrad, 1930: in Russian), p. 20.

43 Visty VUTsVK, May 18, 1924.

44 E.H. Carr, A History of Soviet Russia (Moscow, 1990; Russian translation), Book 1, p. 313.





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