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1979: Ukraine since 1945: A Study in Modern History

Description: Lecture Audio Part 1 and 2

The thirteenth annual Shevchenko Lecture at the University of Alberta was held on March 7, 1979. Dr. Roman Szporluk, professor of history at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, spoke on "Ukraine since 1945: A Study in Modem History ."

The end of World War II was a watershed in Ukrainian history: after long periods of separation almost all Ukrainian lands found themselves under one regime, whose central authorities in Moscow persecuted the Ukrainian intelligentsia. Even the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), which was also distrusted by the population, was also repressed. Due to internal migration there began a process of national integration as some regional differences diminished.

The period of destalinization in the 1950s saw the rehabilitation of both the CPU and the Ukrainian intelligentsia. A very important function was served by the Writers' Union of Ukraine which was used to legitimize the Soviet regime, but which also became a kind of alternate political centre. In contrast to the distrust of the previous period a rapprochement was attempted with western Ukraine. Although no less distrustful of Ukrainians the government realized that certain concessions had to be made. These took the form of an expansion in the number of Ukrainian publications made available and a diversification of Ukrainian audiences to whom publications were addressed. Increasingly, the intelligentsia acted as a link between the Soviet regime and the masses.

The early 1960s were a retreat from destalinization and brought with them a return of russification. However, this was resisted by a new alliance between the pro-Soviet element on the one hand, and the new generation of the intelligentsia on the other. The latter group found a forum in the press for their campaign in defence of the Ukrainian language. The government under P. Shelest, while mildly repressing dissidents (by Soviet standards), tried to implement some of their proposals.

Shelest's fall from power in 1972 ushered in an era of renewed and reinforced russification. Attempts at rapprochement between the regime and the Ukrainian nation, and implementation of a new Ukrainian-Russian relationship , were abandoned Instead of dealing with very real economic and social problems, the government continues to concern itself with nationality problems. In spite of L. Brezhnev's wishes the Ukrainian problem will not go away. The government is faced with a new nation which, though possibly slightly diminished in numbers, has more energy and a greater potential. / A lively discussion period followed Dr. Szporluk' s presentation. The Shevchenko lecture is sponsored by the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Edmonton and organized by the Institute.

Found in CIUS Newsletter Vol 3 Issue 2 (Spring 1979)
Author: CIUS
Publisher: CIUS
Date: March 7, 1979
Contributor: Roman Szporluk
Language: English, Ukrainian
Original Format: Magnetic tape, audio cassette

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CIUS, “1979: Ukraine since 1945: A Study in Modern History,” CIUS-Archives, accessed June 20, 2019, http://cius-archives.ca/items/show/2022.
Unless otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license .