After waiting several days for a further response from you, I have
gone ahead and posted some helpful references concerning the policy of
Ukrainization in the 1920's and it's demise under Stalin. I have also
composed a short synopsis which should provide an overall picture of
Ukrainization and help you figure out where to flesh out the topic
with additional information from the references. As I stated in my
clarification, you will need to supplement these online references
with some relevant material from school textbooks if necessary.
I believe you will have no problem using the references below to
write an excellent paper of your own!
Ukrainization refers to the policy of national language and
cultural development imposed on the newly formed Ukrainian Socialist
Republic during the 1920?s. After several years of civil unrest
involving attempts at control by various factions, Ukraine eventually
fell under Soviet rule. In an effort to gain favor among the Ukrainian
Bolshevik?s and ease hostility toward the occupying communist regime,
Lenin backed a policy of indigenization, known as the Ukrainization
movement, which promoted the use of the Ukranian language within
academic, scientific, cultural, and administrative settings. The
underlying intent of the policy, however, was to further increase
communist power in Ukraine by legitimizing Soviet control.
Many took advantage of this new period of language freedom. Art and
theatre, in particular, experienced a renewed vitality. A new
generation of writers, artists, and intellectuals approached their
interests with a vigor that had been stifled during the nineteenth
century, when the Ukranian language had been banned in the artistic
and scholarly realms. The government was not immune from the reaches
of this new movement, either, and Russian-speaking members of the
ruling party were encouraged to learn Ukranian.
The success of Ukrainization eventually led to it?s demise by
becoming the ultimate threat to the totalitarian Soviet government. As
Ukranian culture began to flourish, a growing national self-confidence
began to emerge. The was an underlying dissent among some who
encouraged a gradual move "away from Moscow" toward a greater local
autonomy. There was the ever growing uncertainty that the Russian
state could continue to retain control over an increasingly
nationalistic feeling in Ukraine.
In the late 1920?s, Joseph Stalin imposed swift and brutal measures
to force Ukraine into submission. Ukrainian became a secondary
language to Russian, and any attachment to it?s use a sign of
nationalism. Many writers and scholars were among the first to face
the firing squads. Six to eight million Ukranians also fell victim to
starvation during the great famine of the early 1930?s, which resulted
from the forced collectivism of farms and extortion of crops to
enforce Stalin?s policy of industrialization.
"Ukrainization (or Ukrainianization) was the policy conducted by the
Bolshevik party and the Government of the Ukrainian SSR during 1920s
and early 1930s to increase the presence of Ukrainian within schools,
the press, and other educational and cultural institutions as well as
in administration. Ukrainization was a temporal policy forced by the
hostile attitude of the Ukrainian population to the Communist regime.
The true objective of this policy was a strengthening of Soviet power
From "Ukraine, A Foreign Rule." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. 2005
"In the 1920s the USSR?s New Economic Policy (NEP), designed to
rehabilitate the postwar economy, helped rejuvenate agriculture in
Ukraine. Anxious to attract popular support, the Soviet regime also
introduced Ukrainization, a policy that encouraged the use of
Ukrainian language and the development of national culture. Beginning
in the late 1920s, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin brutally reversed both
trends. Peasant landholdings were forcibly collectivized and crops
were extorted to support industrialization. The result was a terrible
famine in 1932 and 1933 in which an estimated 5 million to 7 million
From "Ukraine in the interwar period." Encyclopedia Britannica.
"In 1923 a policy of "indigenization" was announced, including the
promotion of native languages in education and publishing, at the
workplace, and in government; the fostering of national cultures; and
the recruitment of cadres from the indigenous populations. In Ukraine
this program inaugurated a decade of rapid Ukrainization and cultural
efflorescence. Within the CP(B)U itself, the proportion of Ukrainians
in the rank-and-file membership exceeded 50 percent by the late 1920s.
Enrollments in Ukrainian-language schools and the publication of
Ukrainian books increased dramatically. Lively debates developed about
the course of Ukrainian literature, in which the writer Mykola
Khvylovy threw out the slogan "Away from Moscow!" and urged a cultural
orientation toward Europe. An important factor in the national
revival, despite antireligious propaganda and harassment, was the
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox church, which had gained a wide
following among the Ukrainian peasantry since its formation in 1921."
"Ukrainization was vigorously promoted by the "national communists,"
including such Ukrainian Bolsheviks as Shrink and Khvylovy, and
especially by the former Borotbists, most prominently the people's
commissar of education, Oleksander Shumsky. The policy, however,
encountered strong resistance from the non-Ukrainian leaders of the
CP(B)U and party functionaries. The national revival also aroused
concern in Moscow, where Joseph Stalin was strengthening his grip over
the party apparatus. In 1925 Stalin dispatched his trusted lieutenant
Lazar Kaganovich to head the CP(B)U. Within a year, Kaganovich
engineered a split among the "national communists," Khvylovy's
recantation, and the expulsion of Shumsky and his followers from the
party. Nevertheless, with Skrypnyk as the new commissar of education,
Ukrainization continued to advance."
From "Ukranian Language."
Early Soviet rule: rapid Ukrainization:
"First, the Soviet regime found itself as the occupying power in a
nation that had just undergone a large-scale national awakening. This
necessitated a policy of strategic concession to national language
development in order to win the allegiance of the population
(1921-1927). Following the loss of independence during the post-WWI
era (1918-1921) the Russian Bolshevik occupation regime pursued a
strategic policy of putting down roots. This necessitated a policy of
Ukrainization, both of the government and party personnel, and an
impressive education program which raised the literacy of the
Ukrainophone rural areas. Newly-generated academic efforts from the
period of independence were co-opted by the Bolshevik government. The
party and government apparatus was mostly Russian speaking but were
encouraged to learn Ukrainian language. Simultaneously, the
newly-literate ethnic Ukrainians migrated to the cities, which became
rapidly largely Ukrainianized - in both population and in education."
"The Stalinist era put an end to Ukrainianiztion movement of the 1920's."
"The Stalinist era was characterized by massive repressions and many
hardships for Ukrainian language and the people. Many Ukrainians often
emphasize that the repressions were applied earlier and more fiercely
in Ukraine and were therefore anti-Ukrainian; some others assert that
Stalin's goal was the generic crushing of any dissent, rather that
targeting the Ukrainians in particular."
"The Stalinist era also marked the beginning of the Soviet policy of
encouraging Russian as the language of (inter-Republic) Soviet
communication. Although Ukrainian continued to be used (in print,
education, radio and later television programs), it lost its primary
place in advanced learning and republic-wide media. Ukrainian was
considered to be of a secondary importance, and an excessive
attachment to it was considered a sign of nationalism and so
"politically incorrect". At the same time, the new Soviet Constitution
adopted in 1936 stipulated that teaching in schools should be in
From Welcome to Ukraine
"The Ukrainian revolution and the national liberation movement of
1917-1920 and the regaining of independence provided the chance to
enter an entirely new phase of history as a sovereign
Ukrainian-oriented state. But Ukraine was much too important for the
Bolsheviks to let it out of their grip. When Ukraine separated from
Russia, the latter lost 92 percent of the former empire?s production
of sugar, 65 percent of the production of pig iron, 77 percent of the
production of coal, to say nothing of bread, with Ukraine being a
major European producer of grain. The Russian Bolsheviks resorted to
open aggression, decisively and with no delays. The Ukrainian People?s
Republic, a sovereign Ukrainian state, collapsed, making the Ukrainian
history a story of woes and irretrievable losses."
"The next twist of this history of losses was particularly painful.
The Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, in his struggle for power, used
all the cunningly perfidious means of subversion and division."
"In order to get the support of the Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) of
Ukraine, the biggest local communist party body in the Soviet Union,
he allowed a considerable measure of Ukrainianization to take place,
which, thanks to the efforts of Ukrainian intellectuals, soon got out
of control. By 1930, 89 percent of the periodicals and 77 percent of
books published in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were in
Ukrainian. 77 percent of schools provided tuition in Ukrainian. It was
the time of cultural renaissance of Ukraine - and it was extremely
brutally put an end to in 1931 when many Ukrainian intellectuals were
physically destroyed on a scale unprecedented in history; the terrible
man-made famine of 1933 killed another 8 million of Ukrainians. It was
nothing short of a planned genocide."
From "ODWU - The Organization for the Rebirth of Ukraine," by Myron B.
Kuropas, Ph.D. ODWU. http://www.odwu.org/Historyx.htm
"World War I culminated with the collapse of the German,
Austrian-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires, creating such newly
constituted nation-states as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia,
Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The Russian Empire, however, did not
collapse. It was reconstituted by the Bolsheviks, a ruling class far
more tyrannical than the former Czarist rulers."
"Ukraine enjoyed three years of tenuous independence. Under attack
from the Red Russians, Czarist Russians, and the Poles, the Ukrainian
army fought against overwhelming odds. With no support from the
Allies, the Ukrainian people were unable to maintain their
sovereignty. Once the smoke of battle cleared, Ukraine was no more."
"The defeat was devastating. The Ukrainian people were incredulous.
Questions were asked and the finger pointing began. What went wrong?
Why did Ukrainians fail while others succeeded? Who was responsible?
Three ideologies - - Communist, Hetmanist, and Nationalist - -
eventually emerged to explain the debacle, and to offer a plan for the
"Soviet Ukrainians, of course, argued that while a "blue and yellow"
Ukraine had disappeared, a "Red" Ukraine was alive, well and thriving.
The claim was difficult to deny. The Soviet Ukrainianization campaign
of the early 1920?s created Ukrainian language schools, numerous
publications, and a plethora of Ukrainian scientific and cultural
institutions throughout Ukraine. At the time, Soviet Ukrainian leaders
looked to Europe for their socio-political inspiration, not to Russia.
In the beginning, most Soviet Ukrainians considered themselves
Ukrainian first, Communist second. When the Soviet Ukrainian leader
Mykola Skrypnyk visited Moscow, for example, he brought along an
interpreter even though he spoke fluent Russsian. Ukrainianization in
the USSR, however, had a short history. Once Stalin was firmly in
command, Russification was again the order of the day."
** The influence of Ukranianization on theatre and literature:
From "Theater and Literature of the 1920s." Ucrainica at Harvard. The
Ukrainian Research Institute's 25th-Anniversary Exhibition at Houghton
Library, Harvard University.
"The 1920's are the most exciting, controversial and productive period
of modern Ukrainian theater and literature. Ukraine was recovering
from nearly a decade of extreme social upheaval. The Russian
Communists realized that without engaging the dormant productive
forces, as well as national aspirations, of Ukraine, they would not be
able to preserve and rule the newly founded USSR. This awareness led
them to resort to a tactical deviation from the rigid Marxist-Leninist
strategy and to introduce the New Economic Policy, followed in the
mid-20's by short-lived Ukrainization, policies that promoted
Ukrainian language and thus helped legitimize Soviet rule in Ukrainian
"Left to its own devices, Ukrainian culture showed amazing signs of
vitality. Despite acute economic hardships, a new generation of
writers, artists and scholars lost no time in setting up artistic
organizations, academic and educational institutions, theaters,
literary magazines, and publishing houses. Given the fact that in the
19th century Ukrainian language was banned from literature, public and
scientific discourse, these developments amounted to a small cultural
"This flourishing of Ukrainian culture during the 1920's was a
manifestation of growing national self-confidence. Even Ukrainian
communists at times opted for more autonomy and expressed desire to
part ways with their Moscow comrades. M. Khvyliovyi, tacitly supported
by some Ukrainian leaders, called upon Ukrainian intelligentsia to
"move away from Moscow" towards "psychological Europe."
"Such a step was intolerable for a totalitarian state. 1929 marks the
beginning of large scale repressions in Ukraine. Writers and scholars
were among the first who faced the firing squads. Except for V.
Vynnychenko, nearly all the authors presented here perished during the
Stalinist terror. The vacuum created by their absence cannot be filled
and the wounds caused by their death continue to be felt by Ukrainian
From the New York times Book Review: "The Affirmative Action Empire:
Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939," by Terry
Martin. Cornell University Press, 496 pp.
The back and forth policy of Ukrainization:
"At times, the Soviet state actively encouraged national
intellectuals. In the 1920s, Stalin sent one of his personal
favorites, Lazar Kaganovich, to "Ukrainize" the Ukraine. Kaganovich
not only threatened to fire school headmasters who did not teach in
Ukrainian, he personally took up the study of the language (his native
tongue, which he spoke poorly) and used it in all of his official
business. Under his leadership, the Ukrainian Communist Party and
Ukrainian trade unions actively promoted ethnic Ukrainians over
Russians, as did universities. Similar policies were followed in
Soviet Central Asia, where Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz became
the beneficiaries of vigorous affirmative action policies, and rapidly
rose to the top ranks of their national Communist parties."
"At other times, however, the Soviet Union discouraged nationalism.
Or, to put it rather more bluntly, at other times the Soviet Union
murdered and imprisoned nationalists. Among the victims of the waves
of terror that swept across the USSR in the 1930s and the 1940s were
Ukrainian poets, Belarusian writers, and those same Central Asian
Party leaders who had been so rapidly promoted in the 1920s. The
"great purge" of 1937-1938, one of the most intense and lethal waves
of Soviet terror, was accompanied by a major political campaign
against "bourgeois nationalists."
"Yet there were also moments when the Soviet Union seemed to conduct
both policies simultaneously, allowing intellectuals to pursue
nationalist culture--but only as long as they didn't get too
enthusiastic about it. A former Ukrainian dissident once told me that
a KGB officer, while searching his apartment in the 1980s, came upon a
poem written by Taras Shevchenko, a nineteenth-century Ukrainian poet
who was officially recognized in the Soviet Union and even promoted.
In Ukraine, statues were dedicated to his memory and numerous
"Shevchenko Boulevards" were built across the Soviet Union.
Nevertheless, the KGB officer confiscated the poem on the grounds that
its tone was "too nationalist."
"This kind of report, read carefully in the Kremlin, seems to have
convinced Stalin that the promotion of national sentiment had
backfired, creating too much national pride and too much autonomy. By
the mid-1930s, he decided to reverse it. As he would do many times,
Stalin did not mark this shift in policy by announcing it to the
nation, or by preparing people in advance. Instead, he launched a
political "affair" that temporarily dominated national political
debate. In this case, the target was Mykola Skrypnyk, a well-known
Ukrainian Bolshevik who had committed the sin of promoting
"Ukrainization" just a little bit too fervently. He had not only
advocated the expansion of the borders of Ukraine into Russia, but he
also wanted to cooperate with western Ukrainians who were, at the
time, citizens of Poland. In punishment, he was hounded in the press
and at Party meetings--literally to death, for he finally killed
"It was not only the larger nationality groups who suffered. Policies
designed to promote larger nationalities--the Uzbeks in Uzbekistan,
the Ukrainians in Ukraine--also led rapidly to discrimination against
other, smaller national groups, notably the Koreans, Germans, Finns,
and Poles who were scattered throughout the Soviet border regions.
Originally, Stalin had intended to use such groups to bring revolution
to neighboring states. Later, he concluded that they were having the
opposite effect--instead of exporting revolution, they were importing
counterrevolution--and they too were slaughtered, in
disproportionately high numbers, in the mass terror of the late
"By the end of the 1930s, Stalin's original nationality policy had in
fact completely reversed itself. Both the Russian nation and the
Russian language officially gained a new, superior status. Russian
became the language of the Moscow bureaucracy and the Red Army; all
schools in non-Russian republics were required to teach it. Beginning
in the late 1930s, the Russification of Russia itself was completed,
as small national groups who lived within the boundaries of the
Russian republic were forced to drop their own languages and learn
Russian. In the long term, the effect of this change was to centralize
the Soviet state even further, as Stalin well understood.
From "The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 as an Act of Genocide," by
Christina Maslo. Famine-Genocide Commemorative Committee. 2003 Writing
"During the Russian Revolution, Ukrainian nationalism was emerging and
the first independent Ukrainian state, later crushed by the
Bolsheviks, was created on January 22, 1918. In response to growing
Ukrainian national feeling, Lenin took measures to appease the
peasantry with a policy of indigenization in 1923-24, known in Ukraine
as Ukrainization, which allowed for some cultural concessions.
However, in 1924 when Josef Stalin became the new Soviet ruler and
began to consolidate his power, the Ukrainian national aspirations
became more problematic for Moscow. Stalin, whose main priority was
the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union, required changes in
both the industrial and agricultural sectors of the economy.
Agriculturally, Stalin?s plan was to collectivize agriculture, which
in 1928 forced the peasant farmers to move from cultivating their tiny
private plots to farming large state collective farms (kolkhoz in
Russian, kolhosp in Ukrainian), where the government relied on
communal labour to meet the grain quotas set by the state. The
government could then control what was being sown, how much was
collected and how the harvest would be utilized. However,
collectivization was met with fierce opposition from the peasantry,
especially in Ukraine. At the same time, Ukrainian nationalism
continued to flourish and there persisted the uncertainty as to
whether or not Ukraine would break away from the Communist Russian
state, as it had in 1918, and Moscow would lose "the bread basket of
Europe." Stalin relied on the highly fertile lands and hard labour of
Ukraine to extract grain needed for export, in order to raise capital
required to purchase industrial machinery. The refusal of the
Ukrainian peasantry, who were always associated with Ukrainian
nationalism 3, to join the collectives was seen by Moscow as a
"nationalist rebellion"; and the growing Ukrainian patriotic feeling
was considered threatening. Historian and famine survivor, Miron Dolot
"Moscow could not tolerate such dissent, and, not unexpectantly,
struck Ukraine with all its might. It used the policy of
collectivization and the state grain collection campaign as vehicles
of war against the Ukrainian national movement, and the Famine was to
be the weapon with which Moscow dealt its final blow."
From "Governments of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic -
History." Ukraine Government Portal.
"After I. Stalin had defeated his rivals in the fight for power, his
liberal policy both in the national and socio-economic spheres ceased.
The decade of 1929-1938 became a period of the intensive implanting of
reforms from the top. Kremlin resorted to mass repressions for
breaking the society resistance."
"Ukraine became a center of repressions, since it was the largest
national republic and thus the most serious potential danger for
Kremlin. To implant collective farms, I. Stalin had to exile hundreds
of thousands of peasants from Ukraine. To force Ukrainian collective
farmers to work honestly for the state, he organized a terror by
famine; millions of people died as the result. The terror by famine
coincided with development of repressions against Petlyura allegedly
intellectuals. The first blow of Secret Police fell on intellectuals
associated with the Ukrainian Republic and then in 1933 on
national-communists in CP(B)U. Mass repressions were at their zenith
in 1937-1938. The generation of people, who took part in the Ukrainian
revolution of 1917-1920, was almost completely exterminated. The
intellectuals hunting was performed against a background of the
regime?s care for Ukrainian culture. In 1934 the capital of the
Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was transferred to Kyiv."
From "The famine: Stalin imposes a "final solution." CONCLUSION.
Demise of Ukrainization. by Dr. James E. Mace.
"In the remaining months of 1933 many of the organizations and
individuals that had been central to Ukraine's intellectual life in
the 1920s simply disappeared. Linguists, fiction writers, historians,
poets - virtually everyone who has anything to do with creating a
distinctly Ukrainian cultural scene in the 1920s - disappeared.
Ukrainization became a dead letter. Concessions to Ukrainian national
identity came to an end."
You might pick up a few interesting tidbits to use in your paper from
"Nationalism and Genocide: The Origin of the Artificial Famine of
1932-1933 in Ukraine," by Valentyn Moroz. The Journal of Historical
Review, Summer 1986 (Vol. 6, No. 2), page 207.
"The man-made famine of 1933 in Soviet Ukraine: what happenned and
why, by Dr. James E. Mace. PART III. Soviet Ukraine under Skrypnyk
Schooling, language and the policy-making power of state bureaucrats
in Ukraine," by ALEXANDRA HRYCAK, Reed College, 16 April 2004.
Submission to Rebounding Identities, edited by Dominique Arel and
Best of luck!
ukrainization in 1920's
politics in 1920's Ukraine
1920's Ukraine political movements
textbook AND ukrainianization in the 1920's
collapse of ukrainization
preserving Ukrainian language in the 1920's
indigenization in Ukraine 1920's