Two of the new publications come from the well-known and prolific historian Serhii Plokhy whose fascinating book Yalta: the Price of Peace captures a crucial moment in World War II history and the development of the early Cold War. He has also authored two more recent studies, including Ukraine and Russia: Representations of the Past (U Toronto Press, 2014, 412pp).
About this book we are told:
Plokhy also authored Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History (Toronto, 2015, 630pp).The question of where Russian history ends and Ukrainian history begins has not yet received a satisfactory answer. Generations of historians referred to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, as the starting point of the Muscovite dynasty, the Russian state, and, ultimately, the Russian nation. However, the history of Kyiv and that of the Scythians of the Northern Black Sea region have also been claimed by Ukrainian historians, and are now regarded as integral parts of the history of Ukraine. If these are actually the beginnings of Ukrainian history, when does Russian history start?
In Ukraine and Russia, Serhii Plokhy discusses many questions fundamental to the formation of modern Russian and Ukrainian historical identity. He investigates the critical role of history in the development of modern national identities and offers historical and cultural insight into the current state of relations between the two nations. Plokhy shows how history has been constructed, used, and misused in order to justify the existence of imperial and modern national projects, and how those projects have influenced the interpretation of history in Russia and Ukraine. This book makes important assertions not only about the conflicts and negotiations inherent to opposing historiographic traditions, but about ways of overcoming the limitations imposed by those traditions.
About this book the publisher says:
From the eighteenth century until its collapse in 1917, Imperial Russia – as distinct from Muscovite Russia before it and Soviet Russia after it – officially held that the Russian nation consisted of three branches: Great Russian, Little Russian (Ukrainian), and White Russian (Belarusian). After the 1917 revolution, this view was discredited by many leading scholars, politicians, and cultural figures, but none were more intimately involved in the dismantling of the old imperial identity and its historical narrative than the eminent Ukrainian historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky (1866–1934).
Hrushevsky took an active part in the work of Ukrainian scholarly, cultural, and political organizations and became the first head of the independent Ukrainian state in 1918. Serhii Plokhy's Unmaking Imperial Russia examines Hrushevsky's construction of a new historical paradigm that brought about the nationalization of the Ukrainian past and established Ukrainian history as a separate field of study. By showing how the ‘all-Russian’ historical paradigm was challenged by the Ukrainian national project, Plokhy provides the indispensable background for understanding the current state of relations between Ukraine and Russia.
Two other books treat Ukrainian-Russian relations during the Soviet period, including Serhy Yekelchyk, Stalin's Empire of Memory: Russian-Ukrainian Relations in the Soviet Historical Imagination (U Toronto Press, 2014), 252pp.
About this book we are told:Stephen Velychenko, Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red: The Ukrainian Marxist Critique of Russian Communist Rule in Ukraine, 1918-1925 (2015), 288pp.
Based on declassified materials from eight Ukrainian and Russian archives, Stalin's Empire of Memory, offers a complex and vivid analysis of the politics of memory under Stalinism. Using the Ukrainian republic as a case study, Serhy Yekelchyk elucidates the intricate interaction between the Kremlin, non-Russian intellectuals, and their audiences. Yekelchyk posits that contemporary representations of the past reflected the USSR's evolution into an empire with a complex hierarchy among its nations. In reality, he argues, the authorities never quite managed to control popular historical imagination or fully reconcile Russia's 'glorious past' with national mythologies of the non-Russian nationalities. Combining archival research with an innovative methodology that links scholarly and political texts with the literary works and artistic images, Stalin's Empire of Memory presents a lucid, readable text that will become a must-have for students, academics, and anyone interested in Russian history.
About this last study, the Press tells us:
In Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red, Stephen Velychenko traces the first expressions of national, anti-colonial Marxism to 1918 and the Russian Bolshevik occupation of Ukraine. Velychenko reviews the work of early twentieth-century Ukrainians who regarded Russian rule over their country as colonialism. He then discusses the rise of “national communism” in Russia and Ukraine and the Ukrainian Marxist critique of Russian imperialism and colonialism. The first extended analysis of Russian communist rule in Ukraine to focus on the Ukrainian communists, their attempted anti-Bolshevik uprising in 1919, and their exclusion from the Comintern, Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red re-opens a long forgotten chapter of the early years of the Soviet Union and the relationship between nationalism and communism. An appendix provides a valuable selection of Ukrainian Marxist texts, all translated into English for the first time.