"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, September 21, 2020

Post-War Ukraine

As we have just finished the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, we continue nonetheless to learn about its aftermath. I remain, as noted on here, a longterm inveterate reader of martial history of both global wars of the last century and many other conflicts. So I am looking forward to the December publication of Remaking Ukraine after World War II: The Clash of Local and Central Soviet Power by Filip Slaveski (Cambridge University Press, 2020), 200pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this:
Ukraine was liberated from German wartime occupation by 1944 but remained prisoner to its consequences for much longer. This study examines Soviet Ukraine's transition from war to 'peace' in the long aftermath of World War II. Filip Slaveski explores the challenges faced by local Soviet authorities in reconstructing central Ukraine, including feeding rapidly growing populations in post-war famine. Drawing on recently declassified Soviet sources, Filip Slaveski traces the previously unknown bitter struggle for land, food and power among collective farmers at the bottom of the Soviet social ladder, local and central authorities. He reveals how local authorities challenged central ones for these resources in pursuit of their own vision of rebuilding central Ukraine, undermining the Stalinist policies they were supposed to implement and forsaking the farmers in the process. In so doing, Slaveski demonstrates how the consequences of this battle shaped post-war reconstruction, and continue to resonate in contemporary Ukraine, especially with the ordinary people caught in the middle.

Part I. The Battle for Land between the People and Local and Central Soviet Authorities:
1. A brief survey of illegal appropriations of collective farmland by local state and party officials
2. Taking land: officials' illegal appropriations and starving people in Raska, Bila Tserkva and elsewhere
3. Taking land back: the people and central authorities' recovery of land and prosecution of local party and state officials
Part II. The Cost of the Battle for Land to People and the State:
4. The cost of taking land: the damages caused by illegal appropriations of collective farmland to kolkhozniki, communities and the state
5. Then and now: the shaping of contemporary Ukraine in the post-war crises
Appendix. Archival source locations and guide for further research.

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