Ukraine in the Flames: "1917 in Kyiv" by Serhii Plokhii

Heorhiy Narbut Small coat of arms

"How could the Ukrainian idea, marginalized after the Revolution of 1905, emerge victorious in competition with visions of the future promoted by Russian liberals and social democrats, as well as proponents of Great Russian nationalism from the ranks of 'true Russian' patriots of Little Russian extraction? In the revolutionary atmosphere of the time, the mixture of liberal nationalism and socialism offered by the young leaders of the Rada turned out to be an addictive ideology. The territorial autonomy of Ukraine advocated by the Ukrainian parties came to be regarded as the only way out of the plethora of military, economic, and social problems besieging the country. The Central Rada led the way as the only institution capable of meeting the two main demands of the moment—land and peace."

Excerpted from Serhii Plokhy's The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine, this article describes the events that took place in Kyiv in 1917, including the proclamation of an independent Ukrainian state. Read more.

Ukraine in the Flames of the 1917 Revolution

Red Army in Kyiv 1919

One hundred years ago, a series of upheavals in the Russian Empire ended the rule of the Tsars and ushered in a new era of communism. The Ukrainian People's Republic was declared following an attempted coup in Kyiv by the Bolsheviks, but the state was attacked by the communist regime in Moscow and soon became part of the Soviet Union.

To commemorate this turning point in Ukrainian history, the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University (HURI) has organized a series of events examining the revolution and its consequences. This series includes four talks: a film screening and discussion of Dovzhenko's Arsenal (led by Yuri Shevchuk); Anne Applebaum's presentation of research from her latest book, Red Famine; HURI Fellow Mikhail Akulov's talk on Hetman Skoropadsky; and Andrea Graziosi's discussion of the "many 1917s." Read more.

Інститут Відзначає Сторіччя Української Революції

Demonstration near Kyiv duma Summer 1917

Те, що сталося 7 листопада 1917 року в Петрограді, має різні назви. В. Ленін, керівник більшовиків і головний організатор цієї події, попервах називав її «переворотом». А у всесвітню історію вона увійшла, як «більшовицька», «російська» або як «Велика жовтнева соціалістична» революція, одна з найбільш трагічних і визначальних подій ХХ-го сторіччя. Але чи має сенс називати те, що Україна зазнала в період між 1917 і 1921 роками, «українською революцією»?

Цей ювілей – чудова нагода озирнутися й спробувати зрозуміти не лише нашу історію, але й не менш буремне сьогодення. Цієї осені Український науковий інститут Гарвардського університету планує провести низку заходів, присвячених сторічному ювілею революції. 

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Introducing the 2017-2018 HURI Research Fellows


HURI is pleased to announce its seven research fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year.

HURI’s fellowship program offers funding for research in Ukrainian studies at all stages of an academic career. Our fellows conduct research in residence at HURI while making use of the extensive resources at Harvard University, participating in seminars, and connecting with other scholars in the field.

The diversity in backgrounds and interests of this year’s fellows demonstrates the breadth and depth of the Ukrainian studies field. As specialists of history, literature, poetry, political science, demography, and Medieval studies, our fellows will expand scholarship on Ukraine from the 11th century to the post-Euromaidan era.

Read about the incoming fellows.

Lost Kingdom: Ukraine and the Search for Russian Borders

Plohky Lost Kingdom

Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation is the latest volume from award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy. Covering the late 15th century through the present, this book focuses specifically on the Russian nationalism, exploring how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin instrumentalized identity to achieve their imperial and great-power aims. Along the way, Plokhy reveals the central role Ukraine plays in Russia’s identity, both as an “other” to distinguish Russia, and as part of a pan-Slavic conceptualization used to legitimize territorial expansion and political control.

In this Q&A article, Plokhy reveals why Ukraine is so important to Russia's contemporary identity, how Russia is balancing its own multiethnicity with growing ethnic nationalism, and how Russia's aggressive, nationalistic foreign policy has been detrimental to its own development as a modern state. Read more.

Shklar and Mihaychuk Fellows 2009–2010

Shklar Fellows

Ines Garcia de la Puente received her doctorate in Slavic philology and Indo-European linguistics from the Complutense University, Madrid, in 2006. Garcia will use her fellowship tenure this fall to focus on the topic “From Kyiv to Rome along the Ladoga: Reassessing Trade Routes in Rus´,” a topic that she began researching in 2008 under a postdoctoral fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. She aims to shed new light on the traditional interpretation of the “route from the Varangians to the Greeks” as described in the Primary Chronicle. She plans to conduct a linguistic analysis of the description of the route in the chronicle, completing an intratextual analysis of the Primary Chronicle, and then contrasting the linguistic and intratextual analyses within their historical and archeological contexts.

Robert Kusnierz is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of History, Pomeranian University, in Slupsk, Poland. He received his Ph.D. in History in 2004 from the University of Maria Curie-Sklodowska in Lublin. While at Harvard in the fall semester, Kusnierz will study Poland’s attitude toward the Holodomor and the Great Terror in Ukraine (1932–1938) and how these events influenced Polish-Soviet relations.

Iryna Vushko received her Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2008 and recently completed a Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy. While at Harvard this fall, Vushko will be researching the topic “Enlightened Absolutism, Imperial Bureaucracy, and Provincial Society: The Austrian Project to Transform Galicia, 1772–1815.” Vushko’s work will analyze the Austrian bureaucratic modernization of Galicia between its annexation by the Habsburg monarchy in 1772 and the final settlements of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The reforms of Austrian Empire bureaucrats in Galicia were meant to replace Polish institutions with new Austrian ones and to forge political loyalty among the local Poles, Ruthenians, and Jews. Rather than promoting uniformity, these actions created new identities and reinforced existing identities that were intended to be suppressed. Indirectly, they gave rise to modern nationalism in Galicia. Vushko will analyze the long-term effects of these eighteenth-century reforms in the transformation of early modern ethnicities into modern nationalities and consequently the emergence of rival national movement in Galicia.

Mihaychuk Fellows

Rostyslav Melnykiv is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ukrainian Literature at the Skovoroda National Pedagogical University of Kharkiv. He received a Kandydat nauk in philology from Kharkiv State University in 1998. His area of interest is Ukrainian literature of the twentieth century, focusing on the 1920s and 1930s. Melnykiv will spend the spring semester at Harvard looking at the models of “ideal literature” and “ideal fiction” that participants in the literary discussions attempted to define. As Melnykiv observes, the origin of dominant aesthetic ideas, their formation, and further transformation are crucial for understanding the intellectual basis of the literary discussions and processes of the 1920s and on the whole.

Tetyana Portnova is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Department of Historiography and the Study of Sources and Archives at Dnipropetrovsk National University. She received her Kandydat nauk in history there in 2008. During her fellowship this fall, Portnova plans to research peasantry and peasant culture in Ukrainian public discourse during the second half of the nineteenth century. She will study the social and cultural reasons behind the peasantry’s emergence, the underlying motives for that emergence, and the significance of societal notions about the peasantry for the community in which they functioned. As part of the study, Portnova plans to place the development of the Ukrainian conception of the peasantry into the broader perspective of the national movements of Central and Eastern Europe.

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