Bitter Harvest - Story of the Holodomor - Resurgence of Ukrainian Nationalism

Employing an avant-garde style in this 1920 costume sketch, Vadym Meller (like Ukrainian artists of the time) participated in the “Ukrainization” of the country. Lenin allowed such artistic expression, but Stalin wanted Ukrainian artists, like artists throughout the Soviet Union, to employ “Socialist Realism” in their work. Image online via the Ukrainian Museum in New York City.


When members of the Soviet government, in Moscow, learn that university students in Ukraine are speaking their own language, not Russian, they do not approve. The “powers that be,” in Moscow, are appalled that Ukrainians would want to speak their own language.

The Soviets’ world view, for its conquered lands and peoples, is Soviet-based with Russian as the principal language. Not only is it wrong for Ukrainians to treat Russian as a second language, Soviet authorities insist that Ukrainians do not view Russian as a foreign language.

A people who either don’t know Russian, or treat Russian as a foreign language, are probably on the road to achieving their own national identity. If people in Kharkiv (then the capital city of Ukraine) speak Ukrainian, not Russian, how could Kharkiv be the capital of a Soviet Republic (one of fifteen in the USSR)?

It isn’t just the Ukrainian language that is bothering Soviet officials, however. It’s also religion.

Not only are Ukrainians speaking their own language, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—for the first time since the 17th century—is reestablishing its independence from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Soviet leaders perceive this as yet-another developing problem.

And as for art … instead of following Russian culture, the avant-garde of Ukraine is patterning their work after Western culture. Writers and poets, developing their own sense of independence, produce new works which the Ukrainian people devour. It is not pro-Soviet work.

Even the Communist leaders, in Ukraine, have a sense of Ukrainian nationalism. To them, the USSR—a Union of fifteen separate republics having little to do with each other on any meaningful level—seems more like a League of Nations (not a single, unified country).

The risk is becoming far too great that Kharkiv will become the capital of an independent Ukraine. Soviet leaders will never tolerate such a development.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 23, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Sep 01, 2017

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"Resurgence of Ukrainian Nationalism" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 23, 2017. Dec 12, 2019.
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