Social mobilisation and national consciousness in 20th century Ukraine
The thesis analyses social and political change in twentieth-century Ukraine and its impact on the development of the national consciousness of Ukrainians. In the pre-revolutionary era Ukrainians had a weak sense of national identity because the strategic sectors of society were dominated by non-Ukrainian minority and because the infrastructures of national life were poorly developed. The 1917 revolution saw the rise of a Ukrainian national movement which, while unable to achieve independence, proved strong enough to force major concessions, such as the creation of a Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and acceptance of the principle of Ukrainization policies, from the Bolsheviks. The transformation of socio-economic relations in the course of the revolution facilitated the entry Ukrainians into the socially-mobilised sectors of society, which, together with the development of the infrastructures of national life, brought Ukrainians to the threshold of nationhood by the end of the 1920s. During the first five-year plan Stalin's policies generated much opposition in Ukraine. The purges, the abandonment of Ukrainization, the great famine and the imposition of a totalitarian socio-political order in the 1930s, destroyed much of the fabric of Ukrainian national life. However, the rapid urbanization and industrialization saw Ukraine emerge as a majority of the socially-mobilised population. Also, the fact that many republican institutions survived, at least in form, facilitated the resurgence of Ukrainian national assertiveness in the post-Second World War period. Ukraine lagging economic development, large-scale Russian immigration and the Russification of Ukraine's educational system created a highly competitive environment in the republic which served as the social backdrop for a recrudescence of Ukrainian nationalism in the post-Stalin era. While the Ukrainian intelligentsia were the most vocal exponents of national claims, they were often backed by the new generation of Ukrainian political leaders who, having been trained for responsible positions, were anxious to assume them free from excessive interference from the centre. The Russian leadership's response to this new autonomism was to accelerate Russification and central control of the republic. These policies generated new national conflicts rather than resolve old ones.