Rethinking the Postwar Era: Soviet Ukrainian Writers under Late Stalinism, 1945-1949

  • Author / Creator
    Kysla, Iuliia
  • This dissertation advances the study of late Stalinism, which has until recently been regarded as a bizarre appendage to Stalin’s rule, and aims to answer the question of whether late Stalinism was a rupture with or continuation of its prewar precursor. I analyze the reintegration of Ukrainian writers into the postwar Soviet polity and their adaptation to the new realities following the dramatic upheavals of war. Focusing on two parallel case studies, Lviv and Kyiv, this study explores how the Soviet regime worked with members of the intelligentsia in these two cities after 1945, at a time when both sides were engaged in “identification games.” This dissertation demonstrates that, despite the regime’s obsession with control, there was some room for independent action on the part of Ukrainian writers and other intellectuals. Authors exploited gaps in Soviet discourse to reclaim agency, which they used as a vehicle to promote their own cultural agendas. Unlike the 1930s, when all official writers had to internalize the tropes of Soviet culture, in the postwar years there was some flexibility in an author’s ability to accept or reject the Soviet system. Moreover, this dissertation suggests that Stalin’s postwar cultural policy—unlike the strategies of the 1930s, which relied predominantly on coercive tactics—was defined mainly by discipline by humiliation, which often involved bullying and threatening members of the creative intelligentsia. His postwar control over culture aimed to restore the visible unity of the Soviet symbolic collective, primarily by securing more control over the representation of the Soviet present and the non-Russian past. In this sense, Andrei Zhdanov’s postwar purges in literature and history were imperative to the symbolic codification of Soviet Ukraine as a “national periphery,” which, in practice, meant the de facto dominance of Russian culture and an impaired image of Ukraine’s past and present, wedged within boundaries of the official narrative of the Friendship of the Peoples.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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