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Heroes and Villains: Creating National History in Contemporary Ukraine [Hardcover]

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Item description for Heroes and Villains: Creating National History in Contemporary Ukraine by David R. Marples...

In 2004, world attention was focused on Ukraine's 'Orange Revolution', which appeared to herald a new and promising era for independent Ukraine. Though such hopes proved over-optimistic there is no question that Ukraine has embarked on the process of nation building. But a new nation needs a national history and in this sphere, there has been sustained debate over the interpretations of the recent past. David R. Marples examines these narratives through a wide variety of books, scholarly and newspaper articles, and school textbooks, focusing on some of the most difficult events of the Stalin years in narratives from 1988 to 2005. His focus is on some of the most tragic events of the 20th century: the Famine of 1932 33, the consequences of the Nazi Soviet Pact, integral nationalism and the war roles of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and the Ukrainian Polish conflict of 1943 47. How has this new history been formed? To what extent have the villains of yesterday become the heroes of today? And how does the modern state view these events and to what extent to they define the national outlook of contemporary Ukraine?

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Central European University Press
Pages   363
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.55 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
Publisher   Central European University Press
ISBN  9637326987  
ISBN13  9789637326981  

Availability  0 units.

More About David R. Marples

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David R. Marples is Professor of History at the University of Alberta.

David R. Marples has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Alberta.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Eastern
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Former Soviet Republics & Siberia
4Books > Subjects > History > Europe > General
5Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Ukraine
6Books > Subjects > History > Historical Study > Historiography
7Books > Subjects > History > Russia
8Books > Subjects > History > World > General
9Books > Subjects > History > World

Reviews - What do customers think about Heroes and Villains: Creating National History in Contemporary Ukraine?

The OUN-UPA in Contemporary Ukrainian Thought; Genocide of Poles  Jan 26, 2009
This detailed work uses many mostly-Ukrainian sources.

The LITOPYS UPA series is said to select documents in a favorably-tendentious manner. (p. 162). (This finds corroboration from Dr. Edward Prus, who professed familiarity with German documents, and once informed me of selectively-quoted German documents).

Many writings on UPA exploits, such as those of Lew Shankowsky, make implausible claims, and are probably pseudo-histories. (pp. 137-on). Marples, based on the paucity of evidence from German documents, doubts if the UPA ever engaged the Germans in significant combat (pp. 146-147), and concludes: "The notion, widely disseminated today, that the army turned its forces on the two totalitarian enemies simultaneously, is far-fetched. The UPA had two enemies [one being the Soviets] but the other one was the Polish population in Volhynia and Galicia...the UPA initiated an ethnic cleansing of the Polish population of Volhynia which, as we have seen, took up to 60,000 lives. It was conducted with a brutality not seen again in Europe until the civil war in former Yugoslavia in the early 1990's." (p. 310).

There do exist a few indirect German allusions to UPA attacks on Germans, which it promised to stop in return for such favors as non-interference in the killing of Poles. (p. 147). Obviously, to the extent that the UPA itself didn't collaborate with the Germans, it wasn't for lack of trying.

Among Ukrainians, serious consideration of the OUN-UPA's crimes has been hindered by their decades of misuse by the hated Soviet Communist authorities. Defenders of the OUN-UPA continue to use "Ukrainians killed Poles and vice-versa" relativizations. Nevertheless, some contemporary Ukrainian authors (Maksym Strikha, Bohdan Oleksyuk; pp. 225-228) are willing to examine the OUN-UPA genocide of Poles without denials or blame-the-victim tactics. Ukrainian historian Mykhailo Koval' points out that the OUN security force, the SB, was modeled and organized by the Gestapo, and: "Almost all of its leaders were graduates of the German military school in Zakopane, Poland, in 1939-40." (p. 149). Some Ukrainian historians question the genuineness of the OUN's post-Stalingrad (August 1943) abandonment of fascism in favor of democracy. (p. 142, pp. 195-196). Author Marples, unlike some OUN-UPA apologists, recognizes UPA-analyst Wiktor Polishchuk as a historian. (p. 131).

The magisterial work of Siemaszko and Siemaszko, on the genocide in Volyn, has been criticized by Ukrainian historian Il'yushyn, who used ad hominems, even implying that Polish authors shouldn't be believed. (pp. 212-214). The only specific error he could find was a trivial one: An entry which listed the deaths of nine Poles as the deed of the UPA when, according to NKVD archives, the latter was responsible.

There is no moral or tactical symmetry between past Polish injustices to Ukrainians and the OUN-UPA genocide, and Marples rejects any such rationalization: "One could hardly find a better example of a victimization complex being used to justify a wholesale massacre." (p. 237). AK actions followed, not preceded, the genocide. (p. 213). Marples also realizes that the Polish killings of Ukrainians in the Zamosc region, often cited as a provocation of the OUN-UPA genocide, was actually directed at collaborationist Ukrainian police and settlers taking part in Odilo Globocnik's de-Polonization project. (p. 227). Unfortunately, Marples repeats Snyder's rather silly "UPA led by immature, angry young men" exculpation (p. 150), which, taken seriously, insults ethical young men everywhere.

After the second Soviet occupation of the area, the UPA was almost eliminated by mid-1945 (p. 169) before undergoing a major revival owing to Soviet repression. According to NKVD documents, in the period 2/1944-12/1945, 50,000 UPA and allies surrendered, 103,000 were killed, and 127,000 were captured. (pp. 131-132). In 1944-1953, there were 153,000 UPA deaths and 203,000 deportations. (p. 297). Of the 31,000 Soviet-side losses, 5,750 were NKVD, soldiers, and militia; 2,590 were "Strebki'; while over 15,000 are identified only as "members of collective farms". About 790,000 Poles were expelled from the western Ukraine in 1944-1946 (p. 216), of which most came from Ternopil' (234,000) and L'viv (219,000).

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