Living Soviet in Ukraine from Stalin to Maidan: Under the Falling Red Star in Kharkiv

TitleLiving Soviet in Ukraine from Stalin to Maidan: Under the Falling Red Star in Kharkiv
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWestrate, Michael T.
Number of Pages231
PublisherLexington Books
CityLanham, MD

During the fall of the Soviet Union, military families went from comfortable economic circumstances, professional prestige, and political influence as part of the Soviet upper stratum, to destitution and disgrace in the 1990s. Today, many of them are part of Europe's largest ethnic minority--Russians in Ukraine. This book examines the daily lives of these families, with a geographic focus on Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine. Based on 3,000+ pages of interview transcripts and supplemented with materials gleaned from unprecedented access to personal, family, and institutional archives, the book investigates how families endured shifting social, cultural, and political realities. By analyzing the lives of individuals in context, thea uthor provides insights at the grassroots level. He reveals how ideological, professional, gender, ethnic, and national imperatives--as developed and transmitted by elites--were internalized, transformed, or rejected by the rank and file. He reveals how the subjective identities of individuals and small groups developed and changed over time, and how that process relates to the parallel projects pursued by the leaders of their countries. In the process, he shows what those experiences have to offer the study of Soviet, post-Soviet, and transnational history, bridging the boundaries created by the collapse of the USSR and exploring the foundations of both twenty-first-century Ukraine and today's conflicts.

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