Soviet Politics and the Ukraine, 1917-1957

Soviet Politics and the Ukraine, 1917-1957

Soviet Politics and the Ukraine, 1917-1957

Soviet Politics and the Ukraine, 1917-1957

Excerpt

This book is an effort to place in some perspective the rather uncertain problem posed by the Soviet system as it functions at the regional level. There is little need to justify a regional study of this kind. Despite its modest dramatic impact when contrasted with political studies at the Union level, it offers compensations of its own. Because of the centralized nature of the Soviet federal system, ties between republic and Union politics are much closer than in the American system, and study of the first provides suggestions useful to studies of the second. Moreover, the political process--again unlike the American system--appears remarkably similar at the two levels, and generalizations can be applied appropriately to both. Further, the circumspect fashion in which political events at the center have characteristically been reported in most periods has been less typical in areas removed from Moscow and at regional and local levels; instructive material and interpretations may be found in these places which would not, because of more careful scrutiny, be released at the center. And finally, the regional and nationality attitudes of the people living in the Soviet border areas have posed peculiar problems for Soviet leaders and forced significant modifications of Soviet practices; these special problems and modifications alike are of considerable interest to the West.

Of the Soviet border regions, the Ukraine has played, historically as well as politically, the most important role. Its population is largest and its economic level is highest in the Soviet Union outside the Russian core. Apart from the Georgian republic it has developed perhaps the richest national literature and strongest national movement. Although its party organization has never assumed a central, dominating role as have the Moscow and Leningrad organizations, it has grown to be the largest subdivision of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and has been linked in-

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