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Bolsheviks' Great Expectations: Sovietizing Jews in the Ukrainian Province, 1919 - 1930

Dates:
  • Mon 16 Dec 2019 10.00 - 12.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-12-16 10:00 2019-12-16 12:00 Europe/Paris Bolsheviks' Great Expectations: Sovietizing Jews in the Ukrainian Province, 1919 - 1930

This dissertation examines the Sovietization of Jews in the interwar Ukrainian province. It is concerned with the transformation of the Jewish life during the early Soviet nationality policy officially known as korenizatsiia (Rus. nativization, indigenization, lit. putting down roots ). I discuss the process of making a secular, loyal, Soviet citizen out of a shtetl Jew through Yiddish schools, local councils, the anti-religious campaign, and secular culture. Focusing on three main domains of Jewish life around which the nationality policy was organized on the territories of the former Pale of Settlement—education, religion, and culture—I explore the extent to which Soviet institutions in the 1920s-1930s changed daily practices of provincial Jewish population in private and public spaces. I argue that contrary to what Bolsheviks hoped for, Sovietization of Jews in the province in the interwar period was far from successful. The local population sometimes openly resisted the novelties, though more often it opted for reconciliation, combining them with their traditional lifestyle. In general, the Jews distrusted the agents of the new power, seeing in them the descendants of the imperial oppressive regime. Sovietization of Jews was inhibited by numerous factors, including distance from Moscow, poor financing, double loyalty of intermediary agents, and opportunism of Jewish elites who used the nationality policy to foster their national revival. More broadly, I argue that the nationality policy was a continuity of imperial discrimination of the Jewish population.

Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle

This dissertation examines the Sovietization of Jews in the interwar Ukrainian province. It is concerned with the transformation of the Jewish life during the early Soviet nationality policy officially known as korenizatsiia (Rus. nativization, indigenization, lit. putting down roots ). I discuss the process of making a secular, loyal, Soviet citizen out of a shtetl Jew through Yiddish schools, local councils, the anti-religious campaign, and secular culture. Focusing on three main domains of Jewish life around which the nationality policy was organized on the territories of the former Pale of Settlement—education, religion, and culture—I explore the extent to which Soviet institutions in the 1920s-1930s changed daily practices of provincial Jewish population in private and public spaces. I argue that contrary to what Bolsheviks hoped for, Sovietization of Jews in the province in the interwar period was far from successful. The local population sometimes openly resisted the novelties, though more often it opted for reconciliation, combining them with their traditional lifestyle. In general, the Jews distrusted the agents of the new power, seeing in them the descendants of the imperial oppressive regime. Sovietization of Jews was inhibited by numerous factors, including distance from Moscow, poor financing, double loyalty of intermediary agents, and opportunism of Jewish elites who used the nationality policy to foster their national revival. More broadly, I argue that the nationality policy was a continuity of imperial discrimination of the Jewish population.


Location:
Sala dei Levrieri - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Defendant:
Maryna Batsman (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Examiner:
Laura Downs (EUI)
Juliette Cadiot (EHESS)
Johanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Northwestern University)

Supervisor:
Alexander Etkind (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

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