Encyclopedia Articles

Ukrainian writer, 1931-
INTERNATSIONALIZM CHY RUSYFIKATSIIA? (Internationalism or Russification?)
Treatise, 1965
For those Ukrainian dissidents who were formed by the more liberal political and artistic atmosphere of the early 1960s, Khrushchev's removal from power in 1964 marked the frustration of their hopes for a change in Soviet nationalities policy. The strengthening of the policy of russification and national discrimination was followed by a massive attack on the Ukrainian intellectual opposition. In 1965 about 100 dissidents were arrested and imprisoned, and many more were interrogated and had their homes searched. The Ukrainian opposition expressed their outrage in numerous petitions and letters to the government. Foremost in its significance and impact was the protest voiced by Ivan Dziuba, a literary critic and dissident communist.
    Dziuba wrote an open letter to Petro Shelest, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, denouncing the arrests of opposition figures. To this letter he attached his treatise Internatsionalizm chy russyfikatsiia? (Internationalism or Russification?), which became a manifesto of the Ukrainian national opposition. Written in less than four months, this outstanding document of Ukrainian dissent of the 1960s contains an analysis of the national question in Ukraine and states that "those arrested for protesting against the present nationalities policy had a genuine grievance".
     In Internatsionalizm chy russyfikatsiia? Dziuba demonstrates how, under the slogan of internationalism, and contrary to the theoretical principles of Lenin's nationality policy, the Soviet government was conducting a chauvinistic policy of russification aimed at the extermination of Ukrainian culture (and, by implication, the cultures of other non-Russian peoples, in the Soviet Union). Dziuba analyses Lenin's last works on the question of Great Russian chauvinism, and points out that the resolutions approved by the 12th Party Congress, at Lenin's insistence, had denounced Great Russian chauvinism and upheld the rights of non-Russian nationalities. Dziuba asserts that "in Ukraine there was an honest and energetic attempt to carry out these resolutions, known by the name of 'Ukrainization'". After Lenin's death in 1924, however, the suppression and reversal of Lenin's nationalities policy became part and parcel of Stalin's program for the consolidation of his power. While the Leninist Bolsheviks, who could have opposed and denounced Stalin's "deviations", were purged in the 1930s, the chauvinistic policy of the Russian emperors was revived and glorified in Stalin's newly promulgated version of Russian history. According to this version, the Russian empire was the forerunner of the USSR. Written from a Marxist-Leninist perspective, Internatsionalizm chy russyfikatsiia? Demonstrates the disparities between Lenin's theory and the practices of his successors, dwells on the devastating political, social, economic, and cultural effects of Stalin's nationalities policy, offers a historical overview and thorough examination of the nationalities question, and urges its solution in accordance with Leninist principles.
     The treatise was presented to the leaders of the Ukrainian Communist Party and the government of the Ukrainian SSR, and, a month later, to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party distributed the work in a limited number of copies for internal circulation among the party secretaries in the 25 regions of Ukraine. Subsequently, both the Ukrainian version of the treatise and its Russian translation began to circulate in samvydav (samizdat), although properly printed and bound editions of the work appeared only in the West. In 1968 an English translation of Internatsionalizm chy russyfikatsiia? was published, as Internationalism or Russification?: A Study in the Soviet Nationalities Problem; original Ukrainian text was also published soon afterwards. Italian, Russian, and French translations appeared in 1971, 1973, and 1974 respectively. Ukrainian dissent, totally ignored by the Soviet press, found international publicity.
     For more than a year Internatsionalizm chy russyfikatsiia? did not receive any official response. Meanwhile, its author, one of the leading literary critics of the new generation, ceased being published. In June 1966, Dziuba was attacked in the journal Komunist Ukrainy (Communist of Ukraine) for "ideologically harmful statements", although the treatise was not mentioned. In September that year, a vicious lampoon of Dziuba appeared in the satirical magazine Perets (Pepper). A prompt answer to the latter by three Ukrainian journalists was published in samvydav and in the West. In 1970, the Ukrainian SSR's Association for Cultural Relations with Ukrainians Abroad published an official repudiation of Internatsionalizm chy russyfikatsiia?, which appeared in the form of a book entitled Shcho i iak obstoiuie I. Dziuba (What I. Dziuba Stands For and How He Does It). Although authorship of the book was credited to certain Bohdan Stenchuk, this was apparently a collective effort. The book was published in Both Ukrainian and English editions of 10,000 copies each. Viacheslav Chernovil's sharp answer, Shcho i iak obstoiuie V. Stenchuk (What B. Stenchuk Stands For, and How He Does It), appeared in the underground journal Ukrainskyi Visnyk (Ukrainian Herald).
     The publication of the book by "Bohdan Stenchuk" inaugurated an anti-Dziuba campaign in the Ukrainian press. Literaturna Ukraina (Literary Ukraine) published an article by Liubomyr Dmyterko that lacks any quotation from the text of Dziuba's treatise, but happily accuses him of making anti-communist propaganda and belonging to the "camp of imperialism". Molod' Ukrainy (Youth of Ukraine) published an article, "In Spiritual Exile", in the form of an open letter to the editor. Without mentioning Dziuba's book, the article condemns the author for being "an enemy of the Fatherland" and raises the question of his expulsion from the Writers' Union.
     The authorities forced Dziuba to make a recantation, hoping to lessen the impact of his views in the West and to damage his standing within Ukrainian dissident circles. Yet Dziuba's statement does not contain any significant self-criticism. Instead of renouncing his book, he merely expresses his disapproval of certain interpretations of it and of the use made of it in anti-communist propaganda. He dissociates himself from Ukrainian nationalist circles abroad and confirms his adherence to the principles of Marxism-Leninism. This statement provoked the indignation of his fellow-dissidents (such as Valentin Moroz), for whom he had become a symbol of Ukrainian opposition.
     In March 1972 Dziuba was expelled from the Writers' Union "for preparing and disseminating materials of an anti-Soviet and anti-Communist character, expressing nationalist views, and slandering the Soviet system and the nationalities policy of our party" (as cited in Literaturna Ukraina, 3 March 1973). He was arrested in April 1972, and a year later a closed court sentenced him to five years' imprisonment. However, for the Soviet authorities it was far more important to neutralize the effect of Dziuba's book than merely to keep him in prison. According to M.I. Holubenko, Dziuba's recantation, which was published in Literaturna Ukraina on 9 November 1973, "discredits not himself but the regime that conceived it". Dziuba was released on condition that he would write and explicit repudiation of Internatsionalizm chy russyfikatsiia? This was published in 1976, under the title Hrani krystala (Facets of a Crystal). Dziuba remains a prolific literary critic, cultural activist, and fighter for democracy in the independent Ukraine. He dedicates his scholarly work to the 19th- and 20th-century Ukrainian literature. When in 1989 Ukrainian scholars and artists created the republic's Association of Scholars of Ukrainian Culture, Dziuba was elected its head. In 1993 Dziuba became Ukraine's minister of culture, and is among his country's foremost activists.
Svitlana Kobets
Internationalism or Russification? A Study in the Soviet Nationalities Problem, 3rd edition, preface by M. I. Holubenko, 1974
Hrani krystala (Facets of a Crystal), 1978
Na pulsi doby: shtrykhy do portretiv pys'mennykiv narodiv SRSR (On the Pulse of the Age: Creating Portraits of the Writers of the Peoples of the USSR), 1981
Grani kristalla: ocherk stanovleniia edinstva mnogonatsional'noi sovetskoi literatury (Crystal Face: An Essay about the Coming into Being of the Unity of Multinational Soviet Literature), 1982
U vsiakoho svoia dolia: episod iz stosunkiv Shevchenka zi Slov'ianofilamy: Literaturno-krytychnyi Narys (Each Has His Own Fate: An Episode from the Relations between Shevchenko and the Slavophiles), 1989
Zastukaly serdeshnu voliu-Shevchenkiv "Kavkaz" na tli nepromynal'noho mynuloho: do 150-richchia z chasu napysannia "Kavkazu", (Shevchenk's "Caucases": 150th anniversary), 1995
Mizh kul'turoiu i politykoiu (Between Culture and Politics), 1998
Further Reading
Oleh Il'nyts'kyi, Nataliia Pylypiuk and Myroslav Iurkevych, "Rozmova z Ivanom Dziuboiu" (Conversation with Ivan Dziuba), Journal of Ukrainian Studies, 13/2 (1988)
Lindheim, Ralph and George S. N. Luckyj (editors), Towards an Intellectual History of Ukraine: An Anthology of Ukrainian Thought from 1710 to 1995, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996
Luckyj, George S. N. (editor), The Discordant Voices: The Non-Russian Soviet Literatures, 1953-1973, Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic Press, 1975
Stenchuk, Bohdan, What I. Dziuba Stands For, and How He Does It, Kiev: Association for Cultural Relations with Ukrainians Abroad, 1970
Zinkewych, Osyp, Svitlychny and Dziuba: Ukrainian Writers under Fire, Baltimore: Smoloskyp, 1966.
© 2024 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.