The civic duty to hate: Stalinist citizenship as political practice and civic emotion (Kiev, 1943-53).
What role did political rituals and civic emotions--such as love for the Motherland and the Great Leader--play in the relationship between the Soviet state and its citizens? In his influential work on Stalinism, Stephen Kotkin attempts to overcome the simplistic state-society dichotomy by arguing that power operated through language. Ordinary people assumed state-prescribed identity primarily by "speaking Bolshevik," and learning the art of this "identity game" was essential for social advancement or mere survival. Kotkin goes as far as to claim that it is irrelevant whether those speaking Bolshevik believed in what they were saying--the important point is that they knew what language they were supposed to speak. (3) A group of talented young scholars has taken Kotkin's analysis a step further. They argue that while the rules of "speaking Bolshevik" were determined and enforced by the state, Soviet people appropriated them and conceptualized the Stalinist political order in terms of official ideology. (4) These contributions address the issue of individual belief and agency under Stalin, but they move away from Kotkin's fascinating conundrum of why the issue of belief seems irrelevant.
Going back to this unresolved issue, I propose to bring the state back into the picture as an agency constantly educating and monitoring the political allegiance of its citizenry. The Bolshevik state's professed aim was to create a new Soviet person, or what modern scholars call an "inner Soviet self." But if today's students of Stalinism search for manifestations of this Soviet self in diaries and private correspondence, contemporary authorities could verify citizens' beliefs and allegiances only through their participation in state-approved political and social practices. Personal belief thus was not exactly irrelevant for the state--certainly not in theory--but rather difficult to assess outside the public domain. Hence the state's attention to mass political rituals and its requirement for people to speak up at innumerable meetings. By marching, signing letters of gratitude, and expressing public approval of the Party's policies, ordinary citizens presumably expressed their sincere support of the Bolshevik agenda. Kotkin's interpreters are right in saying that many Soviet citizens, perhaps even most, to some degree internalized the official ideology. But just like today's researchers, the machinery of the Stalinist state could only make assumptions about what its citizens really thought. Hence the "irrelevance" of belief in Kotkin's provocative formulation. All that the bureaucrats could really ascertain was mass participation in political rituals. (5)
The Party's ideological functionaries, however, insisted on a certain form of participation. Since they expected the population to fully internalize the official ideology, they also called for emotional responses to political events. The obligatory "civic emotions" of Stalin's time are relatively easy to gauge by perusing contemporary newspapers. The two obvious candidates are love and gratitude--love for the Motherland and Stalin, and gratitude to Stalin and the Soviet state for their "gift" of life and well-being. (6) The subject of this article, however, is hatred.
What I call "civic emotions" is an understudied topic in Soviet history. Students of nationalism have long noticed that modern identity projects foster emotional attachment to one's nation and, in some cases, hatred toward its "enemies." (7) It seems, however, that hatred as a core component of identity is typical in modern times only of revolutionary or revisionist states with an exclusionary vision of the world and massive mobilization programs. External and internal "enemies," for example, figure prominently in the ideology of revolutionary France, Nazi Germany, and revolutionary Iran. (8) In Soviet history, the Stalin period best exemplifies such an exclusionary ideology. (The Revolution and Civil War would also provide promising material for this type of analysis.) While love and gratitude remained central to the state's concept of a Soviet person after Stalin's death, citizens were no longer expected to hate enemies, whether foreign or domestic.
Although I argue for a prominent role of hatred among the obligatory "civic emotions" of Stalin's time--and thus see it as a major component of an ideal Stalinist self--I also think that it played a secondary role in relation to positive patriotic emotions, such as love for the Motherland and gratitude to Stalin. Among the public events in Kiev in 1943-54 that I have examined, only one, the march of German POWs through the streets of Kiev in August 1944, emphasized the education of hatred over that of gratitude to the Red Army and the government. In all others, the hatred component remained subordinate.
As for the object of hatred, it kept changing. The prewar denunciatory campaigns against "enemies of the people" gave way during the war to hatred of the external Nazi enemies, to whom the official discourse linked the "internal" Ukrainian nationalists. After the war, public hatred of the nationalists was muted since it would reveal their strength, but these wartime enemies did provide a link to new, Cold War enemies: the United States and England. Fueling hatred toward a very distant enemy, however, had a limited mobilizational effect, so the Kremlin announced a new internal enemy during the so-called "Doctors' Plot" affair of 1953. Stalin's death compromised this political construct. His successors abandoned the notion of internal enemies and downplayed the critique of foreign powers, perhaps because the notion of public hatred was so inseparably linked to Stalinist terror and total war.
In what follows, I analyze the evolution of the concept of hatred in Soviet public discourse, the ways in which the authorities cultivated hatred among the population, and what we know about the popular responses to this propaganda.
Although my story begins with the Red Army's liberation of Kiev, the capital of Soviet Ukraine, in November 1943, it is helpful to outline the preceding changes in the official discourse of hatred. Compared to the 1930s, the war years brought a major displacement of hatred in Stalinist ideology. Mass rallies to condemn "enemies of the people" gave way to public events projecting the image of a Soviet society united in its mortal struggle against the Nazi invaders. The authorities did not completely discard the idea of the "enemy within," but the wartime repressions against some national minorities were based on a different, ethnic criterion and were not reported in the press, never mind being approved during mass rallies. Hatred of the enemy became a cornerstone of Soviet mass mobilization during the war and was amply reflected in official culture and propaganda. (9)
Just as Soviet wartime patriotism was to a large degree ethnicized owing to the promotion of Russian, Ukrainian, and other national martial traditions, so was hatred of the enemy. (10) The distinction in Soviet propaganda between a Nazi and a German disappeared very early in the war, although it would make a comeback later. Ilya Ehrenburg's appeal in a Pravda article, "Kill the German!" most famously represented this fusion as well as the emotional overdrive of early Soviet wartime journalism. (11)
By the late fall of 1943, when the Red Army was preparing to take Kiev, Stalinist ideologues had at their disposal a developed--and more balanced--concept of hatred. On 3 November, the republic's main newspaper, Radians'ka Ukraina, published an editorial with a telling title "The Strength of Our Hatred." According to the author, hatred of the enemy constituted a powerful weapon in the hands of the Soviet people, for this emotion "temper[ed] their will to struggle." The editor outlined the main reasons for abhorring the "German-Fascist invaders": they are encroaching on everything sacred and dear to the Soviet people; they are committing horrible crimes; they are the eternal enemies of Great Rus'; and their very existence is incompatible with honor, freedom, and happiness. Besides hating the Nazis, citizens of the Ukrainian republic had an additional target for their loathing, namely the "Ukrainian-German nationalists [who had been] thrice damned by the Ukrainian people." (12) Quite in line with these directives, page 3 of the same issue featured such articles as "German Atrocities in Sokal" and "Nationalist Killers." (13)
The Ukrainian party leader Nikita Khrushchev knew full well that the Nazis had long since broken with those Ukrainian nationalists who wanted to further their aims by collaborating with Hitler. In September 1942, he read an intelligence report about the growing nationalist bitterness with Nazi policies and burgeoning nationalist anti-Nazi underground. (14) But equating nationalists with foreign invaders in the popular imagination, at least in eastern Ukraine, was important in the long run. The Soviet authorities rightly envisioned difficulties concerning their re-absorption of western Ukraine, which had been incorporated in the USSR only in 1939 and where the nationalist underground was strongest. When the Red Army took Kiev in November 1943, however, its troops were still far away from western Ukraine, and anti-nationalist rhetoric was still a very minor trend in the maelstrom of anti-German cant. By the time western Ukraine's turn came in the summer of 1944, Kiev was far in the Soviet rear, and hatred of the nationalists was again largely irrelevant there. This would change after the war.
Hatred and Revenge
On 9 November 1943, Pravda published Khrushchev's first report to Stalin about the situation in Kiev. Khrushchev wrote, "While in Kiev on 6 and 7 November I talked to many city residents, who wept as they recounted the horrors of the German occupation." The Ukrainian party leader accused the Nazis of attempting to drive out the entire city population, attacking people with specially trained dogs, blowing up the central part of the city, and even stealing the bronze doorhandles from government buildings. (15) This authoritative statement would for years define the tenor of Soviet propaganda about Nazi atrocities in Kiev. The content of this propaganda would change, however, as Khrushchev had not yet brought up the issue of mass executions. But already on 8 November, Pravda military reporter Ia. Makarenko provided a more detailed list of Nazi crimes in the city. The invaders blew up the city's central avenue, Khreshchatyk, and the Assumption Cathedral in the famous Kievan Caves Monastery. In 1941, they executed over 85,000 people, later engineered hunger in the city, and continuously hanged partisans and absentee workers in Kievan parks. To add a personal touch to his story, Makarenko interviewed a woman in her 60s, who stood on Khreshchatyk blessing the passing Soviet soldiers with the sign of the cross. Onysia Maiboroda's son was in the Red Army, but her daughter had been conscripted for slave labor in Germany. During the occupation she was reduced to begging and huddling in the kitchen of her former apartment. The reporter concluded, "The ashes and stones of Khreshchatyk, the ruins of ravaged buildings and streets are calling for revenge, they are inflaming vengeance." (16)
Just as the ruins of Khreshchatyk were fast becoming the principal symbol of Nazi destruction, in the city there was an obvious symbol for Nazi crimes against humanity. As early as 11 November, Makarenko and L. Ognev mentioned in Pravda "huge graves in Babi Yar, where tens of thousands of innocent people killed by Hitlerites are buried." (17) On 17 November, in an unsigned article on "What Happened in Babi Yar," Kyivs'ka pravda referred to "tens of thousands of peaceful inhabitants" who had been executed there. (18) Yet, for various reasons, both symbols were highly ambiguous. Regarding Khreshchatyk, many Kievans knew that it was actually blown up on 24 and 25 September 1941 by time and radio-controlled bombs left by the retreating Soviets intent on killing Nazi officers and dignitaries. The Soviet underground successfully sabotaged German firefighting efforts, and as a result the city center burned for a week. The Germans later discovered and safely removed another 670 mines. (19) After their return, the Soviet authorities claimed that the destruction was the work of the German army, but the population no doubt remembered the Germans panicking after the explosions, cordoning off the city center, and searching for mines.
The ravine of Babi Yar (Babyn Iar in Ukrainian) presented a different kind of difficulty. The largest and most infamous killing field in Kiev, it was forever marked in popular memory as a site where, on 29 and 30 September 1941, the Nazis machine-gunned 34,000 Kievan Jews. Later, a large concentration camp for POWs was created nearby, and the ravine continued to serve as a place of mass executions and burials for POWs, as well as other categories of undesirables, ranging from Communists to Ukrainian nationalists and saboteurs to soccer players. Scholars estimate the total number of people killed and/or buried in Babi Yar at 100,000. (20) But Soviet ideologues would struggle for decades to redefine Babi Yar from a symbol of Jewish tragedy during the war into that of Nazi atrocities against the civilian population in general. (21)
This strategy is already obvious in early propaganda materials that were aimed at mobilizing the population for military and labor effort. (The Stalinist authorities did not want to present revenge for Jewish sufferings as a major factor in the war, as this would "confirm" Nazi propaganda about the Judeo-Bolshevik character of the Soviet state. Popular antisemitism played a certain role as well.) On 27 November, the authorities organized an open-air rally in Kiev to celebrate the city's liberation. Several speakers referred to Babi Yar, including the commander of the First Ukrainian Front, General N. F. Vatutin: "Each of you knows about the atrocities of the Nazi monsters in Kiev. In 1941 alone the vile fascist animals exterminated over 85,000 peaceful residents of Kiev--women, old people, children. Blood freezes in our veins as we discover the terrible picture of the fascist cannibals' terrible crime in Babi Yar." (22) A letter sent to Stalin on behalf of the rally's participants mentioned "over 100,000" Kievans killed in Babi Yar, and the writers promised, "For as long as we live, none of us will ever forget or forgive the German cannibals, plunderers of our land and killers of our people. On our deathbeds we will pass to our offspring our hatred and scorn toward the fascist enemies of humankind." (23) On 15 December, in the Kievan newspaper Kyivs'ka pravda, the prominent Ukrainian poet Volodymyr Sosiura published his poem "Babi Yar," in which he mourns the victims and calls for revenge without mentioning the Jews. (24) In April 1944, Kiev oblast leaders, reporting to Stalin on their successes in collecting money for the Defense Fund, used an evasive turn of phrase: "The Germans destroyed Kiev, bestially shot and tortured to death about 200,000 peaceful townspeople in the Gestapo's torture chambers." (25)
As the ambiguity of these two main symbols was becoming obvious, the Soviet authorities continued their search for other examples. One promising possibility was a building located at 24 L'vivs'ka Street, which the Nazis used as a deportation point for Kievans conscripted for slave labor in Germany. Already in late November, the journalist Mykola Sheremet published an article, "The Walls Are Screaming," about the farewell inscriptions found on the walls there. (26) In December, the city party committee's secretary for ideology, Maria Pidtychenko, wanted to stage an exhibition on Nazi atrocities, featuring photos of mass graves, prisons, and this deportation point, but nothing was done. In April 1944, at a conference of museum workers, Pidtychenko once again suggested that the walls of the deportation point be photographed and the stocks from the Gestapo prison preserved, perhaps for a future exhibition at the Historical Museum. (27) Incidentally, the Germans' plunder of Kiev's many museums emerged as another propaganda topic. (28)
One reason why the Ukrainian leadership did not give enthusiastic support to Pidtychenko may have been Khrushchev's preoccupation with memorializing the Soviet victory in Ukraine--as opposed to Nazi crimes that were committed there. At the time, the first secretary entertained plans to create historical preserves at major battlefields and establish a Museum of the Patriotic War. (29) The second reason could have been the existence of a centralized program to collect information about German atrocities--a program run by the Extraordinary State Commission on the Establishment and Investigation of Crimes Committed by the German Fascist Invaders and Their Accomplices and the Damage Caused by Them to Citizens, Collective Farms, Civic Organizations, State Enterprises, and Institutions of the USSR.
This all-union commission was created in November 1942 to collect evidence for postwar indemnity claims and trials, but also for the purposes of wartime propaganda. (30) At the time, all of Ukraine was under Nazi control, but when the Red Army began advancing into the republic's territory, the authorities published notices informing Soviet citizens about the commission's existence and inviting them to submit information about deaths and damages. (31) In Kiev, the commission began its work in late November with the visit of a representative from Moscow and the creation of local commissions of assistance. Khrushchev headed the republican commission of assistance, while lesser party chiefs automatically became heads of commissions, right down to the level of factories and collective farms. (32) In general, the existing party and state apparatus did all the evidence-gathering work, which allowed the commission to publish its final report on Nazi crimes in Kiev as early as 1 March 1944.
On the negative side, however, the commission did not produce any new, powerful symbols of Nazi atrocities. Its instructions called for the submission of detailed and illustrated reports about what it awkwardly called "glaring crimes" (iarkie zlodeianiia), but local bureaucrats lacked both time and expertise to select them from among numerous, often handwritten, submissions. (33) Conducted in a great hurry and at a time when the Soviet administrative apparatus in Ukraine was still weak, the commission's work all too often meant collecting approximate numbers and sending them to Moscow. In April 1944, this led the Ukrainian foreign minister Oleksandr Korniichuk to write a memorandum to Khrushchev. Worried that in Ukraine no use was being made of all the rich data collected by the commission, Korniichuk suggested publishing descriptions of the most heinous atrocities as "Red Books of the Ukrainian SSR"--a labor-intensive project that would have required the Kremlin's approval and was never implemented. (34)
Instead, the republic's ideologues turned the publication of the commission's report on crimes in Kiev into a major propaganda event. Published by the local and republican press on 1 March 1944, it was a lengthy, if a bit nonspecific, list of accusations grouped into three sections: economic exploitation, destruction of culture, and mass murder. The text ended with the names of German police, SS, and army officers responsible for atrocities in Kiev. Among specific crimes, the report mentioned the destruction of Khreshchatyk and "thousands of peaceful Soviet citizens" executed in Babi Yar, listing the total number of killed Kievans at 95,000. (35) In reality, this report was provisional and based on estimates. The calculation of exact numbers continued after its publication. In October 1944, the death count in Kiev and Kiev oblast stood at 127,273 civilians and 69,021 POWs. (36) The Soviet authorities never made public their final count of human losses in Ukraine, although one year after the republic's liberation Khrushchev would announce the commission's estimate of economic damage (285 billion rubles) and the number of slave laborers taken to Germany (2,023,112). (37)
But the general statements of the March 1944 report on devastation and executions were enough for Soviet propaganda purposes. Even if Khreshchatyk and Babi Yar were ambiguous symbols, they stood for thousands of smaller events in assigning guilt and fanning hatred toward the enemy. The report was speedily released in pocketbook format. (38) On the day it carried the report, the official newspaper Radians'ka Ukraina also published an editorial, "Let Us Avenge Ourselves without Mercy for the Blood and Ruins of Kiev!" This strongly worded text ends with two slogans: "A curse on the German cannibals; death to them. Avenge the blood and sufferings of Kiev." (39)
This intensified propaganda of hatred was likely timed to coincide with the Red Army's renewed offensive in March 1944. On 19 March, the Ukrainian authorities organized an open-air rally in Kiev to celebrate the full liberation of Kiev oblast. On behalf of the 50,000 participants, they sent Stalin a greeting, assuring the Leader that the hearts of Kievans were "burning with the fire of holy hatred toward the enemy." (40) On 22 March, with the Soviet offensive quickly developing, Radians'ka Ukraina carried another fiery editorial, "The Time of Atonement Has Come": "May the enemy's black blood flow like a river! Damnation and death to the butchers, killers of nations!" (41) Similar rhetoric continued later, as evidenced by Mykola Iatko's article "Revenge Unites Us." Appearing in Kyivs'ka pravda on 1 May 1944, it addressed the German soldiers with the words: "Tremble, you hostile subhumans [nedoliudky]. The Red Army is coming." (42)
This racial slur, rare in Soviet propaganda of the war's last period, did not appear by accident. In times of decisive battles, elements of ethnic animosity often leaked into the "balanced" concept of hatred, which held that the Soviet people loathed Nazis rather than Germans and abhorred their crimes rather than their nature. Another typical giveaway was Leonid Novychenko's suggestion in Radians'ka Ukraina that Ukraine's 9th-century national bard, Taras Shevchenko, "hated Germans," too. (43) This idea dovetailed neatly with the attractively simple scheme of the Slavs' age-old struggle against the Germanic peoples--a concept that was especially popular early in the war, when Ukrainian writers eagerly described the victories of medieval princes and 17th-century Cossacks over German knights and mercenaries. (44)
Yet these were only episodic comebacks. Although historical references abounded in the "positive" literature inculcating patriotism, the bulk of Soviet hate propaganda in 1943-45 was based on Nazi war crimes. Although the "Red Books" projects never got off the ground, in early 1945 the historian and party official Kuz'ma Dubyna published two similar booklets restating the commission's findings. The Ukrainian version was entitled 778 Tragic Days of Kiev (after the number of days the city was in German hands), while the Russian version appeared under the title German Crimes in Kiev. (45) Going beyond the general statements of the commission's report, Dubyna used several vivid eyewitness testimonies collected by the commission. The author is clearly aware of the ambiguity of Khreshchatyk and Babi Yar as symbols of Nazi atrocities. Significantly, Dubyna accuses Hitler of "ordering his savage hordes to exterminate Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Jews"--precisely in that order. (46) Describing the killings in Babi Yar, he does not hide the fact that the Nazis originally used the ravine for shooting Jews but says that this was followed by the execution of many others. About Khreshchatyk, Dubyna writes that the Nazis blew up the street but "wanted to blame this on partisans." (47) Writing in Kyivs'ka pravda, O. Novyts'kyi welcomed the publication of Dubyna's booklet, which "inflames hatred toward the German fascist cannibals and calls for revenge." (48)
As with every other aspect of Soviet ideology, ordinary citizens were expected to internalize the hatred of the Nazi enemy. Most Kievans clearly did so, because the two-year Nazi occupation regime had antagonized those who had remained in the city, while those returning with the Red Army always identified with the Soviet cause. (Many of those who disliked Stalinist rule departed with the Germans.) But my aim in this article is not to determine the exact percentage of people whose hatred of the Nazis was genuine. Rather, I am interested in the contexts in which Soviet citizens could and were expected to express their hatred of the Nazis and in the government's attempts to regulate the reception of this discourse of hate.
Interestingly, most public events in liberated Kiev featured some Nazibashing, but until August 1944 (when German POWs were marched through the city), not a single one was devoted exclusively to it. This fact demonstrates the generally subordinate or "constructive" use of hatred in Soviet wartime propaganda. The authorities regarded hatred of enemies as the reverse side of love for the Motherland. Judging from the general structure of public rituals during the 1940s, patriotic love could exist without hate, but not vice versa. Beginning with the first mass rally on 27 November 1943 to celebrate the city's liberation, no meeting passed without a condemnation of Nazi crimes. Yet, even at the first rally the most important speakers--politicians and generals--used this topic to highlight other major themes: gratitude to Stalin for liberation, eagerness to defeat the enemy, and readiness to rebuild Kiev. (Only speakers who did not represent the authorities, a doctor and a kindergarten worker, concentrated on Nazi killings and death by starvation. Both vowed never to forget the crimes of the hated invaders.) (49)
Until May 1945, expressions of hatred toward the enemy would remain an obligatory component of public rituals both large and small. Ordinary Kievans began participating in this discourse as early as November 1943, when the authorities organized meetings at work and in residential neighborhoods to celebrate the return of Soviet power. Because these events took place within days, if not hours, after the Red Army entered the city, very few paper traces exist. Still, one report records that in Zhovtnevyi district a certain worker named Hutchenko said at a meeting: "The Red Army liberated us from the German invaders, who had taunted us a lot, and now we will avenge ourselves on them, we will work indefatigably to help the Red Army defeat them sooner." (50) The next occasion presented itself during the subscription campaign for war bonds in December 1943. As Soviet bureaucracy was quickly regaining its ability to produce a paper trail, many such statements were recorded, especially since both the state and the citizenry understood subscription for war bonds as an important moment of their interaction in the political space. During the distribution of the Second War Loan in December, small meetings were held at workplaces, but in many cases officials also recorded comments people made while signing up for the loan. Given the deprivations that Kievans suffered under the German occupation and the fact that almost every family had sent men to the Red Army, much of the popular sentiment was probably genuine. But my point is that whether or not they really hated the enemy, Kievans felt the need to express their feelings toward the enemy in the context of a familiar political ritual, during their symbolic interaction with the state in the political space. In fact, some statements fell short of the standard of hatred found in the press and instead simply narrated the various sufferings under the German occupation. But if clear statements about hatred of the Nazis were sometimes missing, the affirmation of allegiance to Soviet power was always unmistakable from the context.
For instance, Professor Bukreev of Kiev University declared, "For us, these two years under the Germans were worse than hell." A groundsman at the Botanical Garden named Hal'chyns'kyi said, "I lived in German slavery for more than two years; I saw how the fascists killed people; cut them down. The Germans burned down my house and everything inside it. I was left in my underwear." (51) A 68-year-old worker named Akhtyrko, who was employed in the Repairs and Services Office of Lenins'kyi district, said, "Under the Germans I suffered so much; those murderers harassed me so that I was barely alive when the long-awaited Red Army came." The employees of Grocery Store no. 89 declared their desire to "help our valiant Red Army defeat the enemy of humankind." (52) At the dairy factory in Zaliznychyi district a female worker named Sudakova assured the local bosses, "There is no need to spend time agitating in our midst--our backs still ache after what the Hitlerite bandits did to us." (53) Again, it is sometimes difficult to categorize these personal narratives as expressing hatred.
The subscription campaign for the Third War Loan that was launched in May 1944 was accompanied by similar rhetoric, but with the emphasis now more clearly placed on revenge. The homemaker Fenia Prokopenko spoke about her desire to help her husband, who was in the Red Army, "to exterminate the detested enemies." The famous poet Maksym Ryl's'kyi issued calls "to exterminate the enemy faster and completely." (54)
The next public event that disposed people toward reminiscing about the German occupation came in September 1944, when the authorities were preparing to celebrate the complete liberation of the Ukrainian SSR. On that occasion Ukrainian ideologues organized the entire adult population of the republic to sign a long poem narrating the events of the war and expressing gratitude to Stalin. The procedure included reading and discussing the poem at workplaces and in residential neighborhoods, and the stanzas decrying Nazi atrocities spurred the listeners to speak about their experiences. The reports record that at the Second Fuel Factory people recalled Nazi atrocities, and at a meatpacking plant the worker Petrovska referred to the destruction of Khreshchatyk. An office worker at the Supreme Council, a certain Epikhina, complained about "how difficult it was to live under the occupation." At the meat and dairy distribution warehouse, the worker Ivashchenko recounted the execution of his father by the Gestapo. (55)
There is no question that some Kievans were not sincere in their condemnations of the German occupation. In private conversations they might express other opinions about the Nazi occupation, as did, for example, the postal workers Turba, Demurina, and Pashkova, who fondly recalled the German food rations for workers. Demurina remembered in particular the special gift package that she received on the occasion of Hitler's birthday and which lasted her "for a month." Turba added that the German administration did not prosecute absenteeism. Pashkova observed that the "Germans were generally good people," for they gave nice gifts to their Ukrainian lovers. (Learning about such conversations, the district party committee sent a lecturer to this post office to give a talk on "Nazi Atrocities in Kiev." Because these were private conversations, the district authorities could dismiss this incident as "unhealthy attitudes," rather than anti-Soviet activities.) (56)
Going against the official interpretation in a public setting was a different matter. There were cases in which Kievans refused--for a variety of reasons: poverty, lack of employment, real or perceived injustices--to sign up for government bonds, but I found only two instances where they made anti-Soviet statements to authorities. A certain Bunakova, whose husband had recently been arrested by the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD), declared that "during those two and a half years she lived better." The yard-keeper L. Hutchenko signed up for only 50 rubles and said, "If this loan had been issued last year, he would have signed up for more, because life was better then." (57) Of course, "last year" referred to the time before the Red Army took Kiev. But even in cases that the authorities deemed political, dissenters challenged only the official assessment of their everyday life--not the grand scheme of struggle between Soviet good and Nazi evil.
Overall, Nazi crimes in Kiev remained in the limelight of Soviet propaganda only briefly. Within weeks after the city's liberation, official documents register a certain uneasiness among bureaucrats when it comes to detailing the sufferings inflicted on their land. There are several reasons for this. In Soviet official discourse, hatred remained the reverse side of patriotism, rather than the principal moving force in the war--and patriotism required belief in Soviet strength, not the mourning of Soviet losses. As promoters of discipline and consciousness, Stalinist ideologues remained ever suspicious of spontaneity present in hatred and revenge. Finally, the legacy of Nazi rule was too convenient an explanation for the slowness in restoring the city's economy. The party leader of Kiev oblast, Z. T. Serdiuk, indicated the authorities' new attitude during a conference of Kiev party activists on 27 December 1943. When the city party boss, Fedir Mokiienko, devoted the entire first part of his speech to Nazi crimes in Kiev, Serdiuk commented: "I think the time has come when there is no need to talk at meetings such as this about what the Germans have done." (58)
The celebration of Soviet military successes and achievements in reconstruction soon pushed the issue of Nazi atrocities into the background, but hatred of the enemy was not supposed to disappear. It was just that the authorities expected the disciplined and conscientious Soviet people to control their emotions. In the late summer of 1944, Stalinist bureaucrats gave their flock a practical lesson in controlling their sacred hatred of the enemy. On 17 July, 57,600 German POWs were paraded through the streets of Moscow, which were then washed clean by street-washing machines--an event recorded in a much-shown Soviet documentary. The press, including Ukrainian newspapers, reported that the Muscovites "looked with hatred and scorn at this miserable and dirty scum," but "the Soviet people's self-control and discipline were manifested in their restraint." (59)
In August, a similar event took place in Kiev. The day after a radio announcement on 15 August, republican newspapers published a notice about the time and itinerary of the march and called on citizens "not to allow any incidents in regard to the POWs." (60) The march of 36,918 Germans through the center of Kiev took place between 10 AM and 3 PM on 6 August. Although the newspapers claimed that the POWs were "only some of the prisoners captured lately by the troops of the First Ukrainian Front" and that they were on their way to POW camps, in fact these were captives of five different Soviet fronts (army groups), plus over 5,000 brought from the camps. (61) An estimated 170,000 spectators watched the show, which ended with fire engines washing the streets. (62)
Official reports state with satisfaction that the spectators "expressed feelings of hatred and scorn" by yelling at the POWs, "Death to Hitler," "Here's the end of your war," "Shoot them all," "Shame on the killers," "Animals," and so on. People in the crowd talked about stoning the POWs, beating them with sticks, and forcing them to run (rather than walk). (63) The reports also noted with equal satisfaction that "yelling and threats notwithstanding, the residents of Kiev conducted themselves with restraint and the passage of POWs was not accompanied by any excesses." (64) Actually, there were some, but they were committed by citizens partially exempt from the rules of self-discipline--disabled war veterans. On four occasions they attacked POWs with crutches, sticks, or stones but were pushed back by the guards. (65)
This show of strength demonstrated through restrained hatred was not spoiled by a mere two attempts to help the POWs. The NKVD immediately arrested a certain Andriiantseva, who threw an apple into the column of Germans. (The report specified that her husband had been arrested as an "enemy of the people" and that she had lived in Kiev during the Nazi occupation.) The security police also pinpointed an apartment at 10 Gorvits Street from which someone had thrown bread and a box of tobacco into the German column, but was still investigating exactly who had done this. (66) More troubling for the authorities were several shows of compassion. Party functionaries reported having heard comments such as "They, too, left behind their wives and children," or "Not all of them killed and harassed of their own will; that was Hitler's will." One woman cried: "Look, they are so thin, dirty, ragged, and with bushy hair. They, too, left wives and children, who are waiting for them at home." (67)
Even more worrisome were rare dismissals of the entire event as staged or misguided. A secret NKVD report records in great detail only two such statements from people who were already under observation. The manager of a large pawnshop, Trypil's'kyi, said sarcastically: "These are the same Germans that they showed in Moscow. I saw them at the cinema." The writer Iuri Ianovs'kyi reportedly stated: "The demonstration of prisoners did not achieve its aim. This perhaps intentionally selected column stirs up neither hatred nor desire for revenge. The spectators react in a peaceful manner and sometimes show pity. The problem is not in this mass [of POWs] that has been shown to us but in Germany's ruling clique." (68)
Ironically, Ianovs'kyi's last phrase was quite in line with Soviet slogans of the last year of the war, when Stalin and his ideologues emphasized the difference between the German people and the Nazis. With the fighting moving to Germany proper, hatred of the enemy had to be mediated as never before by self-discipline. Nazi crimes in Kiev largely lost their propaganda value for the army because the front lines had moved far beyond the borders of Ukraine, and for Kievans because they were busy reconstructing the economy. But the Stalinist authorities did not lose their sense of drama--hatred once stirred required closure. It came in January 1946, when Kiev witnessed the trial and execution of a group of Nazi war criminals.
Beginning in the fall of 1945 and ending in early October 1946, the Soviet press gave extensive coverage to the proceedings of the Nuremberg Tribunal. (69) Meanwhile, the Soviet authorities were gearing up for the trials of less important German military and police commanders who had ended up in their hands. One such investigation, which was conducted in Moscow and resulted in a massive (by the standards of the day) 20-volume case, concerned 15 Nazis who had served in Ukraine in general and Kiev in particular. The trial began in Kiev on 17 January 1946 in the presence of foreign journalists. Through a bureaucratic mix-up, the authorities neglected to make public announcements, and the beginning of the trial had to be delayed because of the complete absence of the public. On the second day, after notices appeared in the morning papers, the room was full, with some 300 to 400 people waiting outside the building. (70) In contrast to their coverage of the Nuremberg Tribunal, articles about which were being translated from the central press, Ukrainian newspapers only rarely reported from Kiev. One interesting detail emerging from what was published is that, in an apparent retreat from an earlier Soviet position, the prosecution accused the Nazis of murdering "70,000 Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality" in Babi Yar in 1941. (71)
The military tribunal of Kiev Military District proceeded quickly and the verdict was ready as early as 28 January. Of the 15 defendants, 12 were sentenced to death by hanging--a penalty that had not been carried out since tsarist times and was reinstated in 1943 especially for war criminals. One defendant received 20 years' hard labor, and two were sentenced to 15 years. (72) Following a radio announcement, at 5 PM on 29 January a reported 200,000 spectators gathered on Khreshchatyk to watch the execution. The city authorities reported the approving shouts and applause from the crowd, but also occasional disappointment with the ritual or disgust at the method of execution: "No impression at all," "In old Russia executions were more interesting," "No difference between the Germans and ours--both of them hang people." (73) Yet closure it was, for by early 1946 hatred of Nazis belonged to the past and the new times required new enemies.
Hate-In for Peace
There was no rupture in the official discourse of hate, however, because attacks on internal enemies--the "Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists"--provided continuity between consecutive external foes, the Nazis of wartime and the Cold War-era United States and Great Britain. The nationalists allegedly served first the Nazis and then the West. Yet the internal enemies of the late 1940s differed from the "enemies of the people" of a decade earlier. The "Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists" were concentrated in western Ukraine and abroad, and any public rituals of hatred in Kiev would have only confirmed their strength. Thus there were none. To preserve the image of a Soviet Ukrainian society united under Stalin's wise leadership, it was best to scorn nationalists as agents of a foreign adversary. This was also the solution chosen by Soviet ideologues earlier in the war, when they invented the label "Ukrainian-German nationalists."
At the first rally in Kiev on 27 November 1943, Khrushchev mentioned Ukrainian nationalists as the servants of Nazis but gave no details. (74) Most contemporary Soviet wartime propaganda followed the same model, with one exception. On 9 January 1944, Kyivs'ka pravda carried an article summarizing the state of knowledge about nationalist activities in Kiev during the German occupation. The authors, however, could accuse the "nationalists" (some of whom were hardly Ukrainian patriots) only of serving in the municipal administration, editing newspapers, and creating museums. (75) In addition, all the individuals named in the article had either been executed by the Nazis or had retreated with them, thus becoming external enemies.
During the first months of Soviet power in Kiev, local bureaucrats remained paranoid about the alleged Nazi agents left in the city. The city party leader, Fedir Mokiienko, announced at a conference of propagandists in January 1944: "Were the Germans here for a long time? They were. Did they leave their people here? They did. They left more of them than we imagine." His conclusion was straightforward: "We should inculcate anger toward [these] enemies." (76) But the republican leadership apparently felt otherwise. The campaign against the alleged Nazi agents left in Kiev never materialized in the press, and Mokiienko himself was soon removed. This did not mean the absence of arrests--by the first anniversary of Kiev's liberation the oblast branch of the NKVD reported to Khrushchev that it had "uncovered many agents of the enemy, Ukrainian nationalists, and German henchmen and lickspittles." (77) In contrast to the late 1930s, however, the official discourse kept silent about these arrests.
Condemnations of Ukrainian nationalism became more prominent in mid-1944, when the Red Army encountered serious resistance in western Ukraine from nationalist guerillas. In late 1944, the republic's main party journal, Bil'shovyk Ukrainy, even published an article entitled "The Ukrainian-German Nationalists Are the Most Evil Enemies of the Ukrainian People." (78) Yet in the sphere of ideology, the war remained primarily a mortal combat against the Nazi enemy; and when the war ended, Soviet ideologues claimed victory over the nationalists as well. At a festive meeting in October 1945 to mark the first anniversary of the republic's liberation, Khrushchev announced: "Under the leadership of the Communist Party, patriots of the Soviet state defended their land, their beloved Soviet power, and crushed the enemies, the German fascists, together with their agents, Ukrainian-German nationalists. Soviet Ukraine is flourishing once again." (79) Although the nationalist insurgency in western Ukraine lasted until the early 1950s, it found almost no reflection in official political life and propaganda. (The campaign against nationalist deviations in the humanities in 1946-48 and 1951 may be seen as an echo of events in western Ukraine, but its victims were not beyond redemption. The authorities did not expect the population to hate wayward scholars and artists.) Of course, citizens of the Ukrainian republic were still expected to loathe Ukrainian nationalism as a theoretical idea. As the prominent ideologue Dmytro Manuil's'kyi said at a Ukrainian party congress in 1949, nationalism "excites in the people of Soviet Ukraine feelings of deep scorn and burning hatred." (80) But he was talking about Ukrainian nationalists who had emigrated abroad and allegedly served their new master, American imperialists.
Although animosity toward Ukrainian nationalists bridged wartime hatred of the Nazis and the developing abhorrence of Cold War enemies, over the years Soviet propaganda, deprived of a clear-cut foreign enemy, lost some of its zest. Only a serious crisis in relations between the USSR and the Western powers, which emerged during September and October 1947, led to a decisive change in Soviet imagery--and to a view of the world that Soviet citizens were expected to internalize. So dramatic was the linguistic change that many Ukrainians mistook its first application for a declaration of war. On 18 September, the Soviet envoy A. Ia. Vyshinskii read an address at the United Nations, entitled "For Peace and Friendship of Peoples, against the Instigators of a New War." (81) After his speech was broadcast on the radio, the Kiev party authorities reported numerous conversations in the city about the imminence of war and even some about a war having started already. These were not the usual rumors circulating at the city's bazaars and reaching the authorities' ears only through informers. Many people approached their party organizers, asking what to do in connection with the war. The wildest misinterpretations of this broadcast came from the deputy head of the Kiev-Petrivka railway station, the party member Otrokov ("Today they broadcast on the radio that America has declared war on us"), and from a train conductor, the disabled war veteran K. F. Balachuk ("Yesterday I heard Iosif Vissarionovich [Stalin] on the radio saying that there will be a war with America. Release me from my duties: I will take up arms and go to war against the American Uncle [Sams]"). (82)
The Kremlin clarified the situation in early October, when it released information about a recent conference of nine communist parties that had issued a declaration on the international situation, accusing American imperialists of expansionism and warmongering. (83) A few days earlier, the Soviet press published an exchange of diplomatic notes between the U.S. ambassador and the Foreign Ministry, which was sparked by Boris Gorbatov's article about President Truman in Literaturnaia gazeta. The Soviet reply indicated that it was allowed (and thus required) to publish comparisons between the U.S. president and Hitler. (84) A war had not begun, but the education of hatred was the order of the day and Stalinist ideologues spoke openly about it. At a conference of city party activists on 31 October, the head of the Political Administration of the Kiev military district, General Vasilii Mzhavanadze, said:
We have great experience in educating our people in hatred toward the enemies of our Motherland. During the Great Patriotic War, this hatred was so strong that it literally crushed the German fascist army and its state. What we have now is the weakening of such hatred. Our task is to inculcate in our people the most seething, deep, and cordial love toward our Motherland and to ignite the most burning hatred toward the enemies of our Motherland. (85)
At a conference of propagandists on 1 December, the propaganda secretary of the city party committee, Iakiv Pashko, spoke along the same lines:
Today we ought to use everything in our work among the masses to uncover the warmongers, British and American reactionaries and imperialists, who are attempting to hinder our constructive work. I must say that in regard to this question we should take into account the experience of the Great Patriotic War. During the war we conducted considerable work on inculcating hatred toward the enemy. Just as during the war we cultivated in our people hatred toward the enemy and mobilized them for the struggle for victory on the fronts in the Patriotic War, so today we need to cultivate hatred toward the reactionaries, toward the warmongers. (86)
Lower-level ideological workers followed these directives to the best of their abilities. In Kiev, tens of thousands "studied" the declaration of the conference of nine communist parties and A. A. Zhdanov's speech "On International Relations." Some listeners understood, as did Iukhymets', the head of the gardening department of Kaganovichskyi district, that "now there are two camps in the world." Others concluded, as did the road-builder Razduvaev, that "the animals in America are growling because they want more blood." (87) But regardless of their level of competency in international relations, Soviet citizens now had to hate the foreign enemies again.
Just as they had done with Ukrainian nationalists, Stalinist ideologues tried to connect the new foreign foe to the Nazis. In February and March 1948, the party apparatus organized Kievans to study a new Soviet book, Falsifiers of History, which served as a response to some Western documentary publications about the origins of World War II. The book argued that the Americans and British had encouraged Hitler to attack the USSR. During discussions of this book in Kiev, however, readers were expected to comment on the contemporary situation as well. A party report noted with satisfaction "workers and intellectuals with hatred brand the British and American imperialists as aggressors and active instigators of World War III." (88) By mid-1948, the United States had clearly taken the place previously reserved in Stalinist ideology for Nazi Germany. The republic's main party journal, Bil'shovyk Ukrainy, announced in an editorial, "After the defeat of Hitlerite Germany, the reactionaries from the United States became the most dangerous and wicked enemies of socialism, democracy, freedom, and independence of peoples." (89) Lesser foreign enemies now had to be connected to the principal, most hated one. Early on, Britain appeared alongside the United States as the Soviet Union's foe, but at public meetings in later years the Soviet people denounced as American puppets Greek monarchists, Tito, and Zionists. (90)
Why did the Soviet people have to hate American imperialists? First and foremost, because the United States represented an immediate military threat to the USSR. As the editor of Bil'shovyk Ukrainy wrote in April 1951, "The imperialists from the United States of America and their allies in Western Europe are intensively preparing a new world war against the Soviet Union and the entire camp of peace, democracy, and socialism." (91) Or, at the very least, the U.S. leaders wanted to humiliate the USSR by making it an economically dependent, "second-rate power." (92) There were also moral reasons for abhorring U.S. imperialists in principle: their "fascist" political system, their racist views, their decadent culture, and their "loathsome 'American way of life.'" (93)
In addition to numerous articles in the press, public lectures on "American Imperialism as the Worst Enemy of the Soviet People" or "American Imperialism as an Enemy of Humankind" appeared in the repertoire of Soviet mass political education. (94)
Yet in another confirmation of the subordinate role of hatred among civic emotions of late Stalinism, the state made condemnation of U.S. imperialists a part of the Soviet political campaign for world peace. The All-Union Conference of Peace Advocates in August 1949 became the first major event of this campaign. To mark its closing in Moscow, the Kiev authorities organized some 50,000 city residents to attend an open-air rally. While fully approving the decisions of the Moscow conference, Kievans also "joined in the choir of hate and protest against the bloodthirsty warmongers," or so their address to Stalin claimed. (95) Then, on 2 October, Kievans celebrated the International Day of Struggle for Peace with an even more impressive 80,000-strong rally at the Dynamo stadium. The poet Andrii Malyshko, fresh from his trip to North America, exposed imperialists in tirades filled with threatening images: "Overseas, in America and Canada, packs of those wolves/warmongers gather at night for secret assemblies. They want rivers of blood to flow in the steppes again; [they want] people to shoot one another; [they want] to ruin Stalingrad, Kiev, our heroic Leningrad, long-suffering Warsaw, golden-domed Prague, and beautiful Budapest." (96)
In July 1950, with the beginning of U.S. involvement in the Korean War, the Soviet authorities organized a mass signing of an appeal issued by the Permanent Committee of Peace Advocates--in everyday correspondence it was often referred to as a petition to ban the atomic bomb or the Stockholm Appeal. As had happened in 1944 with the letter of gratitude to Stalin, signings took place after meetings at work and in residential neighborhoods. In Kiev, 2,891 meetings took place, where, according to the local newspaper, participants "held up foreign aggressors to shame" and 606,700 people signed the letter. But among the usual talk about the Soviet peace policy and aggressive imperialists, citizens asked a number of sober questions showing their concern about their government's actions abroad: "Is it possible to consider these events as the beginning of World War III?" "Are we providing assistance to the People's Republic of Korea?" "Will Soviet troops take part in the conflict?" "Will there be a war between the United States and the USSR?" and "Why are signatures being collected for the appeal to ban only atomic weapons, and not all weapons?" (97) Rather than showing hatred of imperialists, these questions indicate healthy anxiety about the prospect of war.
A year later, in September 1951, Kievans were signing another appeal, this time from the World Peace Council, calling for the conclusion of a pact of peace among the five great powers. At both large and small meetings speakers approved of the Soviet Union's foreign policy and denounced U.S. imperialists. The leading Ukrainian choir director, Hryhorii Ver'ovka, proclaimed, "American butchers from Wall Street and their supporters are doing their utmost to draw humankind into a new war, [a war] against the Soviet Union and the countries of people's democracy." Then again, most of the questions that people were addressing to rank-and-file propagandists were about the Soviet Union's involvement in Korea. (98) Either because the population was becoming tired of signing campaigns or because August was traditionally the month of summer holidays, the city authorities managed to collect only 504,000 signatures--100,000 fewer than the year before. (99)
Soviet ideologues pushed their anti-American campaign to new extremes in 1952, when the press used its strongest language to date to condemn U.S. war crimes in Korea. Article titles speak for themselves: "World Public Opinion Protests the Atrocities Committed by American Aggressors," "On the Path Trailed by Hitler's Tyranny," "New Facts on the Brutal Murder of POWs by Americans," and "This Cannot Be Forgotten!" (100) American atrocities had replaced the United States' aggressive plans as the principal reason for hatred, since they were "proof" of the imperialists' bestiality. As Iu. Ivanov wrote in Radians'ka Ukraina, "The American army of butchers marks its path in Korea with killings, tortures, death camps, and plague." (101) At various public meetings speakers competed in reviling the U.S. imperialists. At the Lenin's Smithy Shipyard in April 1952, the worker Tamara Kolbasina thus condemned the use of bacteriological weapons in Korea: "With their murderous deeds [the Americans] have surpassed even Nazi war criminals." At the Bolshevik Factory, the worker Halyna Hurynenko ended her speech with the exclamation, "Damnation, eternal damnation to the American fascists." (102)
But by raising the rhetorical plank on an issue that was not connected to people's everyday lives, the authorities risked producing empty, false hatred. Those who took civic emotions seriously often asked the question, "Why is the Soviet Union not helping Korea?" (103) Unable to fight against American imperialists on the battlefield, what else could good Soviet citizens do so that their hatred did not burn out? At meetings, speakers often suggested even more heroic labor in the workplace as the best application of this hatred. As a worker at the Bolshevik Factory, Savin, said at a rally in September 1951, "Each kilogram of steel that our collective smelts is a blow against warmongers." (104) Yet the appeal to work more and better was, perhaps, the most overused and least effective among Soviet slogans. In a society where all citizens were expected to fully internalize the state's ideological discourse, fanning hatred for a distant external enemy only depreciated this civic emotion.
The Enemy Within and the Denouement
It was, then, logical that the search for new internal enemies who could be connected to the external enemy intensified during the last years of Stalin's rule. The campaigns against those who had "kowtowed to the West" and "rootless cosmopolitans" in 1948 and 1949, respectively, prepared the ground, although these two groups did not qualify as enemies. Citizens were supposed to criticize, rather than hate, them. (105) The victims of the 1951 campaign against nationalist deviations in Ukrainian culture also were not beyond redemption, most of them having soon recovered their careers.
Things fell into place on 13 January 1953, when Pravda and other Soviet newspapers informed their readers about the arrest of a group of prominent doctors, most of whom were Jewish and who were accused of causing the deaths of some Soviet leaders. For the first time since the late 1930s, Pravda carried an editorial about internal enemies entitled "Vile Spies and Killers," which was reprinted on the same day in Kiev's new evening paper, Vechirnii Kyiv. (106) To be sure, official propaganda painted the doctors as agents of U.S. intelligence and the Jewish bourgeois nationalist organization Joint, but they were "enemies within," who could be both hated and physically destroyed. (107) Given the persistence of antisemitic attitudes among ordinary Russians and Ukrainians, the authorities scored a coup with their selection of the enemy. (108) Judging from reports on the population's reaction, no government announcement in recent memory was so widely discussed. (109)
At a public meeting at Kiev University, Professor of Geology V. N. Golovtsin announced: "It gives one the creeps to read materials about the evil gang of spies and killers, who masked themselves as professors and medical doctors. The voice of our people will thunder--death to contemptible scoundrels, hirelings of British and American warmongers." At the Lenin's Smithy Shipyard, the engineer I. Ivashchenko proclaimed, "As a citizen of the Soviet state, I demand death for these enemies of the Soviet peoples." (110) Unlike the anti-American propaganda of the previous years, but much like the 1930s' witch-hunt of "enemies of the people," this campaign generated an impressive response from below. To a great extent it was aimed at Jews in general.
Newspapers received numerous letters expressing hatred toward the arrested, as well as other suspected Jewish evildoers. (111) Reports about the popular mood registered statements ranging from mistrust of Jews to the desire to kill them. Thus the engineer Oleksandr Radchenko said in private, "Strange that the government tolerates them in the Party and in managerial positions. All of them are traitors." An unidentified citizen said while riding the tram in Podil district, "Everywhere Jews are trying by all means to exterminate the people." The watchman at the Fourth Footwear Factory bragged, "There are seven bullets in my revolver. I would love to shoot seven Jews." (112) In hospitals and doctors' offices there were cases of patients refusing injections and asking for doctors "of indigenous nationality." (113) At School no. 71, a group of students beat up their two Jewish classmates; at School no. 54 a student wrote a call to beat up the Jews on the classroom blackboard. (114) Handwritten leaflets and slogans scrawled on tramcars appeared, calling people to beat up or expel the Jews. (The NKVD quickly removed these.) (115)
The campaign was destined for huge success because of a clearly identifiable internal enemy and the resonance with popular antisemitism. Moreover, defining an ethnic group as an enemy fit well with the increased ethnicization of the late Stalinist polity. But Stalin's death cut this campaign short. On 4 April all newspapers carried information about the rehabilitation of the doctors. For people who considered themselves Soviet patriots, the sudden removal of the symbolic enemy had a disorienting effect. In contrast to all the political events of the last ten years, reports on the political mood register numerous cases of confusion and disapproval--and, moreover, disapproval on the part of good Soviet citizens, rather than politically unreliable elements. The common theme in most of these conversations was that either the government or all the Soviet peoples had lost face. "We have been slapped in the face, we have been pushed into a rubbish pit," complained the office worker Ol'ha Dorynchenko, who felt that the Soviet government had capitulated to foreign pressure. A musician with the Ukrainian Philharmonic Society, Pavlo Chutkyi, felt likewise: "This communique shames the Soviet Union." (116) The chief engineer at the Institute of Physics, Skliar, best expressed the frustration felt by those who accepted the original announcements at their face value:
I do not understand at all. This is a slap [in the face of] the Council of Ministers and testimony to the lack of seriousness in the government's decision-making. First [it] makes accusations of sabotage--a serious announcement--then, another serious announcement. What this means is that one of these announcements was made without verification. I would rather shoot Vinogradov and the others than accept such shame and cause such confusion. What will be the reaction abroad? In all my adult life I do not recall the publication [in newspapers] of anything like that. (117)
This first group of perplexed citizens--and there are many more examples in the reports--were worried precisely because the new ideological winds were undermining their civic sentiment and their identification with a strong Soviet state. This is why the homemaker Evdokiia Prozorova complained: "I do not understand. What is going on in the country?" while the teacher Grigorii Vanin protested: "How shameful for the authorities and the state. They should not have made this announcement. If a mistake was made, for the state's prestige it would have been better to sacrifice the interests of private citizens." (118)
Only a small minority of reported comments connected the stunning reversal with Jews' intrigues and their ability to get out of scrapes; most dissenters wanted their symbolic enemy back, hatred of which would only confirm their love for Stalin. As the head of quality control at the Karl Marx Confectionery in Kiev, the party member Mykola Petrychenko, put it, the doctors "had been arrested when Comrade Stalin was alive, and it cannot be that he did not check [this case]." (119) Thus the rehabilitation of the doctors undermined the entire belief system of people who had internalized Stalinist ideology.
An even more stunning blow was delivered in the summer of 1953. In June, acting on a report written by Lavrentii Beriia, the Kremlin removed the first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine, Leonid Mel'nikov, allegedly for not paying enough attention to the promotion of the Ukrainian language and of cadres in western Ukraine. (120) No sooner did all the party groups end their meetings condemning Mel'nikov and praising Beriia than a new announcement from Moscow branded the latter a foreign spy and an evil enemy of the Soviet state. (121) At thousands of meetings Kievans duly expressed their newfound hatred for Beriia in the same language they used to condemn the doctors. The lathe operator Malinin at the Bolshevik Factory pronounced, "We demand that this mean enemy of the party and the Soviet people be erased from the face of the earth." The mason Bolkhovs'kyi, who worked on the reconstruction of Khreshchatyk, enumerated Soviet achievements and concluded: "This is not to the imperialists' liking. Their despicable hireling Beriia was aiming to restore capitalism in our country. There is no limit to our anger and indignation." (122)
But for the first time, the unorthodox opinions that were reported included something besides confusion or disagreement with the official interpretation. (Those who disagreed typically saw the fall of Beriia as the reflection of the struggle for power in Moscow.) (123) For the first time, the reports included the comment that official discourse was no longer worth being internalized. A student at the teachers' college, Oleksii Slonytsia, is credited with uttering words that made it both into a report about the popular mood in Kiev oblast and into a general report to the Ukrainian Central Committee about the reception of official announcements on the Beriia affair. Slonytsia allegedly said, "One can pay no attention to these materials, because the next day refutations may follow, as this happened previously." (124)
Although the authenticity of this statement cannot be verified, it nicely sums up a good Stalinist citizen's disappointment at his betrayal by the Soviet state. Indeed, Stalin's successors never brought back the internal enemy, who could be hated and destroyed--as opposed to being criticized and reeducated. Hatred was never again a core civic emotion, and the condemnation of foreign imperialists became increasingly formal and shallow. Graeme Gill has argued that, although its economic and social "faces" emerged earlier, Stalinism as a system was completed only with the beginning of the Great Terror. (125) Perhaps it may be said that, while its various components would be dismantled over a long period of time, the extremist political and ideological practices typical of Stalinism ended with the disappearance of "internal enemies" after the "Doctors' Plot."
Ultimately, the combination of official rituals and popular sentiment did not produce the civic emotion of hatred required of an ideal Stalinist citizenry. In 1943-44, a willing populace tried to frame its painful memories of the Nazi occupation within an official discourse of hatred. During the early Cold War era, public utterings at all levels duly echoed the official propaganda of hatred, but the enemies were too distant, and unless the rhetoric caused confusion and a war scare, it remained shallow and irrelevant. When the image of an internal enemy was reintroduced in 1953, its resonance with popular antisemitism created an impressive public response, but the quick abandonment of this project undermined the credibility of the state as a producer of ideological discourse. It is only logical that Stalin's successors chose to abandon the practice of fanning the public's hatred--not just because it was linked to terror and total war, but also because it was the least successful of the obligatory Soviet "civic emotions."
Although there has been a significant change of focus, this article grew out of my presentation at the conference "Citizenship, Nationality, and the State in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union," held on 26-28 March 2004 at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. I would like to thank the organizers of this event for inviting me and the participants for providing many helpful criticisms and constructive suggestions. Comments by three anonymous reviewers for Kritika helped immensely in clarifying my thesis. Marta D. Olynyk kindly edited the text and the changes, both times on very short notice. My research has been supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
(1) See, e.g., Margaret Somers, "Citizenship and the Place of the Public Sphere: Law, Community, and Political Culture in the Transition to Democracy," American Sociological Review 58, 5 (1993): 587-620; and Bryan Turner, Citizenship and Social Theory (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1993).
(2) As Golfo Alexopoulos shows in her Stalin's Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens, and the Soviet State, 1926-1936 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003).
(3) See Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), chap. 5: "It was not necessary to believe. It was necessary, however, to participate as if one believed--a stricture that appears to have been well understood, since what could be construed as direct, openly disloyal behavior became rare" (220).
(4) See, for instance, Igal Halfin, From Darkness to Light: Class, Consciousness, and Salvation in Revolutionary Russia (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000); Jochen Hellbeck, "Fashioning the Stalinist Soul: The Diary of Stepan Podlubnyi (1931-1939)," Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 44, 3 (1996): 344-73; Hellbeck, "Working, Struggling, Becoming: Stalin-Era Autobiographical Texts," Russian Review 60, 3 (2001): 340-59; and Anna Krylova, "The Tenacious Liberal Subject in Soviet Studies," Kritika 1, 1 (2000): 119-46, repr. in The Resistance Debate in Russian and Soviet History, ed. Michael David-Fox, Peter Holquist, and Marshall Poe (Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers, 2003), 168-207.
(5) Anthropologists have long studied rituals as organized symbolic practices that represent the social significance of certain events and in condensed form project certain myths or abstract ideas onto the external world. Historians, too, have viewed public ceremonies as symbolic representations of the ideal social order. See, e.g., "Ritual," in Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies, ed. Tim O'Sullivan et al., 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 1994), 267-69; and Mary Ryan, "The American Parade: Representations of the Nineteenth-Century Social Order," in The New Cultural History, ed. Lynn Hunt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 131-53. My emphasis, however, is on public events as sites of interaction between the state and its citizens and, in particular, on "civic emotions" that citizens were expected to express there.
(6) See Jeffrey Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin! Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).
(7) See, most recently, Anthony W. Marx, Faith in Nation: Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
(8) See, e.g., Omer Bartov, "Defining Enemies, Making victims: Germans, Jews, and the Holocaust," American Historical Review 103, 3 (1998): 771-816; Haggay Ram, "Mythology of Rage: Representations of the 'Self' and the 'Other' in Revolutionary Iran," History and Memory 8, 1 (1996): 67-78; Timothy Tackett, "Conspiracy Obsession in a Time of Revolution: French Elites and the Origins of the Terror, 1789-1792," American Historical Review 105, 3 (2000): 690-713.
(9) See Richard Stites, Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press); Stites, ed., Culture and Entertainment in Wartime Russia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995); and Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin!
(10) See, most recently, David Brandenberger, National Bolshevism: Stalinist Mass Culture and the Formation of Modern Russian National Identity, 1931-1956 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); and Serhy Yekelchyk, Stalin's Empire of Memory: Russian-Ukrainian Relations in the Soviet Historical Imagination (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004).
(11) Ehrenburg also claimed credit for introducing in the Soviet press the derogatory nickname "Fritz" for all Germans. For Ehrenburg's retrospective justification of his wartime writings, see his Liudi, gody, zhizn', in Il'ia Erenburg [Ilya Ehrenburg], Sobranie sochinenii, 9 vols. (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1967), vol. 9, 289-91.
(12) Radians'ka Ukraina, 3 November 944: 1.
(13) Ibid., 3.
(14) Tsentral'nyi derzhavnyi arkhiv hromads'kykh ob"iednan' Ukrainy (TsDAHO) 1/23/115, fols. 1-9. Similar reports from early 1943 are in 1/23/523, fols. 14-42.
(15) Pravda, 9 November 1943: 1.
(16) Ibid., 8 November 1943: 3.
(17) Ibid., 11 November 1943: 2.
(18) Kyivs'ka pravda, 17 November 1943: 3.
(19) See Karel C. Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004), 30-32--reviewed in Kritika 7, 1 (2006): 143-52.
(20) Ibid., 306-7.
(21) See Jeff Mankoff, "Babi Yar and the Struggle for Memory," Ab Imperio, no. 2 (2004): 393-415.
(22) TsDAHO 1/70/95, fol. 92.
(23) Pravda, 3 December 1943: 1.
(24) Kyivs'ka pravda, 15 December 1943: 3.
(25) Ibid., 11 April 1944: 1.
(26) Ibid., 23 November 1943: 2.
(27) Derzhavnyi arkhiv Kyivs'koi oblasti (DAKO) 1/3/9, fol. 21 (December 1943); 1/3/45, fols. 230-32 (April 1944).
(28) Kyivs'ka pravda, 4 December 1943: 4.
(29) See TsDAHO 1/70/170; DAKO 5/2/400, fol. 25.
(30) On the evidence collected by the commission, see Marian R. Sanders, "Extraordinary Crimes in Ukraine: An Examination of Evidence Collection by the Extraordinary State Commission of the U.S.S.R, 1942-1946" (Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 1995). On its political/propaganda activities, see Marina Sorokina, "People and Procedures: Toward a History of the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in the USSR," Kritika 6, 4 (2005): 797-831. For an overview of its activities in Ukraine, see TsDAHO 1/23/598, fols. 45-46; DAKO 5/2/21; Tsentral'nyi derzhavnyi arkhiv vyshchykh orhaniv vlady ta upravlinnia Ukrainy (TsDAVOV) 2/7/781 and 2/7/1784.
(31) TsDAVOV 2/7/786, fols. 84-86.
(32) DAKO 5/2/21, fols. 4, 17-18.
(33) TsDAVOV 2/7/781, fol. 51.
(34) Ibid., 2/7/1784, fols. 2-5.
(35) Radians'ka Ukraina, 1 March 944: 1-2; Kyivs'ka pravda, 1 March 1944: 1-2.
(36) TsDAVOV 2/7/781, fol. 50.
(37) TsDAHO 1/23/1615, fol. 11.
(38) Pro ruinuvannia i zvirstva, zapodiiani nimets'ko-fashysts'kymy zaharbnykamy v m. Kyievi (Kiev and Kharkiv: Ukrains'ke derzhavne vydavnytstvo, 1944).
(39) Radians'ka Ukraina, 1 March 1944: 1.
(40) Ibid., 21 March 1944: 1.
(41) Ibid., 22 March 1944: 1
(42) Kyivs'ka pravda, 1 May 1944: 2.
(43) Radians'ka Ukraina, 11 March 1944: 4.
(44) See Yekelchyk, Stalin's Empire of Memory, chap. 1.
(45) K. K. Dubyna, 778 trahichnykh dniv Kyieva (Kiev: Ukrains'ke derzhavne vydavnytstvo, 1945; Dubina [Dubyna], Zlodeianiia nemtsev v Kieve (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1945).
(46) Dubina, Zlodeianiia nemtsev v Kieve, 5.
(47) Ibid., 6, 26.
(48) Kyivs'ka pravda, 7 March 1945: 2.
(49) The texts of speeches at the 27 November rally are in TsDAHO 1/70/95, 1/70/96, and 1/70/97.
(50) DAKO 5/2/598, fol. 2.
(51) Ibid., 1/3/9, fols. 41-42.
(52) Ibid., 1/3/10, fol. 2.
(53) Ibid., 1/3/4, fol. 24.
(54) Ibid., 1/3/75, fols. 42, 82.
(55) Ibid., 1/3/78, fols. 6, 14; 1/3/76, fol. 4.
(56) Ibid., 5/2/607, fol. 4.
(57) Ibid., 1/3/10, fol. 3; 5/2/606, fol. 16.
(58) Ibid., 1/3/2, fol. 47.
(59) Kyivs'ka pravda, 19 July 1944: 2.
(60) Ibid., 16 August 1944: 1.
(61) Compare Radians'ka Ukraina, 18 August 1944: 3; Kyivs'ka pravda, 16 August 1944: 1; and TsDAHO 1/23/940, fol. 24.
(62) TsDAHO 1/23/940, fol. 26; Kyivs'ka pravda, 18 August 1944: 2.
(63) TsDAHO 1/23/940, fols. 1, 3, 11, 27, 31-33; DAKO 5/2/606, fol. 103; 5/2/607, fol. 175.
(64) TsDAHO 1/23/940, fol. 15. A similar statement is in DAKO 5/2/607, fol. 176.
(65) TsDAHO 1/23/940, fol. 26.
(66) Ibid., fol. 27.
(67) DAKO 1/3/82, fol. 212; TsDAHO 1/23/940, fol. 4.
(68) TsDAHO 1/23/940, fols. 31-32.
(69) See, e.g., Kyivs'ka pravda, 30 November 1945: 5-6; 4 January 1946: 7; and 22 January 1946: 6. The verdict appears in ibid., 2 October 1946: 4-5.
(70) DAKO 1/3/329, fol. 54; Kyivs'ka pravda, 18 January 1946: 1, 4; Leonid Abramenko, "Vid uporiadnyka," in Kyivs'kyi protses: Dokumenty ta materialy, ed. Abramenko (Kiev: Lybid', 1995), 5-7.
(71) Kyivs'ka pravda, 18 January 1946: 4.
(72) Ibid., 29 January 1946: 4; Abramenko, Kyivs'kyi protses, 201-2.
(73) DAKO 1/3/329, fols. 55-57.
(74) Kyivs'ka pravda, 3 December 1943: 1.
(75) Ibid., 9 January 1944: 2.
(76) DAKO 1/3/45, fols. 78-79.
(77) TsDAVOV 2/7/773, fol. 133.
(78) O. Kasymenko, "Ukrains'ko-nimets'ki natsionalisty--nailiutishi vorohy ukrains'koho narodu," Bil'shovyk Ukrainy, no. 11 (1944): 18-24.
(79) TsDAHO 1/23/1615, fol. 68.
(80) Ibid., 1/1/802, fol. 71.
(81) Kyivs'ka pravda, 20 September 1947: 3.
(82) DAKO 1/3/428, fols. 42-45; TsDAHO 1/23/4492, fols. 1-6.
(83) Kyivs'ka pravda, 7 October 1947: 2, and 11 October 1947: 1. See Informatsionnoe soveshchanie predstavitelei nekotorykh kompartii v Pol'she v kontse sentiabria 1947 goda (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1948).
(84) Kyivs'ka pravda, 3 October 1947: 2.
(85) DAKO 1/3/403, fol. 129.
(86) Ibid., 1/3/404, fol. 27.
(87) Ibid., 5/3/1408, fol. 53.
(88) Ibid., 5/3/2058, fol. 7; 1/3/528, fol. 40. See Fal'sifikatory istorii: Istoricheskaia spravka (Moscow: Sovinformbiuro, 1948).
(89) "Radians'kyi Soiuz--oplot myru i bezpeky narodiv," Bil'shovyk Ukrainy, no. 5 (1948): 8.
(90) See Kyivs'ka pravda, 18 May 1948: 2 (Greece); Vechirnii Kyiv, 10 February 1953: 3 (Zionism); DAKO 1/3/528, fols. 67-88 (Greece), and 5/3/2586, fol. 22 (Tito).
(91) "Velyke sviato trudiashchykh vsoho svitu," Bil'shovyk Ukrainy, no. 4 (1951): 6.
(92) "Velychna peremoha radians'koho narodu," ibid., no. 5 (1951): 2.
(93) "SRSR--oplot myru i bezpeky narodiv," ibid., no. 4 (1949): 5; Iu. Rovins'kyi, "Fashyzatsiia politychnoho ladu v krainakh amerykano-anhliis'koho bloku," ibid., no. 11 (1950): 48-60 (fascism); B. Vrons'kyi, "Vyrodzhennia i rozklad amerykans'koi burzhuaznoi kul'tury," ibid., no. 7 (1950): 68-80 (decadent culture); M. Vil'baum, "Rasova i natsional'na dyskryminatsiia v SShA," ibid., no. 4 (1951): 46-55; H. Iemel'ianenko, "Rasyzm--ideolohiia amerykans'kykh imperialistiv," Komunist Ukrainy, no. 8 (1952): 42-53 (racism); Kyivs'ka pravda, 3 February 1950: 4 (way of life).
(94) DAKO 178/2/4, fol. 57; Vechirnii Kyiv, 16 July 1952: 2.
(95) DAKO 1/23/5655, fol. 271.
(96) Kyivs'ka pravda, 4 October 1949: 1.
(97) DAKO 5/3/3075, fol. 8 (questions), 25 (numbers); Kyivs'ka pravda, 4 August 1950: 1 (meetings).
(98) DAKO 1/9/259, fol. 14.
(99) Ibid., 5/5/316, fol. 118.
(100) Vechirnii Kyiv, 19 May 1952: 4, and 20 May 1952: 4; Radians'ka Ukraina, 26 August 1952: 4, and 11 September 1952: 3.
(101) Radians'ka Ukraina, 11 September 1952: 3.
(102) DAKO 5/5/971, fols. 2-3.
(103) Ibid., 5/5/316, fols. 39, 70-71.
(104) Ibid., fol. 57.
(105) See O. Alent'ev, "Proty nyz'kopoklons'tva pered burzhuaznym Zakhodom," Bil'shovyk Ukrainy, no. 11 (1948): 53-62; "Vyshche riven' kerivnytstva ideolohichnoiu robotoiu," ibid., no. 3 (1949): 11-16; DAKO 1/3/416, fol. 192; TsDAHO 1/70/1819, fols. 1-14.
(106) Vechirnii Kyiv, 13 January 1953: 1, 3.
(107) On the ideological significance of the "Doctors' Plot," see Amir Weiner, "Nature, Nurture, and Memory in a Socialist Utopia: Delineating the Soviet Socio-Ethnic Body in the Age of Socialism," American Historical Review 104, 4 (1999): 1114-55. "Joint" stands for American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
(108) In the first years after Kiev's liberation, antisemitic incidents in the city were particularly frequent, as returning Jewish residents reclaimed their prewar apartments from their temporary occupants. Some manifestations of antisemitism could be explained by the lasting influence of Nazi propaganda, but there was also a widespread belief that Jews had not fought at the front and thus had not contributed to the Soviet victory. See Martin J. Blackwell, "Regime City of the First Category: The Experience of the Return of Soviet Power to Kyiv, Ukraine, 1943-1946" (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 2005), chap. 6.
(109) S. V. Kulchytskyi makes the same point in his "Vektor antysemityzmu," Polityka i chas, no. 1 (1998): 70-77. See also A. Lokshin, "Delo vrachei: 'Otkliki trudiashchikhsia,'" Vestnik Evreiskogo universiteta v Moskve, no. 5 (1994): 52-62; and Amir Weiner, Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 290-97.
(110) TsDAHO 1/24/2773, fols. 3, 14.
(111) See the report in ibid., 1/30/3273, fols. 1-24.
(112) Ibid., 1/24/2773, fol. 38 (Radchenko); DAKO 5/5/1774, fol. 6 (tram-rider and watchman).
(113) DAKO 5/5/1774, fol. 14; TsDAHO 1/24/2773, fol. 17.
(114) TsDAHO 1/24/2773, fol. 28.
(115) Ibid., fols. 32, 40, 49, 70.
(116) Ibid., fols. 91, 97.
(117) Ibid., fol. 99.
(118) Ibid., fols. 91, 97.
(119) Ibid., fol. 96.
(120) Vechirnii Kyiv, 13 June 1953: 2.
(121) See DAKO 1/12/320.
(122) Ibid., 1/12/319, fol. 5; 5/5/1825, fol. 97. See also ibid., 1/12/320, 5/5/1559, 5/5/1744, 5/5/1777; and TsDAHO 1/24/2775.
(123) TsDAHO 1/24/2775, fols. 155, 192.
(124) DAKO 5/5/1547, fol. 27; TsDAHO 1/24/2775, fol. 163.
(125) Graeme J. Gill, Stalinism (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998).
Dept. of History/Dept. of Germanic and Russian Studies
University of Victoria
P. O. Box 3045
Victoria, BC V8W 3P4
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