20 years of the collapse of the Soviet Union - The Oral History of Independent Ukraine

0 years ago, in December 1991, the Soviet Union was officially abolished.

The failed coup in August 1991 hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union and resulted in the birth of its successor states, among them, Ukraine.

A video documentary project was launched chronicling the process by which Ukraine became independent. The Ukrainian Catholic University has acted as the repository institution in Ukraine for the video tapes and the transcripts.  These materials are being made available on-line for academic and research purposes.

Interviews were filmed in six countries in 1995 and 1996.  The list of interviewees includes Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, Polish President Lech Walesa and US Secretary of State James Baker.

Through 69 interviews with political leaders, dissidents, diplomats, journalists, religious leaders, business people, academics and military and intelligence officers who participated in, or were witness to, that process during the period 1988 -1991.

The Project begins by exploring the rise of nationalist movements and citizens’ groups in Ukraine in 1988 and 1989.  It then examines the All-Union Treaty in the summer of 1991, the August 1991 coup attempt inMoscowand the rise of Boris Yeltsin and nationalist sentiment in the Republics and culminates with the Ukrainian referendum on independence in December 1991 and international recognition Ukraine as a sovereign state.

All 69 interviews have been transcribed and each video has been time-coded so that a person reading the transcript can easily identify a given passage on the corresponding video.

The Project was coordinated and managed by Margarita Hewko and Sara Sievers.  Ms. Hewko was based in Kyiv and was the Executive Producer who coordinated the filming of the interviews and their transcription, editing and time-coding.  Ms. Sievers, based in theUnited States, coordinated and conducted interviews in theUnited States and Ukraineand managed the Project’s finances and fundraising.

To view the videos (a number of which are in English) please visit http://oralhistory.org.ua/en/