Peasant Revolts in Ukraine following the 1917 Revolution, March 31, 7pm
DATE: Friday, 31 March
VENUE: Ukrainian Institute, 79 Holland Park, London W11 3SW
Admission is free with registration via this link
While the revolutions of 1917 are usually seen in the Russian context, it was also a year of the Ukrainian revolution. The Ukrainian national movement gathered around the Ukrainian Central Rada as the national parliament, which proclaimed the Ukrainian People’s Republic in late 1917. The young parliament and republic seemed to enjoy the support of the vast majority of Ukrainian peasants. But in times of need, when it was attacked by the Bolsheviks, the peasants denied their support to it, just as they did with any of the warring parties. Instead, several waves of local or regional uprisings broke out from 1918 throughout the Civil War against any power that tried to intervene in the inner life of the villages and extract the grain by force. These uprisings weakened significantly any emerging power and played a crucial role in the defeats of all warring parties. In the hinterland of the insurgencies, the villagers conducted their own revolution, reforming their societies as they saw fit, including such contradictory elements as social justice, grass-roots democracy and ethnic cleansing. Thus, a different kind of Ukrainian revolution took place in the villages. The insurgents suffered defeat eventually, but their struggle showed the immense military and political potential of the Ukrainian masses, that neither of the Civil War parties was able to make effectively use of.
Dimitri Tolkatsch is PhD Candidate at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg (Germany). His research project on the Ukrainian uprising movement during the Russian Civil War is intended to offer a narrative the revolutionary and civil war events of 1917-1921 from the point of view of the vast majority of the Ukrainian population – the peasants. After having discussed his findings at several conferences he is glad to present them to a wider public. His research was funded by a short-term scholarship of the German Historical Institute in Moscow and the PhD-scholarship of the Ernst-Ludwig-Ehrlich-Studienwerk Fund.
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