Ukrainization was carried out tedious and long
Kuban Cossacks were not ardent supporters of Ukrainization
Photo: RIA "News"
About obscure pages stories southern Russia
In the information confrontation, the Ukrainian and Russian sides actively use not only facts from our joint past, but also dusty myths that have been around for more than a decade. Which, spreading like an avalanche on the Internet, become “reinforced concrete” arguments in the minds of those who are not at all familiar with Russian history.
One of these myths: Krasnodar Territory, founded by immigrants from Zaporizhzhya Sich, is the original territory of Ukraine. And even allegedly was under the “yellow-blackish” flag during the Civil War. We are talking to the Krasnodar historian Igor Vasilyev about whether the Kuban really recognized the power of Kiev, and about the little-known page of Soviet history - the forced Ukrainization of the south of Russia at the end of the 1920-s. Recently, a senior researcher at the Research Center for Traditional Culture "Kuban Cossack Choir" issued a monograph "Ukrainian nationalism, Ukrainization and Ukrainian cultural movement in the Kuban."
- Modern Ukrainian historians, developing the idea of Kuban’s dependence on Ukraine, emphasize that the “title”, or the most numerous nation in the territory of modern Krasnodar Territory, is historically Ukrainians. Is it so?
- Indeed, for a long time, until the second quarter of the last century, Little Russians were the largest ethnic group of Kuban, constituting about half of the region’s population. The thing is different - they were not carriers of the Ukrainian ethnic identity proper, which appeared rather late. One should not confuse Little Russian identity with Ukrainian one!
Little Russians separated themselves from Great Russians at the level of dialect, folk culture, and sometimes lifestyle. At the same time, they did not separate from the triune Russian people at the level of identity. Even if the Cossack-Little Russia was not too well versed in the specifics of the Russian folk culture, “Russianness” for him consisted of devotion to the Russian sovereign and the Orthodox faith.
The specificity of ethnic processes in the Kuban is that many people with Ukrainian surnames have never been Ukrainians: from the Little Russians, they smoothly transformed into Russians. Ukrainophiles in the Kuban region could “turn around” twice: under the Cossack authorities of the Civil War period and during the Soviet Ukrainization. Only they were faced with indifference of Kuban, including those with Ukrainian roots, to their projects.
Ataman Yakov Kukharenko
- By the way, when collecting material for a monograph and getting acquainted with the works of Ukrainian historians, did you more often come across objective scientific works or agitations playing a propaganda role? What works with distorting historical facts surprised you the most?
- Modern Ukrainian authors writing about Ukrainians of the Kuban mainly refer to the “non-state school”. Accordingly, their position is rather pro-Ukrainian.
Some venerable Ukrainian scientists express the position very convincingly, their work is of great importance. For example, Professor Stanislav Kulchitsky put forward many valuable ideas about the reasons for the start of Ukrainization, Vladimir Sergeyichuk published a mass of unique documents on Ukrainization in different regions.
At the same time, the monograph is puzzling, with the doctoral one by Dmitri Bilogo “Ukraintsi Kubani in 1792 – 1921 rokas. Evolution of social identities. This formal scientific work is based on speculation and outright fraud. For example, the completely Russian-speaking pre-revolutionary education in the Kuban was declared for some reason Ukrainian.
The cautious “declaration of intent” on the opening of Ukrainian schools in the Kuban, expressed by participants in the circle of ataman Yakov Kukharenko, Bilyy declared “Ukrainian schools”, which in fact have not been recorded by anyone anywhere. Further, the researcher claims that during the Civil War, real Ukrainian schools appeared in the Kuban. Sources show that things did not go further than declarations and single experiments. First of all, due to the desire of parents of students to keep teaching in Russian.
- Clear. And now about the history itself. When, in your opinion, came the turning point in the national consciousness of the Black Sea, before that Zaporozhye Cossacks, who began to feel not a "free Sich", but a sovereign army?
- To begin with, the Zaporizhian Sich from the very beginning was an international project, jointly implemented by Ukrainians, Russians and Poles. In it, I will remind, Italians and Germans also consisted. When the Ukrainian hetman of the XVII – XVIII centuries was created, the Zaporizhian Sich was actually a community independent of it, which sometimes simply fought with Ukraine. Take, for example, the movement of Kostya Gordeenko into the hetmanship of Ivan Mazepa.
From the very beginning, the Black Sea Cossacks who came to the Kuban served the Russian State and participated in the most difficult and glorious deeds of that period. And the state helped them to settle in, gain strength, replenish people. In fact, the state purposefully created an army. By the way, the demographic potential of Kuban was actively replenished by retired soldiers of the regular Russian army. With appropriate self-awareness.
Starting from the 1840-s, the Black Sea Cossacks clearly understood the difference from the Ukrainians, their distinctive Cossack specificity. It is very similar to how English colonists in North America realized their originality and difference from England ... At the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries, the Kuban people began to voluntarily Russify. Under the influence of value orientation to the service of the Russian state. And Ukrainian nationalism, a priori, meant Russophobia and rejection of Russian statehood.
- Let's go back to the middle of the XIX century, when the memories of the Sich liberty were still fresh. Among those who are considered to be, at least in the Ukrainian historical literature, Ukrainophiles, is the ataman of the Black Sea Cossack Army, Yakov Kukharenko. He really was a supporter of "separatist"?
- Major General Kukharenko was undoubtedly a Little Russian. This is a hot fan of the Little Russian Cossack way of life, traditions, folklore. However, as a Little Russia, he was a staunch patriot of the Russian Empire. Sincerely and successfully defended her interests on the battlefield!
Yakov Gerasimovich himself, his father and some of his sons were invited to the coronations of Russian autocrats. His son Nicholas served in the imperial convoy, and she captivated the knowledge of Ukrainian culture with the daughter of Hannah (a family friend, the famous “kobzar” Taras Shevchenko) by singing the song “Triche”. She did not prevent her from marrying Russian officer Apollo Lykov.
About the opposition of the ataman Kukharenko to the “Muscovites” there is no talk Here we can talk about some expansion of the rights of the Black Sea Cossacks with the revival of the traditions of the old Hetman's autonomy, the preservation of the cultural characteristics of the Black Sea Cossacks. By the way, during the conflict with the project of resettlement of the Black Sea to the Kuban Kukharenko tried to be the conductor of this project and did not join the front of the Black Sea foremen.
- What is known about the stay in the Kuban of one of the heroes of modern Ukraine Simon Petlyura? Did his views find active support from the local Cossacks?
- Petliura did not live long in the Kuban region at the very beginning of the 20th century. Not for long he tried to spread the Ukrainophile anti-government leaflets, then briefly sat in prison, for some time he helped the patriarch of the Kuban intellectualism Fyodor Shcherbina in collecting materials for the “History of the Kuban Cossack Army”.
He was "squeezed out" by local special services. That, undoubtedly, saved his political career - in Kuban, Simon Petlyura was completely unclaimed outside the narrow circle of intellectuals of Ukrainophiles, whose ideas were completely uninteresting to the majority of the population, especially the Cossacks. But in Ukraine, he found his social base.
- On the Internet you can find allegations of allegedly joining the Kuban to Ukraine in 1918. Is the Kuban Rada really in favor of joining the region to Ukraine on the rights of federalization?
- There was nothing like that. There were diplomatic relations, allied relations, bilateral relations in various fields. The most successful and least relevant in the context of the Civil War - in the field of culture. I repeat - there was no question of any joining. The Cossacks - a recent pillar of the brilliant world empire - would consider the “under Kiev” transition as a tough insult.
The Kuban Cossacks have their own, special identity, inextricably linked with the Russian, and not with the Ukrainian. A special social and quasi-state organization that was actually stronger and more stable than the Ukrainian one. In Ukraine, even when compared with the Kuban, there was a permanent rift. None of the competing forces controlled the whole territory. So who was supposed to join someone ?! Rather, Ukraine is to Kuban. But this was not.
- We continue. "The delegation of the Kuban Council received from the official Kiev weapon, and among the Cossacks there were joyful rumors about the landing on the seashore of Haydamak, ”writes one of the modern Ukrainian publicists about the events of the Civil War. Is the "independent" Ukraine actively supported separatism in the Kuban?
- Ukraine sent diplomatic representatives to the Kuban (an original baron of peasant origin, an officer of the Russian general staff Fyodor Borzhinsky), a special representative for culture (a certain Oles Panchenko). Ukraine itself needed weapons and effective Haidamaks, and absolutely all parties to the conflict: both independent supporters (Petlyura), semi-independent supporters (hetman Skoropadsky), communists, and Makhnovists. This good in Ukraine was not enough.
Another thing is that in the Kuban were the most powerful military traditions and the mass of soldiers, weapons. Kuban Cossacks supported various participants in the civil conflict. A small detachment of Kuban even fought on the side of the Ukrainian authorities. True, very small ...
Kuban Cossack family, typical for the end of the XIX century
- One of the little-known pages of the history of the last century is the violent Ukrainization of the southern regions of Russia. In your opinion, why, at the height of the political struggle for power, did Stalin give up the Russian regions "at the mercy"?
- There are two main reasons: the struggle with the Cossack identity and worldview, extremely hostile to Bolshevism, and ensuring the loyalty of the Ukrainian Communists during the struggle of Stalin with the inner-party oppositions. The Cossack worldview was attempted to be replaced by a Ukrainian one that had common symbols with it (ancient songs, the memory of the Zaporizhian Sich), but more tolerant of Bolshevism. This goal, unlike the loyalty of the Ukrainian party members, was never achieved.
Ukrainization was carried out tedious and long. But without Bolshevik radicalism, with kickbacks, as was the case with the Ukrainization of the school in 1927. People were forced, they shook their nerves. But not shot. Most of all Ukrainization has affected the field of school education, cultural work, newspaper business, and the press. To a much lesser extent - state and economic document circulation.
Before the beginning of a continuous Ukrainization in 1928, the replacement of the Russian language with the Ukrainian language was hampered by concern for non-residents — people who had migrated to the Kuban from other regions of Russia who had no Zaporizhzhya roots. By the way, the Kuban balachka was then recognized by Ukrainophile philologists even more Ukrainian than the dialects on the territory of Ukraine itself. The fact is that the literary Ukrainian language, created on the basis of the dialects of Western Ukraine and borrowings from Polish, no longer included many of the Old Ukrainian elements preserved in the descendants of the Zaporozhian Cossacks in the Kuban.
- How Ukrainization was met by the inhabitants of Kuban, including the remaining Cossacks?
- Ukrainization was met in the spirit of "and so life is hard, but here's another ...". With a sort of lazy disgust. Although there were active, hot protests. Especially parents of schoolchildren who opposed Ukrainization very sharply. They perceived Ukrainian linguistic and national identity as an absolutely foreign, alien. And even compared it with the Chinese.
From the very beginning, Ukrainization caused bewilderment and protests of ordinary Kuban. During the II Kuban District Party Conference in November 1925 of the year (several years before the mass Ukrainization), a note was received in the Presidium: “Does the Krakite know that the population does not want to learn the Ukrainian language and why this question cannot be brought up for discussion by the village grain breeders?” In those areas where the Ukrainians were a clear minority, all the announcements of the authorities at the end of 1920 should have been printed in two languages, and from the beginning of 1930, they tried to massively translate official yonov. But, of course, many workers simply did not understand him.
Therefore, they began to organize courses of the Ukrainian language, which they drove almost forcibly, for example, in the Primorsko-Akhtarsk district. And in Sochi, due to the non-attendance of the courses, it was decided to send responsible employees to them three times a week with attendance control.
The manager of the Abinsky branch of the USSR State Bank Bukanov, a communist from 1919, was accused of "great-power chauvinism" for refusing to accept payment documents from the collective farm "1 May" in Ukrainian.
- By the way, how did the remaining intelligentsia perceive Ukrainization?
- Especially people who had at least some kind of education were opposed to Ukrainization. Naturally, in Russian. There were relatively many in the Kuban. It was completely illiterate at all to care what language to learn.
By the beginning of 1930, more than 20 regional newspapers and several hundred books were published in Ukrainian. But from the very beginning they were not in demand. For example, in 1927, the Ukrainian books of the publishing house “North Caucasus” were catastrophically lying around, the publishing house suffered losses. In Yeisk district, institutions were ordered to forcibly redeem Ukrainian literature.
Touched change and education. So much so that the people's commissar of education Anatoly Lunacharsky at a meeting of school workers in Krasnodar assured them of the groundless fears that, under the pressure of the authorities, the Ukrainian language would force out Russian.
“In most cases, teaching in the Ukrainian language causes discontent among both non-resident and Cossacks,” the Chekists wrote about Ukrainization in the Kuban and Don districts.
It came to the comic - the Germans compactly living in Kuschevsky district complained to higher authorities that they were forced to learn Ukrainian. And the directive came - not to count the Germans as Ukrainians
Ukrainization was too annoying to many, annoyed by its dullness and senselessness, such Kafkianism. Such tediousness sometimes more strongly motivates active and tough protest than even direct violence. An experienced revolutionary Stalin understood this well, so at the beginning of the 1930s, when his political opponents no longer had such influence, he curtailed Ukrainization.
- From history - to today's days. In the Krasnodar Territory, traditional Ukrainian culture, apparently, is so forgotten that the authorities have to “implant” it in the form of a Cossack radio station and lessons balachki at school?
- Cossack radio and balachka lessons in the light of the above do not have the slightest relation to the Ukrainian culture. This is an attempt to inform people about some elements of the Kuban Cossack, and not at all Ukrainian culture. The relationship of the Cossack culture and Ukrainian in many respects resemble the relationship of American and English. It is impossible to deny their relationship and similarity. At the same time, songs in English, even literary enough, are perceived in the United States as part of American culture, and not British at all. By the way, the radio "Kazak FM" is quite real popular with older car enthusiasts who grew up in Soviet times. Both it and the lessons of Kuban studies are extremely far from the Ukrainian context.
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