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Cultural policy in Ukraine (1991–2005)

by Maksym V. Strikha

Historical background

For seven decades after the loss of its short-lived independence of 1918–1920, Ukraine did not have the opportunity to set its own public cultural policy. The moderate Ukrainization policies of the 1920s, the cultural pogroms of the 1930s, the creeping Russification of the 1970s and the implementation of Gorbachev’s glasnost′ in Ukraine in the 1980s were merely local interpretations of policies designed by the Communist leadership in Moscow. The Soviet regime tried not only to bring Ukrainian culture wholly into its service (as it did Russian culture), but also to reduce it to the level of a provincial, inferior culture and, in the long run, to assimilate it into the so-called ‘multinational Soviet culture’. However, the regime was not interested in ‘killing culture’. On the contrary, it regarded the cultural revolution aimed at creating the New Soviet Man to be one of its greatest achievements. A dense cultural infrastructure, as well as broad and very cheap access to many basic cultural facilities and practices were always a part of the Soviet way of life.

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