Prof. James Mace replies to Nina Khrushcheva (Courtesy of E-Poshta)
From: Information Service found Nina Khrushcheva's article on the Web and sent it to to Prof. James Mace
in Kyiv, asking him to respond to the very troublesome statements made by Nina Khrushcheva about Ukraine
and its history. We would like to extend special thanks to Prof. Mace for this fine article.
encourages Ukrainians everywhere to send letters of protest to:
-- E. Morgan Williams
Publisher and Editor
UKRAINE REPORT 2003, Information Service

                              UKRAINE REPORT 2003, No. 12
                     Information Service
                              March 10, 2003
                              Washington, D.C.

                              "Ukraine is very much a country": Prof. James
                              Mace replies to Nina Khrushcheva

                             UKRAINE IS VERY MUCH A COUNTRY

                              Nina Khrushcheva Granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev
                              History and International Relations Teacher New School
                              University and Columbia University Daily in "Stalin and
                              Memory," The Daily Times, Lahore, Pakistan on March 3,
                              2003 writes:

                                   "It will never be easy to produce a version of Russian
                                   history that all Russians agree on; competing
                                   conceptions of national identity militate against it. But
                                   some other countries sloughing off the skin of
                                   communism are only too ready to adopt a new history
                                   - even one based on fancy and invention - to suit
                                   current needs. Ukraine provides an example of this.
                                   Does Ukraine have a history? Well, the place
                                   certainly does, but is the place a country? Ukraine
                                   means, literally, "on the edge." It is more a frontier
                                   than a region, let alone a country. So it is well suited
                                   to an invented history - and who better to supply it
                                   than a Ukrainian Diaspora eager to boost the land of
                                   their forefathers? It may be no accident that
                                   independent Ukraine's first history textbook was
                                   written in Toronto, not Kiev."

                              As an American historian of Ukraine who has lived in the
                              country I have spent virtually all my life studying, I can assure
                              the reader that Ukraine is very much a country, albeit one
                              that has spent a large part of that history under foreign rule.
                              Once upon a time Marx and especially Engels adhered to
                              the view then popular among Germans that peoples who
                              had spent a long time without a state were also without

                              Engels even went so far as to use this as justification for a
                              Verstorungskrieg (war of destruction) against the Czechs as
                              a way to remove them as "a knife in the back of the German
                              peoples." Well, Communists and Marxists of other
                              persuasions have long laid that one to rest, and the history of
                              the twentieth century is, among other things, one of the
                              national liberation of such peoples who had hitherto lacked

                              Of course, all nations are, in the words of Benedict
                              Anderson, imagined communities and creating histories was
                              part of that process of forming nations. Sometimes states
                              did it even before thinking in terms of nations, as was the
                              case with Russia, where Tsar Peter the First (the first official
                              Soviet historian whose textbooks carried a laudatory letter
                              from Lenin, wrote of "Peter, whom fawning historians call the
                              Great") hired one Professor Mueller from Germany to do the

                              Since the original Muscovite dynasty was descended from
                              one Riurik, most likely one Hroerich of Jutland (meaning he
                              was what was then called a Viking in the West, Varangian in
                              the East, and Dane in more recent times) took Kyiv which
                              was the main settlement of something called russkaia
                              zemlia, in the earliest chronicle accounts basically a triangle
                              enclosing Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Pereyaslav.

                              The name Rus 'with time covered all the lands that
                              recognized the supremacy of the Grand Prince of Kyiv,
                              including a hitherto no-man's-land of Finno-Ugric tribes that
                              became Slavicized, where one Andrei Bogoliubsky with his
                              Viking and Slavic followers built a palladium, returned to sack
                              Kyiv as did his son, one Yury Dolgoruky, and then
                              commissioned chronicles which gave events in Kyiv no
                              more attention than to those in other foreign countries.

                              This area became the Grand Duchy of Moscow and kernel
                              of what would grow into the Russian Empire, and in a couple
                              of hundred years one Muscovite prince known in English as
                              Ivan the Terrible began to claim the lands of the old core of
                              Kyivan Rus', by then under the Grand Duke of Lithuania, as
                              his patrimony because some of his ancestors had once
                              ruled there.

                              Prof. Mueller and his Russian successors Soloviov,
                              Tatichev, Pogodin, et. al.) followed this dynastic history
                              which evolved into a national one sometime in the nineteenth

                              But then the ancestors of most Frenchmen also became
                              subjectively French only toward the end of the last century.
                              Nations in the sense we know them are actually much
                              younger than their histories, which were of necessity created
                              by reading later ideas and identities onto people and places
                              to which they were completely foreign. The same was true
                              of the Germans, Russians, Ukrainians, and most everyone

                              Others, like Czechs and Ukrainians, found scholars who
                              attempted to trace not states but the ancestors (real or
                              imagined) of the peoples they sought to "awaken."

                              The greatest Ukrainian historian and later president of the
                              Ukrainian Central Rada (a national council that evolved into a
                              government in 1917-18), Mykhailo Hrushevsky, in the early
                              twentieth century even gave a lecture in the Russian Imperial
                              Academy of Sciences saying that for the Russians, whose
                              state evolved from Moscow and thereabouts, to adopt what
                              had happened in Ukraine as the start of their history was not
                              very logical because it stripped the Ukrainians and
                              Belarusians of their early histories while leading the
                              Russians to ignore how their state really got started by
                              transplanting and adapting Kyivan institutions to a very
                              different area. Russian historians Presniakov and Liubavsky
                              made up for this in 1919 and 1929 but very few Russians
                              today know about it.

                              Names and identities change, albeit slowly, as with the
                              Greeks whose ancestors a couple of centuries ago called
                              themselves Rum, or Roman, and France could also easily
                              have become at least two counties had the Albigensian
                              Crusade of the Middle Ages not crippled forevermore the
                              culture of a land later historians have called Occitania, with a
                              language in which the medieval troubadours wrote their

                              History is far more subjective than historians often like to
                              admit, and that is probably why every generation rewrites it
                              to suit its own needs. The Ukrainians are in the process of
                              doing this and have made some notable progress after a
                              Russocentric (not exactly the same as Russian) Soviet
                              regime killed off their intelligentsia, starved to death a major
                              segment of their rural majority, and banned the
                              understanding of history they had been evolving up to that

                              Ukrainians are now in the process of sifting through the
                              wreckage left by the Stalinist "friendship of peoples" in an
                              attempt to put together a national identity that would make it
                              possible to take their place among the nations of Europe. I
                              may be biased, but I suspect that this is not a bad thing.

                             (NOTE: This article by Prof. James Mace can only be used
                              with full credits to Prof. James Mace and to
                     Information Service)

                              Prof. James Mace, author of numerous scholarly works and one of
                              the first serious researchers of the 1933 Holodomor, was born
                              February 18, 1952, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. In 1973, he graduated
                              from Oklahoma State University and went on to earn an M.A. and
                              Ph.D. in history at the University of Michigan, in 1981defending his
                              dissertation, "Communism and the Dilemmas of National Liberation:
                              National Communism in Soviet Ukraine, 1919-33," later published in
                              book form (Harvard, 1983). Upon completing his graduate studies
                              Dr. Mace was invited to join the famine project at the Harvard
                              Ukrainian Research Institute where he collected material for Robert
                              Conquest's Harvest of Despair.

                              In 1986-90, James Mace served as executive director of the US
                              Ukraine Famine Commission, a hybrid body subject to Congress
                              and the president, supervising its daily work and drafting its findings
                              for approval by the full commission. After 1990, he held fellowships
                              at Columbia and Illinois Universities. In 1993, Prof. Mace moved to
                              Ukraine, working first as a supervisory research fellow at the
                              Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Institute of Ethnic and Political
                              Studies, then teaching politics at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
                              National University and International Christian University. Since
                              1998, Prof. Mace has been consultant to the English digest, The

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