2022 08 04 velychenko1



Стаття розглядає та узагальнює настанови, видані центральними російськими поліцейськими органами своїм агентам про один із національних рухів, за яким вони повинні були спостерігати та знешкоджувати, якщо не знищувати. Вона охоплює українські землі під владою царського, а потім більшовицького/радянського режимів. Стаття заснована на раніше секретних документах, щоі вищі посадові особи поширювали в обмеженій кількості примірників, але з тих пір ті настанови  опубліковані. У роботі зазначаються умови політичних обставин на момент  написання тих документів, і звертається увагу на схожість між ними. Дані звіти відображали інституційні інтереси таємної поліції щодо пошуку і знаходженя конспіративних змов. Автори тих документів підтримували тих хто виступав проти поміркованості та компромісів у політиці щодо України та українців.

This paper reviews and summarizes characterizations issued by central Russian police authorities to their agents about one of the national movements they were supposed to watch and neutralize if not destroy. It covers the Ukrainian lands ruled by tsarist and then Bolshevik/Soviet regimes. The article is based on previously secret documents that senior officials circulated in restricted numbers of copies but that have since been published. The paper notes the conditions prevailing at the time they were written and draws attention to similarities between them. The reports reflected the institutional interests of the secret police whose rationale is to look for and find conspiracies. They supported those who opposed moderation and compromise in policy towards Ukraine and Ukrainians.



Vladimir Putin made his career in the secret police. Upon taking power in 2000, he appointed many of his former KGB associates [siloviki] to governmental positions. As a result, instead of having a government with a secret police, Russia became a country with a secret police that had a government.[1] This had profound implications for independent Ukraine, as meant that men with a conspiratorial mindset would be determining policy towards a former imperial possession that in their minds remained “a part of Russia.” According to that conspiratorial perspective, Ukrainian independence, and pre-1991 opposition to imperial rule, was not a result of opposition to central policies caused by underlying socio-economic, ideological and political issues common to all empires. It stemmed only from foreign intrigues and russophobic malcontents. A 2021 article signed by Putin, “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” summarized this understanding of Ukraine’s relationship to Russia.[2]

As others have demonstrated, Putin’s understanding of Ukraine and Ukrainians is an eclectic mix of tsarist White Russian and Russian Bolshevik ideas about “Little Russia” and “younger brothers”, sprinkled with philosophical observations by men like Alexandr Dugin and Ivan Ilyin – marginal obscurants until lifted from that obscurity after 1991 by the extremist right and Putin.[3] An additional overlooked source of his particular interpretation can be traced to tsarist Third Department, Okhrana, and then Bolshevik Cheka and KGB secret reports on non-Russian national movements – all of which produced copious secret detailed documentation about them. A review of these reports about the modern Ukrainian movement, highlights how despite the vast changes that have occurred since they were written, the views of Putin and his associates about Ukraine have not changed with the times but remained mired in an imperial past – a metrocentric conspiratorial view of empire that elites in other former ruling imperial states long since dispensed with after the post-1945 “decolonization” of Asia Africa and Oceania.

Specifically, this paper reviews and summarizes characterizations issued by central Russian police authorities to their agents about one of the national movement they were supposed to watch and neutralize if not destroy. It focuses on the Ukrainian lands ruled by tsarist and then Bolshevik/Soviet regimes, and is based on secret briefs and instructions issued by the regular and secret police in 1847, 1874-75, 1916, 1926, 1955 and 1963. The paper does not address the empirical validity of these central official descriptions of the Ukrainian movement, nor what impact the secret police reports had on government policies in Ukrainian territories. It notes the conditions prevailing at the time they were written and draws attention to continuities and differences between them.

These previously secret documents senior officials once circulated in limited numbers of copies only among those they thought had to know, have since been published. They are among the now many published collections of formerly classified secret police reports about individuals or groups. The chosen sample in this paper deserves separate attention because each item is a general survey, not merely a description of a particular group or event or person. The reports are summaries and interpretations of the subject distilled and compiled from preceding covert and overt investigations. Each provides a snapshot of how officials understood the Ukrainian movement at a particular point in time that can now be easily consulted by those interested in Ukrainian-Russian relations in particular, and national movements and empires in general.

The first set of documents was compiled in 1847 and comprises reports by the head of the secret police with analysis and policy recommendations.[4] The second consists of two denunciations of local Ukrainian activists sent to the head of the Third Department in the 1870s who agreed with them and thought them important enough to forward to the Minister of Education for action.[5] The third analysis is a report dated June 1916 of a fact-finding mission to Kyiv in 1915 by an anonymous member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, most likely from the police department.[6] The fourth fifth and sixth documents were written in 1926 1955 and 1963, each by secret police agents.[7] The last known KGB review of the Ukrainian national movement made in 1990 has not been published. [8]


After 1814 and the end of the Napoleonic Wars, imperial rulers had to contend with lesser nobles and educated commoners organized into informal associations, conspiratorial groups or political parties that demanded the decentralization or the dismemberment of the empires to which their countries belonged. These men were motivated by theories of popular democracy and nationalism, according to which cultural and political borders had to coincide and rulers be accountable to an electorate. Both were at odd with the principles of monarchism and dynastic legitimacy that underlay centralized empire rule, and threatened the international political order as established by the Congress of Vienna in 1814. The confrontation continued after 1918 where foreign imperial elites still claimed to rule and centrally control territories wherein the vast majority of the population was not of the same nationality as that in the core territory of the ruling elite. One method imperial rulers used in dealing with the threat posed by national movements was to assign their police forces to observe, suppress and imprison activists. This necessarily involved explaining to the personnel involved who exactly they were supposed to target and why.

During the period in question the secret police was named the Third Department until 1880, when it was renamed as the Okhrana. The Corps of Gendarmes created in 1826 also served as a secret police. These organizations cannot be compared in terms of size or repressive function to their Bolshevik successors. Between 1866 and 1917 the tsarist police executed an estimated 14 000 people. Between 1921 and 1953 the OGPU-NKVD executed an estimated 23 000 PER YEAR.[9] The tsarist police also differed from its continental western European counterparts. It operated in an empire with no legal guarantee of personal inviolability, nor guaranteed due legal process –even for the nobility. As of 1870 officials could punish anyone accused of what they regarded as a political crime without trial. As of 1881, 7 of Ukraine’s 9 provinces were under a State of Emergency. This fell to three between 1912 and 1914 --when it was re-imposed on all western provinces. Such conditions allowed local officials to apply freely administrative penalties of their choosing to whomsoever they chose on the flimsiest of evidence. Individuals could exploit that arbitrariness to conduct personal vendettas through government officials via denunciations.[10] While local officials and police had similar wide discretionary and even arbitrary powers in some western European overseas colonies, that was not the case in the continental European states.[11]

Once Ukrainian activists as of 1900 declared their aim was political independence, they were in contravention of the 1845 Imperial Criminal Code. Nonetheless, no Ukrainian activist before 1914 engaged in armed insurrection and none were executed by the government. Individual Ukrainians were involved in terrorist acts, but as members of Russian not Ukrainian political organizations, and not in the name of Ukrainian national objectives. Russian officials, for their part, did not create a special agency to deal specifically with Ukrainian matters, which normally fell within the purview of a subsection within the police assigned to deal with non-Russians. Tsarist officials considered the Ukrainian movement had little to do with the Little Russian majority, but were divided about how to deal with that movement. Some argued that more policing, not changes in policy, were needed to eliminate the disaffected. Others favoured concessions and moderation to win loyalty.[12]

At issue was whether tsarist officials would allow a regional “Little Russian” patriotism to evolve into a local nationalism compatible with empire loyalism. The turning point came after the 1830 revolutions. Before, officials tolerated and even supported “Little Russian” cultural nationalism for its anti-Polish value. “Little- Russian” nobles descended from Cossack officers, for their part, argued to ministers that because Ukrainian- Cossack autonomy and privileges were compatible with tsarist sovereignty in the past, these should be maintained, not arbitrarily replaced by novel institutions and practices derived from foreign models in the present – by which they meant Catherine II Enlightenment- inspired centralization. After Peter I's death, these men requested each new monarch to restore earlier Cossacks privileges and autonomy. These were either recognized or not, in whole or in part, depending on circumstances and the balance of forces at court.[13] In 1832 a committee decided against granting what was to be the last such request "for the good of the empire, whose unity and might is preserved under the protection of the autocracy, division into independent parts, or more correctly into a federal union of provinces with their own rights, cannot be allowed."[14] The last vestige of Ukraine's legal autonomy disappeared in 1843, when the Lithuanian Statute was abolished.

Had ministers listened to moderates and supported Ukraine’s local loyalist nobles and national activists who were beginning to create a literary version of the vernacular, and not worried about how those men interpreted Cossack-Ukrainian history, the result would probably have been a regional version of nationalism compatible with empire loyalism – as in Scotland. But that did not happen. Nicholas I sat on the throne. In the wake of the Decembrists affair, the threat liberalism and nationalism had posed to monarchs after the French Revolution, and the violence perpetrated by revolutionary Polish nationalists and radical socialists, he and his ministers overrode those who argued that the loyalty of minorities would be better won by accommodating differences, than by repression. Some Russian liberal intellectuals also condemned Ukrainian activists on the grounds that, as radicals, they threatened and compromised their efforts to reform the tsarist autocracy. Within this context, police reports as of 1847 on those we today group as national movement activists depicted them as potential or actual political threats, and thus supported those who advocated repressive measures against national movement activists.  

Tsarist officials labeled the south-western provinces of their empire as South Russia, Little Russia, New Russia, West Russia, or South-west Russia. Ukrainian activists labeled this part of the tsarist empire as Ukraine. In so far as the secret police operatives had any history education, in the 1820s and 30s they would have been exposed to interpretations based on the work of Nikolai Karamzin. In the second half of the century to the dominant interpretation was defined by Nikolai Ustrialov and Sergei Soloviev. These historians presented Ukraine’s past as an integral part of historical Muscovy/Russia [Rossia]. They traced the beginnings of Muscovy/Russia to the Dnipro river basin and depicted Ukrainians as part of the Russian [Russkie] nation. [15] This interpretation defined the preconceptions with which those who wrote the reviewed reports approached their subject, as they did the preconceptions of the civilian officials who read those reports. The prevailing official Russian interpretation of the history of the tsarist empire [Rossiia] was disseminated in history books and the press, that, from the mid- nineteenth century, published debates between those who thought Ukrainian issues deserved support, and those against -- like Vessarion Belinskii Mikhail Katkov and Mikhail Menyshikov. The latter condemned Ukrainian activists as radicals threatening the state who were creating something called Ukrainians from a people who were in reality a Russian tribe with no past different or separate from Russia, except in so far as evil Poles and Catholics had violently imposed on that tribe differences and separation.[16] The latters’ centralist Russocentric interpretation of south-western Eurasian/eastern European history was not the only interpretation in print, but it dominated the public sphere. It defined the context and added credence to the hostile characterizations of Ukrainian activists its opponents made in their newspapers, and the denunciations those empire-loyalists sent to the police.[17]

The first reports covered here represented a summary of police investigations into the activities of Ukrainian intellectuals in the Ukrainian provinces that people who knew them, for either personal or ideological reasons, had denounced to the police as potentially seditious. The first documents were products of an investigation into the Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood (1845-47), now regarded as the first modern Ukrainian political organization. In 1847 an informer drew its’ members to the attention of the secret police in a letter referring to a group of people circulating writings “in a liberal spirit” about the unity of all Slavs. The appearance of the word “liberal” in the letter would have immediately attracted the attentions of the police who regarded liberalism and nationalism as the causes of 1830 revolutions in western Europe and the Polish uprising. Panslavic ideas of unity of all Slavs also hit a nerve with government officials because these ideas involved changing international frontiers as established in 1814.[18]

Reports signed by the head of the Third Section, Alexei Orlov, summarizing the ensuing police investigations, explained that the aim of the Brotherhood was to unite all the Slavic nations under tsarist rule with each having the same autonomous status as then did the Polish Kingdom. But then realizing this was unrealistic, members occupied themselves with non-political scholarship. Characterizing the published work of the Brotherhood’s leading members, the notes concluded, in a letter marked secret to the Minister of Education Sergei Uvarov: “In general all these Ukrainian slavists could slowly result in harm [vred] but are no less dangerous for that [now], in as much as teachers of the young they [would] have the ability to spread among the succeeding generation depravity [isporchennost] and prepare future disorder.” In letters to regional Third Department heads marked top secret, he added that a Little Russian Slavophilism propounded by the Brotherhood was turning into Ukrainophilism -- which involved dreams about restoring the Cossack Hetmanate and Cossack rights. In their work, he continued, Taras Shevchenko, Nicholas Kostomarov and Mykola Kulish lied about the present status of Ukraine [sic], when they contrasted it with an idealized version of the Little Russian past. To prevent such interpretations circulating officials were to keep all involved with “Little Russian history [drevnosti[” under discrete surveillance, and ensure no publications or lectures dwelt on any alleged present misfortunes or supposed past good fortunes of Russian [Rossiia]-ruled lands. Writings were not to speculate about joining foreign Slavs to Russia, or place love of province [rodina] above love for the fatherland [otechestvo] – meaning the empire.

Separate letters to the tsar explained the idea of Slavophilism and study of Slavic pasts had become popular in the form of Pan-Slavism. This could lead to tensions between “ruling tribes” involved with re-establishing their national identity, and “dominated tribes” re-establishing theirs. This Slavophilism was a popular intellectual current, but malcontents were exploiting the idea that Slavs should search for and celebrate their national roots. The primary culprits he then identified as Polish exiles in Paris who, with the aim of restoring historical Poland, were prepared to destroy the peace existing between four states that ruled Slavic peoples. This group sent agents abroad to agitate among the Slavic peoples on the need to unite into a single Slavic state. It was these ideas, not Polish agents, that got to Kyiv because the city had a university and there they “infected” the members of the Brotherhood. “Since St. Vladimir’s university was filled with Little Russian students, then naturally Slavophilism there was transformed into Ukrainophilism.” Slavophilism as an academic discipline was to be allowed, he continued. What was not to be allowed was publications about annexing foreign-ruled Slavs to the Russian empire, or that would suggest to “malcontents” ideas about “independence and earlier freedoms of peoples under Russian [Rossii] rule.”[19]

The Okhrana general, nonetheless, counseled against repression as that could incite enmity against Russia from Ukrainians who shared the Brotherhood’s notions about Little Russian political independence but were loyal and peaceful. The government could not suggest that it doubted their loyalty, or engage in repression as that would alienate a broader section of the Ukrainian educated and provoke them to resort violence as had the Poles in 1830-31. He advised the government not to treat Little Russians as it had the Poles a decade earlier.[20] Ministers subsequently continued surveillance of Slavophiles and Ukrainophiles, but except for Shevchenko, passed what for tsarist Russia were only light sentences against arrested Brotherhood members.

In 1874-75 two Kyiv residents sent denunciations to Okhrana chief Akexei Potapov in the wake of the Populist movement – which involved students and intellectuals dressed as peasants traveling to villages and trying to provoke rural uprisings. These men were not police officials but civilian intellectuals of conservative persuasion deeply involved in debates about Russian – Ukrainian nationality with populist-liberal inspired rivals. As their views on Ukrainian issues conformed to Potapov’s, he forwarded the letters to the tsar and other ministries for action. That resulted in continued surveillance of individuals established 30 years earlier, and restrictions on Ukrainian-language and Ukrainian subject related publications.[21] Both authors, Mikhail Iuzefovich and Nicholas Rigelman, were known opponents of Ukrainian populists ideologically, and had personal rivalries with some of them. Using a tactic available to all subjects living in police states, these men forwarded their own cause, careers and interests by denouncing their rivals to the government for criminality or disloyalty in the hope of silencing them. The anti-Ukrainophile arguments they presented as civilians to the police were substantially more detailed than those found 30 years earlier in the Orlov files and police officials subsequently incorporated them into their characterization of the Ukrainian national movement.

The anonymous Rigelman letter described Ukrainophiles as a seditious product of Austro-Polish anti-Russian intrigue begun some 30 years earlier – linking them to the Poles under Austrian, as opposed to Russian rule. This group was dangerous because among them were “some elements hostile to the government.” Rigelman listed the names of Polish romantic authors who idealized Ukraine’s old Cossack order and divided the Ukrainophiles into two groups. One sought to create an autonomous South-Russian province within a restored Polish Commonwealth, and the other, a Little Russian republic ruled by a Hetman confederated with Russia and an independent eastern Galicia – then under Habsburg rule. The Ukrainian and Polish Ukrainophiles eventually fell-out after 1863 over differences about serfdom, he continued, but both shared a common hate of the Russian government. Ukrainophiles in Kyiv, Rigelman wrote, had surreptitiously taken control of the local branch of the Russian Geographical Society in 1873 and began printing and dissemination Ukrainophile ideas in publications in Ukrainian, thereby seeking to awaken sympathy for the archaic Cossack Hetman State. Loyalists, Rigelman continued, mistakenly thought that intrigue “harmless child’s play,” except for the editor of the local conservative loyalist newspaper Kievlianin, Vasilii Shulgin. He condemned such dismissal of what, in reality, was a threat. Shulgin explained that the content of those publications presented as formal knowledge in schools will cause difficulties for government educational policy. What particularly annoyed Shulgin was the publication of a translation of Mykola Hohol’s (Nikolai Gogol) Taras Bulba where “russkyi” was translated as “Ukrainian” – an edition the censor subsequently recalled in order to have the offending pages replaced with the word “Russian.”[22]


Rigelman’s letter was quickly followed the next year by a longer denunciation of Ukrainian national movement activists by Iuzefovich, the deputy commissioner of the Kyiv District School Board. Like Rigelman, he condemned Ukrainian activists as subversives in Austrian pay.[23] Russian tribes, he began, never had any national differences, and tribal particularities never had any roots “in our lives” because these tribes shared a common language, religion, history and ideals. Ukrainophilism is simply a means to cause internal disorder to serve revolutionary purposes. Once “reunited” in 1654, Little Russia sought only complete unification into Russia [“sliianie”]. “The political idea of Little Russian distinctiveness is an invention of Austro-Polish intrigue, that was inserted here [u nas ona pushchena] by Poles in the early 60s.” Like Rigelman, he identifies the Kyiv branch of the Russian Geographical Society as anti-Russian, then specifically, the historian Panteleimon Kulish, who identified Little Russians as a separate nation and wrote they suffered under Russian rule worse than under Polish –thanks to the malign influence of his friend the Polish Romantic Michal Grabowski. Conspiring with other members of Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood, these men with their propaganda, that freely circulated, sought to “undermine the feelings of Little Russians towards the Russian state and belittle their history.” Such men, he concluded, were awakening old rebellious instincts, which he classified as “political disease,” that had to be stopped by decisive measures before it spread.

The Okhrana and central ministers took these letters seriously. The letters obviously conformed to its purpose which was to identify discontent, sedition, and conspiracies. They likely knew claims about Austrian intrigues were fanciful because Russia and Austria had just signed The League of Three Emperors treaty in 1873. What likely troubled them more and convinced them to act on the denunciation, was the liberal-populist threat it identified. Many Ukrainians participated in that movement and in as much as higher officials knew Orlov’s reports from the 1840s, Iuzefovich and Rigelamn would have confirmed his observations in their minds. There followed circulars specifying repressive measures against Ukrainian activists and publishing.

The final tsarist document reviewed here is an anonymous police report apparently motivated by the appearance in Kyiv of members of the Austrian backed anti-Russian League for the Liberation of Ukraine (SVU) with copies of Ukrainian language publications, after Russian troops had taken western Ukraine/eastern Galicia from the Austrians in early 1915. This report was written the following year, after the Russians had re-taken the territory. At the time, Russian officials in another department belonging to the foreign ministry were also writing position papers considering policy towards tsarist, and re- taken western Ukraine. [24] The underlying assumption in this 1916 report, as in the earlier reports, was that a minority of ideologically discontented malcontents, not legitimate grievances with policies, were causing discontent and threatening public order.[25] The report did not mention that Ukrainian leaders in the tsarist empire publicly declared loyalty to the empire with the outbreak of war, and like the preceding ones, could be used by conservatives opposed to moderates in the government who, at that same time, were considering compromise in Ukrainian policy. Unlike the foreign ministry reports that urged concessions, numbered restricted copies of the hard-line police document were circulated to provincial police chiefs.

The document consists of two parts. For the first time, this police report includes a survey of Ukrainian history. This is followed by a summary of police reports on Ukrainian activists in each of the tsarist Ukrainian provinces and abroad. The historical section is based a recently published book of over 400 pages by Sergei Shchegolev Ukrainskoe dvizhenie kak soveremennoi etap iuzhnorusskago separatizma (1912). [26] Shchegolev was the censor in charge of Ukrainian -related publications in Kyiv from 1908, and a member of the extremist loyalist Black Hundred Club of Russian Nationalists. Given his access to most everything Ukrainian activists published, legal and illegal-smuggled, he was able to write, from the post-1905 extremist-loyalist Black Hundred perspective, an unprecedented detailed book incorporating these materials. It is unknown whether or not he was a secret police official. He began his book when Piotr Durnovo, the decidedly anti-German ex-minister of police and then Interior Minister in 1906, known as “the counter-revolution’s butcher,” was a member of the State Council—possibly under his sponsorship.[27]

The gist of his argument was first, that Little Russian was a disappearing dialect and that nothing should be published in or taught about it, while “Ukrainian” was an artificial language, a product of “narrow party fanaticism,” a “parody of Polish,” invented in Austrian-ruled Lviv and introduced in “South Russia” in 1906. Second, he explained that Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s presentation of a Ukraine’s past as separate and distinct from Russian history was wrong, as was his idea that the “Kyivan period” did not belong to “All Russian” history. Shchegolev condemned existing anti-Ukrainian decrees as too few and too lax, using as evidence the spread of Ukrainian language publications and increased public Ukrainian activities in the wake of relaxed restrictions after 1905. He explained that regardless of protestations of loyalty, the Ukrainian national movement, if not repressed, like all others, would ultimately destroy the empire, which he equated with “the unity of All Russia.” “By its nature there is nothing progressive about the Ukrainian movement; it is only opposed to the state unity of Russia [Rossii] and inimical to Russian [Russkoi] culture.” It had successes only because the masses are ignorant and the majority of “South Russian intellectuals” are indifferent to it. Were Ukrainophilism not supported by some naïve populists and sentimentalist federalists, it would have died long ago, he wrote. He condemned the 1905 decision of the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences to end all restrictions on Ukrainian language publications as nothing short of criminal. The ensuing Ukrainian publications were “revolutionary pulp of a purely ephemeral nature.” “South-Russian” separatism was the product of pre-partition Polish government officials, and later of publicists dreaming of revenge against Russia. Both sought to exploit the ambitious pride [chestoliub] of individual Cossack officers against Russia. The separatist movement was neither popular, republican or democratic, but elitist-intellectual, demagogic and anarchic. Shchegolev devoted considerable attention to Hetman Mazepa, considered a traitor by Russians because he sided with Charles XII in 1709 during the Great Northern War, and used the term “Mazeppists” and Ukrainophile as synonyms.[28] With the expiration of the 1876 German-Russian Treaty in 1890, and the 1897 Austro-Russian Treaty in 1908, and the probable backing of Durnovo, Shchegolev could elaborate, in print, that Russia’s Polish enemies were joined in the 1840s by Austrian government officials, the Vatican, and then, Germany, all interested in using Ukrainian intellectuals against Russia and “polonizing Little Russians.” [29] As in Orlov’s report some fifty years earlier, this review classified the Ukrainian national movement as a foreign inspired seditious movement led by traitors.  

Shchegolev’s warnings about false Ukrainian protestations of loyalty indicate he perhaps knew that the moderate majority of Ukrainian leaders via Mykhailo Hrushevsky had agreed with the liberal interior minister in 1904 Prince Sviatopolk-Mirskii, not to have contacts with Japanese agents who were offering funding to radical parties, in return for concessions on language and publishing policies.[30] Perhaps that agreement was reflected in prison sentences, which Shchegolev probably did not know about. Between 1906 and 1909 when the government was punishing those who participated in the 1905 Revolution “Little Russians” comprised 2.3 percent of prisoners exiled to Siberia. Russians, 37 percent.[31]

Ukrainian reviewers of Shchegolev’s book detailed dozens of factual errors and contradictions, pointing out what Shchegolev wrote was at odds with what the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences had been writing about Ukrainians, their past and their language.[32] One reviewer considered Shchegolev’s claims fantastical and wondered whether or not he should be send for psychiatric observation. But the book was widely read, praised by the extremist loyalist-right. As evident in the 1916 report, the secret police used as reference. [33]

The 1916 police report consists of two parts. The first part is analytical, beginning with a summary of the Shchegolev book. There follows a long section detailing that, as Shchegolev had shown, the Ukrainian movement was political separatist in nature motivated only by hatred of Russia. The author adopted Shchegolev’s term “Mazeppists” to refer to movement activists. He provided a summary of their understanding of the history of their movement, a very detailed account of the activities of Ukrainian political parties just before and during the war, a summary of Hrushevsky’s major works, and a review of the close contacts between western and eastern Ukrainian organizations. The second part was empirical. It summarized, often in painstaking detail, police reports from 1915 on Ukrainian activists and their publications in the tsarist Ukrainian provinces, Petrograd, Austria-Hungary, Canada, and America.

The report warned that since 1914, Mazeppist activities and circulation of seditious anti-Russian Ukrainian propaganda had been increasing. It noted that as of 1900, the aim of the Ukrainian movement was the establishment of an independent state, but that purely cultural-related Ukrainian activities also posed a threat because they focused on “Little Russian particularities” – particularities that could easily generate political tendencies threatening the political order. It reminded readers that Mazeppism was contrary to the Fundamental Law of the empire and tantamount to treason. Besides prosecuting its adherents according the law, local officials were to observe activists and prohibit their publications.[34]


The Bolshevik secret police organized in 1918 is known by its acronym ChK – Cheka. It was renamed in 1922 as the OGPU, in 1934 as the NKVD, in 1946 as the MVD and in 1954 as the KGB. The 1926 document was written by three GPU agents from its special section, Karl Karlson (Eduards Ogrietis) deputy head of Ukraine’s OPGU, and Osher Abugov and Boris Kozelsky (Bernard Golovanevskii). Their characterization of the Ukrainian national movement was compiled after a five-year conventional and then partisan war against an armed independence movement that had mustered mass support and managed for a short time to create an independent state.

Two issues underlay its appearance. First, was strong opposition to the policy of Indigenization/de-Russification/Ukrainization, declared by the 12th Party Congress in 1923. Lazar Kaganovich, then Ukraine’s First Secretary, who was interested in defeating his local Ukrainian rivals and critics, would have been interested in a report he could use to add credence to the arguments of those arguing Indigenization was going too far and becoming a threat to basic Bolshevik principles.[35]

The second issue was the coming to power in early May 1926 of Jozef Pilsudski in Poland. In 1920 he had militarily supported Ukrainian leaders in their attempt to restore the independent Ukrainian National Republic (UNR). Kremlin leaders now thought he would again invade Soviet territory in support of the UNR government-in-exile. In the wake of reports that he intended to moderate Polish policies towards Poland’s Ukrainian minority, and about favourable reactions in the western USSR to events in Poland, OGPU leaders informed their subordinates that Pilsudski would invade to restore an independent Ukrainian state. In June central OGPU leaders ordered a mass operation against UNR supporters (”Petliurites”) and their contacts in Moscow, a check of all government and party personnel in Ukraine for connections with “Petliurites,” and the arrest of “an appropriate number of hostages.” [36] Their circular ordered “all our forces” to be prepared for defense against expected Polish attempts to organize adherents in the USSR. Alongside a massive anti-Polish propaganda campaign, it ordered Republican OGPU units “to activate work.” That is, to identify and observe all Ukrainian intellectuals, Polish priests and former UNR supporters as likely allies of any attempt by Pilsudski to launch offensive operations against the USSR.[37] The massive arrests that began after 1927 could be done thanks to the long lists agents began compiling in 1926. In 1928, 11% of Ukraine’s male population aged 18-60 was under surveillance. The total arrested rose from 13 809 in 1926, to 17 554 in 1928, to 54 391 in 1933. [38]

The 1926 brief was published in September, likely as part of the response to Pilsudski’s win. It was printed in 75 copies, marked top secret and “not to be reproduced.” The authors showed no interest in pre-revolutionary history or Russian historiography about Ukraine. It introduced groups not in the tsarist reports: “Ukrainian anti-soviet elements,” “the Ukrainian counter-revolutionary movement,” and “nationalists.” Other novelties were “Ukrainian petty-bourgeoisie” and the idea that this group exploited nationalism to reverse the achievements of the socialist revolution and establish a class dictatorship in the guise of an independent Ukraine so they could again exploit the working class. Accepting they had been militarily defeated, the authors wrote, these nationalists adopted the tactic of “cultural war” against “Soviet power [sovetskaia vlast]” to weaken it.[39] Under the guise of Indigenization/Ukrainization large numbers of individuals used legal means to place advocates of nationalist ideas in all official positions. These individuals also paid particular attention to “kulaks”[40] and were successfully convincing, particularly the youth, that their primary task was “the absolute national independence of Ukraine from the yoke of Moscow.” The “nationalists” dismiss Ukrainization as fraudulent, and consider Ukraine a Russian economic colony. “The killing of Petliura [in Paris in in May 1926] resulted in an undoubted increase in the activities of our enemies that now will endeavor to cause as much trouble for Soviet power [meaning the Bolshevik party] as possible.” The report directed agents not only to observe the listed groups but “actively spy” on them –which presumably meant infiltrate with informers. The document specified that information was to be collected about all individuals promoting and advocating Indigenization. [41]

If in 1847 tsarist generals counseled moderation and discretion in dealing with Ukrainian activists, so as not to risk alienating the majority, the 1926 report does not suggest their Bolshevik successors shared that approach. If the former thought it better not to make mountains of molehills, the latter thought it better safe than sorry. In the words of Cheka founder Feliks Dzierzhinskii: “The defense of the revolution cannot take into account that… its [the Cheka] sword might chance to fall on innocents heads.” A year later, Lenin in April 1919 stated: “I ask calmly and categorically which is better, to imprison several scores or hundreds of instigators, guilty or innocent, deliberate of unwilling, or lose thousands of Red Army men and workers? The first is better.”[42]

The politics behind the 1955 document are unclear. That year Nikita Khrushchev had consolidated his position as ruler, had released thousands of Gulag prisoners and was discussing with his colleagues publicly exposing Stalin’s crimes. His chief of the KGB was Ivan Serov -- Ukraine’s NKVD chief in 1939-41. He had organized the Katyn massacre, and the mass deportations from Poland, the Baltic states and Crimea.

Western Ukraine at the time was part of the USSR. The region had been annexed by Poland in 1919 and a strong conspiratorial nationalist movement had emerged there -- the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The Communist government killed tens of thousands and deported hundreds of thousands in the course of suppressing the armed Ukrainian movement in western Ukraine after 1944– which it had done by the time Stalin died in 1953.

The 1955 report was published in limited press run marked as a top secret training manual. The authors were L.S. Burdyn, I.V. Khamaziuk, S.V. Prudko and N. A. Kuleshov. The first two were in charge of the KGB’s Fourth Section, the department charged with the task of fighting Ukrainian “bourgeois nationalists” – a euphemism referring to any Ukrainian opposed to Bolshevik/Soviet rule in Ukraine. This manual reiterated an interpretation of history compiled by civilian party officials. That was unlike the 1926 report when intelligence officials provided analysis of the Ukrainian movement based on their own investigations and conclusions. In the 1916 report, the authors used Shchegolev for reference only. After Stalin’s death, perhaps as part of the new leaderships’ decision to reduce the role of the secret police, they assigned academics to define the historical context that the authors then used to justify anti-Ukrainian and counter-insurgency operations.

During the war Stalin allowed non-Russian republic leaders and intellectuals leeway in promulgating a local patriotism. That tolerance ended in 1947 when decrees issued by Andrei Zdanov included condemnation of war-time historiography about Ukraine. Historians were historians not to present Ukrainian history “in isolation,” but closely tied to the history of the Russian and Belorussian people. In 1952, Andryi Lykholat, then in charge of the Higher Educational Institutions Section of the CPSU CC Culture and Learning Department, received orders from politbureau member and Stalin’s propaganda commissar Mikhail Suslov, to organize committees of historians in Moscow and Kyiv to write the first drafts of what came to be called "The Thesis." Working closely with A. Rumiantsev, CPSU CC secretary in charge of Culture and Learning, Lykholat conscripted the services of the Moscow historians A. M. Pankratova, K. M. Bazilevich, M. N. Tikhomirov, A. L. Sidorov, L. V. Cherepnin, and V. I. Picheta, and the Kiev historians O. Kasymenko, I. Boiko, K. Huslysty, V. Holubutsky, and F. Shevchenko. After about one year, each group submitted outlines to Lykholat, who then compiled a final version in consultation with P. M. Pospelov, director of the Marx-Lenin Institute and deputy editor of Pravda; S. Chervonenko, head of the Ukrainian CC Culture and Learning Department and Rumiantsev. This version was then sent for comments to I. Nazarenko, the Ukrainian Ideological Secretary, and to A. Korneichuk, Ukrainian Politburo member and head of the Ukrainian Writers Union. Sometime in mid-1953, the new leaders approved the “The Thesis on the 300th Anniversary of the Unification of Ukraine with Russia,” This “Thesis” presented Ukrainians as a younger brother of Russians whose past and future was indissolubly linked to Russia.

Unlike the authors of the 1926 report, the “Thesis” authors incorporated many of Shchegolev’s ideas as well as those of pre-revolutionary Russian-tsarist historians into an argument justifying Ukraine’s alleged affiliation with Russia – past and present. They depicted medieval Kyivan Rus as a shared heritage of both counties. It was inhabited by an “Old Rus Nation,” that was divided by foreign invasions and occupation until it was “reunited” in 1654 with Russia. The “Thesis” did not include Russia or Russians among Ukraine’s foreign enemies. It claimed the alleged unity of Ukrainians and Russians was never broken or seriously threatened and a desire to restore that unity was a motivating force in Ukrainian history. Ukrainians who were politically pro-Russian were praised as reflecting the will of the Ukrainian people to “reunite” with Russia. Ukrainians past or present who were politically anti-Russian were the enemy. These were traitors who as lackeys of foreign powers attempted to sever Ukrainian-Russian historical unity and deny Ukraine the prospect of development alongside their brother Russians. The “Thesis” specified as enemies “Polish and Ukrainian feudal landlords,” “the bourgeoisie” “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists,” and “western imperialists.” The authors carefully distinguished “the tsarist autocracy,” Ukraine’s “the bitterest enemy” according to them, from “the Russian state” that “facilitated Ukraine’s cultural and economic development.” Before 1917 that included a shared struggle with Russians to overthrow tsarism, and after 1917, sharing in the “building of communism.” [43]

The 1955 manual was divided into five chapters, the first two summarize what was in the recently published “The Thesis” that anyone interested could read, plus other related published items listed in a bibliography. As expressed in the introduction, “the Ukrainian nation” had fought for centuries against its enemies “ in order to reunite with the fraternal Russian nation” in 1654 and only benefited as a result. The main enemy of the Ukrainian nation were Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists who sought to subordinate them to Ukrainian bourgeoisie and landowners. Because they had little support in Ukraine, they allied with imperialist foreign powers to restore capitalism in Ukraine, destroy socialism and the “friendship of the peoples of the Soviet People.” To the foreign powers listed in the tsarist reports, the 1955 authors now added “American reactionaries” and “French imperialists” who, they explained, continued to back their Ukrainian hirelings after 1945 particularly in western Ukraine.

Part I is a detailed survey of the Ukrainian movement up to 1945 covering Russian, Austrian and later Polish-ruled territories according to the interpretive framework defined by the “Thesis”. It traces its beginnings from 1900, not the Brotherhood as did tsarist reports and, like the tsarist reports, omits mention of tsarist policies towards the Ukrainian provinces. The independent Ukrainian state the Ukrainian bourgeoisie declared in 1917, was only a counter-revolutionary façade that protected the class interests of Ukrainian and foreign capitalists. Armed resistance to Bolshevik rule after the final collapse of the UNR was reviewed in some detail up to 1939. It was classified as gangsterism and banditry directed from abroad by the nationalist bourgeoisie and their imperialist backers against the pro-bolshevik “revolutionary movement of the Ukrainian nation” honestly involved in “building socialism.” This “nationalist bourgeoisie” organized spies and agents to undermine Bolshevik rule from within – as had been explained in 1926. The war-time anti-Bolshevik activities of western Ukrainian nationalists in the OUN and UPA, were reviewed in particular detail. The authors explicitly denied they opposed Nazi rule.[44] Part 2 covers the post-war Ukrainian underground. It includes a detailed discussion of Ukrainian tactics and the counter-insurgency tactics deployed against them.

The last published KGB report dates from 1963. This was a training manual compiled in the wake of conservative-centralists’ reaction to broad public demands after the 1956 Party Congress failure to reveal more about Stalin’s crimes, outspoken writers’ criticisms, and the 1956 Hungarian uprising. In Ukraine leaders faced unexpected public protests that included leading establishment persons against a 1958 law that expanded the use of Russian as the language of instruction in Ukraine’s schools, and ended compulsory Ukrainian classes in its Russian-language schools. After it was passed, Ukrainian communist republican leaders tried to sabotage implementation, which, in turn, sparked complaints to Moscow by Russians that schools were not teaching in Russian.[45] These events perhaps led KGB generals in Moscow conclude it was an appropriate time to remind their personnel that “Ukrainian nationalism” had even infected those in leadership positions and threatened the status quo. The report provided more detail about the Ukrainian movement than the 1926 and 1955 documents, and covered the years after 1956, but made no reference either to “reunion” ideas or the “Thesis”. The basic theme in the 1963 manual was much the same as in the earlier reviewed reports. Nationalism was criminality aimed at destroying “the unity of the proletarian movement,” and opposition to “Soviet power” was the product of a disgruntled alienated minority in the pay of foreign imperialists.


Although General Orlov signed the reports on the Brotherhood in the 1840s, they were probably compiled by his assistant General Liontii Dubbelt. Orlov was a conservative. He was also, however, a sloth, bored by police work who read absolutely nothing he did have to. Dubbelt, in contrast, the man who most likely provided the first police characterization of modern Ukrainian nationalism, was a competent and convinced uncritical conservative in principle. He thought people needed strong sovereigns like goats needed shepherds with canes. He despised western Europe, considering it “a rubbish dump,” and hated all foreigners whom he considered snakes every ready to bite Russia. He regarded any criticism of Russia as an outrage that could not under any circumstances be allowed to undermine what he regarded as the empire’s admirable social and political order. He considered western European liberalism an anathema to which peasants could not under any circumstances be exposed to and personally hated Shevchenko.[46]

Dubbelt and his successor Potapov labeled the first Ukrainian national activists “Ukrainophiles.” Their reports presented them as intellectuals isolated from the mass of the population, who, influenced by foreign ideas learned from Polish political exiles, wrote and talked about re-establishing in the present an idealized long lost archaic Little Russian past before it “joined” Russia. Their dangerous writings included fantasies about a political union of all Slavs, and were not to be disseminated in the empire.

Sixty years later, the last tsarist police analysis of the Ukrainian movement elaborated upon the Dubbelt account. It also depicted the movement as limited to a group of intellectuals, adding they were motivated by a hate of everything Russian and wanted to destroy Russia. It labeled them “Mazeppists”. These were groups of malcontents that included intellectuals who had been conspiring with foreigners against Russia ever since their provinces “reunited” with Russia in 1654. Motivated by a desire to destroy Russia [Rossiia], conspiring with Poles, the Vatican, the Austrian and German governments, they had invented a language and a nationality, and via the press were trying to popularize seditious ideas among the ignorant masses.

There are significant differences between tsarist and Bolshevik reports. The 1926 report includes no historical background. Unprecedented was the explicit categorization in the 1926 report of nationalism as criminality, and of entire social groups that included 10s of thousands of people in all walks of life as constituting an enemy national movement. Nor were Chekists as concerned as Orlov and Dubbelt about repression alienating a broader public. Bolshevik reports used conceptual categories like class, and “counter-revolutionary bourgeois-nationalist” unknown to tsarist authors. The 1925 and 1955 reports were written just after counter-insurgency operations had ended against Ukrainian armed formations seeking to establish and independent state – something the tsarist police never faced. The authors of the 1955 report, unlike in 1926, but like their tsarist precursors, denied Ukraine had a past distinct and separate from Russia. The KGB officers, used an interpretation of history that reworded the tsarist notion of “reunion of Little and Great Russia”, into “reunion of Ukraine with Russia”. This was presented as a “progressive” ahistorical driving force realized when Ukrainians “reunited” with Russia in 1654, and then in 1917 when, together with it, they established a socialist society. Those opposed to this “progressive” evolution that saw Ukraine’s destiny inevitably and incontrovertibly tied with Russia’s, were hopeless “reactionaries” doomed to destruction and deserving repression.

The post-war account of the Ukrainian movement was very detailed, and like the later tsarist categorization, was much dependent on civilian academics whose “Thesis” was available in the published media at the time to anyone interested in it. Like the tsarist reports, the KGB reports repeated the idea that the Ukrainian national movement was the product of a minority succumbed to “foreign,” meaning western European ideas, and dependent on western European powers. Novel was the notion that a separatist national “bourgeoisie” was interested in an independent Ukraine only because they wanted to exploit Ukrainians for profit.

The purpose of a secret police is to find, watch and destroy enemies. In empires, among the enemies were those who sought to change the status of their national territories within the empire or to separate from it. The officials who compiled the reports on the Ukrainian movement approached their subject from conservative conspiratorial rather than critical circumstantial perspective. They did not relate nationalist grievances to policies and proposed ministers repress rather than reform. In countries wherein the secret police was but one branch of government, police opinion would be one of a number of opinions ruling groups would consider when making policy. Conservatives would use such police reports against reformist moderates. This was case in the USSR, it should be remembered, where the KGB was subordinated to the Party Central Committee and Polibureau.

The Russian police characterization of the Ukrainian movement persisted within the Russian ruling elite after 1991. This was unlike in any post imperial European country today, whose ruling elites no longer regard the national movements in their former colonies as products of foreign backed rabble-rousing malcontents. Western European ruling elites disabused themselves of the rationalizations and arguments justifying their imperial rule and illusions about the nationalism and nationalists in their possessions after fighting losing wars against them. After the USSR collapsed in 1991 it seemed a similar revision and rejection would occur in Russia where historians would be free to write about the past as they saw fit, and secret-police reports on Ukraine in cabinet meetings would be one among others and figure under foreign affairs. That possibility disappeared after Putin came to power. As of 2012 it became evident his government would not sponsor critical revision of the pre-1991 understanding Ukraine and its national movement – a country it still regarded as a Russian possession. Putin’s government instead sponsored and disseminated archaic Tsarist and Bolshevik justifications.[47] After 2000, meanwhile, Russia’s secret police, renamed the FSB, was no longer only one branch of government but the ruling organization subject to no one but Putin -- himself a secret police operative.  

Putin’s 2021 article “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians”, is a modernized variant of earlier Russian secret police reports on Ukraine and Ukrainians, that, unlike them, was made public. Given that by 2014 Russia was effectively a secret police dictatorship with no known overt “moderate” faction in government, the conspiratorial secret police understanding of the Ukrainian movement and Ukraine detailed in the Putin article enjoys an unchallenged influence in Russia’s public sphere and on policy. This is unlike tsarist, and even pre and post- Stalin secret police reports, which although used by conservatives to support their positions, could be nonetheless be questioned or manipulated by moderates opposed to them. The 1847 report itself counseled moderation.


Although they differ in details, the underlying ideas and accounts of Russian-Ukrainian relations in the 2021 Putin article can be found in all the reviewed reports and training manuals. There is nothing to suggest its authors knew of these earlier reports, but continuity is evident. [48] The “On the Historical Unity” document, much like all the reviewed reports, does not treat Russian-ruled Ukrainian territories as annexed foreign lands whose elites opposed administrative and cultural centralization, sought local autonomy, and then secession. They all assume Russia and Ukraine were inhabited by an imagined “single nationality.” Problems stemmed neither from central policies or circumstances, or European-wide intellectual trends. They were caused by: “Vienna,” “leaders of the Polish national movement,” “external forces,” “forces that have always sought to undermine our [Ukrainian and Russian] unity,” “Polish-Austrian ideologists,” “radical groups of Ukrainian nationalists,” and “Western countries.” How unique or common this metrocentric conspiratorial Russian understanding of a particular national movement is might be determined in a comparative study of other imperial secret police reports about national movements in their empires. For example, the Russian analysis of the Ukrainian movement might be compared to the Japanese secret police analysis of the pre-war Korean movement, or British intelligence analysis of the pre-independence Irish or Indian movements.

In the British case, the important English legal scholar Albert Dicey in 1886 claimed there was one British nation inhabiting the single geographical area of the British Isles—that included Ireland. Much like many of his Russian counterparts, he wrote that to undo that natural geographical and historical union would represent a reversal of history, mark national decline and be tantamount to self-destruction. In 1872, the two-time Secretary of India, Lord Salisbury said: “Ireland must be kept, like India, at all hazards; by persuasion if possible, if not, by force.”[49] Much like their Russian counterparts, these men saw political autonomy as surrender to extremists and dismemberment of empire.

A comparative perspective can highlight how benighted is Russia’s post-2000 ruling elite – an elite that thinks and acts like nineteenth-century western European imperialists. It is, for example, simply impossible to imagine that a re-incarnated Lord Salisbury as British prime minister in the 21rst century, or even latter-half of the 20th century, would publish an essay titled “The Historical Unity of the English and Irish,” or “of English and Americans,” or “of Britons and Indians, ” wherein he treated the former empire as “the same historical and spiritual space,” and blamed the loss of former imperial possessions on Wog and Paddy malcontents, and evil Anglophobic foreigners.

[1] C. Belton, Putin’s People. How the KGB Took back Russia and then took on the West (New York: Ferrar Straus Geroux, 2020); M. Gessen, The Future is History. How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (New York: Riverhead Books, 2017); K. Dawisha, Putin’s Kleptocracy. Who Owns Russia (New York: Simon Schuster, 2014); A. Soldatov, I. Borogan, The New Nobility (New York: Public Affairs, 2010); Y. Albats, The State within a State. The KGB and its Hold on Russia- Past, Present and Future (New York: Farrar Strauss Giroux, 1994).

[2] < http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66181>

While Putin undoubtedly approved the article, how much of it he actually wrote is unknown. Ukrainian historians systematically indicated non sequitors, inaccuracies and nonsense in it:

<http://likbez.org.ua/ua/ukrayinska-vidguk-ukrayinskih-istorikiv-na-stattyu-v-putina-pro-istorichnu-yednist-rosiyan-ta-ukrayintsiv.html.> For instance, if because Russian and Ukrainian elites once shared a common Slavic language and Orthodox religion they should be considered one people and live in one state, then why are not the English, Italians, Germans, Hungarians, Poles, French, Spanish and Portuguese, whose elites also once shared a common Catholic religion and Latin language also be considered as one people who should live in a single state? Also: A. Wilson, “ Russia and Ukraine. One People as Putin Claims,” RUSI, 22 December 2021. Russia and Ukraine: ‘One People’ as Putin Claims? | Royal United Services Institute (rusi.org).

[3] Most recently: T. Kuzio, Russian Nationalism and the Russian-Ukrainian War: Authocracy, Orthodoxy, Nationality (London, 2022); M. Riabchuk, Dolannia ambivalentnosti. Dykhtomiia Ukrainskoi natsionalnoi identychnosti- istorychni prychyny ta politychni naslidky (Kyiv, 2019). P. D'Anieri, Ukraine and Russia: From Civilized Divorce to Uncivil War (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

[4] Reproduced in: P.S. Sokhan et al, Kyrylo –Mefodiivske Tovarystvo, 3 vols. (Kyiv, 1990) I: 62-70; III: 293.

[5] Reproduced in: F. Savchenko, Zaborona Ukrainstva 1876 r. Reprint ed., (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1970) 372-81; V. Miiakovsky, “Zapyska 1874 r. pro Ukrainsky rukh,” Arkhivna sprava, no. 2-3 (1927) 21-5.

[6] Reproduced in: O. Hermaize, “Materialy do istorii ukrainskoho rukhu za svitovoi viiny,” Ukrainskyi Arkheohrafichnyi Zbirnyk, vol. I (1926) 274-354; and M. B. Smolin, ed.,“Ukrainskaia” bolezn Russkoi natsii (Moscow, 2004) 105-74.

[7] Reproduced in: Iu. Shapoval, V. Prystaiko, V. Zolotariov eds., ChK-GPU-NKVD v Ukraini (Kyiv, 1997) 254-67; also Iu. Shapoval, “’On Ukrainian Separatism’: A GPU Circular of 1926,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, no. 3/4 (December, 1994) 275-302.

L.S. Burdin, I.V. Khamaziuk, S.V. Prudko, N.A. Kuleshov, Podryvnaia deiatelnost ukrainskikh burzhuaznykh natsionalistiv protiv SSSR i borba s neiu organov gosuarstvennoi bezopastnosti (Moscow, 1955).

<Електронний архів українського визвольного руху (avr.org.ua)> or <Подрывная деятельность украинских буржуазных националистов против СССР и борьба с нею органов государственной безопасности | Бурдин Л.С. (сост.), Хамазюк И.В. (сост.), Прудько С.В. (сост.), Кулешов Н.А. (сост.) | download (ca1lib.org)>. B.S. Shulzhenko, I.V. Khamaziuk, V.T. Danko, Ukrainskie burzhuznye natsionalisty (Moscow, 1963). <Wilson Center Digital Archive>. Partial English translation: <119632.pdf (wilsoncenter.org)>.

[8] The most recent discussion of KGB operations against national movement activists: O. Bertelsen, In the Labyrinth of the KGB, Ukraine’s Intelligentsia in the 1960s – 1970s (Lexington books, 2022). <Kremlin planned to destabilize Ukraine in the early 1990s by smearing "all forms of nationalism," KGB file reveals | Euromaidan Press>.

[9] P. R. Gregory, Terror by Quota (Yale University Press, 2009) 29.

[10] J. Daly, “On the Significance of Emergency Legislation in Late Imperial Russia,” Slavic Review, no. 3 (Autumn, 1995) 602-26. The 1845 Criminal Code included among state crimes the failure to report them-- that permitted anyone who denounced someone to regard themselves as loyal patriots, or fear consequences if later accused of not denouncing.

[11] In western European national states governments repressed radicals without becoming police states. B. L. Ingraham, Political Crime in Europe. A Comparative Study of France German and England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979) 321. Those interested in comparative history of imperial policing in colonies, do not include Russia in their studies.

[12] A. Kotenko, “ An Inconsistently Nationalizing State. The Romanov Empire and the Ukrainian National Movement,” D. Staliunas Y. Aoshioma eds. , The Tsar The Empire and The Nation (Budapest: CEU, 2021) 17-32.

[13] Z. Kohut, "A Gentry Democracy within an Autocracy. The Politics of Hryhorii Poletyka (1723-1784)," Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 3-4 (1979-80), 507-19.  Patronage politics in St. Petersburg is discussed in B.Meehan-Waters, Autocracy and Aristocracy, The Russian Service Elite of 1730 (New Brunswick, NJ: 1982), 67-69, 157-60.

[14] Cited in N. Storozhenko, "K istorii Malorossiiskikh kozakov v kontse XVIII i nachale XIX veka," Kievskaia starina, no. 10 (1897), 128.

[15] S. Velychenko, National History as Cultural Process. The Interpretation of Ukraine’s Past in Polish Russian and Ukrainian Historical Writing. From Earliest Times to 1914. (Edmonton: CIUS, 1992); P. Potichnyi et al, Ukraine and Russia in their Historical Encounter. (Edmonton CIUS, 1992); V. Tolz, Russia. Inventing the Nation (London and New York: Arnold, 2001); S. Yekelchyk, “The Grand Narrative and its Discontents: Ukraine in Russian History Textbooks and Ukrainian Students’ Minds, 1830s-1900s,” A. Kappeler et al, Culture Nation and Identity. The Ukrainian Russian Encounter 1600-1945 (Edmonton: CIUS, 2003) 229-255; A. Tolochko, Kievskaia Rus i Malorossiia v XIX veke (Kyiv: Laurus, 2012). Miller, Imperiia romanovykh i natsionalizm; idem, “Ukrainskyi vopros”; S. Plokhy, Lost Kingdom. A History of Russian Nationalism from Ivan the Great to Vladimir Putin, (London: Penguin Books 2017)

[16] Extremist Russian publications condemning the Ukrainian movement are reprinted in: A.Iu. Minakov, ed., Ukrainskii vopros v Russkoi patrioticheskoi mysli (Moscow, 2016). Individual works by individual Ukrainian activists have been republished but there is no collection of reprinted Ukrainian materials analogous to the Russian anthology. For English translations of some Ukrainian writings: S. Bilenky, ed., Fashioning Modern Ukraine. Selected Writings of Mykola Kostomarov, Voloymyr Antonovych and Mykhailo Drahomanov (Edmonton: CIUS Press, 2013).

[17] A. Miller, “Ukrainskyi vopros” v politike vlastei i russkom obschestvennom mnenii, (St. Petersburg, 2000); O. Andriewska, “The Russian-Ukrainian Discourse and the Failure of the ‘Little Russian’ Solution, 1782-1917,” in Kappelar, et al., Culture Nation and Identity, 162-81; J. Remy, Brothers or Enemies. The Ukrainian National Movement and Russia, from the 1840s to the1870s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016).

[18] D. Saunders, "Russia's Ukrainian Policy 1847-1905: A Demographic Approach," European History Quarterly, no. 2 (April 1995), 181-208, identifies fear as a reason that inclined the ministers towards repressing rather than tolerating difference. Fear stemming from weak administrative control is also mentioned by A. J. Rieber, "The Reforming Tradition in Russian History," in A. J. Richer and A. Z. Rubinstein, eds., Perestroika at the Crossroads (New York, 1991), 4-17.

[19] Sokhan et al, Kyrylo –Mefodiivske Tovarystvo, I: 76, 79-81; III: 306-10. The 1845 Criminal Code listed as a state crime forceful attempts to alienate Russian territory. Some of the Brotherhood case documents are translated into English: G.S.N. Luckyj, Young Ukraine. The Brotherhood of Sts. Cyrill and Methodius 1845-1847 (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1991) 85-110.

[20] Sokhan et al, III: 308.

[21] A. Miller, “Ukrainskyi vopros”, 173. Remy, Brothers or Enemies. Events are covered in detail by Miller, Andriewska, Remy and Savchenko, Zaborona Ukrainstva 1876 r..

[22] Miakovsky, Zapyska, 21-25.

[23] Savchenko, Zaborona, 372-80.

[24] A. Miller, Imperiia romanovykh i natsionalizm, (Moscow, 2006) 173-93, reviews the foreign ministry reports. He makes no mention of the Interior Ministry police document.

[25] During tsarism’s last year the Chief of Moscow’s secret police had come to understand the reality of wartime – it was policies not agitators that threatened the regime. C.A. Ruud, S.A. Stepanov, Fontanka 16. The Tsar’s Secret Police, (Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 1999) 223-24; F.S. Zuckerman, The Tsarist Secret Police in Russian Society 1880-1917, (New York: New York University Press, 1996) 230-32, 241-43.

[26] Reprinted: M. B. Smolin, ed., Istoriia “Ukrainskogo separatizma” (Moscow, 2004).

[27] A. P. Borodin, Petr Nikolaevich Durnovo: Russkii Nostradamus (Moscow, 2013) 188.

[28] Smolin, ed., Istoriia, 43, 264, 335. Mazeppists he explained, were the Russophobic majority in the Ukrainian political party, who in turn, were part of the Little Russian nation.

[29] Smolin, ed., Istoriia, 43, 133, 178, 182, 356-77, 400, 405, 408.

[30] D. B. Pavlov, Japanese Money and the Russian Revolution,” Acta Slavica Iaponica, no. 11 (1993) 79-87; R. Kowner, ed., Rethinking the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05. (The Hague: Brill, 2007).

[31] B. Gryszczynska, E, Kaczynska, “Poles in the Russian Penal System and Siberia as a Penal Colony (1815-1914): A Quantitative Examination,” Historical Social Research, no. 4 (1990) 120.

[32] From the 1890s Russian academics like Alesander Pypin, Aleksander Shakhmatov and Feodor Korsh had been publishing work explaining Ukrainian cultural demands were legitimate and justified.

[33] I. Koliada, “‘Blagorodnyi osvedomytel’: Shtrykhy do portreta kyivskoho tsenzora Serhiia Nykyporovycha Shcholoieva,” Problemy istorii Ukrainy XIX –pochatku XX st.,         vyp. 20 (2012) 354-63.

[34] Smolin, ed., “Ukrainskaia bolezn,” 175-76.

[35] T. Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire. Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939. (Cornell University Press, 2002)   212-28. One element in the arguments Kaganovich presented to Stalin that Indigenization was going too far, was a statement by a leading Ukrainian writer Mykola Khvylovei. He argued modern Ukrainian culture should be modeled on western Europe. He coined the slogan “Away from Moscow,” which particularly infuriated Stalin. Also: J. Mace, Communism and the Dilemmas of National Liberation, (Harvard University Press, 1983) 97-108.

[36] Iu. Shapoval, V. Zolotarev, “Gilotina Ukrainy”: narkom Vsevolod Balitskii i ego sudba. (Moscow, 2017) 99.

[37] J. J. Bruski, Miedzy Prometeizmem a Realpolitik. II Rzeczpospolita wobec Ukrainy sowieckiej 1923-1926 (Krakow, 2010) 313-17. The Ukrainians did cooperate with Polish intelligence and were sending literature into Soviet Ukraine from late 1925. The OGPU knew Pilsudski’s followers had re-newed contact from January 1926 with the UNR in exile and its leader Simon Petliura. Ibid. 328-31. The Bolsheviks had sentenced Petliura to death in 1921 and carried out that sentence in Paris a few weeks after Pilsudski took power, followed the next month by the assassination of another UNR leader General Oskilko. Polish officials saw both as the Kremlin’s response to Pilsudski taking power. Ibid. 337.

[38] 38,500 people in Ukraine in 1928 were under surveillance– not arrested. Of the 25,888 “politicals,” at least 40% were associated with Ukrainian issues. V.M. Nikolsky, Represyvna diialnist orhaniv derzhavnoi bezpeky SRSR v Ukraini: Istorychne-statystychne doslidzhennia. Monohrafiia. (Donetsk, 2003) 48-53, 89, 330. O. Mozokhin, Staliniana. Repressii v tsyfrakh i dokumentakh (Moscow, 2018) 399, 408, gives total arrested in 1928 as 16 595 (out of 19 722 charged) in Ukraine – an increase of 3400 from 1926.

[39] The term “Soviet” originally referred to freely elected councils at all levels of peasants, soldiers, workers, and members of all political parties left of centre, that emerged in 1905. These organizations were usurped by the Bolsheviks within months after they took control of a territory. They systematically eliminated non-Bolshevik parties and individuals from soviets and turned them into controlled local administrative organs. Leaders nevertheless retained the term to refer to their government and system as it sounded better than “Bolshevitskaia vlast”. To use “Soviet” instead of “Bolshevik” to describe the reality of Bolshevik party rule and the territory it controlled is wrong. It is a misnomer that obscures the fact that after 1921 most of the territory of the former tsarist empire was ruled and controlled not by “soviets” but by the left-wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party – renamed Russian Communist Party in 1918, All Union Communist Party in 1925 and CPSU in 1952.

[40] An ostensibly socio-economic category, “kulak,” which Bolsheviks used to refer to well-off peasants, became under Bolshevik rule, in practice, a political category that local officials would apply to anyone they considered hostile or in any way recalcitrant.

[41]   Shapoval, Prystaiko, Zolotariov eds., ChK-GPU-NKVD, 266. The authors of the brief refer to a document from 30 March that same year “On Ukrainian Society” which is not reproduced in the book and has not been published.

[42] V. Lenin, Collected Works (Moscow, 1972) 29: 300-01; Cited in: Gregory, Terror by Quota, 28.

[43] S. Velychenko, Shaping Identity in Eastern Europe and Russia. Soviet Russian and Polish Accounts of Ukrainian History 1914-1991 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 1993) 56-61; idem, “The Origins of the Soviet Interpretation of Eastern Slavic History. A Case Study in Policy Formulation,” Forschungen zur Osteuropaischen Geschichte 46 (1992) 221-53; W. Hahn, Postwar Soviet Politics. The Fall of Zhdanov and the Defeat of Moderation 1946-53. (Cornell University Press, 1982) 19-93. “The Thesis” is translated in: J. Basarab, Pereiaslav 1654. A Historiographical Study (Edmonton: CIUS Press) 1982: 270-88. On the evolution of the notion of an “Old Rus Nation”: N. Iusova, Davnoruska narodnist: Zarodzhennia i stanovlennia kontseptsii v radianski istorychni nautsi 1930-ti –persha polovyna 1940-kh rr. (Kyiv, 2006) .

[44] Podryvnaia deiatelnost, 16-60. The authors assert that German intelligence instructed the Ukrainians to proclaim themselves anti-German in order to attract men into their partisan forces (56).

[45] Even before the law was implemented Republican leaders had forwarded their disapproval of the draft to Moscow – something that undoubtedly drew KGB attention. B. Lewytzkyj, Politics and Society in Soviet Ukraine 1953-1980 (Edmonton: CIUS, 1984) 41-91; J. Smith, “The Battle for Language. Opposition to Khrushchev’s Education Reform in the Soviet Republics, 1958-59,” Slavic Review (January, 2017) 983-1002.

[46] P.S. Squire, The Third Department. The Establishment and Practices of the Political Police in the Russia of Nicholas I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968) 160-79.

[47] S. Hromenko, Ivan Vissarionovych Putin. Iak pratsiuie istorychna mashyna RF (Kyiv, 2022); A.Wiess-Wendt, N. Adler, eds., The Future of the Soviet Past. The Politics of History in Putin’s Russia (Indiana University Press, 2021); J.C. Pearce, The Use of History in Putin’s Russia (Delaware: Vernon Press, 2020); D. Khapaeva, “Triumphant Memory of the Perpetrators: Putin's Politics of Re-Stalinization,” Communist and Post-Communist Studies (2016) 1-13. Critical re-thinking of Imperial Russian history now occurs outside of Russia. M. Mogilner, “NEW IMPERIAL HISTORY. Post-Soviet Historiography in Search of a New Paradigm for the History of Empire and Nationalism,” Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest, (2014) no 2: 25-67.

[48] Putin and his KGB associates were unlikely to have known about the Okhrana reports. As KGB recruits in the 1970s, they might have been aware the 1963 if not the 1955 manual during their training. If so, these reports would have reinforced rather than created Russocentric anti-Ukrainian opinions they probably already shared as Russian KGB recruits. This perhaps will never be known.

[49] Cited in: P. J. O’Farrell, England and Ireland since 1800 (Oxford: Oxford University

Press, 1975), 57.