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Bill Thayer

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Chapter 18

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

Ukraine under the Soviets
by Clarence Manning

published by
Bookman Associates
New York,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 20

 p165  Chapter Nineteen

The Soviets and the Ukrainians in Rumania

The agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union had stated that the former was not interested in the fate of Bukovyna and Bessarabia, both of which contained a large Ukrainian population. It was therefore obvious that once the Soviet hands were freed from the Soviet-Finnish war, they would endeavor to acquire these additional territories.

In both Bukovyna and Bessarabia the Ukrainian cause had been less developed, although there had been far more work in Bukovyna than in Bessarabia, which had been under Russian rule. The Ukrainian uprising in Chernivtsy had not been success­ful in 1918 and when the territory was added to Rumania, the country put a stop to all Ukrainian work, including education although a Ukrainian theatre had developed and there was considerable secret work being done.

As a result, there was a sense of stagnation which was very different from the situation in the lands under Poland. There was less sense of coordination and when in June, 1940, the Soviets requested Rumania to hand over the new provinces, Rumania had only to submit. Most of Bukovyna and the part of Bessarabia inhabited by Ukrainians were annexed to the UkSSR. The rest of Bessarabia was added to the Moldavian ASSR, which was later raised to the dignity of a Union Republic and intended for propaganda use against Rumania.

The Soviet policy was then much the same as it had been in the area taken over by Poland. There was the same amount of propaganda declaring the "liberation" of the country from the Rumanian nobles and from international capitalism. There was  p166 the same voting for annexation to the USSR, the same enthusiastic reception in Moscow, and the same process of nationalization, of the arrest of outstanding figures, and the same destruction of the established forms of life in both areas.

The Soviets were, however, less advanced in these provinces for the application of their system required time and their stay in the area was eight months less than it was in the territory taken from Poland.

The anti-Communist leaders fled either into Rumania proper or Germany or made their way to the Polish Government General in Krakow. On the other hand, despite the attempts to seal off the country, the OUN found ways of extending its influence into Bukovyna and appealed to the more alert classes of the population.

In general the Ukrainians in these two areas formed rather a secluded enclave in the general mass of Ukrainian history and they did not play a role in proportion to their numbers. They thus scarcely enter into the account, although for a while, in 1941, there was organized a force of some 2,000 who sought to impede the Rumanian return to the country. Yet, their opposition was fruitless and when they endeavored to cut their way out, they were either destroyed by the Germans or dispersed.

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Page updated: 25 Apr 22