Regional Nationalism and Soviet Anxieties during the Great Terror in Ukraine: The Case of Mykhailo Bykovets'


  • Olga Bertelsen Columbia University



Abstract: This study examines Soviet nationalities policies and the elimination of Ukrainian intellectuals during the Great Terror in Ukraine by exploring the individual history of the Ukrainian literary figure Mykhailo Bykovets', one of the founders of the literary association “Pluh” (Plough) and one of the initiators of the Literary Discussion that emerged in the mid-twenties. The research explores the modus operandi of a key Soviet institution, the GPU/NKVD, and its proactive methods of the de-nationalization of Ukrainian society. Bykovets’s criminal case seems to be axiomatic of the Great Terror, exhibiting common patterns of the secret organs’ procedural and investigative tactics. Through an analysis of Bykovets’s archival file, and the themes and questions that were central to the investigation of Bykovets’s “crimes,” the study illuminates the persistent national vector of repression against the representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia during the Great Terror. 

Keywords: The Great Terror, Secret Police, Kharkiv, Ukrainian Intellectuals, Mykhailo Bykovets'


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