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To Make a Village Soviet
In June 1949 the Soviet state arrested seven farmers from the village of Bila Tserkva. Not wealthy or powerful, the men were unknown outside their community, and few had ever heard of their small, isolated village on the southwestern border of Soviet Ukraine. Nevertheless, the state decided they were dangerous traitors who threatened to undermine public order, and a regional court sentenced them to twenty-five years of imprisonment for treason. In To Make a Village Soviet Emily Baran explores why a powerful state singled out these individuals for removal from society. Bila Tserkva had to become a space in which Soviet laws and institutions reigned supreme, yet Sovietization was an aspiration as much it was a reality. The arrested men belonged to a small and misunderstood religious minority, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and both Witnesses and their neighbours challenged the government’s attempts to fully integrate the village into socialist society. Drawing from the case file and interviews with the families of survivors, Baran argues that what happened in Bila Tserkva demonstrates the sheer ambition of the state’s plans for the Sovietization of borderland communities. A compelling history, To Make a Village Soviet looks to Bila Tserkva to explore the power and the limits of state control – and the possibilities created by communities that resist assimilation.
Author: Baran, Emily B. Year: 2022 ISBN: 9780228010555 Pages: 248 Language: English Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press Publisher's city: Montreal, Quebec Publication date: 2022-09-01