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About The Book

In his monograph Simone Bellezza reconstructs the history of the shistdesiatnyky—the generation of Soviet Ukrainian intellectuals who spearheaded the renaissance of Ukrainian national culture in the 1960s. His analysis begins with the awakening of artistic and literary expression during the so-called Soviet Thaw and describes the varied relationship that Ukrainian artists and writers had with the Soviet authorities until the mass arrests and repressions of intellectuals in January 1972. Dr. Bellezza has consulted a wide range of sources: official and samvydav (samizdat) publications, archival documents (including those preserved in the former archive of the KGB in Kyiv), interviews, and many unpublished sources that were previously ignored in the historiography of the period.

Bellezza presents the movement of the shistdesiatnyky in all of its complexity. It was a fundamental stage in the development of Ukraine as a modern nation but also a typically Soviet phenomenon linked to broader Soviet culture. The shistdesiatnyky, most of whom were born in the 1930s, considered themselves the best products of the Soviet system of education. Consequently their rediscovery of Ukrainian culture did not automatically lead them to reject Russian culture or socialist ideology. They were conscious of the close and complex relations between the Russians and the Ukrainians. Although they condemned the widespread Russian chauvinism that had persisted during from tsarist times into the Soviet era, they retained hope in seeing democratic and libertarian reforms in the USSR.

About The Author

Simone Attilio Bellezza

Simone Attilio Bellezza

Simone Attilio Bellezza is an associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Federico II University of Naples. He received his Ph.D. in history from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. The common thread of all his work is the study of national belonging and its relationship with other kinds of loyalty--social, political, cultural, and …

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