M. Borovyk, PhD in History, Postdoctoral Researcher,

Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies / LMU Munich, Germany;

Associate Professor, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine


The purpose of this research is to analyse previously unknown diaries of Irina Khorshunova, who is the author of one of the most cited sources of personal origin about the life in Kyiv during the Nazi occupation. The analysis is an attempt of contribution to the discussion on the problem of the nature of the "soviet subjectivity" and the social control mechanisms had been functioning in Stalin's USSR. The special attention is paid to the discourse features of the texts in their relations to the official Soviet discourse of socialist revolution. It is shown, that in the prewar time Khoroshunova had quite a critical stance regarding the realities of the Soviet socialism and did not belong to the enthusiastic supporters of Soviet power. The analyzed sources enable the deeper understanding of the ideological environment and more detail picture of social divisions and hierarchies, which dominated the Soviet society. According to the article, the conception, that the world-view of the "first Soviet generation" was completely dominated by the communist ideology is too simplistic and does not reflect the historical realities of that time. It is also shown in the article that the traditional imperial divisions and hierarchies had not lost their influence in the prewar USSR and coincided in the consciousness and social practices of Soviet citizens with the class characteristics, which are traditional to our understanding of the Soviet society.

Key words: Khoroshunova, diary, Ukraine, Stalinism, "Soviet subjectivity".

Full text PDF


1. Tsentralnyi derzavnyi arkhiv vyshchych orhaniv vlady ta upravlinnja Ukrainy, Kyiv, fond 5270, оpys 1, sprava 1, 28 arkushiv.

2. Ibid, fond 5270, оpys 1, sprava 2, 46 arkushiv.

3. Ibid, fond 5270, оpys 1, sprava 7, 220 arkushiv.

4. Ibid, fond 5270, оpys 1, sprava 10, 7 arkushiv.

4. Ibid, fond 5270, оpys 1, sprava 1, 31 arkush.

6. BOYM, S. (2002) Kak sdelana sovetskaya sub''ektivnost? Ab Imperio, 3, 285-296.

7. GERASIMOV, I. (2002) Pered prikhodom t'my. (Pere)kovka novogo sovetskogo cheloveka v 1920-kh godah: svidetelstva uchastnikov. Ab Imperio, 3, 297-320.

8. KHOROSHUNOVA, I. (2001) Pervyj god vojny. Kievskie zapiski. In: "Yehupets": Khudozhno-publitsistychnyi almanakh Instytutu Judaiky. Vol. 9. Kyiv: Duh i Litera, pp. 5–110.

9. KHOROSHUNOVA, I. (2001) Pervyj god vojny. Kievskie zapiski. In: "Yehupets": Khudozhno-publitsistychnyi almanakh Instytutu Judaiky. Vol. 10. Kyiv: Duh i Litera, pp. 10–3.

10. POSKANNAYA, E. (2016) Kievlyanka Khoroshunova. Kak slozhilas' zhizn' avtora memuarov ob okkupatsii Kieva posle vojny. [Online] Internet izdanie "Gordon". 11 January. Available from: http://gordonua.com/publications/kievlyanka-horoshunova-kak-slozhilas-zhizn-avtora-memuarovob-okkupacii-kieva-posle-voyny-112353.html [Accessed: 19.10.2016].

11. BERKHOFF, K.C. (2004) Harvest of Despair: life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London : Belknap press of Harvard UP.

12. ROY, E. W., KHOROŠUNOVA, I. A. (eds.) (1991) Die Schoáh von Babij Jar: das Massaker deutscher Sonderkommandos an der jüdischen Bevölkerung von Kiew 1941 fünfzig Jahre danach zum Gedenken. Konstanz: Hartung-Gorre, 1991.

13. ETKIND, A. (2005) Soviet Subjectivity: Torture for the Sake of Salvation? Kritika : Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 6 (1), 171–186.

14. ĖTKIND, A. (2011) Internal colonization: Russia's imperial experience. Cambridge: Polity.

15. FIGES, O. (2007) The Whisperers: Private life in Stalin's Russia. London : Penguin Books.

16. GRIESSE, M. (2008) Soviet Subjectivities: Discourse, Self-Criticism, Imposture. Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 9 (3), 609–624.

17. ḤALFIN, Y. (2003) Terror in my soul: Communist autobiographies on trial. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

18. HELLBECK, J. (2006) Revolution on My Mind: Writing a Diary under Stalin. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

19. HOFFMANN, D. (2002) Power, discourse and subjectivity in Soviet history. Ab Imperio, 3, 273–278.

20. KOTKIN, S. (1997) Magnetic mountain: Stalinism as a civilization. Berkeley: University of California Press.

21. MATSUI, Y. (2002) Soviet Diary as a Medium of Communality and Intersubjectivity: a Study of a Collective Diary. Ab Imperio, 3, 385–396.

22. NAIMAN, E. (2001) On the Soviet Subjects and the Scholars Who Make Them. The Russian Review. 60 (3), 312–313.

23. PAVLOVA, I.V. (2001) Contemporary Western Historians on Stalin's Russia in the 1930s: A Critique of the "Revisionist" Approach. Russian Social Science Review. 42 (6), 4–30.

24. SCOTT, J. (1990) Domination and the art of resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven: Yale University Press.

25. SMITH, J. (2002) The Soviet State and the Individual. Ab Imperio, 3, 279–284.

26. The analysis of subjectivization practices in the early Stalinist society (2002). Ab Imperio, 3, 209–417.

27. UHL, K. (2013) "Oppressed and Brainwashed Soviet Subject' or "Prisoners of Soviet Self"? Recent Conceptions of Soviet Subjectivity. Bylye Gody. Rossijskij istoricheskij zhurnal. 28 (2), 4–10.

28. YEKELCHYK, S. (2014) Stalin's Citizens: Everyday Politics in the Wake of Total War. – New York : Oxford University Press.