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«В кузнице Сталина»: шведские колонисты Украины в тоталитарных экспериментах XХ века = V kusnitse Stalina: Shvedskie kolonisty Ukrainy v totalitarnykh experimentakh 20 veka
Södertörn University, School of Gender, Culture and History, History.
2012 (Russian)Book (Refereed)Alternative title
In the Forge of Stalin : Swedish Colonists of Ukraine in Totalitarian Experiments of the Twentieth Century (English)
Abstract [en]

The Swedish colony of Gammalsvenskby (Старошведское) was founded 1782 on the lands of New Russia (Новороссия) by fishermen from the island of Dagö/Hiiumaa in the Baltic Sea. Villagers had frequent contacts with Sweden and the Grand Duchy of Finland throughout the nineteenth century. A number of Swedish cultural institutes (school, new church, library, chorus etc.) were built due to the Scandinavian aid in the village and as consequence the colonists received "an inoculation" of modern Swedish nationalism.

During the first half of the 20th century the Swedish community near the Black Sea became the subject of the series of social experiments on the part of the different political regimes. The aim was to change the collective identity of the colonists and creation of loyalty of Swedes towards the new authorities. In 1923-1929 in the village under the guidance of the Ukrainian Central Commission for the National Minorities (ЦКНМ) the politics of the indigenization was provided with the aim of transforming former foreign colonists of the Russian Empire into a loyal ethnic minority of the Soviet Ukraine. However in 1929 the whole village (888 persons) emigrated to Sweden after negotiations between the Swedish and Soviet governments.

In the historic fatherland a new large scale experiment was undertaken under the control of the specially created Committee (Gammalsvenskbykommittén). The aim of this experiment was to fully integrate the "archaic" Ukrainian Swedes into the modern Swedish society through their transformation into the successful Swedish farmers. The emigrants were denied a separate settlement in Sweden and newcomers were dissolved throughout the country to undergo "instruction of the Swedish norms of economic and every day activities." Appointed by the Committee inspectors were monitoring all the aspects of the integration of the old Swedes into the Swedish society.

About 300 Swedish colonists who were not agree with the policy of Sweden voluntarily returned to the Soviet Union according to their own will. There in Röda Svenskby during five years under the guidance of the Comintern and rule of the Swedish Communist Party led by Hugo Sillén the experiment on the implementing the first Swedish kolkhoz and Swedish intentional community in the Soviet Union took place.

The Soviet Union was unlike many other states in the world. This difference concerns not only the abolishment of private property and the dictatorship of the Communist Party, but also a nationalities policy based on internationalism. While ethnic minorities faced discrimination across Europe, the Soviet Union proclaimed in 1923, and then realized, a policy of full support of cultural and linguistic rights for ethnic minorities. However this policy changed dramatically when, in 1937, the Soviet government and the secret police (NKVD) started a mass operation in order to execute members of several ethnic minorities. For fourteen months in 1937 and 1938 roughly 250,000 people representing some 25 ethnic minorities from Finns to Iranians were executed by NKVD. The mass arrests did occur in Gammalsvenskby in 1937-38 and included 22 individuals from 41 Swedish families. The promotion of the Swedish culture was fully stopped simultaneously with the era of terror. In 1938 the Swedish school was closed, the national village council was dismissed and the administrative positions there were taken by non-locals.

During World War II Swedish colonists accepted the status of Volksdeutsche. In 1943 all villagers together with their German neighbours were evacuated to Germany by the Nazi occupation forces. In 1945 about a hundred of the returning Ukrainian Swedes were deported by the Soviet secret police (NKVD) to the Komi autonomous republic – a Finno-Ugric region in northern Russia. The government decided to settle all former Volksdeutsche in the Gulag area alongside other enemies of the Soviet state "until further notice". The main purpose of the displacement and isolation of this "special contingent" was "to make them true Soviet citizens".

Within the theoretical framework provided in the works of Michel Foucault and Alberto Melucci the author analyzes the techniques of forced normalization used by the Stalinist totalitarian state in order to reorient the cultural and linguistic identity of a Swedish ethnic group. The book is based on the archival sources in the repositories of Ukraine, Sweden and Russia.

Abstract [sv]

I boken analyseras de olika sociala experiment som invånarna i Gammalsvenskby i Ukraina utsattes för under 1900-talets första hälft. Från 1700-talet och framåt hade svenskbyborna täta kontakter med Sverige och Finland och behöll sin svenska identitet och kultur. Den stalinistiska staten försökte vid flera tillfällen förändra svenskbybornas kollektiva identitet. De skulle “normaliseras” och bli goda sovjetukrainska medborgare, medlemmar av internationella kommunistiska rörelsen och medvetna byggare av det socialistiska samhället. 1929 emigrerade samtliga invånare i Staroshvedskoe (888 personer) till Sverige, efter förhandlingar mellan den svenska och den sovjetiska regeringen. I Sverige sattes en mängd insatser in för att ”integrera” Ukrainasvenskarna i det moderna samhället. De fick inte bosätta sig tillsammans och övervakades av inspektörer på praktikplatser, så att integrationen gick rätt till. Ungefär en tredjedel av Ukrainasvenskarna valde därefter att återvända till Sovjetunionen. Efter deras återkomst till Röda Svenskbyn genomfördes där ett experiment administrerat av Komintern och under ledning av kommunister från Sveriges kommunistiska parti. Experimentet gick ut på att bygga upp den första svenska kolchosen i Sovjetunionen. Under den Stora Terrorn arresterades och arkebuserades 23 svenskbybor, anklagade för att ha byggt upp en “svensk spionorganisation”. Den tyska ockupationen av Ukraina medförde att Ukrainasvenskar blev offer för ännu ett experiment, denna gång i form av en nazi-germanisering av den svenska befolkningen i Altschwedendorf. 1945 förvisades svenskbybor av den sovjetiska säkerhetspolisen till Gulag eftersom de klassificerades som folkets fiender. Inom ramen för Michel Foucaults och Alberto Meluccis teorier undersökas i boken den sovjetiska tvångsnormaliseringens tekniker. Dessa användes framgångsrikt av myndigheterna för ideologisk, lingvistisk och kulturell omstöpning av Ukrainasvenskarna, men författaren visar också hur svenskbyborna gjorde kollektivt motstånd.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Moskva: ROSSPEN , 2012, 1. , 222 p.
, History of Stalinism
Keyword [en]
forced normalization, collective resistance, nationalities policy, Soviet Union, Swedish minority, Great terror, Stalin’s leadership, deportation.
National Category
Research subject
Historical Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-17705ISBN: 978-5-8243-1684-1OAI: diva2:579093
Swedish colonies in Ukraine
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 5002101
Available from: 2012-12-20 Created: 2012-12-19 Last updated: 2014-12-12Bibliographically approved

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