Using a unique and previously untapped dataset of telegrams sent to student hunger strikers in Soviet Ukraine, this article examines spatial dispersion of civil resistance in a repressive political regime. The study argues that national identity, compared to socioeconomic grievances, explains better the level of opposition in a multiethnic, authoritarian state. The analysis demonstrates that support for the student hunger strike, also known as the Granite Revolution, was higher in areas with a larger proportion of Ukrainian-language speakers. Additionally, the rate of telegram-sending was significantly higher in areas with a more robust presence of the reform-oriented social movement Rukh. Meanwhile, socioeconomic grievances exerted a weaker impact on the rate of telegraphing support for the pro-democracy student movement. Moreover, contrary to classic modernization theory, opposition to the communist regime is found to be lower in areas with a higher level of urbanization. The profile of senders, as well as the content of telegrams, also suggests that identity-based grievances prevailed among supporters of the Granite Revolution. The study makes an empirical contribution to contentious politics literature by exploring patterns of civil resistance and political communication in the era preceding the rise of social media.
Yearly estimates of urban and rural direct losses (excess deaths) from the 1932–34 famine are presented for the oblasts of Soviet Ukraine. Contrary to expectations, the highest losses are not found in the grain-producing southern oblasts, but in the north-central Kyiv and Kharkiv oblasts. Several hypotheses are proposed and tested to explain this finding. No single hypothesis provides a comprehensive explanation. Losses in some oblasts are due to specific factors, while losses in other oblasts seem to be explained by a combination of economic and political factors. Quantitative analyses are presented of resistance and Soviet repressions in 1932, and effects of the food assistance program and historical-political factors on direct losses in 1933 are analyzed.
Estimates of 1932–34 famine direct losses (excess deaths) by age and sex and indirect losses (lost births) are calculated, for the first time, for rural and urban areas of Ukraine. Total losses are es-timated at 4.5 million, with 3.9 million excess deaths and 0.6 million lost births. Rural and urban excess deaths are equivalent to 16.5 and 4.0 per cent of respective 1933 populations. We show that urban and rural losses are the result of very different dynamics, as reflected in the respective urban and rural age structures of relative excess deaths.