Selfhood and Statehood in Interwar Ukraine: Inventing the "New Man"

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Klymenko, Oksana
Liubavskyi, Roman
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transcript Verlag
In the 1920s and 1930s, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes were established in various European countries. The creation of a "New Man", and methods of total control over all spheres of his life, were central characteristics and necessary conditions for their existence. In the Soviet Union, the New Man’s formation was closely intertwined with various projects in the economic sector, such as industrialization, as well as in the social, cultural, and educational spheres via campaigns like Ukrainization or the eradication of illiteracy. According to the Soviet authorities, all these campaigns were aimed at creating a "new ideal world" and a New Soviet Man. Soviet propaganda, which was represented through posters, newspapers, radio, cinema, and other popular mediums, had a significant impact on the New Man’s formation. The "New Man" was a term used by the Soviet authorities to characterize the image of a "real Soviet man", who believed in the idea of revolution, was ready to sacrifice his life for it, actively participated in socialist construction, and obtained education in his free time. In the USSR, there were attempts to explain this term from an ideological point of view. Soviet ideologists of the 1920s and 1930s, particularly Leon Trotsky and Anatoly Lunacharsky, wrote about the New Man in their works. The Soviet project of creating the New Man through education was complex. It was not only about changing the social and economic conditions of people’s lives, but also about changing their habits and lifestyles. To implement these plans, many ideological projects were introduced focusing on the reconstruction of physical spaces, changes to everyday habits, and the mastery of a new model of speaking and remembering. This chapter will consider these processes using several historical examples including socialist city construction, the introduction of new socialist rituals, and new remembrance practices.
New Man’s, Ukrainization, Soviet propaganda, socialist city construction, new ideal world, child’s socialization, section of the monograph
Klymenko O. Selfhood and Statehood in Interwar Ukraine: Inventing the "New Man" / Oksana Klymenko, Roman Liubavskyi // Ukraine's Many Faces Land, People, and Culture Revisited / eds. Olena Palko, Manuel Ferez Gil. - Bielefeld : transcript Verlag, 2023. - P. 205-219.