E-Mail: myborovyk [at] icloud.com
Between a usable self and the possible truth: the diaries of a Soviet woman
The project is dedicated to the study of the war diary and biography of the Soviet designer and artist, Iryna Khoroshunova. The diary, entitled The Kyiv Notes, is one of the most cited sources of personal origin on the history of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. This work was written with the original intention to be published and the text version that eventually came to be published is the result of multiple alterations. Therefore, while losing some of its value as a source on the history of World War Two, this text opens up other opportunities. Comparing it with Khoroshunova's other texts, i.e. her personal correspondence, her diary written in the pre-war period as well as analyzing the memoirs in the context of her biography, one can trace the personal evolution of their author and find out more about the society in which it occurred.
While studying Khoroshunova's life story as well as the construction of her autobiography, Mykola Borovyk intends to trace what shifting social impact the war and its memory had. In this way, he hopes to find out, to what extent did the war experience, constructed and conceptualized in a certain way, eradicate former class divisions and altered political and national loyalties?
Each of the Kyiv Notes versions that survived was proposed by Khoroshunova for publication. However, not one of them could make it through censorship until the fall of the Soviet regime. The transformations of this text can demonstrate how the author tried to create a version of her war experience that would be acceptable to herself and that at the same time would stay within the framework of the politically dominant discourse. The analysis of these changes can illuminate the interaction between the carriers of personal memories of war and the official institutions which sought to ideologically control historical memory in the USSR.
Ultimately, the project is aimed to contribute to a deeper understanding of the formations of a collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet Ukraine. It will also elucidate the connection between social identities and the different variants of constructing war experiences they produced. The project also investigates the relations between the authorities and the individual in Soviet society. It is particularly focused on the issue of ideology internalization and the nature of a "Soviet subject" as well as the interplay between national and imperial factors in the national republics of the USSR.