A “Ukrainian Revolution”? Local Discourses on the Formation of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic
The dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy and the formation of the short-lived West Ukrainian People’s Republic in Eastern Galicia in late 1918 were marked by political upheavals that were oftenperceived as a “Ukrainian revolution.” This term referred to efforts to Ukrainize and democratize the state administration and eliminate Polish political and economic dominance in the former Austrian crown land. Compared to the Ukrainian People’s Republic in the former Russian territories, however, politics in the West Ukrainian People’s Republic proved to be much more conservative. In addition to legal continuities to the Habsburg Monarchy, there was a clear continuity of Ukrainian political elites.Using the example of the region Pokuttia in the southeast of Galicia, where the West Ukrainian state existed longer than in most other regions of Eastern Galicia, I will outline local discourses on the transition from the Habsburg Monarchy to a Ukrainian nation state. The focus of the presentation will be on Ukrainian narratives, which ranged between enthusiasm and criticism by Ukrainian activists for whom the “Ukrainian revolution” in Galicia did not go far enough. But it will also include Polish and Jewish perspectives,reflecting the relationship between Austrian and Ukrainian authorities and the impact of the Ukrainian takeover on everyday life.