The monograph deals with Soviet Ukraine during the Stalinist purges and Great Terror of 1934–38 as seen from the perspective of Polish diplomats then working there. What sets it apart from other studies of the Great Terror is its extensive use of hitherto unknown archival materials, including documents prepared by the interwar Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish Army.
Robert Kuśnierz describes the conditions under which the Polish consulates in Soviet Ukraine functioned during the Great Terror; the kinds of problems their officials encountered and what sources of information they used for their reports; whether they tried to intervene to prevent Soviet persecution, particularly of Polish citizens and members of the Polish minority in Soviet Ukraine; and whether the reports they transmitted to Warsaw influenced Polish policies vis-à-vis Moscow. The book also provides information about the plight of Ukrainian countryside after the Great Famine of 1932–33 (Holodomor), including Polish intelligence photos of devastated villages. Everyday life in the republic’s cities is also discussed. The documents presented also reflect the Polish authorities’ perceptions of Soviet society and their views about the Soviet repressions, antireligious campaign, and propaganda.
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