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Emily Barab, “Papers, Please!”: Enacting Soviet Power in a Postwar Ukrainian Village’
October 12, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
This presentation is part of a book project about the Sovietization of Ukraine after World War II. It examines the process of making territories “Soviet” in Transcarpathia, a southwestern region that formerly belonged to Czechoslovakia. In particular, it details how Sovietization enforced border control in the small village of Bila Tserkva on the Romanian border. In 1949, the state launched an investigation into the village, arresting seven men, all of whom belonged to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and accusing them of anti-Soviet activity and treason. Informants from within the village carefully constructed a version of events that scapegoated their religious neighbors, and shielded themselves from greater scrutiny. As such, this case offers an ideal lens to explore the broader challenges of integrating borderland communities. Emily Baran is an assistant professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University.