Leading Cadres for Western Ukraine (1945–1949): Ideals and Reality

Leading Cadres for Western Ukraine (1945–1949): Ideals and Reality

Anna R. Lagno
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In Soviet political discourse, the accession of Western Ukraine to the USSR was seen as an event of great historical importance, for it led to the reunification of the “great Ukrainian people within a single Ukrainian state,” the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The official rhetoric stated that with the accession of Western Ukraine, a new, better period in history began for all residents of those regions, a period of inevitable development and unavoidable progress. The prevailing belief was that despite the specific features of the western regions of the country, the general laws of historical development were unchallengeable: the transition from one socio-economic formation to another, a much more progressive one, was bound to lead to the same result for all. The Bolsheviks believed that only the Soviet state could help the workers of Western Ukraine to overcome their economic and cultural backwardness in a rather short period of time. The process of Sovietization required a significant increase in the number of administrators and specialists, which was accomplished by recruiting them from the eastern regions of Ukraine as well as from other regions of the USSR. This article attempts to answer the following questions: How can one describe the Soviet cadres invited to lead western Ukrainians forward on their path to progress? Did the image of the ideal leader correspond to his real appearance and behavior? The main sources used to answer these questions include transcripts of the speeches of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CP(b)U) Nikita Khrushchev at plenums of the Central Committee of the CP(b)U, at meetings of secretaries of oblast committees, and at the meetings of party activists in West Ukrainian regions in the period between 1944 and 1949 that is in the period from the expulsion of the Germans from West Ukrainian lands and the restoration of Soviet control over these territories until Khrushchev’s transfer back to Moscow. Those administrators who were sent from the eastern regions of the Ukrainian SSR were usually poorly educated, incompetent and undisciplined; they did not speak Ukrainian, often abused their positions and broke the law. The recruitment of local activists for administrative work was not successful either, as there were few loyal and qualified administrators in Western Ukraine and those that were available were often not trusted. Personnel problems were a constant subject of discussion in the party organs, but it had not possible to rectify the shortcomings before the end of 1949, so the ideal image of a leader often differed greatly from the real image.
Anna R. Lagno
Candidate of Historical Sciences, Leading Researcher of the Department of History of Eastern Europe after the Second World War
Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences,Moscow, Russia
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Ukrainian SSR, Western Ukraine, late Stalinism, Sovietization, Communist Party of Ukraine, soviet bureaucracy, nomenklatura, leading cadres, Nikita Khrushchev
For citation:
Lagno, A.R. “Leading Cadres for Western Ukraine (1945–1949): Ideals and Reality.” Historia Provinciae – the Journal of Regional History, vol. 7, no. 2 (2023): 487–526,

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