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Shevchenko O. Yalta-45: Ukrainian science historiographic realia in globalization and universalism era
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Humanities and socio-economic science in the era of globalization and universalization

Budapest, 2013 November 15th-17th


Yalta-45: Ukrainian science historiographic realia in globalization and universalism era

Oleg Konstantinovich Shevchenko

Master of History, PhD in Philosophic Sciences.

Republican higher educational institution

"Crimean University for the Humanities"

(Yalta, Ukraine)

Abstract. The article provides the set of Ukrainian historiography scholarly works on the events of Yalta-45 Conference being first subjected to system-oriented examination in humanitarian and socio-political practice (not only classical monographs but an appreciable regional data array such as conference reports, round-table discussions verbatim accounts, etc. has been analyzed within the framework of the research). In the course of the research two vectors of Ukrainian historiography defined by the author as a vector of "continentalists" and a vector of "the Crimeans" have been brought to light. A tendency towards transformation of historic exploration of the past into politological discourse was documented. The causes of the phenomenon were found in ideological attitudes. Furthermore, factors opposing this tendency were enunciated: the sense of inherent ethnical exclusiveness versus dynamic "parochial patriotism". The elicited situation fits in with globalizing trends of up-to-date knowledge of the past which is intent on studying events of the last 100 years within the bounds of politological science methodology. It is mentioned that historical discourse on Yalta-45 preserves substantial gnoseological potential (in witness whereof there are examples of syncretizing various forms of knowledge in Ukrainian historiography). It is specified that in view of special conditions Ukrainian historiography has come to grips with formation of interdisciplinary schools of world history grand events cognition. This was exemplified in terms of Yalta conference historiography. The peril that a standard tradition can face is the absolute absorption of historical studies by politological discourse which can be well regarded as a "civilized challenge" to the present-day reality.
Keywords: Yalta-45 Conference, Ukrainian historiography, historical epistemology, globalization, interdisciplinary approach.

Шевченко О.К. Ялта-45: историографические реалии Украинской науки в эпоху глобализации и универсализма.
Аннотация. В статье впервые в гуманитарной и общественно-политической практике подвергнут системному анализу корпус научных трудов украинской историографии посвященной событиям Ялтинской конференции 1945 года (в рамках этой работы были проанализированы не только классические монографии, но и значительный массив региональных материалов: докладов на конференциях, стенограмм круглых столов и так далее). В ходе работы были выявлены два вектора украинской историографии, которые в авторском определении звучат как: вектор "континенталистов" и вектор "крымчан". Была зафиксирована тенденция к превращению исторического освоения прошлого в политологический дискурс. Причины явления были найдены в идеологической сфере. Были сформулированы факторы противостоящей этой тенденции: чувство собственной национальной исключительности с одной стороны и активный "местечковый патриотизм" с другой. Выявленная ситуация хорошо вписывается в глобализирующие тенденции современного знания о прошлом, которое стремиться изучать события последних 100 лет в рамках методологии политологической науки. Отмечено, что исторический дискурс о Ялте-45 сохраняет значительный гносеологический потенциал (подтверждение тому примеры синкретизации разнообразных знаниевых форм в украинской историографии). Уточнено, что в силу особых условий украинская историография вплотную подошла к формирванию интердисциплинарных школ познания великих событий Всемирной истории. Это было продемонстрировано на материалах историографии Ялтинской конференции. Опасностями зафиксированной традиции является полное поглощение исторической науки политологическим дискурсом, что в полной мере следует считать "цивилизационным вызовом" современной реальности.
Ключевые слова: Ялтинская конференция-1945, украинская историография, историческая эпистемология, глобализация, интердисциплинарный подход.

Introduction. Globalization era exercises decisive influence on all the spheres of human life and particularly the ones being in charge of a society, ethnos, and nation mental fields functioning. Among the latter historical knowledge moulded into lapidary phrasings of historical studies stands out most notably. Being a consolidating element for all individuals, history is particularly subject to globalizing trends of the late 20th century. And in case of Ukraine that gained its independence and the right of free construction of national mentality only in 1991 this postulate is especially veracious. As the matter of fact, origination of historical studies in independent Ukraine coincided with boisterous exercise of globalization which beyond all question affected profoundly its historical knowledge structure. In order to understand knowledge processes taking place it is extremely useful to monitor transformations of Ukrainian clerisy conceptions of fundamental, groundbreaking and global events of the 20th century. Among the latter the author highlights the February 1945 event which took place in the territory of present-day Ukraine – the Crimea (Yalta) Conference held by the leaders of the three commonwealths: the USSR, the USA and Great Britain. The event exercised immense influence on the world order structure (UNO foundation). And hereby Yalta Conference exercised decisive influence on the fate of Ukraine in the matters of geographical boundaries, ethnicity and nations as well. In a word it proved an epoch-making event open for universalism and present-day globalization tendencies in terms of its comprehension which makes it a sort of a litmus test for revealing the essence of transformations and changes taking place in Ukrainian history. February meetings of I. Stalin, W. Churchill and F. Roosevelt in the Crimea have been actively worked out in Ukrainian socio-humanitarian ideas but there are hardly any summarizing scientific papers which could accumulate their achievements and generalize the results. On the strength of the above Ukrainian tradition of Yalta events studies is unknown to Western and Eastern Europe readers. This article is to some extent capable of making up for the given deficiency of Ukrainian historiography.

Literature Review. The subject-matter under consideration has the status of Cinderella of Ukrainian historical idea. Despite the fact that various authors have paid attention to it, it has been skin-deep and fragmentary. However, a special emphasize should be laid upon the contribution of S. V. Yurchenko [15], [17, c. 106-127 ] and O. A. Shamrin [8] who marked the beginning of the research on Yalta Conference in post-Soviet Ukrainian and Russian historiography and suggested certain analysis patterns of the Western historical tradition (mainly American and British). This tradition has been carried on by the author of this article who has considerably expanded the research subject and introduced authorly methodologies of Yalta Conference historiography study.

Objectives. To elicit criteria of the crisis of historical reality exploration by Ukrainian scientists in globalization era as exemplified in Yalta Conference historiography.

Materials and Methods. The key materials for the article are subject collections of articles and abstracts on Yalta Conference published in the territory of Ukraine. Among the methods particular importance is attached to pilot inventory analysis allowing to arrange unmethodical array of opinions of dozens of historians into base groups which makes it possible to postulate trends and outline the scope of Ukrainian scientists’ historical way of thinking transformations.

Results and Discussion. It is safe to say that formal origination of Ukrainian historiography dates back to 1991. Nevertheless, it is evident that a new historiographic tradition cannot appear for a few months without any prerequisites, preliminary work, established (classical) authors.

As for traditions of 1991, they rested totally on the Soviet historiographic school. Notwithstanding, throughout the duration of the first several years a single source of Ukrainian historiography explodes in transformation. The actor is ideology on the one hand and ‘parochial patriotism’ on the other hand. National pride and national self-identity ideology required to shift focus of dozens of historians from geopolitical issues to Ukrainian Studies course. It is referred to a methodological target formation: consideration of Yalta-45 issue from the perspective of its impact on Ukraine and Ukrainian heritage [7]. This transformation mainly touched upon ethnic Ukrainian historians remarkable for their immense Ukrainophilia energy boost [1], [3], [4], [5], [6], [10]. "Parochial patriotism" and rapid geographical determination are characteristic for actor. It manifested itself within the boundaries of the Crimean peninsula, and especially remarkably in the Yalta Conference venue: Saki (the airdrome at which the USA and Great Britain delegations arrived), Yalta (the venue of panel sessions), Sevastopol (allies’ excursion program; a vessel for human resources for the conference organization, allies’ navy vessels deployment, etc.). On this reading Yalta Conference is first of all a mechanical set of microfactors which can be brought to light by local archives and living witnesses of those events [9], [14], [16], [17].

During the following decade the disruption was increasing and it led to two major schools factual coexistence in the framework of Ukrainian historiography. One of them is "Continental" (or national Ukrainian), and the other one is "Crimean" (or regional practical). In its turn, within the "Continental" school there are apologists of absolutist Ukrainian approach to Yalta (the tone of scientific works is utterly minor) and discreet and cautious adherers of the Soviet researchers of Yalta grandeur in the case of peaceful dialog between the nations (however, even in those papers the charge of Ukrainian interest at the conference is significant, and its key is exclusively major) [3], [4]. Definite and acknowledged "grandees" acting as the approach consolidators are lacking.

Among the Crimeans there are unquestionable leaders making contribution by their researches and subject-matters. There are two main schools: "universalists" doing in-depth studies of microhistorical facts within the context of their own large-scale studies (fulfilling chronological, geographical and event criteria), they gravitate to the figure of S. V. Yurchenko [15], [16], [17], and "local historians" being captivated by S. Shantyr’s [9], V. Gurkovich’s [2] and L. Yudina’s [14] findings.

What are globalization trends which a priori could not have been avoided by Ukrainian immature historical studies manifested in? Globalization being a process having an impact on reality structural matrix is always initiated by informational effects which are certainly put through information channels. For one thing, it is an introduction of new information documented first in qualitative and subsequently quantitative criteria. In this case it ought to have influenced a good deal of contemporary foreign academic papers being used by Ukrainian authors. In-depth studies on published papers of the 40s-70s are being done. Scientific findings of the Americans and the British which have been studied by Ukrainian scientists are limited to the 80s of the 20th century. No reference is made to French, Polish or Japanese studies. Consequently, globalizing trends cannot be recorded within the limits of narrow focus influence on Ukrainian scientists. Ideological trends capable of changing a historian’s world outlook axioms in a consistent manner and therefore affect profoundly their academic interests and even methodology are considered the second most important globalization channel among all the others affecting the scientific community.

If one sifts through the papers being made reference to by Ukrainian scientists studying Yalta-45 Conference, it turns out that they are mainly distinguished by their striking non-historicity. Moreover, they have been created according to the principles of a different science – politology (as often as not they are just a vivid journalism). Therefore, their objective, plot, methodology, etc. are different from historic narration. It is politological studies that find themselves in the sphere of interests of Ukrainian historians. This is where gnoseological paradox emerges. Being a historian by training, education and methodology, one is bound to transform their own style and syncretize historical and politological discourse at referring to Yalta-45. This is a challenge comparable to that of Baron Munchausen who pulled himself and the horse he was sitting on out of a swamp by his own hair. A Ukrainian historian can neither resist a tendency which has acquired a global transnational status nor accept it without reservation. The paradox can be dealt with in the following way.

In "continental" school politological methodologies have literally supplanted such factors as archive search, cited paper type analysis, different level factors combination (personal testimonies, legal documents, academic postulates of contemporaries, etc.), i. e. the whole set of historians’ profession. However, "continentalists" have managed to sidetrack the issues in focus out of large-scale geopolitics into the left field of national history, having preserved peculiar historical scope of research of Yalta-45 to the full extent.

"The Crimeans have turned the epistemological corner in a more complicated way. By and large their historical studies subject has acquired a politological physiognomy. Nevertheless, their analysis and synthesis methodology has preserved traditional coloring. In other words, they have started to fit such geopolitical situations as peace negotiations, European geographical boundaries changes, etc. with an array of microfactors, at times situation profiling and explaining world history far-reaching decisions by concrete historical events, in fact, strictly local in time and space, within the territory of a single palace on the South Coast of Crimea and 60-70 minutes negotiations between two people.

Conclusions. It stands to reason that exploration of historical reality by Ukrainian scientists tends to transform into politological discourse. Being influenced by global informational trends, historical scientific knowledge is being consistently substituted by politological knowledge. It is peculiarly illustrative of Yalta-45 Conference. In spite of their idiosyncrasy, analyzed Ukrainian approaches and schools basically represent Yalta-45 subject-matter shift from historical to politological sphere. However, the process is a long way off being brought to a termination. The historical constituent of the issue has been preserved with the efforts of both "continentalists" and "the Crimeans". From the author’s point of view, idiosyncratic knowledge reality having been established in Ukraine can serve as the primary prerequisite for the foundation of accredited interdisciplinary school of Yalta-45 cognition. Taking Yalta Conference studies to a different interdisciplinary hemisphere should be admitted to be a positive aspect of the science globalization and universalization in Ukrainian realia of the early 21st century.

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