Andrii Portnov is Professor of Entangled History of Ukraine at the European University Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder) and Director of PRISMA UKRAЇNA Research Newtork Eastern Europe (Berlin). Currently he is Visiting Fellow of the IWM’s Ukraine in European Dialogue program.
One of the biggest Soviet industrial centers, a city of more than a million people in southern Ukraine, Dnipropetrovsk (today Dnipro), was closed to foreigners beginning in 1959 because of the secret rocket production in the city. It was also considered ‘Brezhnev’s city’ because the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was born nearby and began his career there. How was nationality, cultural and language politics performed and perceived in Soviet Ukraine in the 1960-70s? How was ‘Soviet’ connected/bordered to ‘Ukrainian’ in official discourse? How did the socialist realist novel ‘The Cathedral’ by Oles’ Honchar became an ‘anti-Soviet’ text, and what did that mean for the biggest closed city in Soviet Ukraine?