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‘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. 

To request a copy of the paper, please email

Emily B. Baran is Assistant Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University. Her first book, Dissent on the Margins, explored shifting boundaries of religious toleration and dissent in the postwar Soviet Union through the lens of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. She is currently writing a book about the arrival of Soviet power in postwar Ukraine.



The Carolina Seminar: Russia and Its Emipres, East and West is co-sponsored by the Carolina Seminar Program, the UNC Department of History, and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Please note that the participants will give an overview of their projects, but will not read a formal paper. Instead, papers or book chapters will be circulated ahead of time to those who are interested in attending and participating in the discussion. 


October 12, 2017
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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