This can be a preprint extract from the forthcoming e book Ukraine’s Outpost: Dnipropetrovsk and the Russian-Ukrainian Battle, edited by Taras Kuzio, Sergei I. Zhuk And Paul D’Anieri (2022, E-Worldwide Relations)

The Ukrainian metropolis of Dnipropetrovsk (in 2016 town was renamed Dnipro) was proven on a film display screen within the Soviet Union for the primary time in 1981 as a ‘Russian-speaking’ metropolis in Nikita Mikhalkov’s characteristic movie Rodnia. A narrative of a Russian peasant girl who visited her daughter within the huge industrial metropolis was utilized by Mikhalkov in his film to emphasize a rising disaster in Soviet household life throughout the Brezhnev period when former Russian peasants misplaced their Orthodox Christian identification throughout the strategy of socialist industrialisation and modernisation. Paradoxically, Mikhalkov utterly ignored the actual social and nationwide issues of town; as a substitute selecting because the setting for his film Russian peasants’ adjustment to Soviet modernisation. Even now many Russians use this movie as proof of the ‘Russian character’ of Dnipropetrovsk ignoring the actual demographic and social historical past of this Ukrainian area (Elberg-Wilson 2016).[1] Regardless of Mikhalkov’s image, town of Dnipro and the Dnipropetrovsk area had a multi-national and multi-cultural character coupled with the robust affect of Ukrainian and Jewish tradition.

Utilizing varied archival and revealed paperwork, this chapter will cowl the social, financial and cultural growth of town and the area of Dnipropetrovsk via the interval of late socialism after Stalin, exhibiting the ties between the multi-national Komsomol members and enterprise ventures throughout perestroika and the way this influenced the rise of oligarchic clans in post-Soviet Ukraine.

Emergence of Soviet Dnipropetrovsk

Paradoxically, from the early starting, the founding of the ‘metropolis of Catherine’s glory’ (Ekaterinoslav in Russian) and its province in 1776 by the Russian imperial administration of the Catherine the Second concerned non-Russian ethnic teams, which formed a historic demography of this area in Southern Ukraine. These ethnic teams included the native Ukrainian Orthodox Christian peasants and Cossacks, Jewish merchants and artisans, Armenian Christians, and Tatar Muslim settlers. By the center of the nineteenth century, hundreds of German Protestant and Mennonite colonists additionally settled within the province. Furthermore, by attracting overseas capital, the Russian imperial administration reworked this multi-ethnic and multi-religious area within the booming industrial centre of the Russian Empire by the start of twentieth century (Zhuk 2004, 33–96).

After the Russian Revolution and civil warfare, the province of Ekaterinoslav continued to play an vital position within the industrial growth of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1926 the Soviet administration determined to alter the title of Ekaterinoslav which sounded too ‘quaint’ and ‘imperial Russian.’ The brand new title was a mixture of the title of the Dnipro River with the final title of Grigorii Petrovskii, head of the All-Ukrainian Government Committee of the Soviets, and well-known organiser of the working-class motion within the area of Ekaterinoslav earlier than the Revolution. ‘Dnipro-Petrovske’ was later reworked into ‘Dnipropetrovsk’ (Bolebrukh 2001, 156).

Each town and area of Dnipropetrovsk lived via the New Financial Coverage (N.E.P.), industrialisation and the Stakhanovite motion. The area misplaced hundreds of thousands of human lives throughout collectivisation and the dekulakisation marketing campaign, and particularly throughout the Holodomor of 1932–33. Throughout industrialisation, the Soviet authorities restored the economic base of the area. Former metallurgical giants such because the Petrovskii (previously Brianskii)plant, the Chodoir (previously Vladimir Lenin) plant and others resumed manufacturing of pig iron and metal. In the course of the Nineteen Thirties, Dnipropetrovsk turned an vital centre for Soviet heavy business. In 1932, Dnipropetrovsk regional metallurgical crops produced 20 per cent of the complete forged iron and 25 per cent of the metal manufactured within the Soviet Ukrainian Republic.

After the start of the marketing campaign of ‘Ukrainianisation’ in 1923, the variety of those that spoke Ukrainian grew, reaching 38.5 per cent within the metropolis by the top of the Twenties. Between 1932 and 1939, the variety of metropolis dwellers in Dnipropetrovsk elevated to over 500,662. The Dnipropetrovsk area turned essentially the most urbanised of Soviet Ukraine with greater than 2,273,000 folks dwelling within the area (Vasiliev 1977, 55; Bolebrukh 2001, 159–164).

Dnipropetrovsk additionally turned the cultural and academic centre of Soviet Ukraine. There have been ten schools, together with the State College, 97 secondary faculties and 19 vocational faculties. The Soviet administration restored native drama and music theatres. In the course of the Nineteen Thirties, Dnipropetrovsk had 120 libraries, 5 museums, six movie-theatres, 30 golf equipment and palaces of tradition (Bolebrukh 2001,159–164).

The Leonid Brezhnev Clan

Submit-war Soviet modernisation influenced the careers of many younger and impressive Komsomol members within the area. Considered one of them, Leonid Brezhnev, was born in 1906 in Kamenskoe, joined the Kommunystycheskaya Partyya Sovetskoho Soyuza (Communist occasion of the Soviet Union – KPSS) in 1931 and, after commencement from Dniprodzerzhinsk Metallurgical Institute was elected as a council deputy of town of Dniprodzerzhinsk. The Stalinist purges of the Nineteen Thirties eliminated many aged Soviet and Communist officers from authorities positions who perished in prisons and the labour camps of GULAG. Younger folks resembling Brezhnev stuffed the void created by Stalinist repressions within the area. In 1938, the younger Brezhnev was elected as a member of the regional committee of the Soviet Communist occasion of Ukraine (KPU) and head of the Division of Agitation and Propaganda. By the younger age of 32, Brezhnev had turn out to be secretary of the KPU committee of crucial industrial area of Soviet Ukraine. His profession was interrupted by the Nice Patriotic Battle when Brezhnev joined the military as an ideological officer (see Mlechin 2005).

From August 1941 to October 1943, the Dnipropetrovsk area was occupied by the Nazis, and Soviet troops liberated the complete area by February 1944 (Berkhoff 2004, 11, 36, 49, 149–150, 152–153, 248–249). The Soviet administration restored the economic base of Dnipropetrovsk, and by 1950 the primary metallurgical and machine-building factories had reached their pre-war ranges of commercial manufacturing and productiveness.

Throughout this era, Brezhnev started his political profession as a proficient and impressive organizer of the economic re-birth of Dnipropetrovsk. He was an skilled younger military ideologist who had proved his loyalty to the Stalinist management throughout the warfare and was accustomed to Dnipropetrovsk earlier than 1941. The Central Committee of the KPSS despatched Brezhnev to Dnipropetrovsk in November 1947 when he was elected first secretary of the Dnipropetrovsk regional committee of the KPU, and he dominated the oblast till June 1950 (Vosstanovlenie). His successors have been Andrei Kirilenko and Volodymyr Shcherbitskyy, each shut mates. Two different younger comrades of Brezhnev, Oleksiy Vatchenko and Yevhen Kachalovskii led the area respectively in 1965–1976 and 1976–1983 (Vasiliev 1977, 72; Bolebrukh 2001, 233; Mlechin 2005).

Brezhnev promoted the political profession of his outdated mates, a lot of whom turned distinguished political figures in Kyiv and Moscow throughout his management of the KPSS. Each contemporaries and students who research the ‘Brezhnev interval’ name this phenomenon the ‘Dnipropetrovsk mafia’ or rule of the ‘Dnipropetrovsk Household’ (Nahaylo 1999, 36, 69; Wilson 2000, 162). For the reason that rise of Brezhnev to the top of Soviet energy, the ruling elites of Dnipropetrovsk influenced not solely regional, but in addition republican and All-Union politics.

Dnipropetrovsk’s transformation into an vital centre of the Soviet navy industrial complicated was instantly associated to the sudden rise of Brezhnev to the top of Soviet energy in October of 1964. Brezhnev promoted the political profession of his compatriots from the Dnipropetrovsk navy industrial complicated. Brezhnev’s mates and shut colleagues from his post-war years within the Dnipropetrovsk area went to Moscow and have become distinguished political figures within the Soviet nomenklatura hierarchy throughout the Sixties and Seventies. Two fundamental industries of the Soviet navy industrial complicated – metallurgy and missile-building – had vital factories in Dnipropetrovsk and due to this fact offered the Brezhnev clan with new members from 1964 till 1982. Even after the downfall of the Brezhnev clan in Moscow in 1983, when Yurii Andropov started his wrestle ‘in opposition to corruption and nepotism’ within the Soviet nomenklatura, members of this clan continued to play a distinguished position within the political lifetime of Soviet Ukraine.

Moreover the Bodily-Technical Division of Dnipropetrovsk State College, the Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute additionally assisted the political careers of a lot of Brezhnev’s shut mates who within the Seventies and Eighties turned vital members of the Kremlin nomenklatura. Nikolai Tikhonov, former head of Dnipropetrovsk Sovnarkhoz throughout the Fifties, was one of many deputies of the Soviet Prime Minister between 1966 and 1976, First Deputy of the Prime Minister from 1976 to 1980 and head of the USSR Council of Ministers from 1980 to 1985.[2] Nikolai Shcholokov was the Soviet Minister of Public Order in 1966–1968 and from 1968 to 1982 he was Soviet Minister of Inside. Georgii Tsynev was throughout 1971–1976 a member of the Central Revision Committee of the KPSS and a deputy head of the KGB from 1970 to 1982. Within the KGB he was the first Deputy Chairman in 1982–1985 in addition to he was a Candidate Member of CPSU Central Committee in 1976–1981 and accordingly was a full Member of the stated physique in 1981–1986.  Victor Chebrikov, who graduated from Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute in 1950, was one of many leaders of town occasion organisation in Dnipropetrovsk from 1961 to 1971. In 1971 he turned the top of the personnel division of the USSR KGB, First Deputy of the Head of this group and from 1982 to 1988 a boss of the KGB (Pikhovshek 1996, 11–12, 272–274).           

One other of Brezhnev’s shut mates, Volodymyr Shcherbytskyy, promoted the careers of different folks from the area of Dnipropetrovsk. Along with his help, Oleksii Vatchenko turned the top of the Presidium of the Ukrainian Soviet Supreme Soviet from 1976 till 1984 with the help of one other politician from Dnipropetrovsk, Valentyna Shevchenko. Aleksandr Kapto, who labored as a secretary of each the Dnipropetrovsk Komsomol group and the Soviet Ukrainian Komsomol in Kyiv within the Sixties, oversaw the Division of Tradition within the Central Committee of the KPU; in 1979–1986 he was a Secretary of the Central Committee and accordingly was the primary ideologist of the Soviet Ukraine. Many different members of the ‘Kyiv ruling class’ underneath Shcherbytskyy have been additionally linked to the Dnipropetrovsk metallurgical and navy foyer. Shcherbytskyy’s assistant from 1972 to 1984 was Konstantin Prodan who started his profession within the Komsomol organisation of town of Dnipropetrovsk (Pikhovshek 1996, 48–103). As a recent political analyst famous, ‘Formally Prodan was put in command of industrial manufacturing, although, in accordance with insiders of the previous KPU Central Committee, his principal perform was ‘sustaining’ contact with Brezhnev’s assistant Georgii Tsukanov in Moscow’ (Pikhovshek 1996, 33–34).

One other vital purpose for the rise of the ‘Brezhnev Clan’ was the relative independence of Dnipropetrovsk’s native administration from Kyiv. Due to the standing of Dnipropetrovsk as a ‘strategically vital centre for navy business,’ completely different branches of the native administration have been underneath the direct supervision of Moscow, quite than Kyiv (Interviews with Tihipko, Markov and Bocharova).

The Navy Industrial Complicated and Ruling Elite of Dnipropetrovsk

The town of Dnipropetrovsk was the situation of well-known metallurgical and machine-building factories in pre-revolutionary Russia and the Soviet Union. Earlier than 1941, Dnipropetrovsk turned essentially the most urbanised area of the Soviet Ukraine. Virtually 53 per cent of this area’s inhabitants lived in 16 cities and cities of the area (Vasiliev 1977, 55; Bolebrukh 2001, 159–164).  In 1980, the economic enterprises of Dnipropetrovsk manufactured a major a part of the economic merchandise and buyer items for the Soviet Ukrainian Republic. A complete of 5.4 per cent of metal, 9 per cent of rolled iron, 28 per cent of pipes, 62 per cent of mix beet-harvesters, 27.9 per cent of tv units, and eight.5 per cent of knitted put on in Ukraine have been produced within the metropolis of Dnipropetrovsk (Bolebrukh 2001, 219).

After 1945, the primary centre of financial and monetary actions of the area and town of Dnipropetrovsk turned neither metallurgy nor mining. The brand new centre which modified the standing of the area and of town was a secret navy manufacturing facility in Dnipropetrovsk. The whole ideological and cultural scenario within the area, and particularly town, relied on this one industrial plant which turned crucial a part of the Soviet navy industrial complicated. In July 1944, the State Committee of Defence in Moscow determined to construct a big navy machine-building manufacturing facility in Dnipropetrovsk on the situation of the pre-war plane plant. In December 1945, hundreds of German prisoners of warfare started development and constructed the primary sections and outlets of the brand new Dnipropetrovsk Car Manufacturing unit (Markov, 1995). In 1947–1948 this manufacturing facility produced its first automobiles and particular navy autos. Nevertheless, on 9 Might 1951 the USSR Council of Ministers determined to rework the primary outlets and sectors of this manufacturing facility into ‘secret manufacturing’ which included not solely particular navy autos, but in addition highly effective rocket engines and several types of fashionable navy plane. The previous Dnipropetrovsk Car Manufacturing unit was transferred to the Ministry of Armament of the USSR and acquired a brand new title – the State Union Plant #586 (Lukanov 1996, 12).

Stalin launched the organisation of particular secret coaching of extremely certified engineers and scientists who have been to turn out to be rocket development specialists. He really useful the introduction of a brand new school diploma at Dnipropetrovsk State College which might be a Grasp of Sciences in rocket development. In 1952 the college administration fashioned a brand new division with the title ‘physical-technical college’ which was the biggest division on the college, admitting on common 4 hundred college students every year. These college students acquired higher lodging and the next stipend cost than college students from different departments and schools; the bottom stipend for this division was 450 roubles, whereas the very best stipend at one other prestigious college, the Dnipropetrovsk Medical Institute, was solely 180 roubles. A particular fee from Moscow chosen proficient undergraduate college students finding out physics from engineering faculties all around the USSR and despatched them to the physical-technical division at Dnipropetrovsk State College, the place they resumed their research as rocket engineers. Concurrently, the college administration introduced the admission of latest freshmen college students on this division. The promise of an excellent stipend and a ‘romantic’ profession of rocket engineer attracted hundreds of proficient younger folks to this ‘secret’ division, which offered coaching specialists for under the Dnipropetrovsk Car Manufacturing unit (Horbulin 1998, 9, 62–63).

In accordance with one other resolution of the Soviet authorities, in 1954 the administration of this vehicle manufacturing facility opened a secret design workplace with the title ‘Southern Building Bureau’ (konstruktorskoe biuro Yuzhnoe). The principle project of this workplace was to assemble navy missiles and rocket engines. A whole lot of proficient physicists, engineers and machine designers moved from Moscow and different huge cities within the Soviet Union to Dnipropetrovsk the place they joined the konstruktorskoe biuro Yuzhnoe (KBYu). In 1965, the key Plant #586 was transferred to the Ministry of Basic Machine-Constructing of the USSR and the following 12 months it modified its title into the ‘Southern Machine-building Manufacturing unit’ (Yuzhnyi mashino-stroitelnyi zavod) or just Yuzhmash (in Ukrainian Pivdenmash). The primary ‘Basic Constructor’ and head of the ‘Southern’ design workplace was Mikhail Yangel, a distinguished scientist and excellent designer of house rockets who led the design workplace and manufacturing facility from 1954 to 1971. Yangel designed the primary highly effective rockets and house navy gear for the Soviet Ministry of Defence. Yangel labored with proficient engineers who later turned the leaders of navy manufacturing in Dnipropetrovsk and the official administrators of Pivdenmash. Two shut collaborators of Yangel have been the Pivdenmash administrators Leonid Smirnov (1952–1961) and Aleksandr Makarov (1961–1986). Makarov’s successor was Leonid Kuchma, the Director Basic of the Pivdenmash in 1986–1992, who later turned one of the vital distinguished political leaders in unbiased Ukraine and was and nonetheless is the one President of Ukraine (1994–2005) elected twice (Strazheva; Platonov and Horbulin; Romanov and Gubarev; Baikonur; Baikonur, Korolev, Yangel).

In 1951 the Southern Machine-building Manufacturing unit started manufacturing and testing new navy rockets with an preliminary vary of solely 270 kilometres. By 1959 Soviet scientists and engineers developed new applied sciences, and consequently, the KBYu launched a brand new machine-building venture producing ballistic missiles. Underneath Yangel, KBYu produced very highly effective rocket engines which dramatically elevated the vary of ballistic missiles and from the Sixties, started for use as launch autos for Soviet spaceships. Pivdenmash designed and manufactured 4 generations of missile complexes which included house launch autos Kosmos, Interkosmos, Tsyklon-2, Tsyklon-3 and Zenith. The KBYu created a novel space-rocket system referred to as Energia-Buran and manufactured 400 technical gadgets which have been launched as synthetic satellites (Sputniks).

For the primary time on the planet house business, the Dnipropetrovsk missile plant produced house Sputniks. By the Eighties, Pivdenmash manufactured 67 several types of spaceships, 12 house analysis complexes and 4 defence house rocket programs.  These programs have been used not just for purely navy functions by the Ministry of Defence, but in addition for astronomical analysis, for international radio and tv and for environmental monitoring. Pivdenmash initiated and sponsored the worldwide house programme of Japanese European socialist nations, referred to as Interkosmos. Twenty-two of the 25 computerized house Sputniks of this programme have been designed, manufactured, and launched by engineers and employees from Dnipropetrovsk. Pivdenmash and KBYu turned not solely an vital centre of the Soviet house business and Soviet navy industrial complicated, but in addition the primary rocket producer for the complete Soviet bloc. (Corridor and Shayler 2001, 316ff; Siddiqi 2003, 97, 113, 114, 164, 177, 285) The navy rocket programs manufactured in Dnipropetrovsk created the bottom for the Soviet Strategic Missile Forces (Dnepropetrovskii raketno 1994; Bolebrukh 2001, 209–211, 229; Lukanov 1996, 13).

On the eve of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, KBYu had 9 common and corresponding members of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, 33 full professors and 290 scientists holding a Ph.D. Greater than 50,000 folks labored at Pivdenmash. Pivdenmash was ‘a state’ contained in the Soviet state. In 1969, after a protracted competitors with Moscow’s V. Chelomei Centre of Rocket Building, Pivdenmash rocket designs gained, and from then leaders of the Soviet navy industrial complicated most popular solely Pivdenmash fashions. The Soviet state offered billions of Soviet roubles to finance Pivdenmash tasks (Horbulin 1998, 6, 24–31).

Formally, Pivdenmash additionally manufactured agricultural tractors and particular kitchen gear for on a regular basis wants, resembling mincing machines or juicers for Soviet households. In official stories and public info there have been no particulars given about its manufacturing of rockets or spaceships. Nevertheless, lots of of hundreds of employees and engineers within the metropolis of Dnipropetrovsk have been staff of this plant, and members of their households and due to this fact most native folks knew concerning the ‘actual manufacturing’ of Pivdenmash. 

Dnipropetrovsk as a KGB “Testing Floor”

The Soviet authorities authorized the KGB’s proposal to introduce the very best stage of secrecy over Pivdenmash and its merchandise. Based on the Soviet authorities’s resolution, town of Dnipropetrovsk was formally closed to overseas guests in 1959. No citizen of a overseas nation (even Japanese European socialist) was allowed to go to town or district of Dnipropetrovsk. From the late Fifties, Soviet folks referred to as Dnipropetrovsk ‘the rocket metropolis’ or ‘closed metropolis.’ (Bolebrukh 2001, 211).

Members of the Brezhnev clan within the Moscow places of work of the KGB and Ministry of Inside additionally contributed to centralised ideological management in Dnipropetrovsk, which particularly influenced the KGB and safety operations within the closed metropolis. The native KGB workplace was all the time extra Moscow-oriented, ignoring the pursuits of the authorities in Kyiv. On the similar time, for Moscow officers who started their careers in Dnipropetrovsk, town turned the testing floor for a lot of All-Union KGB campaigns which they tried to provoke. Dnipropetrovsk KGB officers have been ‘pioneers’ within the organisation of ideological campaigns which turned ‘fashions’ for different ‘closed’ industrial Soviet cities. [This phrase – ‘pioneers of ideological campaigns’ – belongs to a local retired KGB officer. According to the KGB documents, Moscow’s representatives in the Dnipropetrovsk clan always interfered in local KGB business, imposing their own practices on the local officers.] (Igor T.; DADO, f. 19, op. 52, spr. 72, ark. 1–18) In consequence, the inhabitants of Dnipropetrovsk skilled extra ideological limitations and extra brutal anti-Western campaigns than folks in lots of different Soviet cities. Dealing with direct Kremlin supervision, the native KGB and KPSS ideologists sought to show their ideological reliability and infrequently exaggerated the ‘risk from the capitalist West.’

KGB officers reworked one constructing within the Dnipropetrovsk Particular Psychiatric Hospital (psikhushka), positioned in a city of Ihren (now a suburban district of Dnipro), right into a particular police facility for ‘political dissidents.’ All around the Soviet Union, Ihren psikhushka (particularly its Part 9) turned infamous and generally known as the worst incarceration for political prisoners. The Dnipropetrovsk KGB examined varied medication on prisoners and carried out completely different medical experiments, treating essentially the most ‘opinionated’ political dissidents as mentally sick sufferers. Many spiritual and civil rights activists and ‘bourgeois nationalists,’ resembling nationwide communist dissident Leonid Plyushch, described the Dnipropetrovsk Psychiatric Hospital as ‘psychological hell’ due to its police system of harsh therapy and on a regular basis humiliation (Plyushch 1979, 304–326, 340–349). In the meantime, native KGB officers defined their harsh therapy of dissidents resembling Plyushch as an ideological necessity to guard a strategically vital centre of the Soviet navy industrial complicated (Igor T).

Development of the Inhabitants and Requirements of Dwelling within the Area

The brand new standing of town introduced extra state investments and contributed to the general enchancment of the usual of dwelling of its inhabitants. In the course of the Fifties, the primary sponsor of metropolis enhancements and renovations was the metallurgical business. In the course of the Sixties and Seventies, the house rocket business and its largest manufacturing facility, Pivdenmash, sponsored all main metropolis programmes, renovations and new architectural tasks which included the sports activities palace Meteor with a big indoor pool, soccer crew Dnipro, metropolis airport, metropolis theatre of opera and ballet, historic museum of Yavornitskii, division retailer ‘Kids’s World,’ development of hundreds of contemporary residences, libraries and movie-theatres, and celebrations of the 200th anniversary of town of Dnipropetrovsk in 1976. (Bolebrukh 2001, 211–212).

Even the enlargement and renovation of the Dnipropetrovsk Central Farmer Market (generally known as Oziorka) was supported by Pivdenmash as a part of its enchancment of town’s life, and a mirrored image of the expansion and strategic significance of town. From 1958 to 1965 town administration invested cash in constructing a brand new lined location for the market and by 1970 that they had re-built the complete neighbourhood reworking it into a contemporary and handy place for the ‘socialist consumption of products and companies.’ (Lazebnik 2001, 167–185)

In consequence, the missile manufacturing facility, the centre of the Soviet navy industrial complicated, contributed to a brand new stage of cultural consumption amongst not solely town’s dwellers, but in addition amongst all company of Dnipropetrovsk. Consequently, the pioneering efforts within the popularisation of latest fashionable types of Western music resembling jazz and rock-n-roll additionally started amongst engineers and employees of Pivdenmash who contributed to the unfold of latest cultural varieties and actions amongst those that lived within the metropolis and area of Dnipropetrovsk.

The bettering dwelling situations in Dnipropetrovsk led to a rise of the regional inhabitants from 2,339,800 folks (with a 56 per cent city inhabitants) in 1951 to 2,850,700 (with a 72 per cent city inhabitants) in 1961. The bigger salaries and higher distribution of meals and industrial items additionally attracted younger folks from different areas of the Soviet Union to Dnipropetrovsk. From the Fifties onward, many of the Dnipropetrovsk inhabitants have been folks youthful than 30 years outdated. In 1970 there have been 3,343,000 folks within the area (76 per cent of who lived in cities) which by 1984 had elevated to three,771,200 folks (with 83 per cent city inhabitants). The inhabitants of town of Dnipropetrovsk grew from 660,800 folks in 1959 to 1,066,000 in 1979 and greater than 1,153,400 folks in 1985 when Gorbachev got here to energy (Glushkina 1985, 10, 11).

The Dnipropetrovsk area had a younger multinational, predominantly Russian talking inhabitants. Three main ethnic teams formed the cultural growth of the area – Ukrainians, Russians, and Jews. In the course of the peak of ‘worldwide concord and prosperity of developed socialism’ in 1979, Ukrainians made up the overwhelming majority of the regional (72.8 per cent) and concrete (68.5 per cent) inhabitants. Because of large emigration from the Soviet Union, the Jewish inhabitants decreased from 2.7 per cent in 1959 to 1.7 per cent in 1979 and 1.3 per cent in 1989. The variety of Russians within the area’s inhabitants grew quickly from 17.2 per cent in 1959, 20.9 per cent in 1970, 23 per cent in 1979 and 24.2 per cent in 1989 (O vozrastnoi construction 1971; Goskomstat USSR 1991, 100, 102). By 1985, greater than a 3rd of the inhabitants within the metropolis of Dnipropetrovsk was ethnically Russian. If we add to this quantity the three.2 per cent of Russian-speaking Jews and greater than 33 per cent of Ukrainians who thought-about Russian their native language, we could have greater than two thirds of town’s inhabitants who related themselves with Russian quite than with Ukrainian tradition. Based on contemporaries, the excessive salaries and higher situations of dwelling attracted representatives of varied nationalities from completely different republics who additionally spoke Russian quite than the Ukrainian language in Dnipropetrovsk (Goskomstat USSR 1991, 106, 108, 119, 122; Prudchenko and Smolenska 2007).

Komsomol ‘Enterprise’ In the course of the Late Soviet Period

The regional financial actions of native ‘businessmen and girls’ from the Komsomol throughout perestroika had their roots within the pre-perestroika period. In addition they strengthened tendencies for independence from Moscow which had earlier existed in Dnipropetrovsk. All the weather of their preliminary enterprise had already been developed throughout the Brezhnev period when the cultural consumption of late socialism mixed the buildings of Soviet worldwide tourism with the ideological efforts of Komsomol activists into one enterprise community. Mass rock and discotheque music consumption amongst Soviet youth was delivered by Komsomol and commerce union apparatchiks. Worldwide tourism and discotheque lovers offered these apparatchiks with music and video materials for his or her leisure enterprise. With out these relations it might be unimaginable to think about the event of post-Soviet capitalism.

The primary pioneers of organizing Komsomol enterprise within the area have been two graduates of Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute, the Ukrainian-Moldovan Sergiy Tihipko, the First Secretary of the Dnipropetrovsk Komsomol regional group in 1986–91, and the Ukrainian Oleksandr Turchynov, who labored with Tihipko as head of the agitation and propaganda division in the identical Komsomol regional organisation in 1987–90. Tihipko and Turchynov initiated and ‘ideologically justified’ the primary Komsomol companies within the area. Two different Komsomol members, who additionally graduated from the identical institute as Tihipko and Turchynov, Kolomoyskyy and Viktor Pinchuk, each of Jewish origin, began their careers not within the official Komsomol enterprise, however on the black market of Dnipropetrovsk, buying and selling varied items, and utilizing their monetary and engineering expertise for their very own survival within the situations of financial collapse of late socialism. Kolomoyskyy used his monetary expertise and connections with Tihipko to prepare its personal monetary company Privatbank, which turned essentially the most profitable financial institution in post-Soviet Ukraine. Pinchuk, utilizing his engineering and managerial expertise, based his personal metallurgical enterprise, entitled Interpipe Firm. It’s noteworthy that every one 4 of these Komsomol members, two Ukrainian and two Jewish, used their private connections via their mates and companions from Pivdenmash, together with via its final director Leonid Kuchma, to start out their first companies in Dnipropetrovsk (see Golovko 2012).

Within the mid-Eighties, when perestroika created beneficial situations for the managerial expertise of Komsomol activists, this technique produced new actions for cultural consumption, resembling video salons which introduced their organisers extra income than conventional discotheque golf equipment. The video enterprise used the identical infrastructure and community of the discotheque motion; specifically worldwide tourism, Komsomol activists, commerce union leaders and the ‘discotheque mafia.’

This community contributed to the enterprise profession of two followers of Western common music, Yulia Tymoshenko and her husband, Oleksandr (Popov, Milshtein, 55; Ponamarchuk). Yulia Grigian (Telegina) was the daughter of Armenian taxi-driver Grigian and Russian technical employee Telegina, a fan of British rock music. Yulia Grigian married Oleksandr Tymoshenko, son of a member of town KPU committee within the Pivdenmash administration. In 1978, Yulia Tymoshenko joined the scholar Komsomol group within the Division of Financial system at Dnipropetrovsk State College. This division was opened on the initiative of the Pivdenmash administration in 1977 to supply coaching for certified economists in Dnipropetrovsk’s rising navy industrial complicated.

Yulia Tymoshenko graduated with honours from the Division of Financial system in 1984 and commenced her first job as an engineer-economist via the connections of her father-in-law, Hennadii Tymoshenko. For 5 years, she labored on the Lenin machine constructing plant, one other manufacturing facility which belonged to the Soviet navy industrial complicated. In 1979, she gave delivery to her daughter Yevhenia, and till 1988 she and her husband loved a typical Soviet upper-middle class life of their one-bedroom cooperative residence. They continued to observe films, hearken to Western pop music, and infrequently visited and danced in well-known discotheque golf equipment in downtown Dnipropetrovsk (Popov and Milshtein 2006, 64–67; Suvorov 1991).

Perestroika modified the younger Tymoshenko household. Hennadii Tymoshenko really useful his son and daughter-in-law to hitch the co-operative motion and promised his help via town’s KPU and Soviet administration. In 1988, the younger Tymoshenkos used their outdated connections within the Komsomol discothèque world to open a public service enterprise, a video-rental store in Dnipropetrovsk, with 5,000 borrowed Soviet roubles. The income made out of this primary enterprise have been used to open a series of video rental shops. They used the expertise of Komsomol apparatchiks, who introduced their first VCRs in Dnipropetrovsk via Sputnik.

Contacts within the discotheque motion helped present these apparatchiks with Western video tapes and an viewers which was able to eat new Western cultural merchandise. Former discotheque lovers examined these new enterprise practices and proposed the thought of video salons, which had already turn out to be the most well-liked and trendy type of leisure Moscow and the three Baltic republics. In consequence, throughout perestroika each the Komsomol and ‘discotheque mafia’ offered infrastructure for these salons in Dnipropetrovsk.

When in 1987the KGB opened town of Dnipropetrovsk to foreigners, Pivdenmash imported hundreds of VCRs utilizing barter agreements with South Korean businessmen. As a regional KPU apparatchik who oversaw the distribution of films all through the Dnipropetrovsk area (kinoprokat), Yulia Tymoshenko’s father-in-law had entry not solely to those Korean VCRs but in addition to native film theatres which offered the primary mass viewers for video movies.

The principle base of a Tymoshenko’s ‘video enterprise’ was the situation of the previous central Komsomol discotheque membership of Dnipropetrovsk oblast– the Pupil Palace within the Taras Shevchenko Park of Tradition and Leisure in downtown Dnipropetrovsk (Popov and Milshtein 2006, 52–89; Ponamarchuk 2007). In 1989, she stop her outdated engineer-economist job and have become the top of the Terminal co-operative. The identical 12 months, one other participant within the ‘discotheque mafia,’ Serhiy Tihipko, was elected as the primary secretary of the Komsomol group of Dnipropetrovsk oblast.  He not solely supported Tymoshenko’s enterprise, but in addition introduced his further discotheque and Sputnik connections into Terminal. On this manner, discotheque activists and Komsomol apparatchiks contributed to the expansion and recognition of Tymoshenko’s enterprise (Tihipko).

In 1991 after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Soviet state tourism, the representatives of the Brezhnev period Komsomol elite, resembling Tymoshenko demonstrated once more {that a} skilful adjustment of this community to the brand new financial scenario was an vital basis for fulfillment in post-Soviet enterprise actions. The preliminary capital of Terminal, the music and video Komsomol enterprise which Tymoshenko had launched throughout ‘the discotheque period’ of late socialism, turned the muse of her enterprise and political profession in post-Soviet Ukraine.

Epilogue: Dnipropetrovsk Komsomol Entrepreneurs and the Formation of Submit-Soviet Oligarchs

Political corruption within the post-Soviet geopolitical house is rooted in cultural consumption throughout the Brezhnev period, particularly within the so-called ‘discotheque impact’ on society throughout the period of ‘mature socialism.’ Throughout this era of late socialism within the USSR, hundreds of thousands of Soviet younger folks, loyal members of Komsomol, fell in love with the catchy sound of ‘beat music’ by the Beatles and onerous rock by Deep Purple. Even ten years after dissolution of the Soviet Union, the post-Soviet house was dominated by former Soviet onerous rock followers, representatives of the so-called ‘Deep Purple era,’ new post-Soviet politicians, resembling Russian Prime-Minister Dmitri Medvedev, twice Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, President Petro Poroshenko and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Paradoxically, détente within the Seventies led to the inflow of Western cultural merchandise into the USSR, resembling common music and have movies. In consequence, Soviet ideologists, together with the Komsomol, tried to regulate Soviet consumption of cultural merchandise from the West utilizing ‘Komsomol discothèques’ the place Soviet younger folks might dance to ‘ideologically permitted’ Soviet and Western music. Contemporaries referred to as these organizers ‘disco mafia’ within the industrial cities of Japanese Ukraine.

By the top of perestroika in 1991, greater than 100 Komsomol companies had emerged in industrial cities in Japanese Soviet Ukraine, of which greater than ninety originated within the metropolis of Dnipropetrovsk (Zhuk 2010, 301). Just a few of essentially the most profitable enterprises survived post-Soviet competitors throughout the Nineties and created ‘new enterprise firms’ resembling Yulia Tymoshenko’s ‘Fuel Empire,’ Kolomoyskyy’s and Tihipko’s Privatbank, Aleksandr Balashov’s ‘Commerce Company’ and Rinat Akhmetov’s Liuks. The overwhelming majority of those post-Soviet profitable companies have been organised by or instantly linked to the ‘disco mafia.’ On the similar time, the primary Dnipropetrovsk ‘capitalists’ demonstrated a variety of ethnic backgrounds, from the Ukrainian Tihipko, Armenian-Russian Tymoshenko, Russian Balashov and Jewish Kolomoyskyy contributing to the multi-national identification of town of Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro.

Some contemporaries famous how the enterprise actions of Komsomol ‘entrepreneurs’ within the Eighties contributed to regional identification in Japanese Ukraine. Many of those ‘entrepreneurs’ who weren’t ethnic Ukrainians turned lively members within the Ukrainian independence motion in 1988–1991 to guard their regional enterprise pursuits quite than defending Ukrainian tradition and language. Within the Nineties, former members of the Soviet ‘discotheque mafia’ and their former KPU supervisors turned an integral a part of the enterprise and political lifetime of unbiased Ukraine. As leaders of oligarchic clans in Ukraine they’ve resisted Russian enlargement into their ‘spheres of affect.’

The case of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, elected in April 2019, whose total profession was generated contained in the Soviet-based system of tv leisure, continues to display the connection between ‘post-Komsomol‘ enterprise and political careers. Zelenskyy started his performing profession in 95-yi Kvartal, which was a reference to a neighbourhood in Kryvyy Rih, the place he had grown up and was impressed by the Sixties Soviet tv present KVN. As we see, the Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro elites, who’re nonetheless rooted of their Soviet previous, play a major position within the growth of unbiased Ukraine.


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[1] I used additionally quite a few interviews performed with my family, who’re ethnic Ukrainians, however dwell in Moscow, Russia, who nonetheless help Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-Ukrainian politics.

[2] Sovnarkhoz is abbreviated from Russian Sovet narodnogo khoziaistva, an financial division within the Soviet authorities throughout the early Stalin period and through Khrushchev’s reforms.

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