Course Content

Total learning: 15 lessons Time: 1 semester

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Week 6. From Austrian Province to Russian National Territory (and Back?): Ethnicity, Loyalty, and Occupation(s) in Wartime Galicia

The Austrian province of Galicia, notorious during Habsburg rule as the most backward territory of the Dual Monarchy, was directly and radically affected by WWI. Claimed by Russian nationalists as part of the Russian national space, the province was occupied twice (in 1914-1915 and, for a shorter period, in 1916) by Russian troops. This class will deal, first, with the Russian occupation policies in Galicia and their immediate and long-term consequences. Ethnicity was a hotly contested field in the province, which was dominated by long-standing ethnic tensions between the Ukrainian national movement, the Russophile tendency, and the ruling Polish elites. The Russian military and civilian administration introduced radical ethnic and confessional policies into this already explosive mix, aiming at overturning the established ethnic hierarchies and forcibly converting the Uniate population to Orthodoxy. Moreover, Galicia served as the testing ground for radical measures against ‘disloyal’ groups. This strategy of collective exclusion and ‘preventive measures’ was later transferred to the Russian interior. Second, the class will also discuss the accompanying ‘propaganda war,’ with a special emphasis on alternative scenarios of the province’s future within a restructured East European space. Galicia’s role as an experimental ground for radically transformative ethic and identity politics will be the main focus of the class.


  • Bakhturina, Politika Rossiiskoi Imperii v Vostochnoi Galitsii, part I, chapter 4 (70-112), part II, chapter 2 (142-186), part III, chapter 3 (214-225).
  • Von Hagen, War in a European Borderland, chapter 1 (“Outbreak of War and the Transformation of Eastern Galicia”), 10-18, and 2 (“Russian War Aims and Wartime Propaganda,” 19-53).
  • *Vaganovskii, Vostochnaia Galitsiia s nachala XX veka, chapters 12-14, 126-159.