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Article

A Soviet-Sponsored Ethnic Cleansing? The Polish-Soviet Population Exchange and the Making of Modern Ukraine, 1944-1947

The article examines the population exchange between Poland and Soviet Union in 1944-1946, its role in the shaping of modern Ukraine, and its place in the evolution of the Soviet nationality policy. Based on archival sources this article examines the factors involved in the decision making of individuals and state officials and then assesses how people on the ground made sense of the Soviet population politics. While much of the earlier scholarship saw the transfer as a punitive national deportation, the argument of the article is that most of the time it was neither punitive nor purely national nor deportation. Contrary to the historiographical thesis about the Soviet transition from class to ethnic categories in its rule, the article shows that during the population exchange the Soviet party-state continued to view the society in class terms and frequently prioritized economy over concerns with national homogeneity.