Laughter through Tears
October 30, 2015

On October 30, 2015, at 6.00 pm as part of the exhibition program the Center for Urban History will host a lecture "Laughter through Tears: Everyday Life in Revolutionary Ukraine (1917-22)." Historian Stephen Velychenko will talk about the challenges faced by people in a country swept by a revolution and the strategies they chose in order to survive in the post-war chaos and poverty.

For most people who experienced the events of 1917-1921 in Ukraine, national interests and social demands were lost in the daily struggle for survival, says researcher Stephen Velychenko. Based on archival documents, press publications, and eyewitness accounts, the historian concludes that the changes of political regimes went unnoticed until they started to endanger the health and safety of the population. The inhabitants of Ukrainian cities and towns were forced to cope with the conditions of massive inflation and high taxes, riots and unrest on the streets, lack of basic necessities, unsanitary conditions, and epidemics. During the lecture, the historian will discuss how these and other challenges influenced the formation of national identities and political loyalties in revolutionary Ukraine.

Stephen Velychenko is a historian, Research Fellow, Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto. His latest books: "State Building in Revolutionary Ukraine: A Comparative Study of Governments and Bureaucrats, 1917-1922" (Toronto, 2010), "Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red: The Ukrainian Marxist Critique of Russian Communist Rule in Ukraine 1918-1922" (Toronto, 2015).