Ross is surprised by the quality of rural space in Ukraine, which defies stereotypes of Slavic Kulturboden.
“The Ukrainian steppe is not different from the Russian and the Polish steppe, but the quality of the fields and villages is surprising, because they are so well kept, so neat. The houses are impeccably whitewashed, doors and windows prettily painted. On the entire ride, I don’t see one broken windowpane. The fields are covered with the green carpet of the winter crops, and clean, scrupulously maintained vegetable gardens surround the houses. Economically, the Ukrainian farmer has always been at a higher level than the Russian”.
Ross reinforces his positive assessment of Kiev with his treatment of Ukrainian farmland. It is important to note that, with the exception of the negated expectation that there would be broken windows, his writing echoes the typical language used to describe German Kulturboden: houses and fields are cultivated to a degree that exceeds utility. In Ross’s eyes, impeccable whitewashing and neatly weeded gardens reflect a work ethic driven by a collective identity. These are the values of a people infused into their space.
Colin Ross. Unter ukrainischen Bauern. In: Der Weg nach Osten: Reise durch Rußland, Ukraine, Transkaukasien, Persien, Buchara und Turkestan. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; 1923; 56-61.