Unexpected accounting for the state of Kiev

Ross stresses historical causes for the deteriorated state of Kiev, which is surprising given revisionist discourse on the East.

Within geopolitical discourse overall, Eastern Europe figured as a backward and underdeveloped space, a backwardness that was the product of ostensibly inherent Slavic traits that were reflected in their land-use practices. Kiev, according to the reports Ross has heard, exists in a state of neglect and destruction. Such descriptions played into the hands of opponents of Bolshevism, who argued that if the Bolsheviks were unable to properly manage space, they would also be unable to properly manage government.

Ross, in his treatment of Kiev, deviates significantly from this discourse. The train station is filthy, he admits, but once one enters the city the scene changes:

 “The main streets are even kept really clean. The rubble is stacked into piles, and the workers are in the process of removing it. Some of the building façades look really bad, but you can also see that people are working as hard as they can to repair them”.

Presenting the Ukrainian work ethic in terms typically used to describe that of the Germans, Ross passes on this opportunity to invalidate the Bolshevik government in the East. This is an early sign of Ross’s resistance to dismissing the power and potential of the other.

Kristin Kopp

Colin Ross. Kijew. In: Der Weg nach Osten: Reise durch Rußland, Ukraine, Transkaukasien, Persien, Buchara und Turkestan. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; 1923; 34-38.

Topic: Kulturboden
Case: Geopolitics

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