Interwar Ukrainian Political Emigrants in Yugoslavia: Relations with the Authorities

  • Post Category:Issue XX

Valerii Vlasenko
Ph.D. in History, Associate Professor at Sumy State University
ORCID https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2220-2239

DOI https://doi.org/10.37837/2707-7683-2019-8

Abstract. This article is devoted to the relationship between interwar Ukrainian political emigrants and local authorities in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia). A comparative analysis of the attitude of the Yugoslav authorities towards Russian and Ukrainian emigrants was conducted. The Russophilia of Yugoslav authorities, who viewed the Ukrainian question through the lense of the Russian emigrants, was described. The idea of Pan-Slavism had been spreading in the Balkans for a long time, which facilitated the legitimization of friendly relations between the southern Slavs (primarily Serbs) and Russians, whom Serbs considered as protectors from the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Yugoslavia sided with the anti-Bolshevik White Movement, an ally of the Entente, which had a positive impact on the situation of Russian emigrants. The young state was in need of professionals with a good command of foreign languages and European culture. Many emigrants met those requirements. Therefore, in the early 1920s, several thousands of emigrants worked in the public service. The reigning Karadjordjević dynasty had marital ties with the Romanov dynasty. A former Russian diplomat was among advisers to the king and the head of government. The immigration from the former Russian Empire was addressed by the Royal Court as well as several ministries and central government institutions. Direct support to the immigrants was provided by the State Commission for Assistance to Russian Refugees. Yugoslavia was a center of political and religious immigration for Russians and a provincial center for Ukrainian emigration.
It is concluded that the Yugoslav authorities did not distinguish Ukrainians from Russian emigrants, therefore, any specific policy towards them was not carried out. The degree of interaction of Ukrainian emigrants with local authorities in Yugoslavia varied geographically (Slovenia and Croatia, on the one hand, and Serbia and Macedonia, on the other) and in time (in the first half of the 1920s and from the mid-1920s until the beginning of World War II).
Keywords: authorities, emigration, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Yugoslavia.

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