Workers of the Donbass Speak: Survival and Identity in the New Ukraine, 1989-1992
In July 1989 coal miners throughout the Soviet Union engaged in a massive strike that briefly captured world headlines and inaugurated a movement of strike committees that persisted across the Soviet/post-Soviet divide. In this collection of interviews and essays based on encounters over a three-year period, the voices of industrial workers and their families in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the coal capital of the Donbass, are heard.
The stories collected here allow Western readers to "hear" these people describe their struggles for survival and identity in conditions of economic, political and social disintegration/transformation; and to analyze their testimonies and other kinds of texts in terms of changing meanings of work, gender, and national identity. Included are an examination of the "older generation" that came of age during the Stalin era; an analysis of the miners' movement and the trade union politics that emerged out of the strike of 1989; and a focus on the social crises and cultural disorientations accompanying Ukrainian independence.