This study will look at how Bolsheviks understood the idea of “nation” and how they applied this conception to the development of Soviet society in Ukraine during the 1920s. I will argue that peasants in Ukraine prior to the 1917 revolution were largely parochial, lacking a coherent notion of themselves as part of a Ukrainian nation. The Bolsheviks assumed that the peasants did in fact define themselves along national lines, and undertook far-reaching measures in order to develop the Ukrainian nation within a Soviet context. The effect of the nation-building project in Ukraine was that
peasants began to self-identify in a radically new way. While initially this new national identity was inextricably tied to Soviet identity, the Soviet state’s willingness to allow national growth served as a catalyst for new national identities that were not beholden to membership in the Soviet Union exclusively.