2006 | 66 | 111-135
Article title

The Emergence of the Intelligentsia in the Absence of Own Statehood. The Ukrainian Intelligentsia in the Republic of Poland in the Years 1918-1939

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Having lost in the past centuries almost its entire gentry, the Ukrainian community in interwar Poland was a predominantly of a peasant character. The Ukrainian working class was very small ( 5,1% employed in the industry) and Ukrainian landowners & bourgeoisie constituted a mere 0,02% and 0,2% of the Ukrainian minority in Poland, respectively. After the WW I the situation changed significantly in comparison to the 19th century, when the social base for the emergent intelligentsia was almost exclusively the clergy. In the Eastern rite Church the diocesan clergy was not obligated to remain celibate. During the interwar period, however, the Uniate bishops decided to introduce celibacy, thus changing the heretofore model of shaping the Ukrainian intelligentsia. The traditional elite started to shrink rapidly, a process which favoured the rise of an intelligentsia of peasant origin. Despite the absence of its own state, the Ukrainian community disclosed a discernible dynamic of secondary and higher education. At the end of the interwar period, the intelligentsia stratum totalled already almost 100 000, which comprised about 2 per cent of the almost 5 million-strong Ukrainian population. The largest professional group was composed of teachers, lawyers, journalists, artists and men of letters as well as the functionaries of numerous cooperatives. A serious problem faced by the Ukrainian intelligentsia was considerable unemployment, reaching 20 per cent and contributing to a radicalisation of the prevalent moods and the involvement, particularly of the young Ukrainian intelligentsia, in illegal anti-Polish groups. A characteristic phenomenon was the return of secondary and higher school graduates to the countryside, much more frequent than among their Polish counterparts. They came back to their birthplaces, and tried to find jobs in the local dairy, trade and agricultural cooperatives, as well as participating in the political and social activity of various educational, cultural and Church societies.
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  • S. Stepien, Poludniowo-Wschodni Instytut Naukowy w Przemyslu, ul. Grodzka 3, 37-700 Przemysl, Poland
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