Academic Januses: GPU-NKVD Secret Informants at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1920s–1930s)

Upcoming Events Login

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Wednesday, October 9, 20193:00PM - 5:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
+ Register for this Event Print this Event Bookmark this Event


In 2015 the decommunization laws in Ukraine gave open access to the GPU-NKVD-KGB archives, and historians immediately seized the opportunity to study new types of secret police documents which had been inaccessible earlier. Among them were the almost unknown dela-formulyary, i.e. surveillance files on the Ukrainian scholars who worked at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in the 1920s–1930s.
These files were prepared for many years and contained all information about researchers and their milieu. They consisted of several types of documents – track records, questionnaires, characteristics, references, secret police supervisory materials, copies of testimonies of the detainees, copies of opened and inspected correspondence, as well as numerous “bulletins” and “informational messages” from the secret informants.

Despite the fact that there are practically no official archival materials on secret informants (their personal files were either obliterated or moved to Russia), it is very likely that their names can be identified. In her talk Oksana Yurkova will present her analysis of the surveillance files and discuss the problem of secret informants among Ukrainian scholars in the 1920s–1930s. Also she will present her research on deciphering of the academic secret informants’ nicknames.

Dr. Oksana Yurkova is a Leading Researcher at the Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
She studies Ukrainian historiography of the 20th century, especially focusing on the interwar period (1920s–1930s), the Ukrainian historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky and his Kyiv historical school, as well as the activity of Ukrainian historical institutions of that period; iconography; anthropology of academic life; electronic information resources. In 2015, she initiated the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Digital Archives which collects and presents all printed and archival materials dealing with this famous historian and political figure ( ).
In 2019 the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies awarded her the Kolasky Visiting Research Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Law, Education, and Library Sciences 2019–2020. In Toronto she works on the project “Canadian Sources for the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Digital Archives.” For more details see her web-page


Olga Kesarchuk


Oksana Yurkova
Leading Researcher at the Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Ksenya Kiebuzinski
Head, Petro Jacyk Resource Centre, Co-director, Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine

Main Sponsor

Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine


Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies

Canadian Insitute of Ukrainian Studies

If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at or 416-946-8900.

Newsletter Signup Sign up for the Munk School Newsletter

× Strict NO SPAM policy. We value your privacy, and will never share your contact info.