The real history of ukrainian industrialization

On November 15,2017, a presentation of a book by Valentyna Lazebnyk “Steel in the Steppe: A View from Ukraine” was held at the press centre of the Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre (Ukrainian House in the European Square, Khreshchatyk St. 2). The book is the first special research on the topic of Belgian investment and entrepreneurship in Ukraine, and therefore it is not surprising that Mr. Luc Jacobs, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Ukraine cook part in the presentation. Nadiia Kapustina, the Director of Dnipropetrovsk National Historical Museum named after D.l. Yavornytsky, Honoured Worker of Ukrainian Culture Valentyna Lazebnyk, the author of the book, the Head of the Department of Scientific Researches of the History of Ukraine of Dnipropetrovsk National Historical Museum named after D.l. Yavornytsky; Dmytro Pirkl, a medallist and a patron; Yurii Maliienko, the designer of Dnipropetrovsk National Historical museum named after D.l. Yavornytsky, also took art in the presentation.

The book by Valentyna Lazebnyk “Steel – the Steppe: a View Prom Ukraine” was zepared on the basis of museum collections of Dnipropetrovsk National Historical Museum named after D.l. Yavornytsky and is the logical conclusion of a lively interest in the theme, which was caused the exhibition “Foreign Investments in Ukraine, “he End of the 19th Century – the Beginning of the 20th Century. Part One: Belgium.”

Patron Dmytro Pirkl bought and handed over :: the museum valuable historic documents of nat time – stocks and bonds of foreign joint stock companies operating in the region and became the main source of the research. The work on the topic was also facilitated by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Ukraine, which had a sincere desire to revive and preserve the common historical and cultural Ukrainian-Belgian heritage.

The development of the mining and metal industry in Donetsk-Prydniprovsk area was due to the attraction of entrepreneurial capital from England, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, as well as to the experience of foreign engineers. The influence of Belgian entrepreneurial capital, which ranked first in terms of the number of companies created and the total volume of investments (until 1911), was particularly large.

The research destroys the myth of the Soviet industrialization of the centre, the east and the south of Ukraine — in fact, according to historians conclusions. It is known that on the eve of the First World War, Ukraine, judging by the level of heavy industry sectors development, outpaced many Western European countries. One of the main sources of Soviet industrialization was the nationalization of industry. It was in Ukraine where dozens of private industrial enterprises, which belonged to foreign, in particular Belgian capital, were nationalized.

The publication solves the problem of popularizing a complex and little-known historical theme. It illustrates 270 historical documents of those times and events: securities of Belgian societies, photographs and portraits of Belgian and Ukrainian entrepreneurs, heads and founders of factories, mines, coalmines. The photographs reproduced giant metallurgical plants with blast furnaces, images of which impressed the imagination of contemporaries. Advertising was helping the business — colourful, artistic, in Russian and French languages. The photos of Orthodox and Catholic churches, theatres, settlements built by means of investments, photos of workers and the administrations of factories and enterprises are unique.

We hope that the book will allow us to adjust and expand existing views on the history of economic development of Ukraine and will give a boost to further studios on this topic, both in Ukraine and in Belgium.

Fashion of diplomacy in Ukraine, №7, 2017, -с. 8