Love and Sex in Wartime

Controlling Women’s Sexuality in the Ukrainian Nationalist Underground

in Aspasia
Marta Havryshko Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences

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This article examines how the constructions of gender, female sexuality, nation, and war by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army influenced their attitudes to intimate fraternization between women (both members of the nationalist underground and civilians) and enemy men between 1939 and the mid-1950s. Conclusions are based on the analysis of a wide range of sources. The article highlights various forms and methods of repressive measures against women who transgressed sexual norms. The article argues that the violent practices against women were not standardized, and largely depended on subjective decisions of the local leaders and commanders, as well as on the level of women’s engagement in the underground activities. Violence against women represented a tool of preservation of patriarchal power and traditional gender roles but became one of the means of constructing power relations among the nationalist men, as well as their relations with enemy men.

Contributor Notes

Marta Havryshko holds a PhD in history. She is a junior research associate at the Department of Contemporary History, Ivan Kryp’iakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences. She was a visiting lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University (2010, 2016). She is a member of the Ukrainian Association for Research in Women’s History, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the International Association for the Humanities. Her research interests include Ukrainian women’s history in the twentieth century, sexual and gender-based violence during armed conflicts, gender/feminism and nationalism, oral history, and memory studies. Email:

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The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History