This book describes the making of the 1991 TV documentary ‘Hughesovka and the New Russia, Dreaming a City’ created by the author and the Welsh historian Gwyn Alf Williams.
Focusing on the town of Donetsk in the Ukraine from its origin in eighteen-seventy, when it was a small village occupied by one hundred and seventy people, it documents the historical events from that time through the Russian revolutions, Bolshevism, Stalinism, Nazi occupation, the collapse of Communism and rising Ukraine nationalism.
John Hughes was a successful manufacturer from South Wales who was granted permission by the Czar to journey to the Ukraine and to provide Russia with coal and iron material. Hughes arrived in the area with just thirty-five experienced Welsh workers and struggled through the Russian winter. Without roads and with recruited labour from Cossacks and peasants who had no experience of construction they achieved the building of a blast furnace. Eventually, the work expanded and by nineteen hundred and five when the business was sold, a huge mining, iron and steel industry existed and the population had increased to fifty thousand people.
Throughout this time there were many conflicts, strikes and violence between the miners, factory workers and owners. The book clearly explains how the dissident movement in the Ukraine arose and the harsh repression they experienced in the nineteen seventies.
This very interesting book is important in understanding some of the present day divisions that exist in the Ukraine.