1st Edition

Minorities at War Cultural Identity and Resilience in Ukraine

Edited By Elmira Muratova, Nadia Zasanska Copyright 2025
    322 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection focuses on Ukraine’s ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities who in recent years have undergone forced displacement, emigration, the destruction of familiar ways of life, and a transformation of identity and language behaviour. The book examines the impact of Russia's war against Ukraine, which began with the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas in 2014. It shows what happens to the cultural identities of minority groups and considers the mechanisms and components of their resilience in times of crisis. Key themes addressed include minorities’ collective memory and survival strategies, mobilization and humanitarianism, forced displacement and the preservation of identity. While most works on the Russo-Ukrainian war focus on the international context and the causes of the war and its humanitarian consequences for the population of Ukraine and the region as a whole, this book seeks to mainstream the issue of cultural minorities, which is often neglected in the coverage of this type of conflict. The book will be of interest to academics, researchers and policy-makers working in the areas of Law, Political Science, Anthropology, Human Geography, Religious Studies and War and Peace Studies.

    Foreword: exploring how and why minorities shape the majority (Catherine Wanner)
    1. Introduction. Ethno-cultural minority identities at war in Ukraine and beyond (Kyriaki Topidi)
    PART I: Minority politics, language, and identity during the war.
    2. National minorities in Ukraine: contextualizing challenges and searching for policy solutions (Olena Bohdan and Viktoriya Sereda)
    3. Majority-minority relations in Ukraine: state minority politics in a changed security context (Kateryna Haertel)
    PART II: Collective memory and minorities’ coping strategies.
    4. Collective memory, Islam, and coping strategies of Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea (Elmira Muratova)
    5. Public discourses connected to the Russian war in Ukraine: the representation of Jewish communities (Alla Marchenko)
    6. Shia Muslims of Ukraine during the Russian invasion (Akif Tahiiev)
    PART III: Mobilization, resilience, and humanitarianism
    7. Muslim organizations in Ukraine and the challenges of wartime: moderation, mobilization, and resilience (Oleg Yarosh)
    8. Mobilizing Christian emotions: everyday ethnicity and resiliency in a Transcarpathian Hungarian NGO (Marc Roscoe Loustau)
    9. The Ukrainian national minority and forced migrants in Poland: the case of Przemysl (Tomasz Kosiek)
    10. Going beyond regional: the Greek Catholic Church as a communicator of dignity during the Russo-Ukrainian war (Nadia Zasanska)
    PART IV: Displacement and identity preservation during the war
    11. Exodus of the Hungarian minority from Ukraine? War-induced ethnic dynamics in the Ukrainian-Hungarian border region (Ágnes Erőss, Katalin Kovály, and Patrik Tátrai)
    12. Meskhetian/Ahiska Turks in time of uncertainty: changes in civic, ethnic, and religious identification (Mykola Homanyuk and Hasan Basri Bülbül)
    13. Ukrainian Roma facing the challenges of the Russian-Ukrainian war and displacement (Valentyn Zharonkin, Janush Panchenko, and Mykola Homanyuk)
    14. Concluding remarks (Elmira Muratova and Nadia Zasanska)


    Elmira Muratova is a post-doctoral researcher at European Centre for Minority Issues, Germany. She was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Taurida National University in Ukraine. She is the author and editor of several books and has more than 60 research articles and book chapters in the areas of Crimean Tatars’ identity and religion as well as ethnic and religious developments in Crimea.

    Nadia Zasanska is a research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for European Studies at Flensburg University, Germany. As a postdoctoral researcher, she worked at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Ukraine, studying digital religious media in Ukrainian and Russian contexts. Her research interests are Digital Religion, Religious Studies, and Media Studies and she has published widely on these and related subjects.

    "Often underappreciated, Ukraine’s cultural diversity is a crucial source of its strength as well as a challenge for its policymakers, especially as Russia tries to weaponize minority rights in its bloody warfare. This timely book, featuring leading Ukrainian and global experts, is an essential read for understanding this important topic".

    Henry E. HaleProfessor of Political Science and International Affairs, and Director of the Elliott School's Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University

    “This volume makes a thoughtful contribution to the discussion about national minorities in Ukraine. A range of different perspectives and case studies capture the diversity and hybridity of identities within the larger civic identity of Ukraine, mapping their role in the resilience of the Ukrainian state and future policy challenges”.

    Gwendolyn Sasse, Director of the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) and Professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; author of Russia’s War against Ukraine

    "This urgent and extraordinary interdisciplinary volume sheds overdue light on how Ukraine’s minorities conceive of their future. It will change the way you think about Ukraine, and it will change the way you think about the most consequential conflict in Europe since the Second World War".

    Rory Finnin, University of Cambridge, Director, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies Programme