Ukraine: Contested Nationhood in a European Context challenges the common view that Ukraine is a country split between a pro-European West and a pro-Russian East. The volume navigates the complicated cultural history of Ukraine and highlights the importance of regional traditions for an understanding of the current political situation. A key feature is the different politics of memory that prevail in each region, such as the Soviet past being presented as either a foreign occupation or a benign socialist project.
The pluralistic culture of Ukraine (in terms of languages, national legacies and religions) forms a nation that faces both internal and external challenges. In order to address this fully, rather than following a merely chronological order, this book examines different interpretations of Ukrainian nationhood that have been especially influential, such as the Russian tradition, the Habsburg past and the Polish connections.
Finally, the book analyses Ukraine’s political and economic options for the future. Can the desired integration into EU structures overcome the concentration of investment of power in the hands of a few oligarchs and a continuing widespread culture of corruption? Will proposals to join NATO, which garnered robust support among the populace in the aftermath of the Russian aggression, materialise under the current circumstances? Is the political culture in Ukraine sufficiently functional to guarantee democratic procedures and the rule of law?
Table of Contents
1. Where Is Ukraine Situated?
2. How Many Ukraines Are There? Seeing the East-West Opposition in Context
3. The Russian Perspective: ‘Little Russia’ in the ‘Russian World’
4. The Cultivation of the Habsburg Myth in Galicia and Bukovina
5. Poland as Friend and Foe: From the Volhynia Massacre to the Polish Initiatives for Ukraine in the EU
6. National Independence and Regional Differences
7. History Wars over the Tragedies of the Soviet Era
8. The Ukraine Crisis: Civil War or Russian Hybrid War?
9. The Ukrainian Economy
10. The European Union as Unwilling Protector of Ukraine
11. The Complicated Relationship with the USA and NATO
12. Quo vadis, Ukraine?
13. List of Historical City Names
Ulrich Schmid is Professor of Russian Studies at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. His research interests include nationalism, popular culture and media in Eastern Europe. He studied German and Slavic literature at the Universities of Zürich, Heidelberg, and Leningrad. He has held academic positions in Basel, Bern, Bochum, and was a visiting researcher at Harvard University, in Warsaw, and in Oslo. His publications include Regionalism without Regions: Reconceptualizing Ukraine’s Heterogeneity (ed. 2019); De Profundis: On the Failure of the Russian Revolution (ed. 2017); Technologies of the Soul: The Production of Truth in Contemporary Russian Culture (2015); Sword, Eagle and Cross: The Aesthetics of the Nationalist Discourse in Interwar Poland (ed. 2013) and Tolstoi as a Theological Thinker and Critic of the Church (ed. 2013).