Ukraine’s complex transition
Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Igor Lyubashenko
Borders within Borderland: The ethnic and cultural diversity of Ukraine
Talk about Ukraine being deeply divided across regional, national and linguistic divisions has become a kind of a cliché in the international media. Articles about an alleged pro-European western and pro-Russian eastern Ukraine have been appearing almost on a daily basis in the international mass media, after the Euromaidan protests. In literature, one can find claims about Ukraine being divided into two different parts and interpretations, according to which the country actually consists of a dozen different regions, which all differ to some extent from one another.1 For the purpose of this chapter, a middle path is pursued which claims that Ukraine can be divided – using historical criteria – into north and south, both of which are composed of different historic regions.2 It is the purpose of this chapter to establish the internal boundaries that delimitate the different parts of Ukraine, whose very name points to the fact that it has been regarded by others as a borderline in itself.
In order to do that, let’s look at Ukraine from an eagle’s view. Following that, the main dividing lines running through the country will be presented (south, east, west and centre), followed by an analysis of the regional differences and how they emerged from history.
A general overview of Ukraine’s ethnic and religious structure
Dealing with national, ethnic and linguistic division has become very important against the backdrop of the current discussion of whether national boundaries and linguistic cleavages determine geopolitical orientations. It...
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