Ukraine’s complex transition
Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Igor Lyubashenko
Nationalism and the Ideological Identities of Svoboda and Right Sector
The Ukrainian national identity has taken many forms over the last two hundred years. Although many scholars trace the antecedence of modern Ukrainian national identity to the Cossack and Haidamak rebellions, or even earlier, the reality is that Ukrainian national identity has radically varied within the confines of space and time. Given that the opponents and political rivals of the idea of “Ukraine” have used the term to demonise all of those that stood in their way to control the “Breadbasket of Europe”, the specifics of the term “Ukrainian nationalism” has often been used as a convenient catch-all phrase for those not in agreement with the dominant state’s identity. Simultaneously, the individuals who champion the ideals of Ukrainian language, culture and statehood themselves have different constructs of what actually constitutes Ukrainian nationalism.
The noted Ukrainian historian Orest Subtelny identified three overlapping stages of national movements.1 The first is a small group of scholars collecting historical and ethnographic materials in the face of growing imperial standardisation. The second phase is the “rebirth” of the vernacular language and its use in literary and educational activities. The third phase is the transition to national organisations that seek to achieve self-rule.
For many European states, one of the major challenges of the 19th century was how to contain the competing national movements. While both Austrian and Russian civil authorities sought to stem the rise tide of national identity by underlining each subject’s loyalty to the monarchy, they did...
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