Russia as Ukraine's ‘Other’: Identity and Geopolitics
in Ukraine and Russia: People, Politics, Propaganda and Perspectives, edited by Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska & Richard Sakwa, 2015
12 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2015
Date Written: March 5, 2015
Vilification of Russia in Ukraine has reached unusual proportions after Russia's annexation of Crimea and provision of military support to separatists in Eastern Ukraine. While it would be naive to expect business as usual in presentations of Russia's image in the Ukrainian media under the circumstances, denigration and the browbeating of the Russian state and people in the present round of conflict really goes beyond what might have been functionally necessary and betrays a clear dehumanizing streak. The article looks at the origins of alienation and argues that the Ukrainian nationalist othering of Russia and the Russians goes a long way back to the mid-nineteenth century, when the core Russophobic myths had been created. The othering of the opponent serves as a potent instrument of war mongering on the part of the Ukrainian government today. It helps to complete the reshuffling of power in Kiev and justifies the new elite’s grab of property from the defeated oligarchs of the East. The article concludes by arguing that the political class in post-Maidan Ukraine might need to change their attitude to Russia and the Russians to preserve its grip on power.
Keywords: Russia, Ukraine, nationalism, identity, geopolitics
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation