Post-Maidan Europe and the New Ukrainian Studies

Twenty years ago, in his article “Does Ukraine Have a History?,” Mark von Hagen observed that “by the indexes of the intellectual organization of his- tory teaching, Ukraine has not had a history” and defined this problem as a part of a greater dilemma in eastern and central Europe—a region “associated with nationalism, anti-Semitism and ethnic irredentism” and “denied full historiographical legitimacy.” Nowadays this point sounds no less relevant. The complicated recent events usually called the “Ukraine crisis” revealed, among other things, the strength of historical stereotypes and conventional categories of explanation. In the descriptions of what has happened and what is going on, Ukraine is often portrayed as an apple of discord or a battlefield of the super powers without its own historical and cultural subjectivity. In other words, post-Soviet Ukraine is frequently seen as just a by-product of imperial politics or an incidental outcome of the Soviet Union’s attempts to solve the national question. For those who accept such logic, there is no need to know the Ukrainian language or the country’s history to comment on the so-called Ukraine crisis, because “there is actually no Ukraine”!

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