Tadeusz A. Olszański
Centre for Eastern Studies | 2014-03-07
Ukraine is deeply divided internally, although as a result of the changes that have taken place since its independence, the country’s internal divisions now have less and less to do with territorial divides, and the split into historical ‘sub-Ukraines’ has become less pronounced, especially for the younger generation. Ukraine is not a country of two competing regional identities, one in the west, the other in the east. The western identity, in which the unity of Ukraine is a key value, coexists with the multiple and diverse local patriotisms of the different regions in the east and the south of the country. The present protest movement has consolidated the country’s sense of unity. Its opponents have also been championing the indivisibility of Ukraine, even while they demanded a thorough decentralisation of the country, which was often mistaken for separatism. Russia has been stirring up separatist tendencies in Ukraine, but with little success. Crimea is an exception here, because in most respects it has remained unaffected by the dynamics of the social processes transforming mainland Ukraine – separatist tendencies are indeed deeply rooted in the peninsula.
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