Diedush Oleksiy – a leading ethnologist at the Archival Scientific Funds of Manuscripts and Audio-Recordings Department of the M. Rylskyi Institute of Art Studies, Folkloristics and Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The periodization of ukrainian and russian national identities: a comparative analysis
Forming process of national identity is the most important page of each nation’s history that reflects its current and future qualitative characteristics of national being’s elements such as mentality, historical memory, level of tolerance, national idea, etc. Comparison of histories of the Ukrainian identity and the Russian one could resolve many problems in their bilateral relationship, especially in the period of ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine. Ukrainian and Russian national identities started to form in the same period, in the first half of the 17th century. The key stone events in both cases became a struggle against Polish invaders, i.e., Minin and Pozharski’s Action in the Trouble Times and Bohdan Khmelnitsky’s uprising, respectively. However, there is an essential difference between Ukrainian and Russian events because of our people trying to build a new independent state and the Russians reviving their statehood, which had been practically lost several years ago. Russians’ experience of state-building along with the Byzantine tradition of autocracy provided the forming of powerful and aggressive state that was disseminating expansionistic messianic ideas of Third Rome, the Russian world, the Defender of Orthodox World, etc. Vice versa, the Ukrainians’ long statelessness has led to a gradual destruction of young Cossack state and losing independence generally because of internal discords and impossibility to unite around common aim. Trends of autocracy and respect for the law of force turned out Russia in the early 20th century into the first totalitarian Communistic polygon where Ukraine was drowning, too. Attempts to change their own countries in a democratic way gave the different results, either. Russia has reverted to autocracy, while Ukraine rebuilt its political regime several times via democratic revolutionary events. National idea as the perspective-oriented derivative of national identity took an aggressive and imperialistic form in case of the Russians; meanwhile the Ukrainians still have wishes to build a democratic and civilized country with in united Europe.
Ukrainian national identity, Russian national identity, mentality, political history of Ukraine, political history of Russia, nation-building.
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