On 16 February at 11:00 Olena Nedozhogina will defend her doctoral thesis “Identity construction of Russian-speaking Ukrainians after 2013-2014” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Media and Communication).
Professor Triin Vihalemm, University of Tartu
Dr Joanna Szostek, University of Glasgow (United Kingdom)
This thesis looks into the situation in Ukraine after the turbulent events of 2013-2014 and the conflict with Russia. The main question driving the study is: did these events have any impact on how Russian-speaking Ukrainians see themselves as national citizens and members of ethnic group(s)? Did their perception of what it means to be ‘Ukrainian’ or ‘Russian’ change, and, if so – can we draw any conclusions on how conflict affects issues of identity in states with complicated contexts?
I have collected accounts from people living in Crimea about their experiences of the annexation, as well as from internally displaced persons from the East of Ukraine, and local Kyiv residents, about their perception of the events of 2013-2014. I zoomed in on the stories people tell that help them make sense of the drastic changes in their life, and how these stories inform their view of themselves, of others, and the state.
More generally, with this study, I aimed to address the lack of research into Ukrainian identity that is not abstract and doesn’t put ethnic groups into ‘boxes’ but is rather situated in a particular time, social relations, institutional practices, and collective memory that influence how the question of ‘national identity’ is even raised. I also approached the main topic of the study having in mind that questions of nationality and ethnicity become more and more blurred in the context of rising mobility and increasing flows of information across borders.
The defence will take place in MS Teams