(Ethnopolitics) This study considers how a community that supports self-rule takes shape in movements for self-determination. Examining separatism in east Ukraine, the author suggests that the formation of community boundaries is not automatic. Boundaries are not activated by pre-existing ethnic or linguistic identities, or even by the appeals of political leaders who manipulate those identities. Instead, analysts should focus attention on how specific political developments contribute to alienation from the central state. Two factors contributed to political alienation in Ukraine: first, the material interest of industrial workers in preserving economic ties to Russia, and second, how nostalgia for the Soviet Union was strengthened by developments following the Orange Revolution and after the Maidan that emphasized an ethnically exclusivist Ukrainian national identity and gave voice to the ultranationalist far right in national politics.
Ethnopolitics: Special Issue: Self-determination—A Double-edged Principle
Volume 14, Issue 5, 2015
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