Inter-Ethnic Coexistence in the Ukraine

An exploration of the ethnic basis of population and political parties in Eastern Ukraine, particularly the Donbass Basin.

This paper examines issues of inter-ethnic coexistence in the Ukraine and in particular the Donbass Basin by illustrating that history matters in terms of ethnic composition and political preferences. It attempts to reconstruct the historical picture of the major ethnic groups living in Donbass in order to examine what social, political and cultural experiences they have gained during the centuries of their habitation in the area of modern Ukraine. It looks at the process through which the ethnic make-up of the area was determined, focusing on the delineation of particular groups , histories and traces the evolution of the minority issue under Soviet rule, as a factor that influenced the levels of their self-assertiveness which obviously matters under the new political conditions. It also analyzes major questions of inter-ethnic co-existence and cultural autonomy, on the level of state politics and mass public perception.
“When looking at the development of any young independent states, among the matters of special concern is the problem of the relationship between integration processes and the in-depth development of particular ethnic groups and regions. In staking out its claim of sovereignty and at the same time insisting on getting its own way, the multi-ethnic national state places itself in an embarrassing realm of double standards and therefore often becomes susceptible to quite a distressing level of internal torment. And yet some of the governments in question endeavor to implement liberal approaches, founded on the principle of preserving a balance between the prerogatives of the state and the priorities of the regions; and between the Nation’s codes and the interests of the various ethnic groups in the population.”