The problem of overcoming a social and political division of the Ukrainian society by region, ethnicity and language Cover Image

The problem of overcoming a social and political division of the Ukrainian society by region, ethnicity and language

Author(s): Halyna Lutsyshyn
Subject(s): Anthropology, Cultural history, Ethnohistory, Politics and religion, Politics and society, Social differentiation, Nationalism Studies, Ethnic Minorities Studies
Published by: Національна академія керівних кадрів культури і мистецтв
Keywords: social and political division of the society; nation; breakup of the nation; national consolidation; civil society; national identity;

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with the problem of overcoming a social and political division of the Ukrainian society by region, ethnicity and language. Having intensified during the years of its independence, the existing social and political division of the Ukrainian society suggests that the government's ethnic and national policy is ineffective, points to a segmental awareness of individuality and a conflict of interests of social and political groups, a stronger institutional representation etc. Today, the political elite fails to utilize the nation-consolidating potential and often ignores the objective of social, political and national consolidation of the society, enhances the imbalances in the system of values and standards, exacerbates interethnic relationships. In contemporary conditions, Ukrainian citizens from different regions have a different understanding of the past and the future development of their country, give preference to different political and geopolitical vectors. That Ukraine did not have statehood has made more complicated the evolution of sustainable national identification factors of the Ukrainian society, ultimately limited the natural development of interethnic and intergovernmental relationships and their impact on the formation of a nation, conditioned peculiar types of regional identity to a great degree. Remaining immature in most regions, the ethnic foundation of the national identity prevents the Ukrainian political nation from consolidation.It has been substantiated that the social and political division may, if escalated, provoke a nation's breakup which has two aspects – external (lack of the nation's unity is caused by certain geopolitical factors, interference of other countries or organizations in the constitution of the nation) and internal (by historical, cultural, religious, language-related, mental and other factors). Today, the breakup between the west and and east can be witnessed in Ukraine as it correlates with language-related and geopolitical reference points of Ukrainian citizens.The current social and political division of the Ukrainian society has been strengthened by internal political factors such as inferior public governance, ethnic and political management has failed to eliminate discontent of both the title ethnos and national minorities by developing their national cultures, and they have an increasing sense of neglect and humiliation. Unfortunately, most political solutions, official documents and declarations intended to promote national consolidation fail to achieve their functions and are of formal nature in that they fail to assist in overcoming regional disproportions and disintegration of the regions. Today, the ethnic and regional division is also based on the language because lingual conduct is the most prominent factor of regional differentiation. A further development of these tendencies poses a threat of having the existing ethnic and cultural differences between the regions transform themselves into an institutionalized territorial and political demarcation. When forming a language policy, the state should proceed from that the problem of protection of national minorities' languages should not threaten the national identity and national consolidation of Ukraine. This condition should be of top priority in the society that has set out for national consolidation instead of a breakup of the nation. It is improper and useless to treat national minorities' languages as an aspect of their 'survival'.It has been demonstrated that the social and political division of the Ukrainian society is also strengthened by external political factors such as the policy of Russia, which creates social and political organizations that raise territory claims against Ukraine; uses the dominant position of the Russian satellite and broadcast television in southern and eastern oblasts of Ukraine to reinforce pro-Russian sentiment among the population of these regions; promotes a negative attitude to the EU and NATO; creates centers of tensions over language-related and national issues, makes military intervention etc. Introduction of dual citizenship also has negative effects such as the exacerbation of interethnic relation-ships, a shift in the national identity or promotion of dual national identity.For national consolidation, it is crucial today to create a new system of values of the Ukrainian society, a nationwide idea which can consolidate the Ukrainian society. Of course, it is both unreasonable and ineffective to treat an individual factor as primary to national consolidation because national consolidation is a comprehensive and systemic process. National consolidation should be primarily founded on spiritual, social and moral values.The Ukrainian society can consolidate provided there is ethnic, social and national consensus – an agreement between policy actors on national matters based on fundamental values and standards that are common to all main-stream social and political groups of the society. National consolidation may evolve top down and vice versa, bottom up, as initiated by the people in the context of a developed civil society. During national consolidation of the contemporary Ukrainian society, it is important to create conditions for the establishment of institutions of political power and civil society which can maintain territorial integrity and unity of the country and guarantee its sustainable development.The consolidation of the Ukrainian society requires a number of transformations in the humanitarian area. These include developing integrative humanitarian policy intended to create a single political nation, the national identity; creating a single information space; resolving the language issue; reinforcing community ties between Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking regions. It is only when and if all internal and external political factors of the national consolidation of the Ukrainian society are taken into account comprehensively that an effective national strategy of consolidation can be developed and a sustainable development of nation building can be secured.

  • Issue Year: 1/2014
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 206-211
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Ukrainian