The Ukrainian Divide - The Power of Historical Narratives, Imagined Communities, and Collective Memories
Ukraine is usually portrayed as a cleft country with a determining internal East–West divide. However, critical researchers in Ukrainian scholarship emphasize that the East–West paradigm fails to adequately reflect the complex reality of the Ukrainian society and its historical, linguistic, economic, and political mixture. This article deconstructs the origins and evolution of the eastern and western Ukrainian identities and argues that the current clash between the two regions should not be explained by linguistic and ethnic differences, geopolitical strategies, economic interests, or political gains but rather by symbolic geographies, historical myths, and political imaginations. As a consequence, Ukraine is unable to make clear choices about its geopolitical future and remains a liminal space of east and west, where the broader EU-centered and Russia-centered regions overlap.