Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Laura Osterman

Second Advisor

John O'Loughlin

Third Advisor

Artemi Romanov


This paper closely examines trends surrounding Ukrainian nationalism following the events of the Maidan Revolution, and applies modernist nationalist thinking, including Benedict Anderson's theory of Imagined Communities and Anthony Smith’s theory of Ethno-Symbolism, to explain how the Ukrainian Nation is fundamentally changing at a core level. Anderson’s theory states that modern nations are defined by perceived shared connections between each individual member of a nation, and that these connections are often dictated by language, religion and other cultural icons. The Ukrainian nation has been under the control of Russia and the USSR for the better part of the last 1,000 years, and as a result what defines the Ukrainian nation in modern times is controversial even amongst Ukrainians. This controversy has been brought to its head by the annexation of Crimea as well as surging trends of Russian irredentism. The perceived existential threat posed to Ukraine by an uptick in Russian nationalism has acted as a catalyst driving the Maidan revolution. In short, the new Ukrainian nation is defined by a diminishing of Russian influence, and the removal of the vestiges of Ukraine’s Russian past. The Ukrainian Rada has attempted to pass laws marginalizing the use of the Russian language, the Holodomor has been officially recognized as deliberate Soviet genocide of the Ukrainian people, Soviet-era statues glorifying Lenin and other Soviet leaders have been torn down in their thousands, Soviet era place names have been renamed to erase any vestiges of their Soviet legacy, and the image of the controversial nationalist Stepan Bandera is rapidly rising as the face of the new movement. Ethno-Symbolism is at the heart of these changes, and the Ukrainian Nation is moving to redefine itself as a new independent nation, distant from its Russian past.