On May 27, 2024, Mykola Riabchuk, a leading researcher at the Department of Political Culture and Ideology of our Institute, took part in the podium discussion “Imperialism and Identity” as part of the two-day international conference “Beyond Western Colonialism”. The scientific event was organized by the European University of Florence.

In his presentation Mykola Riabchuk discussed some peculiarities of Russian-Ukrainian relations that were not marked by racial differences between the two nations and therefore did not contain any racial discrimination of the colonized group by the colonizer. But they contained a good portion of discursive and social supremacism, based on the alleged cultural superiority of urbanized Russians over mostly rural Ukrainians.

European University of Florence

Instead of a racially-based exclusion, the colonized people subjected to a forcible social inclusion into the dominant group at the price of abandoning their distinct (Ukrainian) identity, jettisoning their arguably inferior (“black”) language and culture, and thereby passing for “whites”, i.e. for Russians. This peculiar “inclusiveness” of the Russian empire has been largely ignored by the international experts, so the century-long colonial dominance of Russians over Ukrainians remained unnoticed. Now, as the repressive, genocidal character of that dominance came to the fore, the Ukrainian-Russian relations should be properly re-examined from the decolonial perspective, and more adequate policies vis-à-vis both countries should be applied.

The conference program