On March 31 – April 2, 2023, the next annual conference of the British Association of Slavic and East European Studies (BASEES) was held at the University of Glasgow (Scotland). More than 400 researchers from 30 countries took part in the congress. At the panel discussion “War as a creator of nations?” Nation-building in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine – discourses, identities, achievements” report on the topic: “Institutional changes of the political system of Ukraine under the influence of Russian military aggression” was delivered by the Head of the Department of Political Institutions and Processes of our Institute, Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Galyna Zelenko.
The participants of the panel discussion noted that wars, of course, destroy nations, but they can also make them stronger, becoming a kind of trigger for very rapid and qualitative changes. In the case of Ukraine, Russia’s war against Ukraine since 2014 is not the end, but the beginning of national construction. In Ukraine, the nation-building process is not based on ethnic, but on civic nationalism, the idea of building a modern democratic and multicultural society.
In essence, state formation in Ukraine is a process that began after the declaration of independence in 1991 and was reinforced by two Maidans in 2004 and 2013/14. But Russia’s war against Ukraine since 2014 can certainly be considered the main factor and catalyst of national building in Ukraine. This is part of a powerful discourse, which can also be observed from the data of sociological surveys, which confirm the growth of national pride and civic Ukrainian identity.
On the other hand, the war also became a catalyst for qualitative changes in the political regime in Ukraine, the modernization of political actors and, most importantly, the reduction of the influence of financial and industrial groups (oligarchs), the destruction of the political and economic monopoly in the country.
In combination with the rapid development of civil society, the change of political identities, the stabilization role of the EU also caused rapid institutional changes in the entire political system of Ukraine. It is also emphasized that the process of Europeanization is an articulated choice of the orientation of nation-building, which put an end to the geopolitical ambivalence of Ukraine.