Bifurcations, Discontinuities and the ‘Russian Trace’ in the Construction of the Ukrainian Nation

Iakov Lazarev

Abstract


The review analyses one of the most recent works by Serhii Plokhii, a renowned Ukrainian historian. In The Cossack Myth, Plokhii provides a complex analysis of the political and intellectual mechanisms involved in the construction of the Ukrainian nation, which served as a major impetus for the destruction of the Russian Empire in 1917 and the Soviet Union in 1991. Plokhii speculates that the source of the ideas that stimulated these processes was an anonymous essay from the beginning of the 19th century entitled The History of the Rus. According to the author, this work appeared exclusively as a result of how the repressive policies of the Russian government impeded the rights of the Ukrainian Cossacks and the local gentry. The ideas underlying this literary composition seemingly fuelled sentiments of opposition among Ukrainian intellectuals in the pre-revolutionary and Soviet periods, and became the basis for the modern ideology of the Ukrainian nation. However, in his search for opposition among Ukrainian elites, the author seems to overlook many bifurcations, discontinuities, and the ‘Russian trace’ that all took part in the process of Ukrainian nation-building.


Keywords


S. N. Plokhii; History of Ukraine; History of the Rus; Ukrainian nation; Ukrainian nobility; N. G. Repnin; Nation-building

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2016.2.170

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