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Semaine culturelle L’Ukraine et la Biélorussie

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Imagined Russianness, Invented Europeanness: Ukraine as a Europe’s Ambiguous Borderland
Mykola Ryabchuk (univ. Kiyv-Mohyla Academy (Kiyv, Ukraine))

23 mars 2006

Séance Identités biélorusse et ukrainienne dans le monde contemporain présidée par Alexandra Goujon, maître de conférence en sciences politiques, Université de Bourgogne
The paper makes an attempt at a critical analysis of both Ukrainian and European discourses of ‘Europeanness’, with a special attention to the notion of European limits and neighbourhood, and to the place of Ukraine within these discursive constructions. The major assumption is that both Ukrainians and Europeans have a rather distorted view of each other and of the whole problem that makes their relations rather ambiguous and confusive. On the one hand, Europeans uncritically rely on Russian imperial myths and Huntingtonian simplifications, i.e., they largely exaggerate Ukraine’s ‘Russianness’ and underestimate its ‘Europeanness’ historically determined by its essential belonging to the Polish-Lithuaning state and, partly, to the Habsburg Empire. On the other hand, Ukrainians largely exaggerate their ‘Europeanness’ (as a building block of their national identity) and underestimate the level of Sovietization/Russification of their country and the degree to which the imperial – ‘East Slavonic’/’Christian Orthodox’/’Greater Russian’ or Soviet identity – had been internalized by a substantial part of Ukraine’s population. The ultimate goal of the paper is to provide both Ukrainians and Europeans with a more realistic view of each other and of themselves, and to facilitate their dialogue, which tends, so far, to miss many important points on both sides.

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Mykola Ryabchuk Mykola Ryabchuk (univ. Kiyv-Mohyla Academy (Kiyv, Ukraine))
Ecrivain, critique littéraire, journaliste