The Euromaidan and the crisis of Russian nationalism Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • This article examines the reverberations in Russia of the Euromaidan protests and the fall of the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine. It shows how the events in Kyiv provoked a major crisis in the Russian nationalist movement, which was riven by vituperative denunciations, the ostracism of prominent activists, the breakdown of friendships, the rupture of alliances, and schisms within organizations. Focusing on pro-Kremlin nationalists and several tendencies of opposition nationalists, it argues that this turmoil was shaped by three factors. First, the Euromaidan provoked clashes between pro-Kremlin nationalists, who became standard-bearers of official anti-Euromaidan propaganda, and anti-Putin nationalists, who extolled the Euromaidan as a model for a revolution in Russia itself. Second, the events in Ukraine provoked ideological contention around issues of particular sensitivity to Russian nationalists, such as the competing claims of imperialism and ethnic homogeneity, and of Soviet nationalism and Russian traditionalism. And third, many nationalists were unprepared for the pace of events, which shifted rapidly from an anti-oligarchic uprising in Kyiv to a push for the self-determination of ethnic Russians in Crimean and southeast Ukraine. As a result, they were left in the uncomfortable position of appearing to collaborate with the oppressors of their compatriots.

publication date

  • 2015