It is a preprint extract from Ukraine’s Outpost: Dnipropetrovsk and the Russian-Ukrainian Warfare, edited by Taras Kuzio, Sergei I. Zhuk And Paul D’Anieri. A free model of the e-book is out there from E-International Relations
The literature on regionalism in Ukraine is intensive (see Arel and Khmelko 1996; Barrington 1997; Barrington and Faranda 2009; D’Anieri 2007; Hale 2008; Kubicek, 2000; Kulyk 2016; O’Loughlin 2001; Sasse 2010; Wolczuk, 2007). Students have debated the sources of regional variations from a wide range of elements. They’ve debated one of the simplest ways of defining areas, with some utilizing a easy East/West dichotomy, others utilizing a quadripartite East/South/Central/West, and nonetheless others figuring out much more areas (see Barrington and Herron 2004). Specific consideration has been paid to the political penalties of regionalism, and Russia’s seizure of Crimea and intervention in Jap Ukraine has raised the stakes in these discussions. Some see the battle in Jap Ukraine as a manifestation of Ukraine’s regionalism, moderately than of exterior intervention.
Whereas the literature on regionalism is immense, the literature on areas themselves is way smaller, and is extremely focused on a couple of outstanding circumstances similar to Crimea, Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts – ‘oblast’ denotes an administrative division or area), and Galicia. Central Ukraine is handled largely as a residual class of Kyiv, whereas components of the east exterior the Donbas are given comparatively little consideration, as are components of the south past Crimea. The focus of those essays on Dnipropetrovsk oblastand town of Dnipropetrovsk (from 2016 renamed Dnipro), which in the usual quadripartite scheme are often thought-about a part of the East however are typically positioned within the South (and which Taras Kuzio’s chapter argues has moved in the direction of the centre), is subsequently uncommon and notably helpful. Lowell Barrington and Erik S. Herron (2004) place Dnipropetrovsk oblast within the East of a four-region scheme whereas Olga Onuch and Henry E. Hale (2018) place it within the South.
Town of Dnipro, identified from 1926 to 2016 as Dnipropetrovsk and earlier than 1926 as Yekaterinoslav, is Ukraine’s fourth largest metropolis (see Zhuk 2010). The Dnipro River, typically seen as defining the center of Ukraine and typically seen because the border between East and West, runs via it. Whereas not receiving as a lot consideration as another cities and areas, Dnipro is way from obscure. Within the Soviet Union, Dnipropetrovsk nurtured Leonid Brezhnev, who ran the USSR for 18 years between 1964–1982, and rivalled Leningrad for affect. From 1994 till the 2004 Orange Revolution, a reinvigorated Dnipropetrovsk clan, centred on Leonid Kuchma, held a robust place in Ukrainian politics earlier than being eclipsed by the rise of the Donetsk-based Occasion of Areas from 2005 to 2014.
Dnipro is the executive centre of the area nonetheless identified (since 1932) as Dnipropetrovsk. As a result of regional names are written in Ukraine’s structure, altering them is extra sophisticated, and whereas the Constitutional Court docket has dominated the change constitutional, parliamentary approval was nonetheless wanted on the time of writing. Subsequently, on this assortment of essays, authors usually consult with the oblast centre metropolis as Dnipro, and to the area as Dnipropetrovsk.
Past a deal with this metropolis and surrounding area, the chapters on this e-book usually are not constrained by a specific thematic, methodological, or theoretical orientation. Whereas a lot of the essays are written by teachers and mirror scholarly disciplines, the authors additionally embrace activists and public intellectuals, whose work is outlined much less in disciplinary phrases. Reasonably they embody the notion that there’s a lot to be gained analyzing a standard subject via a variety of approaches. Sergei Zhuk gives an necessary overview of the Soviet historical past of Dnipropetrovsk. Kuzio’s chapter analyses the larger image, arguing that due to warfare in Jap Ukraine, Dnipro metropolis and Dnipropetrovsk area have successfully reidentified, such that they’re now higher considered a part of Central Ukraine than as a part of Jap Ukraine. Olena Ishchenko examines the rise of Dnipropetrovsk Jewish group since 1991. Nicholas Kyle Kupensky and Olena Andriushchenko examine the affect of warfare with Russia in Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro. Oleh Repan and Ihor Kocherhin analyse the method of decommunisation from 1991 to the current and competing identities and reminiscence politics in Dnipropetrovsk. Oleksiy Musiyezdov compares attitudes to decommunisation in Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv, one other necessary Jap Ukrainian oblast and metropolis. Kostyantyn Mezentsev and Eugenia Kuznetsova examine the Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro media’s protection of internally displaced individuals (IDPs).
Zhuk’s essay gives a broad overview of the pre-Soviet and Soviet historical past of Dnipropetrovsk. He stresses Dnipropetrovsk’s rise to Union-wide significance within the post-World Warfare II period as a consequence of two elements, the rise of the ‘Brezhnev clan’ in Soviet politics and the institution of what got here to be the Pivdenmash (Yuzhmash) missile manufacturing unit in Dnipropetrovsk. Pivdenmash and the oblastcentre’s college drew among the most gifted engineers from all through the Soviet Union and have become not solely a supply of intercontinental ballistic missiles, but additionally rockets and satellites for the Soviet house programme. Amenities all around the Soviet Union reported to Pivdenmash leaders. Whereas the rocket trade made Dnipropetrovsk outstanding throughout the Soviet Union, it additionally meant it was closed to international guests.
On account of its Union-level prominence and Brezhnev’s patronage, Dnipropetrovsk additionally turned a dominant metropolis in Ukraine, with over 50 per cent of Ukrainian SSR officers within the Nineteen Eighties hailing from the area. Dnipropetrovsk’s energy meant that it had a big diploma of autonomy from Kyiv.
Kuzio examines Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro since 2014 and engages the colourful debate about political reidentification in Ukraine. A number of authors have argued that the Euromaidan Revolution (also called the Revolution of Dignity) and Russian army aggression have led to a strengthening of Ukrainian identification in Ukraine, and Kuzio helps that argument by occasions on this metropolis and area. Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro, Kuzio contends, turned an important bulwark in opposition to the unfold of Russian hybrid warfare in 2014, blocking its unfold and containing it to Donetsk and Luhansk. This function accentuates the variations Kuzio finds between Dnipropetrovsk, on the one hand, and Donetsk and Luhansk, on the opposite. He hyperlinks the opposition to Russian strikes within the area with the energy of Ukrainian civic, moderately than ethnic identification, stating that the three leaders of this resistance weren’t ethnic Ukrainians (1 was Russian and a pair of have been Jews).
Kuzio makes the extra provocative argument, first aired by Tatyana Zhurzhenko (2015) that Ukraine’s ‘East’ not exists. He argues that Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro’s identification with the Donbas was all the time tenuous, and the battle there spurred a strengthening of identification with Central (or East-Central) Ukraine on the expense of its identification with the ‘East.’ This reidentification occurred in three neighbouring oblasts (Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Mykolayiv) as properly, with the outcome that the outdated pro-Russian ‘East’ consists now solely of these components of Donetsk and Luhansk which might be occupied by Russian forces and their Ukrainian allies. Professional-Russian sentiments and Soviet nostalgia have all however disappeared from these different 4 oblasts. This raises the deeper query of the validity of the macro areas students impose upon Ukraine.
Ishchenko analyses the revival of the Jewish group in Dnipro since independence. Jews skilled discrimination below the Soviets, and assimilation diminished the variety of self-identified Jews, though the Soviet follow of recording folks’s nationality helped preserve some folks’s Jewish identification. Underneath Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev’s thaw in 1985-1991, Jews in Dnipro started organising extra overtly, and teams from overseas supplied assist, starting a renaissance. After the autumn of the Soviet Union, emigration to locations with much less discrimination and extra financial alternative lowered numbers however strengthened ties with communities in Israel, the US, and Western Europe. Initially depending on assist from overseas, the monetary success of some members of the group led to substantial assist from inside Ukraine. Over time, the group developed a variety of Jewish academic establishments, secured the return of three synagogues, constructed new group centres, and constructed a museum specializing in the Jewish expertise within the area.
The warfare with Russia has helped redefine the connection between the Jewish group and Ukraine extra broadly. Jews, Ishchenko factors out, had little purpose to be nostalgic for the Soviet Union, and their prominence in Dnipro, she says, helps clarify how Dnipro pivoted from Soviet stronghold to supporter of Ukrainian statehood. The Dnipro-based oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyy has been a significant benefactor of Jewish causes in Ukraine. In 2014, Kolomoyskyy organised volunteer battalions to fight Russia-backed separatists. Ishchenko paperwork the broader function of Jews within the warfare in opposition to Russia. The creation of a Jewish militia firm by former Pravyy Sektor (Proper Sector) head Dmytro Yarosh is proof that relations between Jews and Ukrainian nationalists are extra advanced than is typically portrayed.
Oleh Repan analyses reminiscence politics in Dnipropetrovsk throughout Ukraine’s independence till the adoption of the decommunisation legal guidelines in April 2015. The case is particularly attention-grabbing, Repan says, as a result of below the Soviets, Dnipropetrovsk was in some respects the quintessential Soviet metropolis. Repan argues that each culturally and politically, Dnipro steadily turned a extra Ukrainian metropolis after 1991, and he sees these developments as being related, with reminiscence politics serving to to drive modifications in voting behaviour. Repan pays specific consideration to the Cossack interval of Ukrainian historical past, which receives comparatively little consideration in lots of therapies of reminiscence politics however has salience in Dnipropetrovsk, the place pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian Cossack teams vied for affect. Relating to the Imperial interval, a outstanding theme of the political institution was the civilising affect of the Tsarist Russian Empire on the area. A battle over Tsarina Catherine the Nice’s legacy was on the coronary heart of this debate.
Repan strikes via historical past, reviewing Ukraine’s reminiscence politics in every period. General, Repan says, reminiscence politics in Dnipro has been in keeping with that elsewhere in Ukraine extra broadly, with specific deal with native occasions and points. The persistence of statues to Vladimir Lenin alongside commemoration of the Holodomor (dying by starvation), which Repan finds ‘completely absurd,’ maybe captures the complexity and hybridity of post-Soviet reminiscence. Nonetheless, after 2014, narratives extra liberal and extra essential of Imperial and Soviet identities resonated far more successfully, and subsequently turned dominant.
Kupensky and Andriushchenko examine the function of Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro and of individuals from the area within the Russian-Ukrainian warfare in Jap Ukraine. Kupensky and Andriushchenko argue that Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro’s identification has modified from the Soviet-era ‘Rocket Metropolis’ to a brand new forpost (outpost) of Dnipro, which they characterise as an advance guard, with each offensive and defensive connotations. Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro was each an necessary location from which to stage resistance to aggression in Donbas in addition to a refuge for these fleeing the battle. Kupensky and Andriushchenko study why this happened.
Outstanding on this chapter are the numerous refugees, volunteer fighters and civic volunteers, a few of whose tales Kupensky and Andriushchenko relate. In addition they dig deeply into the cultural manufacturing that has resulted from the battle, stressing the function of artists and exhibitions in representing Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro’s new function and identification. They supply detailed evaluation of the methods during which the battle is being memorialised. Whereas Kupensky and Andriushchenko don’t stress this, the method they chronicle is immensely necessary within the research of the politics of reminiscence, within the sense that the real-time illustration of the battle and its penalties turns into the primary draft of historic reminiscence.
Ihor Kocherhin examines decommunisation in Dnipropetrovsk and makes the case for decommunisation normally. To Kocherin, the query of decommunisation is one in all whether or not Ukraine might transfer in the direction of turning into a European state, or whether or not it might stay a part of the Russian World. Framing the issue this fashion makes an important level: battles over Ukraine’s previous have been so bitter as a result of they’re struggling over Ukraine’s future. Kocherin summarises the arguments in opposition to eradicating monuments and altering place names and finds them ‘unworthy.’ He sees eradicating monuments and altering place names as important for displaying that Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro is a part of Ukraine, not the Russian World.
Like many Ukrainian cities, Dnipropetrovsk nonetheless had a monument to Lenin in its central Lenin Sq. which was pulled down by Euromaidan Revolutionary protestors on 22 February, the day Yanukovych fled Kyiv, a part of the nationwide motion often called Leninopad (Lenin-fall). Kocherin particulars the sources of the numerous new toponyms, which totaled over 300 in Dnipro, displaying how they mirrored town’s historical past and geography. Kocherin states that a lot of the bodily work of decommunisation in Dnipro is full however he believes modifications in folks’s attitudes will take longer.
Oleksiy Musiyezdov compares attitudes to decommunisation in Dnipro and Kharkiv. These two cities have a lot in frequent. Extra importantly, this within-region comparability (if one places Dnipro within the East) or South versus East comparability (if one places Dnipro within the South) gives a helpful variation from the East versus West comparisons that dominate dialogue of Ukraine. Dnipro and Kharkiv, the authors contend, differ from Luhansk and Donetsk in that mining and metallurgy, which dominate in Donbas, are likely to generate a homogeneous working class, whereas the high-tech industries (aviation, rocketry, weaponry) that dominate Dnipro and Kharkiv made the inhabitants extra differentiated and subsequently more durable to mobilise.
Musiyezdov finds that whereas most respondents in each cities oppose decommunisation, opposition is increased in Kharkiv, and so they ask why. Surprisingly, they discover that neither Ukrainian nor Russian identification correlates with views on decommunisation, however that European identification, which is held by fewer than 30 per cent of respondents, does. Attitudes towards decommunisation seem to correlate with geopolitical preferences, and with extra in Dnipro supporting a pro-Western orientation than in Kharkiv, which may clarify the cities’ totally different ranges of assist for decommunisation. Attitudes on decommunisation additionally correlate with views of the Soviet period. It seems that since 2014, extra identification change has taken place in Dnipro than in Kharkiv, a matter that Kuzio’s chapter takes up.
Kostyantyn Mezentsev and Eugenia Kuznetsova analyse the very important query of IDPs in Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro, specializing in how media representations of IDPs form attitudes and subsequently insurance policies. There are roughly 33,000 IDPs in Dnipro, a 3rd of whom are retired and 17 per cent youngsters, in response to Mezentsev and Kuznetsova. They make the essential level that after six years of warfare and occupation, IDPs are experiencing ‘everlasting temporariness.’ Whereas there may be some tendency for folks to combine into their new environment, they level out, Ukrainian society continues to emphasize folks’s displaced standing, due to the will to imagine that the occupied territories will quickly be returned.
They pattern native TV programming to evaluate the attitudes being disseminated to Dnipro residents. Amongst their many attention-grabbing findings is that in comparatively few of the tales are the IDPs capable of communicate for themselves, and in that sense, they’re typically rendered silent or passive. The impact is that IDPs are offered not as brokers, however as recipients of help.
Whereas this edited e-book focuses on Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipro, it illustrates the broad worth of region-focused, multi-disciplinary initiatives. We’d be taught an awesome deal by such regional analyses of different components of Ukraine that don’t match into the usual ‘East-West’ or ‘East-West-Kyiv’ schemes. Kharkiv, for instance, is lumped in with the Donbas, however is clearly distinct, each in its historical past and its present politics. Uzhhorod and Trans-Carpathian oblast, equally, are seen as a part of the West however are fairly totally different from Galicia, to not point out the remainder of Ukraine. With a lot written concerning the salience of regionalism in Ukraine, this e-book gives a groundbreaking contribution in the direction of a deeper and broader scholarly examination of an necessary area which has been historically ignored in educational literature.
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