The Historical Dimension of the “Battle for the Right to be Russian” between Ukrainian and Russian Intellectuals

    • Presentation speakers
      • Sergei V. Sokolov, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia


    The matter of this paper concerns with the current state of Russian-Ukrainian relations. I will make an attempt to analyze the usage of historical arguments to shape actual visions of the opposite nations. More specifically, the paper deals with the questions what Russian nation is and which people belong to it. It is not very well known that some of the Ukrainian national-oriented intellectuals believe that the pristine Russians are Ukrainians indeed. They stated that the Muscovites were once mixed with the Tatars and therefore lost their national purity and can no longer be regarded as Russians. The opposite theory, widely spread among Russian intellectuals, holds that there is no such a nation like Ukrainians. The Russian intellectuals point out that the Muscovite Russians and their Kievan brothers are the same nation as they shared common history, religion and very close language. The paper traces back the two approaches from present to their roots in Russian and Ukrainian early modern historical writings, and demonstrates their connection with the problem of identification.