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Existential nationalism: Russia’s war against Ukraine

Knott, Eleanor ORCID: 0000-0002-9131-3939 (2022) Existential nationalism: Russia’s war against Ukraine. Nations and Nationalism. ISSN 1354-5078

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Identification Number: 10.1111/nana.12878


‘If Russia stops fighting, there will be no war. If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no Ukraine’ is the sentiment used by Ukrainian protesters mobilising against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Such a sentiment signifies the stakes of a war where Ukraine is a democratic nation-state fighting for its right to exist against a Russian invasion. Meanwhile, Russia is fighting for a version of Ukraine that is subservient to Russia's idea of what Ukraine should be as a nation-state: under a Russian hegemon geopolitically, where Ukraine's national idea and interpretation of history can be vetted and vetoed by the Russian state. While nationalism scholarship equips us to study Russia's war against Ukraine through the lens of Russian ethnic nationalism and Ukrainian civic nationalism, the ethnic/civic dichotomy falls short of unpacking the more pernicious logics that pervade Russia's intentions and actions towards Ukraine (demilitarisation and de-Nazification). Instead, this article explores the logics of Russia's war and Ukraine's resistance through the concept of existential nationalism where existential nationalism is Russia's motivation to pursue war, whatever the costs, and Ukraine's motivation to fight with everything it has.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2022 09:00
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2022 00:16

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