Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained his vision for the Ukrainian state. He said, “Modern Ukraine was entirely and fully created by Russia, specifically Bolshevik and Communist Russia. This process began almost immediately after the 1917 revolution, and moreover Lenin and his associates did it in the most sloppy way as far as Russia was concerned – by dividing, tearing away pieces of its own historical territory. Putin’s view of Ukraine contradicts the established historical narrative surrounding Ukraine’s history as an independent nation.
Although both Russia and Ukraine trace their national origins to Kievan Rus, an independent state in the territory of present-day Ukraine existed in medieval times as the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia and the Kingdom of Ruthenia, which lasted from 1199 to 1349. Parts of Ukraine were eventually incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Pereyaslav Articles of 1659 brought the Ukrainian Cossacks under Russian rule. The partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth led to the annexation of most of Ukraine by the Russian Empire, where it would remain until a brief period of independence after World War I before being annexed by The soviet union. A 1991 referendum led to Ukraine’s current independence and the breakup of the Soviet Union followed when the same happened in other Soviet republics.
Despite historical evidence detailing Ukrainian nationality, Putin continues to deny any separation between Russian and Ukrainian nationality. Many Russians support Putin’s view of Ukraine as an illegitimate state. According to a 2014 survey by Russian investigative agency ROMIR, only 16% of Russians supported Ukraine’s borders as they were established in 1991. This refusal to recognize Ukraine’s statehood Ukraine reflects the tendency of nationalists to argue for the legitimization of states based on historical and historical data. ethnic characteristics. Ukraine therefore does not meet these criteria due to its historical link with Russia and the large Russian population in the Donbass region and Crimea.
Russia first struck against Ukraine in 2014 by annexing Crimea after Euromaiden protests against Ukraine’s estrangement from Western powers led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s government under President Viktor Yanukovych. Putin justified this invasion by saying that it was aimed at supporting Crimea’s majority Russian population. Regarding the ongoing invasion that began on February 24, Russia’s war aims included the overthrow of the current government, the “denazification” of the country, and support for Russians living in Ukraine. Russia’s failure to subjugate Kyiv and other major cities led Putin to shift war aims to supporting the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics and establishing a land bridge in eastern Russia. Ukraine between these republics and Crimea. Russia recently took the eastern port city of Mariupol and withdrew from kyiv to better support the fighting in the east.
In the midst of Russian aggression, Ukraine’s heroic reluctance to acquiesce to Russian claims over the Donbass region and Crimea shows the moral courage of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his government. The United States and its allies continue to support Ukraine with aid and sanctions against Russia. President Joe Biden recently asked Congress for $33 billion in additional aid, more than double the $13.6 billion in aid Congress previously voted, and sanctions continue to be tightened against the oligarchs Russians and companies dealing with vital products. This support continues despite Russian attacks on rail shipments of weapons transferred from Western countries to Ukraine, indicating the commitment of the United States and the European Union to ensuring that Ukraine remains sovereign in its recognized territory. .
These efforts to support Ukraine and undermine Putin’s government are commendable. Supporting Ukraine through monetary and military means, while advocating for the morality of democratic governance, helps Ukraine in the short term. To ensure that future wars of this nature do not occur, ethnonationalism must be rejected as an illegitimate ideology to morally condemn the Russian invasion and prevent future ethnic conflict.
Ethnonationalism, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, involves “the defense or support of the political interests of a particular ethnic group, in particular its national independence or self-determination”. While ethnonationalism is generally not explicitly advocated, it serves as the basis for many independence movements and lends legitimacy to their sovereignty. Political commentators and historians tend to view nationalism as a unique right-wing phenomenon and a feature of authoritarian regimes, however, nationalism was also a feature of anti-colonial movements in the 20th century. While commentators praise nationalism, especially ethnonationalism, when anti-colonial movements use its rhetoric to gain support, it should be condemned because of the long-term negative impacts of movements based on ideas of ethnic sovereignty.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism Tendayi Achiume explained the issues surrounding ethnonationalism in a UN report. She said: “Citizenship, nationality and immigration status often operate as preconditions for the full enjoyment of human rights for people around the world. It is therefore not surprising that according to the UNHCR, more than 75% of the known stateless populations in the world belong to minority groups.
These impacts are revealed in the invasion of Ukraine through Putin’s rhetoric. Putin’s promotion of Ukrainian-Russian unity through historical origins should be seen as insufficient rationale for any contemporary political ties between the two nations. Ukraine must be respected as a democratic nation-state, regardless of the ethnicities living within its borders. The idea that a single ethnicity deserves its own nation-state, thereby depriving other ethnicities within those borders of an equal voice in its governance, should be considered abhorrent.
Vladimir Putin’s assertion that the purpose of the Russian invasion is to defend the rights of ethnic Russians must be condemned. Putin’s government, due to its authoritarianism and human rights abuses, has no claim of sovereignty over Russians in Russia, let alone those in Ukraine. Any government that respects the democratic and human rights of its citizens deserves the sovereignty of its state, regardless of the ethnic makeup of that state. Although it could be argued that Ukrainian nationalism fueled their resistance against the Russians, this criticism is misguided. According to Anna Batta, an associate professor of international security studies, Ukraine enjoys the support of much of its ethnically Russian population. She said about the Donbass region that “we still see a large part of the population who consider themselves Ukrainian, despite the fact that they live in the Donbass and may have voted for President Viktor Yanukovych in several elections.
As the war in Ukraine continues in a stalemate in the east, Western governments must continue to provide humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, while continuing their sanctions against Russia. These measures have been effective in disrupting the Russian war effort now, however, the political rhetoric surrounding the link between statehood and ethnonationalism must be challenged to prevent similar conflicts from arising in the future. As immigration, travel and trade flourish around the world, multiethnic and multicultural societies will continue to grow. This change should be encouraged as different cultures bring unique customs and innovations that can benefit each other when shared.
To support these changes, ethnonationalism must be condemned and any inherent link between it and the sovereignty of a government must be denied. The basis of legitimate government must follow the principles of democracy and liberalism, and governments must be judged effective by how well these principles are upheld. A government based on ethnicity must be considered barbaric and claims of unity due to abstract and transnational ethnic ties, such as those that Putin has established, must be ignored in favor of a governmental sovereignty based on the rights of the man.