Between the "Self" and the "Other": Representations of Ukraine's Russian-speakers in Social Media Discourse

  • Volodymyr Kulyk Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Abstract

This paper analyzes the images of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking citizens as they appear in Ukrainian users’ posts on Facebook. Based on a systematic examination of the accounts of twelve prominent pro-Maidan personalities, my analysis pays attention to both the self-representations of those Ukrainians who primarily rely on the Russian language and to their representations by those individuals who locate themselves outside of this group. I argue that what usually appears in the self-representations as merely a facet of communicative practice is often perceived by others as a crucial element of social identity. While the self-representations do not undermine Russian-speakers’ identity as Ukrainians, the other-representations often do, thus questioning their belonging to the imagined national Self. Such opposing representations of Russian-speakers manifest different perceptions of the Ukrainian nation and the role of the Ukrainian language in this identity, and thus different ideologies of nationhood and language more generally.

Author Biography

Volodymyr Kulyk, Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Head Research Fellow
Published
2018-09-30