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Researchers: Dr Paul Chaisty and Professor Stephen Whitefield

Funder: The John Fell OUP Research Fund

The current political crisis involving Russia, Ukraine and the West is rooted in complex historical understandings of state, national and regional identities. How do these national identities mobilise political support and how are they changing?

Previous research suggests that the nature and strength of the political regimes in Russia and Ukraine will depend a great deal on the ways in which citizens and elites imagine their future – and how they attempt to bring that future into being.

By conducting surveys in Russia and Ukraine, using representative samples of the populations of both countries, this project seeks to unpick the elements which make up the national identity of Russians and Ukrainians, with particular emphasis given to Ukraine’s varied and contested regions, such as Eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

Professor Whitefield and Dr Chaisty have published on ‘Putin’s nationalism problem’, and working papers on ‘Dimensions of Nationalism in Putin’s Russia and their Political Correlates’ and ‘Citizens’ Attitudes towards Institutional Change in Contexts of Political Turbulence: Support for Regional Decentralisation in Ukraine’ are forthcoming.

This research considers the ways national identity translates into support or opposition to democratic or authoritarian forms of government. It addresses questions of how national identity might influence attitudes towards European integration, and how preferences and identities are changing.

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