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Borderlands into Bloodlands. The Ukrainian-Russian Border and the end of the “Post-Soviet”

Guest lecture by Dr. Tatiana Zhurzhenko, Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), Berlin.

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Wednesday 17 April 2024,  at 14:00 - 16:00


Auditorium 2, 1441-112

European Studies invite to the following guest lecture by:

Dr. Tatiana Zhurzhenko
Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), Berlin

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the administrative boundary between Ukraine and the Russian Federation became an international border. A product of the nation and state building processes in both countries, this post-Soviet border also proved for the persistence of the common Soviet legacy in terms of political culture, institutions, and economic structures.

The annexation of Crimea in 2014, the military conflict in Donbas and Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022 resulted in a dramatic transformation of the Ukrainian-Russian borderlands from interdependent to alienated or even isolated. The proliferation of ceasefire lines and “de facto borders” turned the Ukrainian-Russian borderlands into a patchwork of unrecognized “quasi states”, annexed territories under international sanctions and “grey zones” in a permanent state of exception.

This new territorial order which had crystallized in 2014-15 was in turn dismantled by Russia’s further occupation and annexation of Ukrainian territories. The violent re-bordering has implications for cross-border mobility: once dominated by tourism and labour migration, the borderlands have seen forced displacement on a scale unprecedented in post-World War II Europe. Moreover, multiple discourses on the Ukrainian-Russian border have framed it in ‘civilisational’ terms.

Finally, addressing different dimensions of border temporalities (fading nostalgia for the Soviet past, decommunization in Ukraine and re-imperialization of Russian history) I will argue that the “post-Soviet moment” in the Ukrainian-Russian borderlands is indeed over. 

More information and publications by Dr. Tatiana Zhurzhenko

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