Taras Kuzio and David R. Marples "Donbas, Crimea, and Ukraine: Regionalism, Identity, and War"


27 September 2016

The Donbas and Crimea have been at the centre of world attention during Europe’s worst crisis since World War II, following Russia’s invasion and hybrid war in the former and annexation of the latter. The populations of the Donbas and Crimea showed higher levels of regional and Soviet rather than Ukrainian identities. These two regions were the home bases of the post-Revolution Bolshevik Communist Party and post-1991 Party of Regions and Communist Party, and they both exhibited relatively high levels of support for separatism. Russia has ruled out negotiations over the frozen Crimean conflict. Putin insists—as did Lenin in 1918—that the Donbas remain within a “federalized” Ukraine, intending it as a channel of Moscow’s influence. The resultant impasse and failed Minsk Accords promote continued war and growing civilian and military casualties, one of the largest refugee crises in the world, economic depression and destruction in the separatist enclaves, and international sanctions against Russia.


Taras Kuzio is a Senior Research Associate at CIUS and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. His most recent book, Ukraine: Democratization, Corruption and the New Russian Imperialism (2015), surveys modern Ukrainian political history from 1953 to the present. In 2013–2016, he undertook fifteen visits to eastern Ukraine and the Donbas conflict zone to research the book Russia’s War against Ukraine: Nationalism, Identity and Crime (forthcoming). He is the author and editor of an additional fifteen books, has guest-edited twelve special issues of several academic journals, and authored over one hundred think-tank monographs, book chapters, and scholarly articles.





David R. Marples is a Distinguished University Professor of Russian and East European History and Chair of the Department of History and Classics, University
of Alberta. He is the author of fourteen books, including Our Glorious Past: Lukashenka’s Belarus and the Great Patriotic War (2014) and Heroes and Villains: Creating National History in Contemporary Ukraine (2008). He has published over one hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals. Marples has also edited three books on nuclear power and security in the former Soviet Union, contemporary Belarus, and, most recently, Ukraine’s Euromaidan: Analyses of a Civil Revolution (2015).