“The state-generating factor in Ukraine should be Ukrainian nationality, not ethnicity…”

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December 20, 2010

“The state-generating factor in Ukraine should be Ukrainian nationality, not ethnicity…”

This was stated by the member of the Ukrainian Parliament Оlexander Feldman at the international conference “The world without nazism”, that was held in the Federation Council of Russia on December 17. 

According to Mr. Feldman, the first 10-15 years of their independence, post-Soviet countries have been occupied with the issues of the state-building and are only now beginning to face the active search for national identity, the estimates of national history, the understanding of national symbols and traditions. The dissemination of xenophobia and extremism, the growth in popularity of the right-wing movements, riots motivated by ethnic hatred - these are the first challenges of the state-building in post-Soviet countries. 

The classical understanding of the nation, based on the view, that “the cultural and ethnical homogeneous nation precedes the state and creates it” - is not suitable for the state-building in most post-Soviet countries. This type of state-building was taken as a base in German, Italy, and Spain in the beginning of the 20th century and often led to ethnocracy. Since the Soviet collapse and the formation of independent republics were held on administrative-republic grounds, not on ethno-national, and since the post-Soviet countries have a heterogeneous specificity, more appropriate is the other model, where “a nation is formed on the basis of the state”. Britain and France were built according to this model - stated in his speech Mr. Feldman. 

According to Mr. Feldman, in most post-Soviet countries, including Ukraine, with its complex cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic characteristics, the main task is to create respect for the Ukrainian citizenship, as a consolidating and state-building factor. This will give the Ukrainian nation a greater extent of civil, rather than narrow ethno-cultural content.  

The national unity should be achieved not by compulsion, but by self-awareness that the nation is needed. Nation should become a form of solidarity that makes the state more effective and competitive. And the state is the guarantor and the protector of the national interests and rights of all its citizens.