The hidden minority? Dilemmas around the status of the russophone Ukrainians in contemporary Ukraine
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Ukraine, as one of the states which became independent in 1991, can be perceived as an example of the typical transition of Soviet Socialist Republics into democratic states centered on the issue of nationalizing policies and processes. However, there are also differences which make this country a very interesting case study for investigation. Mainly, Russians here form the biggest national group concentrated in the East and South of the country. The persistence and reuse of the “myth of two Ukraines” led to the widespread conclusion that Ukraine is a country which is divided between Ukrainophone West and Russophone East. This article is focuses on the third group, which is somehow hidden in the mainstream linguistic debates, namely the Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine who define themselves as ethnic Ukrainians. Based on the examples of Donbas and Crimean regions, it tries to define whether one can perceive them as a national minority.
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