The Republic of Ukraine won general recognition as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Nevertheless, the history of the Ukrainian state and of the Ukrainain people goes back much further




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Ukraine

Historic Legacies




The Republic of Ukraine won general recognition as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Nevertheless, the history of the Ukrainian state and of the Ukrainain people goes back much further. This conference attempts to highlight themes in Ukrainian history that shed light on contemporary concerns, and partiuclarly the recent crisis in Crimea and the eastern Provinces.

13 September, Wood Seminar Room (OK 406)
Provisional Schedule

9:50 am Welcoming remarks

10:00 am Stuart Prior

“Three Post-Soviet Sisters – Belarus, Russia, Ukraine.”


10:30 am Alexander Maxwell

“Foreign conceptions of Ukraine’s Frontiers, 1918-1919.”


11:00 am Coffee


11:15 am Geoffrey Brown

“Transcarpathian Ukrainians and Czech Imperialism”
11:45 am Olga Suvarova

“Post-Soviet Transdniestria:

Russian Orphan and Entrepot.”

12:15 am Lunch


1:00 pm Corinne Seals

“On the border of Ukrainisation and Russification:

Young Adults in Contemporary Ukraine”



Conference Abstracts
Transcarpathian Ukrainians and Czech Imperialism”

Geoffrey Brown

Victoria University (Wellington)
From 1919 to 1939 Rusyn-Ukrainian national leaders struggled to resist Czechization and achieve the political and cultural autonomy they had been promised in the Saint Germain Treaty. Czech attitudes towards Transcarpathia quickly acquired a colonial character, as Czech leaders, journalists and the general public compared their new territory to Africa and the Orient. Rusyn-Ukrainians resisted this imperialist threat with strikes, protests and an anti-Czech campaign in the Transcarpathian media. This period of interaction between Czechs and Rusyn-Ukrainians continues to have an influence on the region in the present day, with many Czechs eager to visit the region as tourists in search of imperialist nostalgia, and the steady movement of Rusyn-Ukrainians to the Czech lands in search of employment.

Foreign conceptions of Ukraine’s Frontiers, 1918-1919”

Alexander Maxwell

Victoria University (Wellington)


In February 1918, the Central Powers signed a peace treaty with the Ukrainian Republic, thus legitimizing a state which had proclaimed its existence with the Third Universal the previous November, and its independence from Russia two weeks earlier. The peace treaty, however, only specified Ukraine’s frontiers with Poland and the Habsburg Empire. Great uncertainty surrounded the eastern frontier. This paper concentrates partiuclarly on the contested status of Crimea, Tauridia, and the Don Cossack region.

On the border of Ukrainisation and Russification: Young Adults in Contemporary Ukraine

Corinne Seals

Victoria University (Wellington)
Language choice and use have long been a site of political contestation in Ukraine. Beginning with a look at Soviet Nativisation policies in the 1930s, and continuing through Russification and then Ukrainisation, this talk will trace the history of language as a political tool in Ukraine to shed light on the current language wars happening across all spaces today, from educational institutions to Parliament. Additionally, narratives of personal experience from young adults who grew up after the fall of the Soviet Union will show the impact of the current Ukrainian conflict and the events leading up to it.

Three Post-Soviet Sisters – Belarus, Russia, Ukraine

Stuart Prior

Former NZ Ambassador to Ukraine, Honorary Consul for Belarus
When their Mother, the Soviet Union died intestate in 1991, each of the three Slavic “sisters” found themselves taking a share of the property and obligations of their deceased parent. Deep emotional currents from an unstudied and scarcely understood historical past, peculiarities from their Soviet upbringing, and the realities of huge historical processes – decolonisation, de-Sovietisation, the deconstruction of an integrated common market – all have had their part to play. What has happened to this Slavic family? Who is to blame? And what is to be done? The presentation will consider how matters reached the point that Russia annexed Crimea and launched an undeclared war against Ukraine; and how the “last dictator” of Europe may actually have prevented the loss of Belarus independence and a pan-European conflict.

Post-Soviet Transdniestria – Russian Orphan and Entrepot

Dr Olga Suvarova



Victoria University (Wellington)
Transdniestria, a Russian enclave whose Russian history dates to the 18th century territorial conquests of Generalissimus Aleksandr Suvorov, the greatest military leader of Europe prior to Napoleon, was left an “orphan” when the Soviet Union collapsed. Too small to attract the urgent attention of its big sisters, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, Transdniestria avoided a forced marriage with Moldova/Romania through fighting a short civil war. It has preserved its independence for nearly a quarter of a century essentially by becoming an entrepot city state trading with Ukraine. What perspectives does Transdniestria offer on the cultural, social, linguistic and economic realities of peoples caught up in the backwash of the collapse of an empire?

Contact Information of Participants

Geoffry Brown geoffrey.brown (at) vuw.ac.nz

Alexander Maxwell alexander.maxwell (at) vuw.ac.nz

Corinne Seals Corinne.Seals (at) vuw.ac.nz

Olga Suvarova suvarova2005 (at) mail.ru


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