"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ukrainian National Identity

Though even in 2016 one still finds Russians and their apologists sneering at the very idea of Ukraine as an independent country and Ukrainians as a distinctive ethno-national group, the history of both goes back farther than some today may wish to admit. Set for October release is a new book that shows the historical roots of Ukrainian national identity are deeper than previously thought: Johannes Remy, Brothers or Enemies: The Ukrainian National Movement and Russia from the 1840s to the 1870s (University of Toronto Press, 2016), 336pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
Contrary to the prevailing opinion, the idea of Ukrainian independence did not emerge at the end of the nineteenth-century. In Brothers and Enemies, Johannes Remy reveals that the roots of Ukrainian independence were planted fifty years earlier.
Remy contextualizes the Ukrainian national movement against the backdrop of the Russian Empire and its policy of oppression in the mid-nineteenth-century. Remy utilizes a wide range of unpublished archival sources to shed light on topics that are absent from current discourse including: Ilarion Vasilchikov’s alliance with Ukrainian activists in 1861, the forged revolutionary proclamation used to deport Pavlo Chubynsky (who is known today as the author of the Ukrainian national anthem), and the 1864 negotiations between Kyiv activists and the Polish National Government. Brothers and Enemies is the first systematic study of imperial censorship policies during the period and will be of interest to those who seek a better understanding of the current Ukrainian-Russian conflict.

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