Citizenship, Displacement, and Russian Occupation in Ukraine


Friday, July 29, 2022, 1:15pm to 2:30pm


Zoom Webinar and YouTube

Oleksandra Tarkhanova, Post-doctoral Researcher and Lecturer, Center for Governance and Culture in Europe, University of St. Gallen 

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Citizenship, Displacement, and Russian Occupation in Ukraine


Since 2014, there have been more than one and a half million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine due to the Donbas war. Since the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022, this number has risen to a staggering 6.3 million, as estimated by the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) in June. In addition to over two million Ukrainian citizens living in the non-government controlled areas (NGCA) in eastern Ukraine since 2014, Russia has occupied 20 percent of Ukrainian territory since February and trapped or displaced millions of people under different occupation regimes in the north, east, and south of the country.

In the first part of the lecture, Oleksandra Tarkhanova will discuss how IDPs and residents under occupation in NGCAs maintained and negotiated their citizenship relations with the Ukrainian state and navigated the Russian passportization policy and Covid 19-related restrictions on movement from 2019 until 2021. In the second part, she will present what we know about the current internal displacement crisis and emerging occupation regimes. How could the Ukrainian state improve its policy towards IDPs based on the previous experience? How is the current occupation different from and similar to the loss of state control over parts of Donbas in 2014, and how does it matter for the lives of people leaving or remaining in these regions?

About the Speaker

Oleksandra Tarkhanova is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Governance and Culture in Europe and a Lecturer in Contextual Studies at the University of St. Gallen. She conducts qualitative and ethnographic research on citizenship negotiations on state margins, gender and welfare politics, forced displacement, and war in eastern Ukraine. She has a PhD in Sociology from Bielefeld University, Germany, an MA in Gender Studies from Lund University, Sweden, and a BA from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Her book Compulsory Motherhood, Paternalistic State? Ukrainian Gender Politics and the Subject of Woman came out with Palgrave in 2021. In her most recent project, she investigates how forcibly displaced people in Ukraine following Russia's war are making the decision to evacuate and choose their destination in Ukraine and abroad. 

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Related Resources

TCUP Reports series on Internally Displaced Persons:

TCUP Briefs (video)


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