Donbas and Crimea Through the Eyes of Ukraine’s Regions


Wednesday, October 7, 2020, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


YouTube (public)

New “MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine” Module Launch
*Please note that this event takes place at noon (EDT/Boston), not our regular 2:30pm seminar time*

The Russian annexation of Crimea and armed conflict over Donbas have brought these regions into the limelight. At the same time, there is a lack of sufficiently complex analysis of Ukrainians’ attitudes toward Donbas and Crimea and their understanding of what is happening there. Traditional analyses of Ukrainian attitudes divide the country into large macro-regions, resulting in a misleading grouping of diverse oblasts (Ukraine’s administrative regions).  

The new “Donbas and Crimea Through the Eyes of Ukraine's Regions” module in MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine changes that optic, presenting data by oblast and aiming at a more nuanced analysis of attitudes and understanding throughout Ukraine. The module considers Donbas and Crimea neither as parts of a big macro-region, nor as “outstanding” or “exotic” cases, but as parts of Ukrainian society that are interconnected with other regions. MAPA’s oblast-by-oblast visualizations of attitudes toward Crimea and Donbas or internally displaced persons (IDPs) from those regions, as well as Ukrainians’ opinions about the conflict and preferred strategies to resolve the problem helps to explore regional divisions as well as the country’s future political stability and security.  

This discussion intends to open an interdisciplinary space where scholars whose work focuses on an array of inquiries related to Ukrainian regionalism, Donbas, and Crimea will discuss the module in relation to their own research and to current social and political contexts. 

Viktoriya Sereda, who worked on the module during her MAPA Project Research Fellowship at HURI, will give a demonstration of the web map and present some initial findings, and then three scholars will offer commentary:  

  • Kateryna Ivashchenko-Stadnik will offer commentary based on the findings of the Ukrainian Society Survey (Institute of Sociology, NAS Ukraine) conducted in 2015-2019, with a focus on Donbas.
  • Irina Kuznetsova will discuss her use of MAPA data to explore social attitudes towards IDPs in a regional context and to examine the presence of ‘war’ discourse in everyday rhetoric. This is part of her work on the ways war and internal displacement affect political attitudes and fracture everyday life in Ukraine. Drawing upon qualitative research in Ukraine, she argues that the intersection of displacement with gender and older age, the lack of state recognition of differing groups of IDPs, and the lack of economic resources for social policy produces multiple forms of social exclusion.
  • Austin Charron will discuss the module’s data concerning Crimea, Crimean IDPs, and attitudes towards them within Ukraine. Additionally, he will discuss relevant findings from his own research and fieldwork related to IDPs from Crimea and their role in contemporary Ukraine.  


Viktoriya Sereda, Senior Researcher, Department of Social Anthropology, Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Associate of the Ukrainian Research Institute Harvard University  

Viktoriya Sereda is a sociologist. She is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology within the Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, associate professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University, and an Associate of the Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University. Since 2016 she has been working on the MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine project (“History and Identity,” “Language,” “Religious Revolution,” and “Donbas and Crimea” modules). Her research focuses on urban sociology, memory studies, nationalism, migration and identity studies. Among her latest research projects are "Region, Nation, and Beyond. An Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Reconceptualization of Ukraine" (University of St.Gallen) and “Ukraine's hidden tragedy” (Birmingham University). Her most recent publications include: “Social Distancing and Hierarchies of Belonging: The Case of Displaced Population from Donbas and Crimea” in Europe-Asia Studies (2020) and “‘I am a man and an active citizen… I did not betray my state!’ Public activism and identity issues in Ukraine after Euromaidan” in Revue d’études comparatives Est/Ouest (2018). 

Kateryna Ivashchenko-Stadnik, Senior Researcher, Institute of Sociology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Kyiv-based consultant, Centre for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD)  

Kateryna Ivashchenko-Stadnik is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Sociology (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), which conducts long-term national surveys to trace social development trends in Ukraine. Currently, Kateryna also works as a Kyiv-based consultant for the Centre for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD), which is known for its Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Index (a research tool to measure social cohesion and reconciliation around the world). Her recent publications include: What’s wrong with the Donbas? The challenges of integration before, during, and after the war” in Ukraine in Transformation: from Soviet Republic to European Society (2020), and (co-authored) “Six years of the Revolution of Dignity: what has changed?” in a forthcoming book in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society series edited by Andreas Umland. 

Irina Kuznetsova, Fellow and Lecturer, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Studies, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom  

Irina Kuznetsova is a Birmingham Fellow and a Lecturer at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is also an associated member of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham and a Fellow of the Intercontinental Academia. Kuznetsova’s research expertise includes migration, health, and critical urbanism and covers Russia, Central Asia, Ukraine, and Nigeria. Examining the social aftermath of population displacement from Ukraine’s war-torn territories, she led several research projects which were presented internationally at Chatham House, European Asylum Office, and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, among others.  

Austin Charron, Research Affiliate, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin–Madison 

Austin Charron is a political and cultural geographer whose interests lie broadly in questions of social identities and their relationships with place, space, territory, and ethnicity. He is a regional specialist of the former Soviet Union and Eurasia broadly, while his research focuses primarily on Crimea and its relationship with Ukraine and Russia. Charron received his PhD in geography from the University of Kansas in 2018, and recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In January 2021 he will begin a fellowship in Ukrainian studies at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. 

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