The Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program is pleased to announce its long-term research program, “Displacement, Reintegration, and Reconciliation in Ukraine,” led by Director Dr. Emily Channell-Justice. This is a multi-level, multi-sited, comparative project that sees the displacement of populations from Donbas territories and Crimea as part of a broader trend of migration and resettlement that will fundamentally change the economic, political, and social makeup of Ukraine.
The project conceptualizes displacement and migration as processes that intersect with future plans for reintegration and reconciliation of the occupied territories. While many international governmental and non-governmental organizations have focused on the plight of displaced populations, this research considers the implications of policy decisions made at the federal level in Ukraine. How do domestic policies and diplomatic efforts change the nature of peacebuilding and reconciliation in the context of recent mass displacement?
The research for this project will take place at several levels. It will include interviews with experts working in Ukrainian government, at NGOs, and in international organizations that address the issue of displacement. A second component includes interviews with people who experienced displacement and planned observations in organizations that continue to help displaced people. These observations and interviews will take place in several cities around Ukraine. This data set will be combined with interviews with displaced people that were completed between 2014-2016 to present a holistic picture of the experience of displacement and displaced people’s changing views for the future of Ukraine.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine began in 2014, when the Russian Federation annexed Crimea through a combination of military intervention and an illegitimate referendum. Separatist movements, supported by the Russian military, have resulted in a conflict that continues to this day. As long as the conflict in Donbas is active and Russia controls Crimea, we can conclude that most displaced people will not be returning to their homes in the near future. Thus, how does this long-term displacement of at least 1.6 million people from the Donbas and up to 100,000 people from Crimea change the economic, political, and social makeup of Ukraine? Relatedly, displaced people have not lost their desire to return to their homes; what is the Ukrainian government doing to ensure the safe return of the Donbas territories, as well as the Crimean peninsula, to Ukrainian governance? What will full reintegration look like in the future? How are international forces helping or hurting the government’s efforts? These questions place Ukraine within a global conversation about post-conflict reconciliation, a process in which displaced people must have a clear role. This research will contribute to a better understanding of Ukraine’s potential to move forward as a unified state.
Based on TCUP’s established goals of bridging the gaps between the academic and policy worlds, TCUP is partnering with the Centre for National Resilience and Development in Ukraine to produce policy recommendations on the topics of displacement and reintegration. The first research focus for this collaboration will address the issue of local elections and the integrity of local security and law enforcement in the occupied territories. The research will also produce scholarly publications on migration, state-building, and international intervention.
TCUP’s contributions add to an already robust area of study among social scientists. To help our audience better understand the complexity of the issues facing displaced populations, TCUP will be releasing a series of reports over the course of the summer and fall to address various aspects of displacement. To start the series, TCUP Director Dr. Channell-Justice will provide a general overview of the state of displaced populations in Ukraine, addressing key terms, current data, and data deficiencies requiring further research. Read the report on our website.