The historical roots of the fractioned nature of the contemporary Ukrainian society
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The existence of a regionally divergent Ukrainian society is manifested not only in sharp regional voting differences, but also in differences in political culture, incompatible interpretations of history, conflicting choices of language and opposing preferences on country’s foreign policy orientation in different regions of Ukraine. The fact that divisions mainly correspond to historical regions led to the inference that these regional differences could largely be a matter of different historical experiences, that is different historical legacies, since these regions belonged to different countries during different historical periods. Accordingly, this thesis intends to analyze the historical roots of the extensive and persistent regional differences observed within the contemporary Ukrainian society, and lays the claim that this diversity is a reflection of their ancestors’ experiences in several diverse political dominations simultaneously, experiencing a life in very different environments provided by different sovereigns, and being exposed to different and sometimes even conflicting policies. Comparing the developments in different historical regions, this thesis aims at giving a comprehensive picture as to how the different experiences of Ukrainian people resulted in different self-identifications starting its analysis from the Kievan Rus’ and reaching up until the modern Ukraine. The historical analysis of different historical periods performed in this thesis demonstrates and confirms the fundamental role played by centuries long diverging historical experiences of Ukrainian generations and their historical legacy on the evolution of contemporary regional distinctions.