The concept of brotherhood can have a significant impact on the formation of intercultural relations among countries. Nevertheless, various contradictions based on ethical, cultural, religious, and other backgrounds may outweigh the principles of solidarity supported by states. At the same time, other external factors, such as the influence of the media, can play significant roles. Based on the example of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it is possible to trace the reasons for the involvement of neighboring nations in the confrontation. As the key criteria explaining the contradictions that have arisen, ideological nuances will be assessed, as well as the impact of individual ideas on the formation of aggressive moods.
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Causes of Conflicts
The reasons why people come into conflicts may have different grounds. In case the interests of cultural identity are protected, a particular opposition group will support nationalist sentiments based on the propaganda of identity and independence. If the integrity of state borders is threatened, cohesion implies the patriotic and militaristic type of behavior. Some people prefer to join opposition groups due to solidarity, but the number of such participants is hardly numerous. Brotherhood is a good reason to stand up for national interests. Finally, the possibility of becoming part of a confrontational group to gain prestige may also exist, but the supporters of this concept, as a rule, do not have an unconditional commitment to a common idea.
Role of Ideology in the Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine
Ideology, as one of the concepts of shaping social positions in both conflicting countries, plays an essential role. According to Pasitselska, the media resorts to using various “discursive tools that resulted in a strong ideological bias” (606). Those opinions and arguments presented in newspapers and on TV are based on an active call for the protection of national identity. The aggression perceived with increased strength due to the work of the media is the result of the vocational guidance of the population and the course that is encouraged by the ruling elites of Russia and Ukraine. Accordingly, the role of ideology is significant, and its formation is one of the significant components of the conflict in question.
Perceptions of Identity
The perceptions of identity reinforced by territorial interests largely affect the conflict. Kuzio cites the example of the referendum in Crimea and notes that the inclusion of the peninsula in Russia is the consequence of the country’s national identity (464). This territory perceived by Russians as their primordially ethnic inheritance has become the object of contention. Another controversial aspect of opposition is citizens’ language preferences. According to Kuzio, despite the fact that in Ukraine, both languages (Russian and Ukrainian) are used in official documentation, the media, the Internet, and other public resources, many supporters of preserving national identity insist on the abolition of Russian (463). All these facts indicate that people’s views affect the conflict significantly.
Ultranationalists’ Influence on Ukrainian Politics
Radical Ukrainian parties adhering to the ideas of ultranationalism have little political support in percentage terms. However, their influence on national ideas is significant and indisputable. One of the key reasons is the effective use of the conflict situation with Russia and the implementation of national identity ideas during a crisis. According to Ishchenko, “the far-right sees liberal-democratic values as a danger to Ukraine” (455). This approach explains the popularity of the ideas promoted by ultranationalists. Moreover, it proves that in the context of the confrontation between two states, the formation of an opposition bloc based on a call for the protection of ethnic, cultural interests is the effective way of power management.
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia can be explained from different points of view, and ideological reasons along with territorial interests are the key motives. Protecting ethnic and national values is a significant aspect of the confrontation. The role and influence of ultranationalist ideas in Ukraine are due to the current difficult situation with the loss of Crimea and the consolidation of the population on the basis of cultural identity.
Ishchenko, Volodymyr. “Far-Right Participation in the Ukrainian Maidan Protests: An Attempt of Systematic Estimation.” European Politics and Society, vol. 17, no. 4, 2016, pp. 453-472.
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Kuzio, Taras. “Russia-Ukraine Crisis: The Blame Game, Geopolitics, and National Identity.” Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 70, no. 3, 2018, pp. 462-473.
Pasitselska, Olga. “Ukrainian Crisis Through the Lens of Russian Media: Construction of Ideological Discourse.” Discourse & Communication, vol. 11, no. 6, 2017, pp. 591-609.