Ukraine’s National Minorities and Russia’s War of Aggression

4 July 2022

Hosted by Vello Pettai

The devastating war in Ukraine has drastically changed the life of Ukraine’s national and ethnic minorities that once comprised a significant part of its population. Minority groups residing in the south-east of the country suddenly found themselves living under the Russian occupational forces and they have to fight for the preservation of their identity. Meanwhile, those minorities living in other parts of Ukraine managed to intensify ties with their kin-states and showed solid civic engagement. Despite not being Ukraine’s priority in times of war, the question of the future of Ukraine’s minority policy will be essential for conditioning the country’s chances for EU accession. With this in mind, the ECMI Online Talk to reflected on the following topics:

  • Ethno-political dimension of the conflict 
  • Minority situations in Ukraine
  • Kin-states and minorities in Ukraine
  • International development aid 
  • Post-conflict minority policy for Ukraine and accession to the EU


Kateryna Haertel

Kateryna Haertel is a political and policy analyst, human rights advocate, and project manager in the fields of conflict prevention and democracy promotion. Her expertise in human rights and national minorities stems from her work with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Her research interests focus on specifics of minority politics and intersection between minority issues and security in the post-Soviet space.

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Krisztina Lajosi

Dr. Krisztina Lajosi is a Senior Lecturer and Research Coordinator in the Department of European Studies, University of Amsterdam. Her area of expertise is the cultural history of nationalism, in particular the relations between nationalism and media. She is the author of Staging the Nation: Opera and Nationalism in 19th-Century Hungary (Brill, 2018), and the co-editor of The Matica and Beyond. Cultural Associations and Nationalism in Europe (2020) and Choral Societies and Nationalism in Europe (2015). Her publications explore the relations between culture and politics in nation-building movements, and her current research focuses on the role of digital media in shaping national identities.

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