Minorities Blog. National Minorities and the War in Ukraine
The ECMI Minorities Blog, published by the European Centre for Minority Issues (Flensburg, Germany), is a space for reflection and analysis of current issues, national or international, related to national, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. The blog is open to authors with a longstanding experience in research concerning minorities, as well as those who are at the beginning of their academic careers.
In view of the recent events in Ukraine, the editors decided to create this special section on the ECMI Minorities Blog, dedicated to reflections on the situation and impact of war on national minorities, in and outside of Ukraine.
Potential topics include (but are by no means limited to) the following:
- Minorities in Ukraine during the war (case studies or comparative analyses)
- A gender dimension of the impact of the war on minorities in Ukraine
- Roma minorities in Ukraine during the war
- Minorities as refugees and internally displaced persons
- Minorities in Ukraine and their respective kin-states engagement
- Impact of war on indigenous peoples (e.g. Crimean Tatars)
- Minority language media and the war in Ukraine
- Impact of the war on Russian and Belarusian minorities in Europe
- Perceptions of the Russian minorities in the Baltic states
Please note that unlike our usual blogposts, those covering the situation in Ukraine can be shorter, as the editors would like to have more texts on a variety of topics published as soon and as frequently as possible.
Before submitting a post for publication, please consult with the blog editors the topic you are proposing and the timeframe for publication.
Senior ResearcherFurther Information
Senior ResearcherFurther Information
2023-04-06ECMI Minorities Blog. Gagauzia’s Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
This blog post examines how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia in southern Moldova. The author argues that the Moldovan government’s sharp condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its move toward the European Union has caused tensions with the Gagauz minority. Furthermore, the text highlights how since the beginning of the invasion, Gagauzia’s regional authorities, as well as the general population, have resisted efforts by the Moldovan government to limit Russian influence in the region. It also shows how dissatisfaction with the policies of the current government, combined with an economic crisis and a prolonged drought, have led to political infighting within Gagauzia, and the rise of certain pro-Russian figures who employ radical language reminiscent of the late-Soviet period.
2022-11-01ECMI Minorities Blog. Romanians and Moldovans in Ukraine and their kin states’ engagement before and after the war – towards a triadic partnership for effective minority protection?
Ukraine recognizes Romanian and Moldovan as distinct minority languages, even though the official language of the Republic of Moldova is Romanian. This distinction between Romanian and Moldovan is not merely a symbolic matter, it has practical, negative consequences for members of the minority communities concerned. Since the 1990s, Ukrainian-Romanian relations have been affected by mutual distrust rooted in historical resentments, stereotypes, and prejudice at the level of both political elites and the general public. Moldova and Ukraine have experienced ups and downs in their bilateral relations due to the complex geopolitical context and growing Russian interference. The ongoing Russian war against Ukraine has had a strong impact on Moldova and Romania as well as on their kin minority communities in Ukraine. This war marks a turning point in history. It has caused tectonic shifts in global affairs, in the Euro-Atlantic community, and in national politics and interstate relations. Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova can turn the ongoing crisis into an opportunity to reset their (dysfunctional) bilateral relations. It is high time for a paradigm shift towards a new, enhanced triadic partnership which is able to ensure an effective system of minority protection.
2022-10-24ECMI Minorities Blog. National Minority Media and Work of Minority Journalists in the Time of the War of Aggression against Ukraine
In this blog post, the author examines the specifics of the work of minority media and minority journalists during the first six months of the war of aggression against Ukraine. The text is based on the author’s interviews with representatives of different types of minority media outlets – printed, digital, as well as the public broadcaster – operating in different regions of Ukraine. The key findings indicate a tendency towards scarcer reporting about the daily lives of ethnic communities and a more vulnerable situation for minority reporters, many of whom have fled abroad, of all media outlets scrutinized. Moreover, a significant decrease in broadcasting in minority languages through the public broadcaster is identified in one of the multi-ethnic regions.
2022-10-17ECMI Minorities Blog. How Moscow ‘Eliminates’ Its National Minorities in the War with Ukraine
As Russia is increasingly losing its military personnel in the war with Ukraine, the Kremlin is trying to make up for these losses in every possible way. Following a period of covert partial mobilization, since 21 September 2022 Russia has launched a partial mobilization; both involved disproportionately the male population from remote underdeveloped regions with concentrated populations of national minorities, particularly from the Far East, North Caucasus, Buryatia, Khakassia etc., as well as from the occupied areas of Georgia, Ukrainian Donbas, and Crimea. Conscription is much less common in Russia’s large economically and socially developed cities, where the majority of the population is ethnic Russian. The number of representatives of the poorest national minorities from remote regions of Russia who were injured or killed during the war disproportionately exceeds the respective share of ethnic Russians who have suffered the same fate. Beyond the economic reasons for the increased participation of minorities in the war, this disproportionality raises questions as to the intentions of Putin’s regime in sending these populations - rather than the Russian majority – to the frontlines.
2022-07-25ECMI Minorities Blog. Russian Migrants in Central Asia – An ambiguous Reception
One of the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the imposition of western economic sanctions on the country and further autocratization of its political system. Both factors have resulted in a significant outward migration of Russian citizens, with Central Asia being one of frequent destinations due to the geographic proximity and widespread use of Russian language. At the same time, for many Russians the region remains a terra incognita, perceived primarily through the presence of the Central Asian labour migrants. In this blog piece, ECMI Researcher Aziz Berdiqulov examines this recent phenomenon by discussing specifically the cases of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as receiving countries, through the prism of different initiatives addressing the influx, social attitudes concerning the newcomers and reactions of the Russian minorities present there. Furthermore, the author tries to assess whether the new situation has the potential for changing the hitherto pattern of relations between Russians and Central Asians.
2022-07-10ECMI Minorities Blog. Minorities and the War in Ukraine: Navigating the ‘Perfect Storm’?
Where do European minority issues stand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? What are the dimensions of this crisis that pose a particular challenge to the European minority rights regime? Does the renewed sense of purpose among liberal democracies augur a revitalization of minority issues or continued business as usual? The ECMI’s Director Vello Pettai looks at the stakes involved with the war in Ukraine. Already before the crisis, minority issues were operating in an increasingly crowded landscape of societal concerns: populism, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia’s aggression has brought together a further cocktail involving autocratization, kin-state activism and geopolitical disorder. Key institutions governing and promoting the European minority rights regime will need to be regrouped before a new impulse for minority issues can be found.
2022-06-29ECMI Minorities Blog. The Response of International Organisations and Roma Civil Society to the Plight of Ukraine's Roma Refugees in Europe
The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine has triggered the unprecedent human displacement crisis with more than 13 million individuals uprooted from their homes. It is estimated that among 5,7 million people who fled abroad, at least 100,000 belong to Roma minority – one of the most vulnerable and marginalized minority groups. In this blog entry, the author examines how the international institutions and Roma civil society organisations stepped in to support Roma refugees and combat discrimination in their accessing rights and resources granted to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
2022-05-20ECMI Minorities Blog. Ukraine’s National Minorities Trapped by the War: The Cases of Ethnic Romanians and Hungarians
In this blog entry, the author continues looking into the effects of the war against Ukraine on its minority communities, by highlighting the cases of two minorities with traditional residence areas in the western part of the country - ethnic Romanians and Hungarians. The author concludes that both minorities, either through the engagement of their civil society, religious, and educational institutions or individuals, have become a well-integrated part of an overall civil society architecture in western Ukraine emerging during the war. Moreover, all-Ukrainian civic identity features prominently in relation to both communities.
2022-05-16ECMI Minorities Blog. Indigenous Peoples and National Minorities in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine simultaneously in the north, east and south of the country. Thus, Russian troops expanded their temporary occupation of Ukrainian territories, which began in 2014. Millions of Ukrainian citizens, including indigenous peoples and national minorities, found themselves in the temporarily occupied territories. Residents of those regions are suffering from lack of food, utilities and medical care, and live under the pressure of the Russian troops. Their opposition to the invasion is met with detentions, intimidation, torture and executions. Under such conditions, the usual policy of diversity management is reduced to the struggle for the life of every citizen. This blog piece is dedicated to the current situation in the temporarily occupied regions of Ukraine and pays particular attention to the communities of indigenous peoples and national minorities.
2022-04-25ECMI Minorities Blog. Disinformation, Digital Nationalism and the Hungarian Minority in Ukraine
The Hungarian minority in Ukraine living mainly in the region of Transcarpathia (Zakarpattia Oblast) has not yet been directly exposed to the horrors of the war. However, roughly since 2014, it has been targeted by online propaganda and disinformation serving the interests of the Kremlin in both Russian and Hungarian media. Several studies have demonstrated how the right-wing media supporting the Hungarian government have come increasingly under Russian influence either directly by translating pieces from Russian media outlets, or indirectly by channeling the talking points of the Kremlin. This digital propaganda has merged with the offline diffusion of ideologies supporting the illiberal democracy that Viktor Orbán declared official policy in Hungary in his infamous speech from 2014. This blog post explores the intricate web of nationalisms that influence political opinions among the Hungarian minority in Ukraine.
2022-03-29ECMI Minorities Blog. Ukraine’s National Minorities Trapped by the War: the Cases of Ethnic Greeks and Bulgarians
As the war against Ukraine erupted on 24 February 2022, national minorities found themselves among its first victims, both as individuals and communities characterized by unique knowledge, language, and culture. This piece looks into the immediate effects of the war on ethnic Greeks and Bulgarians, and potential lessons learned for the state of Ukraine and its minorities from these tragic events. Whereas ethnic Greeks strive for physical survival in a besieged city of Mariupol and its surroundings, ethnic Bulgarians have mobilized in support of refugees. Those situations highlight the role of minority community leaders in voicing support for the Ukrainian authorities and as facilitators of aid from kin-states, as well as turn minority civil society organizations (CSOs) into agents of change of nation-wide significance.