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Regular version of the site

Article

Ukrainian vs. Russian? The Securitization of Language-Related Issues in Ukrainian Blogs and on News Websites.

East European Politics and Societies. 2020. Vol. 34. No. 2. P. 375-399.

The transformation of the peaceful demonstrations, which started on November 21, 2013, against Yanukovych’s decision to suspend the signing of the association agreement with the EU, into the bloodshed in Kyiv and eastern Ukraine, has vividly demonstrated that the rhetoric of the “protection of Russian-speakers’ rights” can be easily transformed from the level of “discursive threats” to the real threat of Ukraine’s dissolution. Therefore, the article seeks to explain how language-related issues were securitized in public discussions in leading Ukrainian blogs and on news websites that function in the Russian language after the Revolution of Dignity. The analysis of journalistic articles and users’ comments encompasses the period of 2013–2015 when the Russian–Ukrainian conflict and the discussion of language issues reached its climax. It is argued that despite an extreme presence of anti-Russian (anti-imperialist) arguments and consolidation over the idea of Ukrainian as the only state language (“one nation–one language”), arguments that supported an equal legal status of Russian- and Ukrainian-speakers were also to be found in selected digital media outlets. The analysis has also demonstrated that for most online users of Ukrainian digital media that function in Russian, the state language is constructed as the language discriminated against in its own national state.