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Ukraine And European Security - International Mechanisms
As Non-Military Options For National Security Of Ukraine.
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Chapter 1. National Security Of Ukraine
Section 2 Sectoral Analysis of Ukraine's National Security
2.4 Societal sector
The implementation of any policy-option should have a social ground, or the forces which can advocate and strengthen this option. Accordingly, the state's decision-making process is naturally influenced by a state's social basis and the absence of such ground can lead to the frustration and in the long-term dimension, the decline of the policy-option.(81)
As recent sociological studies shows(82), there is comparatively large gap in the policy perceptions between the leadership of Ukraine and country's population. While Ukraine's leaders and political elites seem to be "Europeanized" and more likely look ahead to joint Western international institutions, their population express somewhat different opinion to the policy of central government. For instance, 48 percent of respondents foresee the Ukraine's future in close ties with Russia and a big amount of interviewed people also believe that the breakup of the USSR was a negative event.(83) These numbers indicate, that Ukrainian leadership would find itself in undesired situation, when its policies will not be supported by the population.
This section is aimed to discuss primary integrative and disintegrative forces, driving to strengthening or possible disintegration of the politico-social cohesion in Ukraine.
To begin, it is important to mention, that being a subject of ideological disputes, societal sector of the national security of Ukraine is closely bind to the political one and influenced by dimensions of national, ethnic and cultural identities of Ukrainian citizens within the domain of internal and external affairs of Ukraine.(84) To put it more simply, "if societal security is about the sustainability within acceptable conditions for evolution, of traditional patterns of language, culture and religious and ethnic identity and custom, then threats to these values come much more frequently from within the state than from outside it"(85) and "the main threats to security [within the societal sector], come from competing identities and migration (both inward and outward)."(86)
With regard to the question of Ukraine's national security, the "competing identities" can be distinguished, chiefly, as identity of Russian minority, which presents the biggest non-Ukrainian ethnic group, with the significant share of population in Eastern regions of Ukraine(87) and to a lesser extent, in the case of ethnic groups in the Western Ukrainian region.
There are also considerable differences in the values and mentality of Eastern and Western Ukrainians and one may reveal considerable degree of cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity.
In spite of the question of the cultural heterogeneity of Ukraine, it is important to stress a pivotal importance of linguistic pluralism or mother-tongue identification of the population of Ukraine. The use of Russian language influences tremendously the social and ethnic identity, and consequently, the perception and comprehension of political, historical and cultural values, which are the substantial components of the concept of national interests.
For instance, taking into account the fact, that large part of the Crimeans and Eastern Ukrainians use Russian mass media to get the information, it becomes familiar with Russian evaluation of the political and cultural values.(88) Given current tendency that "mass media highlight the differences in how Russia and Ukraine present different views to evaluate their common history and ideas" as well as current shape of the Ukrainian-Russian relations,(89) language use plays in Ukraine a principal role in the development of social identity in general and ethnic identity in particular.(90)
In the case of religious affiliation one can naturally define certain degree of religious pluralism in Ukraine, which distributed, mainly, among four Churches: Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox and Uniate (Greek-Catholic).(91)
In spite of the fact, that Russians in Ukraine are more inclined to be Russian Orthodox, and Ukrainians to be Ukrainian Orthodox or Uniate Greek-Catholic, the main division regarding ethnic origin coincides with the geographical separation Western-Central and Eastern-Southern Ukraine.(92)
One can also presuppose, that Russian Orthodox preferences in the realm of religion could construct concrete base in Eastern regions to pursue the opposition towards the state policy. This distinctiveness of the local population in the societal area from overall Ukraine can challenge the fear of possible absorption of their values, identity by the predominant Ukrainian culture. In addition, the examples of Poland, Lithuania or Armenia have clearly shown that the national church can strongly reinforce political movements. Considering that 50 percent of the Crimean population identify themselves as Russian Ortodox (and 41 per cents are atheist, or Muslims or Jewish faiths) it is not astonishing, that Crimeans are deeply inclined to the secessionist aspirations.(93) Indeed, Russian Orthodoxy was used for many decades as a support for denationalization in the USSR and still it remains close to the Russian political circles.
Ukrainian authorities tried to foster the elimination of the influence of Russian Orthodoxy in Ukraine through creation of a unified national Orthodox Church.(94) It was deemed that such establishment would assist effective nation-building process in Ukraine. As a result, when the government chose to take sides in the lasting conflict within Orthodoxy in Ukraine by favouring the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchy, it only added to the existing tensions.(95)
Such set of the previously mentioned societal problems erects additional obstacles on the path of the integration of Ukraine and consequently, could pose serious outcomes. Taking into account the other related factors: current country's economic recession, with relatively stable bordering Russia and premeditated influence of Russian mass media, the matter of cultural affairs can significantly contribute to the societal split of Ukraine.