The security dilemma and the rise of nationalism in Ukraine
In 1991 nationalism was at its peak in the Soviet space and the sense of independence mobilised the masses and elites alike. In Ukraine, the long sought-after independence did not, however, result in a strong, united state. Subsequent attempts at ‘Ukrainisation’ weakened Ukraine’s socio-political composition to the levels of a potential civic strife. However, it was not until 2014 that this internal disunity resulted in bloodshed. This paper aims to establish how the relationship between Ukraine's internal socio-political weaknesses and Russian intervention impacted the activation of nationalism in Western and Eastern Ukraine and a micro-level ‘security dilemma’ within Ukraine whereby the policies and actions employed by one group are perceived as threatening to the preservation/ survival of the other. This has resulted in a protracted spiralling perception of insecurity. This paper will outline the logic of the security dilemma and its application to civil conflict, then proceed to explore how domestic and external dynamics impacted the rise of aggressive nationalism in Ukraine and lastly, explore how nationalism responds to a security dilemma by developing a model of its activation.