Decolonial paths through borderlands: Perspectives from the Ukrainian heartland

Maria Dubrova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Kyiv-born British journalist Peter Pomerantsev mused in the recently published collection of essays that Ukraine "resists straight lines [and] negotiat[es] the paradoxes of being a non-linear nation" (Pomerantsev, 2020, p.12). For Pomerantsev, Ukraine is a country that holds space for different stories of the past and ways of belonging to the present in "a state of becoming" (Pomerantsev, 2020, p.12). Complicated ontologies are absent from much of the contemporaneous media landscapes and reporting on Russia's egregious war in Ukraine, where complexities and differences are often bulldozed in favour of flattening discourses. Depending on the origin of the media, coverage either odiously denies legitimacy to the Ukrainian state or uncritically relegates the country and people to Europe. Despite the polarising visions of Ukraine's rightful place in the world, they are conditioned by explicit and implied notions that powers outside of the nation can decide its fate and that Ukrainian subjects can be spoken about (and for) homogenously. It is pertinent for political geographers to problematise and confront views that lessen Ukraine to a space and people at the mercy of territorialising debates. Recent thinking on decolonisation, while originating in other world regions and often focusing on different imperial logics, can help us critique these tendencies and incorporate knowledge that challenges hegemonic ways of thinking within the subdiscipline. A decolonial perspective from and about Ukraine, on which this intervention builds, is vital to address the gaps in knowledge that exist despite growing interest in decolonial thinking and praxis (Naylor et al., 2018) and the substantial literature concerned with bordering and borderlands (Johnson et al., 2011; Paasi et al., 2022).
Original languageEnglish
Article number102747
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalPolitical Geography
Early online date16 Sept 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sept 2022


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