The paper argues that the profoundidentity split strongly influencesUkraine’s postcommunist development, precluding effectively consolidation of any political system – either democratic or authoritarian. In most cases, the identity issue supersedes all other issues on the agendas of political parties and largely determines the character and results of electoral rivalry, and the way in which both domestic and international politics is viewed and articulated. The paper examines historical roots of competing identities in Ukraine, their essence and impact on two different visions of Ukrainian past, future, and “Ukrainianness” itself. The use and misuse of identity issues by Ukrainian authorities is a special concern of the paper that stresses the need of alternative policy aimed at a national reconciliation.

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