This article discusses two inter-related issues. Firstly, the factors lying behind Russia's fervent belief that its Novorossiya (New Russia) project, aimed to bring back to Russia eight oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhhya, Odesa, Mykolayiv, and Kherson in eastern and southern Ukraine and launched during the 2014 “Russian Spring,” would be successful. Russian identity misunderstood, and continues to misunderstand, Ukraine and Ukrainians through stereotypes and myths of Ukraine as an “artificial state” and Ukraine's Russian speakers as “fraternal brothers” and Russians and Ukrainians as “one people” (odin narod). Secondly, why Ukrainian national identity was different than these Russian stereotypes and myths and how this led to the failure of the Novorossiya project. Russian stereotypes and myths of Ukraine and Ukrainians came face to face with the reality of Russian-speaking Ukrainian patriotism and their low support for the Russkij Mir (Russian World). The article compares Russian stereotypes and myths of Ukraine and Ukrainians with how Ukrainians see themselves to explain the roots of the 2014 crisis, “Russian Spring,” and failure of Russian President Vladimir Putin's Novorossiya project.

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