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On Context, Comparison, and Dialogue

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Current Politics in Ukraine

Dominique Arel

Taras Kuzio’s Op/Ed in The Ukrainian Weekly is both a moral indictment and an invitation for scholars to broaden their methods of inquiry. The normative argument is that the Columbia workshop was mostly devoted to “Nazi collaboration,” equated the contemporary far right and “anti-Semitism” exclusively with Western Ukraine, showed “zero interest (…) for a discussion” with people of different views, and had therefore a “political” agenda. The scholarly argument is that studies on Ukrainian nationalism are not sufficiently comparative, and in particular tend not to be placed in the necessary context of Tsarist/Soviet/Russian nationalism (or of Eastern Ukrainian violent political practices

The concepts of “collaboration” and “anti-Semitism” are problematic, as I argued in my workshop presentation, because they tend to be publicly understood as implicating entire groups, in this case Ukrainians. The first term acquired political meaning when the French Vichy regime offered its “collaboration” with Nazi Germany…

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