Living the Independence Dream: Ukraine and Ukrainians in Contemporary Socio-Political Context

Lada Kolomiyets (Ed.)

by Antonina Berezovenko (National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorski Polytechnic Institute”, Ukraine), Bohdan A. Futey (Senior Judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC), Domagoj Krpan (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University in Rijeka, Croatia), Natalia Kudriavtseva (Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University, Ukraine), Ostap Kushnir (University of Portsmouth), Olga Gomilko (H. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine), Lada Kolomiyets (Dartmouth College/Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine), Larissa Zaleska Onyshkevych (Princeton Research Forum), Martha Bohachevsky Chomiak , Yuri Shapoval (Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnonational Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine), Myroslava Tomorug Znayenko (Professor Emerita of Rutgers University)

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“Living the Independence Dream” is an important book in which authors living in Ukraine and outside its borders reflect on how the country has been imagined in the past, what it is now and what it might become in the future. Memory, language, religion, and the current war are important factors in shaping the Ukrainian people’s rapidly evolving collective identity, and each of them receives insightful consideration in this excellent volume.

Marko Pavlyshyn
Emeritus Professor of Ukrainian Studies
Monash University

This compelling collection of articles analyzes what Ukrainian independence has meant for cultural institutions and for the practices of everyday life for individual Ukrainians. Such a vista offers a new lens through which to understand the ramifications of Russia's war against Ukraine. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Ukraine.

Catherine Wanner
Professor of History, Anthropology, and Religious Studies
Pennsylvania State University
Author of 'Everyday Religiosity and the Politics of Belonging in Ukraine'

For many Ukrainians, 1991 was a crucial point when their long-held dream of independence came true. The image of the future life in independent Ukraine was then almost identical to folklore images of Ukraine as the land of milk and honey. "Living the Independence Dream" takes a multi-dimensional look at the period of regained independence as a time of advancement towards the realization of collective dreams shaping the post-Soviet nation, even through everyday disappointments, anxiety, and uncertainty. The collection features personal accounts of several generations of Ukrainians who found themselves displaced by political upheavals in foreign lands, as well as the voices of recently displaced people who left the Donbas or other regions of Ukraine following the outbreak of the Russian aggression. It revisits the legacy of Soviet dissidents and explores the ideologies of Ukrainian language revival and the ways that memory and language construct Ukrainian identity and generate vital energy amidst war.
The collection "Living the Independence Dream" aims to analyze the agency of contemporary Ukrainian people and the role of media, literature, and digital folklore in creating new messages, meanings, and values formed during the Independence decades.

Lada Kolomiyets
Dartmouth College/Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

I. Historical Narratives, Language, and Cultural Policy
Chapter 1 Making the Future - Remaking the Past: Historical Narrative in State-Building Processes in Today’s Ukraine
Antonina Berezovenko
National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorski Polytechnic Institute”
Chapter 2 Holodomor—Genocide, War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity
Bohdan A. Futey
Senior Judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC
Chapter 3 The Influence of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on Shaping Ukrainian National Identity
Domagoj Krpan
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University inRijeka
Chapter 4 Between ‘Ideal’ and ‘Living’ Language: Ideologies of the Ukrainian Language Revival in Independent Ukraine
Natalia Kudriavtseva
Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University, Ukraine
Chapter 5 Thirty Years of Political Orders in Ukraine: Constructing a Nation of Decentralized Communities
Ostap Kushnir
University of Portsmouth

II. Philosophy, Popular Culture, Literature
Chapter 6 Happiness as a Value or Why are Ukrainians (Un)happy?
Olga Gomilko
H. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Chapter 7 A People’s Cyber War: Ukraine’s Digital Folklore and Popular Mobilization
Lada Kolomiyets
Dartmouth College/Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Chapter 8 To Reach Paradise, Maturing in Purgatory Is Necessary
From Hell and Purgatory to Paradise: Literary Reflections by Dante, Valerii Shevchuk, and Sofiia Maidanska on their Countries’ Paths to Independence
Larissa Zaleska Onyshkevych
Princeton Research Forum

III. Memoirs and Reflections
Chapter 9 A Participating Witness to Modern Ukraine: Martha Bohachevsky Chomiak
Martha Bohachevsky Chomiak
Professor of History
Chapter 10 War and the Historian: Subjective Notes
Yuri Shapoval
Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnonational Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Chapter 11 The Way We Were: The Semiotics of a Ukrainian Diaspora Experience
Myroslava Tomorug Znayenko
Professor Emerita of Rutgers University

IV. Photo Gallery
Chapter 12 Photo Gallery: Ukrainians and the World
Compiled and commented by Antonina Berezovenko National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorski Polytechnic Institute”

Lada Kolomiyets is a DSc (Philology) in Translation Studies, Professor at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine, and Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College, USA; Fulbright visiting scholar to the University of Iowa (1996-97) and Pennsylvania State University (2017-18). An interdisciplinary researcher in literature, folklore, and translation studies, she has published three monographs, several textbooks for graduate students, literary anthologies, numerous chapters in collective volumes and articles in Ukrainian and English in leading peer-reviewed journals. Her research interests focus on the history of literary translation, linguacultural and translation studies, cross-cultural communication, and post-communist transformation in Ukraine. Kolomiyets’ books include monographs such as “Conceptual and Methodological Grounds of Contemporary Ukrainian Translations of British”, “Irish, and North American Poetry” (2004) and “Ukrainian Literary Translation and Translators in the 1920s-30s” (2013, 2nd ed. 2015), among others, as well as book chapters in “Translation Studies in Ukraine as an Integral Part of the European Context” (2023), “Translation under Communism” (2022), “Translation and Power” (2020), “Protest and Dissent: Conflicting Spaces in Translation and Culture” (2020), “'A Sea-Change into Something Rich and Strange': Shakespeare Studies in Contemporary Ukraine” (2020), “National Identity in Literary Translation” (2019). She has held fellowships at Wenner-Gren Foundations (Sweden), the Harris Distinguished Professorship Foundation at Dartmouth College, and the University of Iowa. Kolomiyets is a poet-translator and member of the National Writers’ Union of Ukraine, with published English-to-Ukrainian and Ukrainian-to-English translations of contemporary poetry.

Historical narrative, grand historical narrative, Ukrainian independence, national identity, state identity, national subjectivity, state subjectivity, Ukraine, Holodomor-Genocide, Nuremberg Tribunal, international law, international security, justice, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Western Ukraine, the Greek Catholics (Uniates), Ruthenian Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Greek-Catholic Church, language ideology, language revitalization, purism, independence, civil society, governance, Cossack statecraft, revolutions, critical geopolitics, freedom, happiness, value, post-materialistic value, postcolonialism, war, social platform, digital folklore, parodistic translation, neologism, euphemism, humor, Memory, wisdom, future, values, culture, self-identity, hope, spiritual quest, choice of values, self-identification, authentic life, purpose in life, subjectivity, phronesis, Holodomor plays, Chornobyl, Ukrainian-Americans, cultural exchanges, USSR, Columbia University, “mental war,” Special military operation, Russia's war against Ukraine, Russians- “liberators” (a particular Russian project in WWII), rethinking the past, “the third world war”, stigmatization of the West and NATO, hypertrophied victorious image of Russian history Carpathian Ukraine, Carpatho-Ukrainian independence, WW2, Rutgers University, Slavic Studies in US, Slovak National Uprising, Slovakia, Ukrainian diaspora in US/Germany, Ukrainian students in U.S., Ukrainian studies in U.S.

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Living the Independence Dream: Ukraine and Ukrainians in Contemporary Socio-Political Context





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


34 B&W

Publication date

June 2024