PoM Pontica Magna
Junior Visiting Fellow
During the tenure of Pontica Magna Alumni Fellowship, I want to revise the history of a contested region diachronically, connecting past developments to present issues, and the purpose of my project is threefold. First, it seeks to place the Ukrainian historical narrative into a larger perspective through the study of the Pontic Steppe initial incorporation into the Russian Empire in the late eighteenth century. This was a dual process of both spontaneous and state directed colonization as well as of state building, since the frontier was gradually included into the administrative, economic, social, and what is important, symbolic structure of the empire. The second part of my project deals with the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the rise of the competing national projects and another round of redefinition for historical region. The third part of the project will deal with the discursive myths currently employed by various groups in southeastern Ukraine. My aim is not so much to reconcile these conflicting interpretations as to provide a fresh look at the historical developments that have brought them about.
The purpose of the project is twofold. The first part deals with processes of the past ‒ the incorporation of the Pontic Steppe into the Russian Empire (1775-1835), which went hand in hand with the transformation of local Cossacks from frontier brotherhood into an estate within the imperial society. This process, however, has not yet been satisfactorily analysed, mainly because the heirs to Russian elites (both imperial and post-imperial), and the heirs to the Cossack tradition, Ukrainian nationbuilders, almost immediately instrumentalized its image. Thus, in order to become a proper full-fledged study, my project also deals with the development of Novorossia myth throughout the 19th century as well as its reemergence and exploitation in the current events.