Comparison of national identities in Ukraine and Slovakia (in searching of shared and conflict perceptions and stereothypes)
Authors: Gita Geremešová
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The study compares identities of the Ukrainian and Slovak ethnicities; they both contribute with their respective uniqueness to Europe – in a certain sense – as a supranational community as well as to Europe consisting of differences and regional connotations. The existence of both ethnicities in a historical sense is primarily related to the European macro-regions of East and West. In this context, Christianity fulfilled important cultural and civilizational functions; it determined people’s educational levels, morals, customs, etc. In this sense, the Ukrainian ethnicity archetypically identified with the Orthodox Christianity. The principle of caesaropapism, the superiority of the political power compared to the ecclesiastical power, as well as the principle of Catholicity brought into the nation’s “mentality” the elements of collectivism, communalism, obedience, respect toward authority, and heteronomous religious morals, which were later transformed to secular morals, i.e. party and state orders / bans. The Slovakians living in the Roman-Catholic / Evangelical Christianity partially acquired the cultural and civilizational heritage of the West. By separating the secular and ecclesiastical powers, the West enabled the rise of individualism, liberty, nation states, and human and civil rights; however, one cannot overlook Slovakia’s geographic position within Middle Europe, and therefore the backwardness of its society. Both Slovakian and Ukrainian ethnicities, and more precisely, their elites
led the national emancipatory processes in multi-ethnic empires (Russia and the Habsburg Monarchy) with a single state nation; they had been confronted with the issue of the linguistic nationalism.