Blog 2- Historical events lead to the ethnical labeling of the neighbor nation

In this paper, over the last month I have been studying Ukrainian and Russian ethnic stereotypes. It was interesting to explore how people without a prior knowledge about Ukrainian and Russian cultures one can judge them and draw conclusions about how these peoples have lived and interacted with each other. Working on the introduction and main points of my research paper helped me understand my goals.. I spent a good few days in the library, while trying to find any information on my topic. Unfortunately, there was not so many sources , however I found really interesting facts which could be connected to my topic of stereotyping. While reading some history textbooks, I was surprised to come across some actual clichés on their pages. Most interesting was to relate historical events and relationships between those two countries to the cultural labels that emerged during that period of time. Also, an interesting material and usage of these clichés were found in literary works. The most famous writers used them to either emphasize the hatred towards another nation or better understand the content of the literary work. Authors use labels for an easier description of another nation and to describe them in relation to the given norm.
The cultural differences between these two nationalities are very old. Historical events lead to the ethnical labeling of the neighbor nation, but using the example of two nations, such as Ukrainian and Russian, I showed how sometimes they insult each other with ridiculous and meaningless words, such as – “khokhol”, “moskal”, “katsap”, “terrorist”, “fascist”, and “banderovtsy”- without knowing the meaning of the words and theirs origin.
The history of stereotyping is very rich. I found out that different experiments were undertaken in order to understand how stereotypes are shaped and why they stick in our minds. The term “social stereotype” was used for the first time by Walter Lippmann, an American journalist, in his book “Public Opinion” (1922). In this book one can find a detailed explanation of what is stereotyping and how people use them in real life. The first major study on stereotyping was made in the Princeton University, in the United States 1933 by Katz and Braly.
Many articles have been published about the latest events in Ukraine. I have never thought that negatively loaded and historically misconstrued labels like “banderovets,” “terrorist,” “fascist,” can be applied today. Those clichés are created and can be used by peoples for decades and centuries, although some of them tend to be changed over time depending upon political or cultural reasons. It turns out that all those stereotypes were created in the times of World War I and World War II. It is a little bit confusing why the old labels are still used today by seemingly genetically related peoples who are waging war against each other. Is this the imperial legacy left over after the collapse of the Russian Empire and, subsequently, the Soviet Union? Is this because Russia has taken under Putin the imperial vision of modern world?
This research paper gives me a chance to study not only the origin of some labels (words), their meanings and usage but also their connection with concrete historical events. I have known most of those labels since my childhood but I never thought about their origin or ethno-cultural foundation. This research paper makes me think about why people divide each other into groups and each group have its own clichés, and people do use them against each other, sometimes in an offensive way.

Cultural Stereotypes and Labeling of Ukrainians vs. Russians

For my research paper, I chose a very important and interesting topic about cultural stereotypes of the two genetically related  nations: Ukrainians and Russian. Accordingly, the working title for my research paper is “Two Brothers? Cultural Stereotypes and Labeling of Ukrainians vs. Russians”.  Most people think of another culture or nation based on the stereotypes they have acquired from their ancestors. It happens even that some peoples introduce their own labels about  themselves to improve their status or image and share their history with other peoples with the help of such labels. It is interesting to explore how people without a prior knowledge about the culture of Ukrainians or Russians can judge them and draw conclusions about how these peoples lived and interacted with each other.

The aim for my research paper is not only to find stereotypes referring to Russians and Ukrainians but also to analyze those stereotypes and ascertain their origin and their current status in the system of relations between the two peoples. The second goal for my project is to find the relationship between those two nations, based on the current situation in those countries. The Russia has begun using liberally ethnic stereotyping and political labeling with regard to Ukraine and its people, their national heroes, ‘myths’, and cultural values.

For the first part of me research, I have been using our library’s resources to find basic information about stereotyping, not only for those two nations but also in the recent scholarship dealing with this problem. It is of importance also to understand what makes people to create clichés about other nations, and pass them from generation to generation. I found interesting scholarly articles dealing with the topic chosen for my research, e.g.,  “The politics of ethnicity: Russians in the New Ukraine” by Ian Bremmer (1994), “Measuring stereotypes: a comparison of methods using Russian and American samples” by Walter Stephan and Tatyana Stefanenko (1993), and some others. The library gave me some basic information on stereotyping, but I found examples that are more specific by using internet sources: jstore and google scholar.

I plan to further investigate ethnic and cultural differences between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples viewed through a prism of cultural stereotypes, clichés, and political labeling. I will create a list of labels that are used for the Ukrainian people and base my search on the choice of those labels and clichés.  For more information on the historic meaning and provenance of the ethnic stereotypes I will use the NY public library, in which I can get access to rare journals and old history books. Articles from the newspapers like Washington Post, The New York Times and Boston Globe can help me with examples and updates on the current situation in those countries.