• Ielysaveta Shchepetylnykova



de-Sovietization; higher education; reforms; Ukraine


Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine has combined missile and military assaults with disinformation about Ukrainian history, culture, and traditions. However, scholarship evaded making sense of the challenges faced by Ukrainian historians struggling to overcome the Soviet legacy of ideological indoctrination at a time when their country is fighting for freedom and independence. This study investigated conceptualizations of challenges historians face in their epistemic domains and their roles and responsibilities in the de-Sovietization of their intellectual communities and society at large. Analysis of interviews and documents suggests that the Soviet legacy of dogmatism and binary thinking continues influencing knowledge production among scholars fearful of stepping out of their self-censorship cages even after the door has been open. The abolition of state ideology in independent Ukraine encouraged Soviet-trained scholars to re-orient from Marxism to ethno-national paradigm. Nevertheless, their peers have challenged this binary thinking. Tensions rise between dogma-oriented scholars and their counterparts who strive to speak the truth about history, which is nuanced, unsettling, and never final. This task becomes increasingly challenging in the context of Russia’s genocidal war that weaponizes history to justify its crimes. Social pressure encourages scholars to produce counterpropaganda narratives limiting their academic freedom and opportunities for critical inquiry.


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How to Cite

Shchepetylnykova, I. (2023). SCHOLARSHIP AND PRESSURES OF LEGACY, POLITICS, AND WAR: EXPERIENCES OF UKRAINIAN HISTORIANS. Studies in Comparative Education, (2), 12–25.