Losing and Finding a Nation: Ukrainian Holodomor Narratives as Wartime Resistance and Reclamation


Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe


School of Conflict Management and Peacebuilding


After disasters, suffering narratives emerge as attempts to rebuild shattered lives, with genocide narratives especially powerful. Due to fluid social negotiations inherent in these contexts, influential stakeholders play an outsized role. Despite our knowledge that these narratives impact sociopolitical processes, the interactions of diverse leaders as they drive and co-construct them is under-theorized. This ethnography examines the interactions of four groups of Ukrainian national leaders who have engaged and promoted narratives of a 1930s Moscow-waged genocide under Joseph Stalin. These memories drove Ukrainian leaders' existential threat perceptions of Russian violence since 2014, sparking an ongoing postcolonial reclamation process that undergirds their resistance and solidarity today.