Decolonizing Ukraine, with David Dube

Jakub Ferencik
4 min readFeb 19, 2024

On the latest episode of “Loosely Eastern Europe,” I talk to David Dube, a Ph.D. student in Political Science at McGill University and a member of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies.

His research interests revolve around Central, Eastern European and Eurasian political trajectories, democratization, and the development of computational methods and artificial intelligence as tools of social inquiry.

Incidentally, David and I took a seminar together at McGill, where I greatly benefited from David’s insights on the region, so I thought he would be an excellent guest on the podcast. I was not wrong!

Here is a link to the interview on Spotify; and here is a link on Substack. Please let me know in the comment section if you are having difficulties accessing it.

Photo by Polina Rytova on Unsplash

Summary of Podcast Episode

In this episode, we first address why academics and analysts use colonialism to depict Soviet Russia’s relationship with Soviet Ukraine.

Then we talk about whether there is validity to looking at history or political science through nationalist perspectives.

We further discuss some examples where there is a tendency to revise the history of the region.

Lastly, we briefly touch on Alexei Navalny’s death. In particular, we contemplate if there is hope to have a Russian opposition to Putin that does not have to fall into similar Russian imperialist beliefs about its history. I hope you enjoy.

The Interview Questions

Why use colonialism as a term when it comes to Ukraine and Russia?

  • Colonialist nations tend to have a dynamic where the periphery, i.e. “the colonies,” work on behalf of the center. Is that relationship applicable to Russia’s case where Soviet republics often benefited from being a part of the Soviet Union? They also suffered greatly, but there were benefits. Furthermore, as is often said, the colonized often become colonizers. Ukrainians participated in genocidal acts against their own people under Soviet command. I recommend Sheila Fitzpatrick’s book on some of this, titled Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s (first…

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Jakub Ferencik

Author of “Up in the Air,” “Beyond Reason,” & "Surprised by Uncertainty" on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | 750+ articles with 1+ mil. views