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Donbas Identity and Social Factors

Mykola is fond of social psychology as a bright example of bridge between psychology and sociology

Social Factors in Synergy of Social Psychology

  • We’ll consider the social factors in form of layers in macrosystem, i.e. relations between states (Russian, Ukrainian) and the forming of Donbas identity in it. Here, we may observe the most effective synergy: social psychology traditionally bridged the gap between psychology and sociology. During the years immediately following World War II there was frequent collaboration between psychologists and sociologists.
  • So, specificity of Donbas identity was formed under influence of following social factors in macro system’s relations.

The First Factor

This is absence of effective boundaries with the neighboring state. In the East of Ukraine it lays a weakly protected boundary. It is “transparent” and not delimited duly. That is why from here we have not only the source of transboundary criminals. In consciousness of citizens this situation is projected on the sovereignty of the country and symbolized its deficiency. It provokes doubt in the ability of the state to control its territory. Moreover, this fact undermines its authority in citizen’s opinion and that of the international community. No doubt, this moment does not stimulate the Ukrainian identification.

Intelligentsia and Donbas

Empty theater

Empty theater

The Second Factor

  • These are the long processes Donbas population’s deukrainization. Absence of effective cultural policy of the central power about integration of Donbas in Ukrainian called forth increasing of the population, Russian oriented partly. In 1991 and 1996 local chronicles The Life of Luhansk and Our Daily conducted public opinion poll about self-identification of the Donbas residents.
  • The part of those who consider that “Population of Donbas is particular community of people having roots as in Ukraine as in Russia” decrease from 54.9% in 1991 to 45.4% in 1996. Moreover, the part of those who answered that “here Russians, predominantly, and representatives of other nations live, who are Russian oriented” increased more than three times, i.e. from 9.4 to 31.9%.

The Third Factor

  • It is rejection of central Kyiv power. It was foreign for Donbas residents. The development of Independent Ukraine was followed by hard economic crisis and considerable crash of living standards. That raised the just complaints on inaptitude of the central power to provide welfare. In contrast, the Donbas population lost not only profits, but membership in the Soviet Union (Great Motherland). That’s why their evaluation of losses was enormous.
  • The poll of the Razumkov’s centre,(2015) reflected that on the question “what did your family receive more – profits or losses due to Independence” the greater part of Donbas respondents answered losses (52.7%), and only 23.7% - profits. In comparison, in central and western regions the part of those who won prevailed.
  • Also, there is absence of statehood’s traditions in Ukraine and of respect to the power that history of it stipulates.

The Fourth Factor

  • The forth is that in society it formed hypertrophic picture about the role of Donbas in the economy of Ukraine. Permanently, it accentuates its considerable part of gross annual product, which is produced here, currency supply, and the considerable volume of industrial production.
  • In contrary, it is not said almost anywhere about losses the budget of Ukraine suffers from support of ineffective economy of Donbas, nor about investment outlay directing to this region.

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The Fifth Factor

  • The fifth, there was embodiment of the regional power with great business, often criminal. The target of them was control and assignment of Donbas rich resources. Representatives as old as new administrative nomenclature and also great business united their efforts for opposition to Kyiv power.
  • Processes in economical sphere (regional disintegration, differentia, imperfect tax politics), speculation of certain political parties on ignorance and phobias of the population provided myth about Donbas and Galytchina (Western part of Ukraine) as two poles of regional system of Ukraine, even the concept of two Ukraines, “never the twain shall meet”.

Peopling of Donbas, XIX Century

Donbas of XIX century

Donbas of XIX century

Synergy of Social and Psychological Factors in Forming Donbas Identity

Social factors influenced on the personality of minerNumber of FactorsMeaning of factors


The first

Absence of effective boundaries with the neighboring state


The second

The lack of effective cultural policy from the central power on integration of Donbas in Ukraine


The third

It is rejection of central Kyiv power


The forth

It formed hypertrophic picture about the role of Donbas in the economy of Ukraine


The fifth

There was embodiment of the local power with criminal business

The Black Swan Under Donbas

Factors Which do not Stimulate the Ukrainian Identification

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What moment does not stimulate the Ukrainian identification?
    • Absence of effective boundaries with the neighboring state
    • A strongly protected boundaries
  2. What did the public opinion poll of Donbas chronicles show?
    • Russian oriented people increased more than three times
    • Russian oriented people increased more than two times
  3. By what was the development of Independent Ukraine followed?
    • Rising economics
    • Hard economics crisis

Answer Key

  1. Absence of effective boundaries with the neighboring state
  2. Russian oriented people increased more than three times
  3. Hard economics crisis


Razumkov center.(2015,August, 7-16). Over 50% of Ukrainians see Donbas conflict as Russia’s aggressive war – poll.

Annual Report on Ukraine, available at:

Forming Donbas Identity

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