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The Battle for Ukrainian

The Battle for Ukrainian

A Comparative Perspective

Edited by Michael S. Flier and Andrea Graziosi

ISBN 9781932650174

Publication date: 07/10/2017

In 1863 the Valuev Circular restricted the use of the Ukrainian language in the Russian Empire. In the 150 years since, Ukrainian has followed a tortuous path, reflecting or anticipating tsarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet history. This volume documents that path, studying the language’s emergence in southern Rus´, its shifting fortunes in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, and its variable status after 1991.

Ukrainian can serve as a useful prism for assessing 150 years of imperial disintegration and reformation, and worldwide state and nation building—a period in which other languages have been created, promoted, and repressed, or have come to coexist in multilingual nations. Case studies of Gaelic, Finnish, Yiddish, the Baltic group, and of language policy in Canada, India, and the former Yugoslavia illuminate similarities and differences in chronological, comparative, international, and transnational terms. The result is an interdisciplinary study that is essential for understanding language, history, and politics in Ukraine and in the post-imperial world.


  • Michael S. Flier is Oleksandr Potebnja Professor of Ukrainian Philology, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University.
  • Andrea Graziosi is Professor of History at the University of Naples Federico II.

Book Details

  • 636 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute