At many points in modern history, Ukrainian identity has been bound up with the Ukrainian language, Ukrainian forms of Christianity, and specific collective experiences of trauma as Ukrainians. This sense of national identity was particularly felt in the immediate post-Soviet period; for although Soviet nationalities policy attempted to eradicate dangerous forms of nationalism and ethnic prejudice, these policies often had the reverse effect, creating a heightened sense of competition between individual ethnic groups, which persisted into the post-1991 reconstruction of East European borders. In the wake of the 2013–14 Euromaidan protests, poets in Ukraine have sought to correct the failures of both Soviet nationalities policy and post-Soviet Ukrainian national-identity formation by weaving Jewish, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar histories of collective trauma into their writing. This article focuses on the recent work of the poet Marianna Kiyanovska, whose attempt to bridge seemingly irreconcilable histories can be read as part of what scholars have identified as a recent shift from viewing Ukrainian identity as an ethnic category to a civic one. Reading Kiyanovska in the context of other recent Ukrainian poems and songs, the author argues that this “civic turn” in Ukrainian identity formation is both a direct response to conversations taking place about the meaning of the Maidan, and part of a global conversation about privilege, erasure, and culpability.

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