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The role of language in conflict and war – Ukraine, Caucasus, Russia

Webinar and campus symposium with invited speakers:

  • Dr. Nadiya Kiss, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Germany
  • Prof. Andrey Makarychev, Tartu University, Estonia
  • Prof. Mariam Manjgaladze, Caucasus University, Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Prof. Lidia Zhigunova, Tulane University, USA

Current violent development in the post-Soviet region bring to the forefront a number of issues reflecting the importance of language, being intertwined with conflict and war. Ukraine, Georgia and other multiethnic and multilingual states with shared legacy of Russian domination, struggle with partly similar challenges of integration or confrontation. Ethnic minorities in the Russian federation – Tatars, Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanis, Kalmucks and others – have a history of centuries of Russian colonization, which has included deportations and forced migration.

Thematic areas

Language is a salient marker of difference and could be used as a symbol of “the other”, “the enemy”. The politicization of the use of Ukrainian vs Russian in Ukraine is a vivid example. How have the status/use of Russian and Ukrainian and the identity and attitudes of speakers changed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Examples of other topics:

  • Russian as the historically colonial language. Domination, inequality and language shift
  • The function and identity of Russian-speaking groups outside Russia (including “passportization”)
  • Language situation of ethnic minorities in occupied/annexed zones
  • Language and forced migration
  • Language reveals who you are. Still in practice: test used to identify “the other”


The event is organized by the research platform Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR), Faculty of Culture and Society, Malmö University.

Symposium website