Why Ukrainians Mistrust Russian “Liberalism”


The recent protests in Russia have met mixed reactions in Ukraine. Russian “liberal” forces might inspire some empathy in Ukraine, but often also face a great deal of mistrust. UkraineWorld explains why.

Although the protests in Russia against Putin’s regime and poisoning and persecution of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have been met with empathy among many democratic-thinking Ukrainians, they also have met a substantial level of mistrust.

The reasons for this mistrust lie not only in Navalny’s earlier ambiguous statements about Ukraine, and in particular annexation of Crimea. They have deeper roots in the complicated history of Ukrainian-Russian relations.

This history gives Ukrainians several reasons to mistrust Russian “liberalism” or “Westernism”. The key Ukrainian suspicion is that this “Westernism” is a mask for a new and modernized version of a Russian empire.

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