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Imperialism, Supremacy, and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Oksamytna, K. ORCID: 0000-0001-7725-3151 (2023). Imperialism, Supremacy, and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Contemporary Security Policy, 44(4), pp. 497-512. doi: 10.1080/13523260.2023.2259661


Few predicted Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and especially its brutality. Similarly, Ukraine’s capable and determined resistance came as a surprise to many. Ukraine, viewed through the Russian lenses, was erroneously characterized as “weak” and “fragmented.” In turn, Russia was seen as a modern power seeking a “sphere of influence” through attraction and occasional meddling in neighbors’ affairs. The Ukraine-Russia relations were misconstrued as “brotherly.” I argue that Russia should be understood as a colonial power whose aggression aims to re-establish supremacy over the Ukrainian nation. This desire arose from Ukrainian’s increased acceptance in Europe, which Russians perceived as a transgression of hierarchies. The brutality of the invasion was aggravated by the Russian forces’ realization that Ukrainians not only rejected their “rescue mission” but did not need one in the first place. Misconceptions about Russia’s invasion can be addressed through interdisciplinarity, engagement with postcolonial scholarship, and attention to facts.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Publisher Keywords: Ukraine; Russia; Imperialism; Supremacy; Invasion; Postcolonial
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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