Crisis in Ukraine: Clash of Civilizations or Geopolitics?

  • Boris Barkanov


This chapter explores the origins of the 2013–2015 Ukrainian crisis with a focus on evaluating the effects of two sets of structural factors in contributing to the conflict: religious differences among Ukrainians and the distribution of power at the level of the international system. My main argument is two-fold. First, there is little evidence that the conflict was due to what Samuel Huntington has referred to as a ‘Clash of Civilizations’ between Orthodox and Uniate (Greek Catholic) Christian religious communities within Ukraine. Rather, the main social cleavage at the time that protests began appears to have been ethnic identity, based on views about Ukraine’s foreign policy orientation relative to significant others in international relations: the EU and Russia.


Foreign Policy Foreign Minister United Nations Security Council Association Agreement European Neighbourhood Policy 
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