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University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

Ukraine as an Instance of State Repression

March 03, 2022
Christian Davenport

Blog

In analysis for Political Violence At A Glance, an IGCC-supported blog dedicated to political violence and its alternatives, Christian Davenport, Professor of political science at the University of Michigan, analyzes the Russia-Ukraine crisis through the lens of state repression.

The crisis in Ukraine reveals some distinct opinions about how the world is viewed. Most accurately, people see Russia as distinct from Ukraine, in which case what is taking place would be best evaluated as interstate war. Putin and his supporters, however, seem to see things in a different way.

On the one hand, they seem to view Ukraine as a distinct part of Russia, in which case what is taking place would be best evaluated as state repression. Here, a part of the “real” nation has acted in a threatening manner and the “true” political authority is attempting to put down and re-establish dominance.

On the other hand, clearly contradicting the position above, Putin and his supporters have occasionally yielded that Ukraine is a separate nation but noted that they are engaging in behavior that threatens Russians in their midst: genocide. Norms against invading other countries are strong and longstanding, so there is perhaps no other justification for moving into another nation than to save its occupants from large-scale, violent, state-sponsored repression.

Read the full blog post at Political Violence At A Glance.