“Resilient Ukraine” and Narratives of War in Europe

One of the main narratives through which the war in Ukraine has been framed, at least within the Western world, has been that of the resilience of Ukraine. For example, in an interview given to the BBC, published on March 5, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, praised the ’extraordinary resilience’ of ordinary Ukrainians fighting Russian military forces (BBC 2022). Western media has been awash with descriptions of Ukrainians as ’resilient’ in the face of the extreme adversity of Russia’s invasion (Sauer 2022). Meanwhile images have circulated of ordinary Ukrainians resisting Russian military forces, throwing molotov cocktails at Russian tanks, and urinating on Russian military vehicles (India Herald 2022). Iconically, the front cover of the March 28 issue of Time Magazine featured a picture of a 148 feet photo of a Ukrainian child refugee being held up by over one hundred people outside the opera house in Lviv, with the heading, ‘The Resilience of Ukraine’ (Time 2022). All of which has contributed to the construction of the immense resilience of Ukraine. Ukrainians themselves have contributed to this narrative, by proclaiming their own resilience. As one Ukrainian political analyst, Roman Rukomeda, has put it, ”(T)his war is a big revelation for the Ukrainian people about ourselves and our resilience. We consistently underestimated our character, readiness for mutual support and empathy for each other and our values” (Rukomeda 2022).

Released: Replika 127, 85–93.
Replika block:
Dávid Kollár, József Kollár