The start of Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014 led to the temporary occupation of the Crimea peninsula and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk region. With the beginning of Russian aggression more than 2 million people have left the uncontrolled territories of Ukraine and were forced to move both to other parts of Ukraine and beyond its borders. According to the Ministry of Social Policy, after 2015 and before the full-scale Russian invasion began on 24 February 2022, the number of registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) was relatively stable at around 1.5 million. Residents of war-torn territories have also been fleeing the country since 2014. As of December 2015, in the countries that have common borders with Ukraine, such as Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, there were 388,690 Ukrainians seeking refuge, and 730,100 Ukrainians seeking other forms of legal stay in the aforementioned countries. The estimated population of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is 3.7 million. These are mostly people who formally remain the citizens of Ukraine.
At this stage of the war started in 2014, Ukraine was deprived of control over part of its state borders, facing the problem of the so-called ‘lines of demarcation’ occurring instead in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas and Crimea. Having turned the internal territories into the actual border areas, these demarcation lines changed the everyday life of the average citizens of Ukraine. All of this became a new reality for ordinary people who were involved to varying degrees in this conflict.
Professor Mikheieva will talk about how the Russian aggression of 2014 has changed people’s daily lives in Ukraine, what challenges Ukrainian society has encountered, and what problems people who were forced to leave their homes have faced. The study of the everyday experience of IDPs is based on a series of semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted by Professor Mikheieva between 2014 and 2018 (over 300 interviews). She will also focus on the specifics of current forced migration inside and outside of Ukraine caused by Russia’s full-fledged aggression against Ukraine in 2022.
Professor Oksana Mikheieva is a DAAD Professor at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. She is also Professor of Sociology at the Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv). In the spring semesters of 2020 and 2022 she was visiting lecturer at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland). She has also participated in more than 20 sociological research projects, in 10 of which she was a principal investigator. Mikheieva has over twenty years of research and teaching experience. She researches a wide range of areas, including the historical aspects of deviant and delinquent behavior, urban studies, paramilitary motivations, forced displacement, migration. In 2016 she was a Visiting Professor in Ukraine European Dialogue at the Institute for Human Science (Vienna), and in 2015 she was Eugene and Daymel Shklar Research Fellow Harvard University, Ukrainian Research Institute.