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near abroad

It is a great honour for the HPRS department to announce the publication of Dr Zbigniew Wojnowski‘s monograph book:

The Near Abroad:

Socialist Eastern Europe and Soviet Patriotism in Ukraine, 1956-1985

with Toronto University Press (click on the cover image to purchase).


From the Soviet perspective, Eastern Europe was the near abroad – more accessible than the capitalist West, yet also unambiguously foreign. Observing their western neighbours, citizens of the USSR developed new ideas about the role of states, borders, and national identities in the Soviet empire.

In The Near Abroad, Zbigniew Wojnowski traces how Soviet Ukrainian identities developed in dialogue and confrontation with the USSR’s neighbours in Eastern Europe. The author aptly challenges the dominant chronologies of late Soviet history by arguing that patriotism framed heated debates about the future of the Soviet state even amongst the rising tide of cynicism and disengagement from public life. Wojnowski’s insightful analysis illuminates the mental geographies that continue to shape relations and conflicts between Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe to this very day. Unlike most other histories of Ukraine, The Near Abroad does not reduce Ukrainian nationalism to anti-Soviet views and behaviours.

Advance praise for The Near Abroad:

The Near Abroad is a brave book that makes bold claims. Marshalling and triangulating a wide range of sources, Zbigniew Wojnowski provides an informed and honest analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of those sources and how he works with them. The Near Abroad will be useful to those students, scholars, and members of the public alike, who want to understand the forces that forged today’s Ukraine, its relations with its neighbours, and its relationship with the West.

Tracy McDonald, Associate Professor of History, McMaster University

“In The Near Abroad, Zbigniew Wojnowski traces today’s crisis in Ukraine to late Soviet policies and politics, including an original use of the now familiar term ‘near abroad’ and the mobilization of World War II-era political labels like fascism. His conscious insistence not to treat Soviet Ukraine within the paradigm of Soviet nationality policies is a testament to the author’s originality.”

Mark von Hagen, Professor of History, Arizona State University