Perpetual War with the Brother Nation: An Analysis of Ukrainian Veterans, Cultural Identity and Historical Trauma

Roberto Cancio, Anastasiia Kuptsevych-Timmer, Marisa Omori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Understanding historical and cultural dimensions of pain is an area relatively understudied by scholars. This is particularly the case for those affected by war, such as combat veterans. Using in-depth interviews, this study analyses interpretations of the pain by Ukrainian combat veterans serving in the current war in the east of Ukraine. Our findings reveal two core themes that shape meanings of pain: Ukrainian cultural identity and historical trauma. Being Ukrainian is a salient construct, shaped by respondents’ identities as soldiers, nationality, and the understanding of pain as an integral part of Ukrainian soldiers’ identity. Historical trauma is experienced more broadly as a nation and is drawn from shared experiences of pain that transcend through history, as Ukraine has wavered between legitimacy as a sovereign state and colony of a ‘brother-nation’ to Russia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of War and Culture Studies
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • cultural identity
  • grounded theory
  • historical trauma
  • pain
  • symbolic interactionism
  • Ukrainian-Russian War
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

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