What is the Scale of Eurasia?: Discourses and Bordering in Ukraine

Authors: John Biersack*, Independent Scholar
Topics: Eurasia, Political Geography, Russia
Keywords: Eurasia, Ukraine, Scale, Borders
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 43
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Defining Eurasia has a long history bound up with various facets of ethnonationalism(s). The making and unmaking of scales and borders are two processes for how Eurasia as a construct could be defined as a region based on who, what, or where are included and excluded. Rather than taking Eurasia as a term or region for granted. Eurasia is discursively constructed through practices of scaling and bordering, linking processes and actors in unequal power relations. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine represents an instance where the scale of Eurasia is discursively practiced and made through connections, and the borders of Eurasia are thereby defined in a co-constitutive relationship with scale. Using a methodology influenced by qualitative discourse analysis, a mainstream geopolitical discourse of the Russian government situating and linking events, places, and actors in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine is scrutinized. This mainstream discourse is compared to two marginal discourses from Russian-supported separatists and Russian nationalism. All three discourses represent efforts constituting a “Eurasian” spatial scale for the actors’ respective geopolitical ends. Marginal and mainstream discourses of Eurasia as a scale connect places and actors in Ukraine, Russia, and beyond with the processes of exclusion and inclusion of ethnonationalism.

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