While Ukraine under President Kuchma steered a political course which oscillated between the pursuit of rapprochement to the European Union and unswerving loyalty to Russia, the "Orange Revolution" in November 2004 has unambiguously determined the future orientation of Ukraine: Joining the European Union has been given top priority.

The project's core hypothesis is that Ukraine's rapprochement to the European Union depends on a number of cultural constants and that the extent to which the Ukrainian approach will be successful, largely depends on these constants. In this context, "constant" refers to Ukraine's non-material cultural heritage, which is still influential and may acquire new significance in the current political and socio-economic context. This heritage may act as an impediment, but may also facilitate Ukraine's rapprochement with Europe and the EU.

The project provides:

  • a critical analysis and evaluation of Ukraine's efforts under the leadership of President Yushchenko to facilitate a rapprochement to the EU.
  • an identification of  the cultural constants which either hinder or are conducive to such a rapprochement; these are strongly marked by the Kuchma era and the Soviet era, but are rooted in Ukraine's cultural and historical distant past.

Thus the project aims to investigate the area of conflict and tension between, on the one hand,  "decreed" modernisation and orientation toward the EU (its organisation, realisation and, above all, its acceptance), and, on the other, tradition, i.e. mental, institutional and social conditioning.

Added to this, the project also

  • promotes interdisciplinary cooperation between five faculties of Vienna University and with a number of research institutions specialising on Ukraine in Austria, Germany and Norway.