What motivated young Ukrainian immigrants to engage and support the Euromaidan movement from abroad? What strategies did they employ to enable political, economic, and social change? What impact did they create in Ukraine and the United States? Dr. Alla Korzh and Dr. Serhiy Kovalchuk presented their research focused on Razom.
On October 6, the Razom Community joined a constructive discussion with Dr. Alla Korzh and Dr. Serhiy Kovalchuk on the topic of Transnational Activism of Young Ukrainian Immigrants in the US during and after the Euromaidan protests and their contributions to the democratization of Ukraine from abroad. Their research has already been presented at Columbia University, the CIES Conference in Atlanta, and the Berlin Social Science Center.
It was particularly interesting for many of the participants to relive their memories and go back to the times of Maidan, when it all started for us. The research was conducted in 2015 and 30 participants, all active Razom volunteers (20 women and 10 men, predominantly of 21-35 years of age), were interviewed. Among the common characteristics of the participants were the following: they were born and raised in Ukraine, came to the United States within the past two decades, had close familial and friendship ties with Ukraine, had first-hand experience with socio-economic and political turmoil in Ukraine, had limited connections with the older/ settled generations of Ukrainian diaspora prior to the EuroMaidan, belonged to the middle class and were technologically savvy.
Individual interviews with Razom participants uncovered personal motivations to found and stay engaged in Razom, as well as individual perspectives on the impact of Razom in Ukraine and the United States. Their key motivations included: harnessing solidarity with people on Maidan, raising awareness about the ongoing events in Ukraine, belonging to a “cool” group of activists who care, a feeling of agency, and a desire to make a difference.
Conclusions of the study:
- Razom is a new dynamic and powerful force in the Ukrainian diaspora.
- Euromaidan mobilized young Ukrainian immigrants in the US to create systemic change in Ukraine.
- By engaging in transnational actions, immigrants have a political, social, economic, and cultural impact both on the country of origin and the receiving society.
Among the many quotes from the study’s participants that are still relevant today, this one resonates very strongly: “I have always believed that the change starts with the grassroots movement, and this is what it comes down to. In order for the change to happen, the change cannot be born in the cabinets of the ministries and presidential administration in Kyiv. The change begins with such people as we are, that basically make a difference basically one project at a time. By growing more and doing bigger things, this is when we can expect the entire system to change.”
We thank Dr. Alla Korzh and Dr. Serhiy Kovalchuk for looking deep into Razom’s core! We thank Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York for their support and for hosting the presentation.
Learn more about the Razom Community and our next meetings, discussions, and movie screenings by following our Razom Facebook Page.