‘Ukraine’s hidden tragedy: understanding the outcomes of population displacement from the country’s war torn regions’ is a research project of interdisciplinary team from the University of Birmingham, University of Oxford and Ukrainian Catholic University (AHRC PCCSR award). Period – November 2016 -April 2018.
Since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and the annexation of Crimea, approximately 1.7 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced and are facing an uncertain future. The majority have experienced a significant drop in living standards, problems in accessing services such as health care, difficulties in obtaining suitable work and an overall lack of support for their situation. Furthermore, the displacement has had a significant impact on individual identities with people forced away from their ‘homelands’ while at the same time feeling abandoned by their state. The project’s overarching argument is that meaningful post-conflict reconstruction, and reconciliation, cannot take place without a full understanding of problems that people displaced by the conflict face and their full incorporation into social, economic and legal structures within the country.
This project addresses this gap by interviewing those displaced by the conflict as well as those charged with assisting them. The key areas it explores are centred on their legal and social status, their everyday experiences, their ability to obtain work in their new locality and how they cope with their new challenges.
The research team is interdisciplinary, with investigators from social geography, law, politics and economic geography, ensuring that differing approaches and methodologies will be brought together throughout the research. As well as the individual experiences, the research also examines how local and national authorities have attempted to assist this group and the barriers they have faced in doing so.