February 20, 2015 1:24 pm

Ukraine Separatism

When we listen to the news these days, we constantly hear updates on the armed conflict that has been going on in Ukraine since early 2014.

It started with Crimea proclaiming self-government in March 2014, and went on when Russia-backed Ukrainian armed protesters took over some Government buildings in the eastern region of Ukraine, namely Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv.

In order to understand the reasons for the unrests we need to go back in time, more than 20 years ago: Ukraine regained its independence and became an autonomous state in 1991, but the political process was not accompanied by the consolidation of civil society and the values which this society should have.

Differences between western and eastern Ukraine in terms of language, economic potential and religion have always been there, not to mention the differences on the country’s foreign policy (the west of the country is considered pro-European while the east is considered pro-Russian).

This explains a lot in the light of today’s events: pro-Russian separatists, appealing to the self-determination principle, claim for secession from Ukraine and union with Russia or at least the creation of self-governed states with higher autonomy, among the other things.

This leads us to this week’s IATE term, separatism.

Separatism IATE


Separatism is the desire, a movement of separation of a group from a larger group on a number of grounds: cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental, economic and many more.

The Eastern Ukrainian crisis is the separatist movement that may come immediately to mind when we hear this word, since the death toll is growing day after day. But sadly, if we look up how many separatist movements there are in Europe nowadays, it may come as a shock to see that in a time of crisis, when Europe should be as united as it can to overcome it faster, tensions are growing too, and so is the desire to separate.

We invite you to suggest the equivalent terms in the missing EU languages, or alternatives to the existing term in your language if you consider the proposed term inaccurate.

Provide your answer with a reliable reference and an accurate definition and/or context if possible.

A terminologist for the language in question will revise your answer and decide whether to validate them. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.


By Silvia Piparo

Freelance Translator

Terminology Trainee at TermCoord

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