The issue of national self-consciousness proves to be of immense importance for a number of nation states, such as Ukraine. Even more significant is the task of improving the level of national self-consciousness of the younger generation on account of their decisive role in shaping the future of not only their country but the whole world. According to the hypothesis of the present paper, in the case of political authorities’ paying insufficient attention to the strategic issues of national integration, the level of national self-consciousness of the Ukrainian population remains low. However, the authors suggest that the level of national self-consciousness of the youth considerably exceeds the corresponding figures for the rest of Ukrainian citizens. The article includes an overview of the major theories of national self-consciousness. In fact, in the case of Ukraine, the core of national self-consciousness is political self-consciousness. Moreover, the very phenomenon of national self-consciousness performs an essential function of safeguarding the state’s independence and territory as well as facilitating the regulation of its political life and giving rise to the subsequent advance of the country. The paper also contains the analysis of the level of national self-consciousness of Ukrainian students combined with the study of civil qualities. Furthermore, the results of the all-Ukrainian opinion polls were used to examine the degree of formation of the national self-consciousness elements in the context of Boryshevskyi’s 5-part model, and their general attitude towards the national policy of the state.
The authors conclude that despite showing surprisingly high levels of civil qualities, the Ukrainian youth demonstrate the lack of actual displays of developed national self-consciousness. Such ambivalence is attributed to two sets of factors. On the one hand, it is optimism, which is inherent in this age group, high level of the society’s expectations about them. It is this optimism that discourages the youth from learning more giving rise to the illusion of knowing. Moreover, they are the “Generation of Independence,” whose personalities were largely impacted by globalism and who overcame the domination of regional affinity over national one. On the other hand, young Ukrainians still experience the aftereffect of Soviet narratives and worldview, which is combined with ineffective national policy of the state and frequent manipulations of the issues of national markers and axiological elements by the political elites, and, therefore, hinders the development of the conative component of the youth’s national self-consciousness.
Keywords: nation, national self-consciousness, national identity, Ukraine, historical memory, national policy, youth