The traditional east/west divide of Ukraine in terms of language, ethnicity, culture, religion and, not the least, historical memory, continues to nourish conflict and serve as a threat to the country´s integrity. The balancing of Ukrainianizing policies on the one hand, and the safeguarding of the rights, privileges and interests of the country´s large Russian minority on the other, has proven a major challenge to the shifting political leaderships in Kiev. Whereas a too nationalist approach to state driven nation-building easily could anger Ukraine´s Russophones and nourish cultural tension, Professor Pål Kolstø at the University of Oslo has argued that failure to establish a distinct Ukrainian nation could delegitimize the state project and facilitate reintegration with Russia. This thesis sets out to investigate this balancing act in Ukraine, and also shed light on how politicians originating from the traditionally Russia/Eurasia-oriented eastern and southern regions of the country approach the delicate nationality issue. In particular, it sets out to test a hypothesis promoted by Kolstø, according to which Kiev exerts a Ukrainianizing influence on these politicians. By applying nation-building theory it also seeks to shed light on the dynamics of the triangular relationship between Ukraine as a nationalizing state, the large Russian minority in Ukraine and the Russian Federation as the national homeland to this minority.