This chapter argues within a theoretical and comparative perspective that a Ukrainian ethnos existed prior to the twentieth century in much of what is now independent Ukraine. This ethnos had been allowed to evolve into a nation only in western-central Ukraine because of the differing policies applied by the external powers ruling Ukraine. Military and ethnic conflict, important factors in the construction of nations, only played a role in western Ukraine. In eastern Ukraine the absence of such conflict did not lead to the clear ethnic demarcation found between say Poles and Ukrainians. The borders of the Ukrainian SSR did though play an important role in demarcating the populations of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Through a comparative approach we can come to appreciate that many of the inherited legacies found within Ukraine which have to be overcome within its state and nation building project are not 'unique' to that country.