With their talk of supernovas, black holes, and event-horizons, Arthur Kroker and Michael Weinstein’s “Maidan, Caliphate, and Code: Theorizing Power and Resistance in the 21st Century” is not exactly social science in any recognizable form. Read as poetry, however, its rendition of the state of affairs in and between Ukraine and Russia is provocative and worth reading.
This statement from December, a response by Ukrainian independent left groups to some western leftists’ (perceived) support for Russian aggression against Ukraine, deserves to be reprinted, as the attitudes it targets continue in some places.
The New York Times offers a history in maps of the Ukraine crisis, here.
Rory McFinn offers a handy set of guidelines for distinguishing Ukraine crisis commentators who don’t know much about Ukraine from those who do, here.
In “Is Ukraine fascist?” Rutgers University political scientist Alexander Motyl examines the case for finding fascism in Ukraine as opposed to Russia.
He’s pretty fair, despite his overstated conclusion. (I don’t think Russia has conclusively become fascist, even if many of the elements of that process are well in play.)
Following the collapse of the Minsk ceasefire talks, the leaders of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” held a joint press conference which ended in a bizarre anti-Semitic jibe against current Ukrainian leaders.
The entire press conference is worth watching, but the part in question begins at around 13’20”. It’s clear to me that they are aiming it at President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Yatseniuk, Speaker of Parliament Volodymyr Groysman (those are the three most powerful politicians in Ukraine today), and probably Dnipropetrovsk governor (and pro-Kyiv oligarch) Ihor Kolomoisky, all of whom are known or thought to have Jewish roots and who, collectively, show how irrelevant ethnicity has become in Ukraine.
That these two guys see themselves as fighting for their “cossack” fiefdom (supported by a resurgent Great Russia) does not bode well for the future of the region.
Rutgers political scientist Alexander Motyl has a perceptive decoding of Vladimir Putin’s “state of the union” address to Russia’s Federal Assembly from a few days ago. You can read it here.
The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, which organizes solidarity in support of Ukrainian socialists and trade unionists, has issued an alert about the repression of social protests by paramilitaries in separatist-controlled areas of the Donbass region. The alert can be read here.
Also, a few weeks ago, the Donetsk National University issued an appeal to the international academic community to help protect them against the illegal seizure of the university by separatists.
in “Peering Through the Fog of War,” Observer Ukraine’s Marco Bojcun provides another solid analysis of the current situation of unannounced war between Russia and Ukraine.
“If on the one side we heard the apologists of the Kremlin insisting all this is just a Ukrainian civil war without Russian state intervention, from the other side we have had yet another kind of illusory and hopeful thinking: that the Ukrainian government can win the war in the east militarily, that with just a little more firepower the separatists can be defeated. And Russia would have to accept that fact and back off. The illusion in this line of thinking is twofold: first, that for Russia the goals of the war are limited to the subordination of Ukraine; and second, that the outcome of this war will be decided by the balance of brute force on the front.”