Archive for March, 2014

Toal: Putin’s “affective geopolitics”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 20, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In a detailed and fascinating analysis of Vladimir Putin’s speech marking Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula, geopolitical analyst Gerald Toal (Gearóid Ó Tuathail) assesses five competing theories about Russia’s move.

“Why did Russia seize Crimea, and why did it do so when it did? These are questions scholars will debate for some time. There are competing hypotheses:

“1. The Geostrategic Explanation.

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Djagalov: a call for “political hygiene”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In “Dangerous Liaisons: Ukraine and the Western Slavists,” Rossen Djagalov calls for “a certain minimum of political hygiene and scholarly honesty” among observers of the Ukraine crisis. The article provides an example of the kind of nuanced reflection that navigates the terrain between the perspectives of Snyder and McGovern (see previous post).

A few excerpts:

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Snyder vs. McGovern

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 18, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

While it does not contain much new information, this debate on Democracy Now stages two very contrary views on the Ukraine crisis prevalent among observers in the western (especially U.S.) left.

On one side is historian Timothy Snyder, whose detailed articles have been mentioned several times on this blog. On the other side is former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who presents the left-wing critique of U.S. “meddling” in other countries. The stark contrast between the two makes for an easy opportunity to judge and evaluate the two sets of views. Read more »

Pilash: “Trapped… in a vicious circle”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 16, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv
The following interview with Denis Pilash of the Left Opposition in Kyiv was carried out by SYRIZA (the Greek “Coalition of the Radical Left”). It was passed onto me by Marko Bojcun and can be read here in full. As it hasn’t been printed anywhere else yet (to my knowledge), I am sharing it here in full.

Question: The European Union has started a game that it is not able to finish. It (EU) couldn’t predict the reaction of Moscow?

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A 2-minute summary

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

People have sometimes been asking me, “So, what do you think about Ukraine?” as if I can summarize that in 30 seconds or less. Readers of this blog know that such a summary is impossible, and that any attempt will be laughably partial, biased, and rapidly outdated by developing events.

But, for what it’s worth, here is the 2-minute version of my current response:

The Maidan was a popular revolt that turned into a revolution. It successfully overthrew an unpopular, elected but increasingly authoritarian president, who fled the capital when he saw the opposition was too strong and his supporters were abandoning him.

The core of Maidan aims for a democratic transformation of a politically corrupt, oligarchic order. While the opposition included Ukrainians from the entire country and from all across the political spectrum, it was more strongly supported in western and central Ukraine, and the nationalist right wing took advantage of it to gain prominence and legitimacy. Read more »

Motyl: Why Ukraine Should Risk It All

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Writing in Foreign Policy, Alexander Motyl presents a most reasonable idea: an internationally monitored referendum on secession in all the southeastern provinces of Ukraine.

If Russia is wrong about how “threatening” the central Ukrainian government is, this would call Russia’s bluff. And if they are right, well, then many of us will be surprised.

Read the article here.

Feygin: Ukraine’s post-Soviet condition

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In “Ukraine is Stuck in a Post-Soviet Condition,” Yakov Feygin provides a very perceptive and interesting analysis of the country’s situation based on the relationship between economic realities and political affiliations.

Some excerpts:

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Snyder on Crimea

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 7, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Timothy Snyder continues his series on Russia and Ukraine for the New York Review of Books.

A few excerpts:

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“Contradictions of the Euromaidan”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 7, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

While this interview is two weeks old, it adds depth and content to some of the claims made in Volodymyr Ishchenko’s analysis. Both come from a radical left perspective.

Some interesting quotes:

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Ishchenko: No revolution, just a change of elites

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 7, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Of all the political analysts I trust in Ukraine, Volodymyr Ishchenko has been the most critical of the Maidan and the new government. While his views should be contextualized among others (some of which I have shared on this blog), he expresses concerns that should be taken seriously. The following is his summary of the “new order.”


Ukraine has not experienced a genuine revolution, merely a change of elites

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