Where next in Russia’s propaganda offensive?

29 05 2014

In the Moscow Times article “Russia’s Propaganda War Will Backfire,” Mark Lawrence Schrad, author of Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy and the Secret History of the Russian State, argues that the Putin regime’s media offensive against the Maidan revolution and the interim Ukrainian government will backfire on Russian-Ukrainian relations for years to come.

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PBS vs. Vice

28 05 2014

How is it that PBS’s respected public affairs show Frontline could produce a sensationalistic portrayal of Ukraine as a divided, bloody, chaotic mess — airing two days after an election that produced the clearest majority ever in a Ukrainian presidential election — while the internet-based Vice News could produce this comparatively sensible portrait of a country that showed courage and a very clear consensus in its belief that the political process is far preferable to warfare?

It is good to know that there are extremists on both sides, and PBS is right to show that. But we’ve been seeing that for months now.



Bojcun: Poroshenko’s sticky wicket

27 05 2014

In “The Chocolate King Walks Onto a Sticky Wicket,” left-wing Ukraine analyst Marko Bojcun provides an excellent overview of the prospects facing post-presidential election Ukraine: deteriorating socio-economic conditions, a fragile state, chaos in the eastern provinces, and so on.

The article is well worth reading.




On the presidential election

27 05 2014

Вибори_Президента_України_2014 (1)

Every serious newspaper in the world announced something yesterday about the winner of Sunday’s Ukrainian presidential election, Petro Poroshenko.

Canadian journalist (and Liberal Party politician) Chrystia Freeland’s piece in the center-left Toronto Star encompassed more of the meaning of the election for Ukrainians than most other reports. Read the rest of this entry »

Velychenko: Prelude to the present

25 05 2014

In “Ukrainian Marxists and Russian Imperialism 1918-1923: Prelude to the Present in Eastern Europe’s Ireland,” historian Stephen Velychenko provides some interesting background to the debate about what happened to the Ukrainian left. The article is long, but worth reading, as it covers an important historical episode in the relations between the Ukrainian left and the Russian left that, Velychenko suggests, is echoed in debates among leftists today.

Velychenko writes:

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Young: on where the fascism is

23 05 2014

Here’s another useful summary of things from Cathy Young (Ekaterina Jung).

(While I don’t always agree with her liberatarian-leaning political positions, she is a respectable journalist. I share it only because the Russian state media, i.e., propaganda, narratives are still so pervasive.)


Insider’s view from Slavyansk

23 05 2014

As Ukraine is preparing for its presidential election, historian William Risch is sharing this view from the ground in Slavyansk, epicenter of the pro-Russian Donetsk separatist movement. Very interesting.

Ukraine Conflict archive

20 05 2014

Ukraine Conflict, an online archive of materials related to the recent events in Ukraine, is a very useful source for those searching through the full range of online materials on specific topics. The site’s description reads as follows:

“This collection seeks to document conflict in Ukraine as it progresses. Contributions to this collection were made by the Archive-It team and subject matter experts in the fields of Investigative Journalism, Russian, and Eurasian studies, and include news outlets, social media, blogs, and government websites. Sites are written in English, Russian, Ukrainian, and other languages.”

I’ve added a link to it in the right-hand sidebar of the UKR-TAZ main page.

Separatists vs. leftists (& an oligarch)

20 05 2014

Developments in eastern Ukraine have been taking some interesting turns.

Among the themes I’ve been seeing in the coverage are more detailed profiles of the pro-Russian separatists, who are looking ever more like a motley bunch. As noted on this blog before, many have links to far-right groups in Russia. (Some of those groups — like Russkaia Pravda, with its bizarre conspiracy tales of how the Jewish-Masonic “Kiev junta” is planning to massively resettle Hasidic Jews from Manhattan into eastern Ukraine — are pretty outlandish.)

University of Manitoba historian Myroslav Shkandrij‘s account of the Russian mercenearies in Donbas details the criminal and/or neo-Nazi backgrounds of about a dozen of the most prominent pro-Russian separatist figures, including Strelkov/Girkin, “Babai”/Mozhaev, “Dingo”/Ponomarev, and several others. Collectively, their prospects seem to be declining.

Another theme is that left-wing eastern Ukrainians — from coal miners and steel workers to national-communists and anarcho-syndicalists — have either begun to clearly distance themselves from the separatists, or have been doing that all along (if less noticeably).

An example is this interview with Mykola Tsikhno, co-ordinator of the National Communist Front, which models itself on the national communists who were prominent in Ukraine in the 1920s (before getting squashed by Stalinism). Another is this interview with Mykola Volynko, head of the Trade Union of Donbas Miners.

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Catching up, & calling for contributors

19 05 2014

I’ve been away from blogging on this site for over a week now (and was somewhat irregular for the previous little while as well). I’ll try to catch up over the coming days.

In the meantime, an offer I had extended to some colleagues in Ukrainian studies still holds: if you have your fingers in the worlds of Ukrainian and/or Russian media and would like to contribute to this blog — the goals of which are expressed here — please write me.

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