This blog was started by Adrian Ivakhiv in the midst of Ukraine’s Maidan protest movement of 2013-14. Its intent was to share statements by Ukrainian and international public intellectuals about the crisis in Ukraine, which many Ukrainians now call the “Revolution of Dignity.”

The name “UKR-TAZ” is inspired by the idea of a “Temporary Autonomous Zone,” or “T.A.Z.,” which comes from anarcho-surrealist writer and poet Hakim Bey. It is intended to indicate a space of liberation that is at once physical and real, if temporary, and metaphysical — a space of consciousness outside of the mental frames of calcified sociopolitical structures, from which a reimagination of the world may proceed. Like the social movements of the Arab Spring, Ukraine’s earlier Orange Revolution, and other revolutionary moments, the Maidan revolution for many of its participants provided a glimpse of radical possibility, by which something genuinely new could enter the world.

On February 23, 2014, when it became clear that the Yanukovych regime had collapsed and that the Maidan had succeeded in its main goal of bringing it down, this blog changed its mandate (and its subtitle) to reflect a new objective: to provide a space for collecting materials relevant to understanding the full complexity of the Maidan and its aftermath in Ukraine. See the statement about this here

Some time later, I wrote that what will emerge from post-Maidan Ukraine “is unknown. It may slide back into authoritarianism, or into a new political configuration that is only superficially different from the last. There may be a new Maidan, a ‘Maidan 3.0.’ Or the new reality may birth something entirely different. It’s too early to say what that “entirely different” option might be, let alone to evaluate its politics (say, according to the traditional left-right axis) or its costs or benefits to Ukrainians of divergent classes and backgrounds.”

Posts on this blog remained intermittent until the lead-up of what eventually became the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That became the blog’s main focus in February of 2022.

While the blog continues in its goal of providing analytical perspectives on Ukraine, it remains infused by the ideals of radical democratic possibility, both in Ukraine and elsewhere. This lends it a certain “left-libertarian bias” (shared by its sister blog, Immanence), one that arguably finds connections in Ukrainian history, as in the anarchism of Nestor Makhno, the democratic socialism of the Ukrainian People’s Republic of 1917-20, and in some respects the Cossacks of the early Ukrainian Hetmanate. A complementary inspiration comes from the long “history from below” of Ukraine as a land of multi-ethnic coexistence, whose periodic breakdowns into violence should not determine the ways in which future possibilities remain wide open. UKR-TAZ in this sense seeks to support the growth of a decolonized, deimperialized, and democratic Ukraine.

As of this writing, the future of Ukraine remains uncertain. But in the face of Russia’s massive military onslaught, Ukrainians have become an inspiration to many, for whom the right to live in freedom and dignity in one’s homeland is a cherished ideal worth fighting for.   

NOTE: Newcomers to UKR-TAZ can get a quick orientation to the blog and to my thinking on Ukraine by looking at the posts, articles, interviews, and media gathered in the “Essentials & Favorites” section of the right-hand sidebar.

3 responses

19 05 2014
Catching up, & calling for contributors | UKR-TAZ

[…] 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 […]

26 10 2022
Dena Davida

We would be interested in reprinting the text “Decolonization and the Invasion of Ukraine” in our new journal TURBA on live arts curation. Can you help us discover who the author is and get in touch with them?

27 10 2022
Adrian J Ivakhiv

Thanks for your interest, Dena. I am the author of the text. You can write to me at aivakhiv@uvm.edu.

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