Archive for Europe

Snyder: Europe and Ukraine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 16, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

It’s difficult to provide a well-rounded history of Ukraine, from Kievan Rus onward, in a few dozen paragraphs. Historian Timothy Snyder does this in his newly published piece, “Europe and Ukraine: Past and Future,” which originally appeared in German in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The piece covers the collapse of Kievan Rus, relations with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Cossack state, the emergence of Muscovy and later the Russian empire, the fall of empires and Soviet revolution, the world wars, and so on.¬†Along the way we get oligarchic pluralism (in the Poland commonwealth, and then again in the last two decades), self-determination (led by the Cossacks), the rise of a nationalist elite that “rebel[s] against [its] own biographies and present[s] the subject of history not as the elites but as the masses,” the twists and turns of Soviet policy, Ukraine’s positioning between Stalin’s “internal colonialism” (as Stalin himself called it) and Hitler’s “external colonialism,” the war in all its messiness, the rhetorical “politics of fascism and anti-fascism” — which in a convoluted way have managed to accompany both Stalin’s and Putin’s courting of the European far right — the Brezhnevian cult of the Great Fatherland War, the fall of the Soviet Union and emergence of independent Ukraine, the politics of hydrocarbons, and the future of the European Union.

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