Monthly Archives: September 2015

Maidan One Year Later: What Happened to the Social Component?


Amid increasing hostilities in Ukraine, many of the social aims of the Maidan revolution could be lost or simply forgotten. That, at least, is the impression I got from speaking to activists on the independent left circuit, not to be confused with the old Soviet and authoritarian left. During my […]

In Midst of War, Ukrainian Political Left Ponders Next Moves


To the extent that the mainstream media cover Ukraine at all, they tend to frame Kiev’s conflict with Kremlin-backed Russian separatists as a zero-sum game pitting Vladimir Putin against the U.S. and its Western allies. Yet beneath all the wonky geopolitical chatter, Ukraine’s independent left — which must be distinguished […]

Ukraine: In the Midst of War, Debate Swirls Around Soviet-Era Famine


Even as the conflict with Russian-backed separatists smolders, Kiev has ratcheted up a no less ferocious public relations war. Hoping to bolster its case against Moscow, Ukraine as well as the country’s foreign Diaspora have zeroed in on the so-called Holodomor or Stalinist-induced famine of 1932-33. In an effort to […]

Note to Ukraine: Time to Reconsider Your Historic Role Models


In the midst of tumultuous political and social ferment, as well as escalating military conflict with Russian-backed separatists, Ukraine is casting about for a national identity. What are the country’s relevant values and symbols? As a relatively new and independent nation, Ukraine is seeking to answer such profound and pressing […]

Buffeted By Political Firestorm, Crimean Minorities Forced to Choose


  As tensions are ratcheted up between Ukraine and the Kremlin, Jews have been forced to choose sides. In the Crimea, two small minority groups, the Karaites and Krymchaks, have been caught in the political crosshairs. Crimean Karaites, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group, have backed Russia’s annexation of Crimea, while the […]

Note to Ukraine: Time to Reconsider Your “Cossack” Pride


Confronted with an existential threat in the form of Vladimir Putin, Ukraine is embracing patriotism and, in some cases, nationalist symbolism. In Ukrainian consciousness, the notion of the “Cossack” looms large, and during recent protests against the unpopular government of Viktor Yanukovych and subsequent drive to war with Russian separatists, […]

Ukraine: Nationalist Flags, Insignia and Curious Symbolism


A year ago, during protests against the unpopular government of Viktor Yanukovych, Kiev’s Maidan square was full of activist encampments and a plethora of diverse political flags. On the Maidan, nationalism was often associated with pro-European Union sentiment, and indeed EU blue and yellow flags could be seen fluttering alongside […]

Ukraine: Still Failing on World War II


  Judging from events, Ukraine has even now failed to come to terms with the legacy of the Second World War. Recently, spectators in Kiev were graced with a divisive sight: outside parliament, protesters clashed with police after legislators failed to support a bill recognizing the Ukrainian Insurgent Army or […]