Maidan Year Three: Welcome to Ukraine’s Revolutionary Cafe


         A few blocks from Kyiv’s bleak and imposing Stalinist-style Maidan square lies a nondescript alleyway. Passing through a gate, one arrives at Ukraine’s revolutionary café, Bar Baraban, which played a key role in protests resulting in the eventual toppling of the unpopular government of Viktor Yanukovych. Three years ago, as […]

A History of Vandalism: Welcome to Ukraine’s Historic Holocaust Site


            While many Ukrainian politicians and political activists alike have embraced pointed views on their country’s thorny and controversial World War II past, relatively few may claim direct personal experience of the Holocaust. Abraham Kristein, however, is the rare exception of someone who not only witnessed horrific wartime atrocities in […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]