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Ukraine after the Euromaidan

Challenges and Hopes

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Edited By Viktor Stepanenko and Yaroslav Pylynskyi

Ukraine’s protest movement of 2013–14, known as the Euromaidan, and its culmination, the people’s uprising in late 2013–early 2014 became one of the most dramatic world events in recent years. The accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation and military conflict in the Donbas demonstrate that the dramatic dynamics of the country’s ongoing transformation are still far from predictable. This book examines the manifold aspects of Ukraine’s current crisis and its political upheaval. The contributors to the book, Ukrainian experts in a variety of disciplinary fields, explore social, political and cultural reasons and factors behind the country’s transformation in its national and regional dimensions, the impact of Ukraine’s revolution on European and global politics, and also the new challenges of tough reforms with which the country is faced. The contributors share the view that the Euromaidan brought new opportunities for Ukraine’s modern development and the greatest historical chance for the country’s European future since independence in 1991.
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The Donbas: An Uprising of the People or a Putsch by Slaveholders?

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In my account from the local Donbas perspective I will try to examine some historical, political, socio-structural and cultural factors which made possible the “separatist scenario” externally imposed on the territory of the Donbas region.

For many years, the citizens of Ukraine were assured that compared to other regions the Donbas was something special and its residents were the best people in the country. This idea was more rigorously instilled in the Donbas and others after the Orange Revolution, when the Party of Regions and Communists in different ways repeated the old Soviet communists’ mantras that miners and steelmakers were the genuine working class. They stretched the idea that “the Donbas feeds Ukraine” to absurdity, but failed to prove its credibility. Yet, the Donbas enjoyed this flattery and its residents gladly believed that they were supermen, “true Arians” of the proletarian cult.

However, one cannot be fed with flattery. Thus, in the USSR, the Donbas was “nourished” at the expense of pickings from colonies, in the same way labor aristocracy was created in Great Britain, as described by Engels. The role of colonies was played by other industries and regions. Other people attached to the mines – Komsomol (the Soviet youth communist organization) functionaries, engineers, safety inspectors and others – also lived off that source. The high salaries of the miners and steelmakers of the Donbas were drawn by trading organizations that were obliged by the Communist Party of USSR to provide the region with food...

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