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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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Ukraine’s Third Attempt

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Shaking off the shackles in post-Soviet countries has proved extremely troublesome. Responding to the failures of societies in the former Soviet Union has presented challenges that few, apart from the Baltic States and Georgia, have had the courage to address head-on. Ukraine has been struggling to break free from the chains of colonial subjugation since independence. For many Westerners, especially those increasingly skeptical of the EU, the mere fact that thousands of young Ukrainians took to the streets in the bitter winter of 2013 to defend an agreement with the EU that did not promise any immediate gains may look somewhat incongruous. Timothy Snyder, in his New York Review of Books blog,1 put it straight: “Would anyone anywhere in the world be willing to take a truncheon in the head for the sake of a trade agreement with the United States?” Certainly not, and Snyder clearly knew the answer to his rhetorical question: it was not the Agreement per se that mobilized the protesters but their hope for a “normal life in a normal country” which the Agreement had symbolized and envisaged. “If this is a revolution,” he wrote, “it must be one of the most common-sense revolutions in history.”

In November, when the unscrupulous Yanukovych government stole people’s hope for a “normal life,” they felt deceived not solely about this shameless act but about all their lives, with the state of development of their country stuck for 22 years in a grey zone between...

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