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The Maidan Uprising, Separatism and Foreign Intervention

Ukraine’s complex transition

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Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Igor Lyubashenko

The current crisis in Ukraine has revealed a striking lack of background knowledge about Ukraine’s history and politics among West European politicians, journalists, intellectuals and even many academics. In this book, experts from Poland, Ukraine, the US, Russia and Western Europe fill the gap between an omnipresent and easily available narrative about Russia and a scarce, scattered knowledge about Ukraine. They show what history and political science can offer for a better understanding of the crisis and provide insights, which are based on reliable Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and Turkish sources and confidential interviews with key actors and advisors. Rather than offering easy answers, the authors present facts and knowledge, which enables the reader to make up his own informed opinion.
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The Orange Revolution and its Aftermath

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The Orange Revolution had a chance to become a founding myth of the independent Ukraine. The political failures of the leaders of the revolution resulted in the restoration of power of the Party of Regions and those close to it. When analysing the causes, course and results of Euromaidan, it is necessary to look at them in the context of earlier revolutions.

One has to go back to the period before Ukrainian independence in order to find the causes of the Orange Revolution’s outbreak, and in order to put it in the broader context of recent Ukrainian history. In the mid-80s, a massive social unrest began to take place – miners from Donbas protested against the lowering of their wages. Although their demands were primarily economic in nature, it became a leaven for the “street” movement opposing the Soviet system itself. In October 1990, in the centre of Kyiv on the square of the October Revolution – today known as Independence Square (Maidan Nezhalezhnosti) - a group of students started a hunger strike that became known as the “Revolution on Granite”. They were opposing to plans to sign a new agreement about co- operation between Kyiv and the Kremlin. The protest lasted for only two weeks and it did not become a founding myth of the new state.1 At the same time, the protest was important from the point of view of the disclosure of civil society, as well as the influence it would later have on the...

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