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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 Challenges: Political and Economic Transition

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After 3 months of partly violent protests under extremely harsh conditions and crimes committed by government forces and protesters in and outside Kyiv, a heterogeneous coalition of opposition parties and the government under President Viktor Yanukovych started negotiations about a solution to the conflict. These negotiations were interrupted by an attempt of a radical part of the Maidan protesters, who decided to launch an attack on the parliament building in order to coerce the members of parliament to reinstitute the 2004 Constitution. The attack on the parliament was a crucial moment in the history of the Maidan protests, because it turned the protracted negotiated transition of the country into a case of elite substitution. Until that moment there had been two main actors: the ruling president with his entourage and his political backbone, the Party of Regions on the one hand and the opposition parties UDAR, Svoboda and Batkivshchyna with their military spine - the Maidan Self-Defense on the other. During the negotiations divisions in both camps had become visible. A number of Party of Regions deputies had threatened to drop Yanukovych, radical members of the Maidan Self-Defense had occupied the Ministry of Justice (and then, under pressure from the opposition leaders, withdrawn), but there had been no defectors from one side to the other and no third party appeared on the theatre.1 Until late February, Ukrainian transition could have developed like many other negotiated transitions before, and it could have ended with a ← 405 | 406 → peaceful transfer...

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