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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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Introduction: What science can contribute to political controversy

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At some point in March 2014 the protests on the Maidan had toppled President Yanukovych, an interim government had been installed and unidentified armed men had taken over the parliament of the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and were sprawling into the streets of Simferopol and Sevastopol. Slowly it came into view that there was much more going on in Ukraine than just a civic protest striving to topple a corrupt and distrusted government. There were serious internal obstacles to the ongoing geopolitical change, and these were being exploited by foreign intervention. Within weeks a new Crimean government had been instituted, a referendum had been held and Crimea had de facto become a part of Russia again and made Russian president Vladimir Putin’s reputation peak in Russian opinion polls. Russia had annexed Crimea in a sweeping military, but almost unviolent campaign, due to the lack of resistance from citizens and the Ukrainian Army, whose officers had been told to surrender. The next thing that happened was that similar unidentified armed men started to take over public buildings in Slovyansk, Donetsk and Luhansk, often with Ukrainian policemen just watching them or even surrendering their weapons. The next annexation seemed to be underway, as the world observed a huge military build-up by Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. However, until this book was being finished, neither invasion nor annexation took place. To the surprise of almost all observers, the interim government in Kyiv was able to carry out presidential elections,...

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