Andrew Wilson on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine

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Andrew Wilson's latest book Ukraine Crisis: What it Means for the West (Yale University Press) will be in the shops in advance of official publication on 14 October, and and e-book version will be available soon. Readers/listeners can check out the following podcast, where the three main themes of the book are discussed.

The middle section is obviously about Ukraine and deconstructing the many myths about its politics, identity and history from the current swirl of propaganda. The crisis was not about Russia when it started; it began with the attempt by Ukrainians to have a more successful revolution than in 2004 (the so-called ‘Orange Revolution’). And initially, the prospects were good; which is precisely why Russia has intervened, not only to try and crush any hope of change but to put the very shape, strength and survival of the Ukrainian state in question. So the book is also about Russia, and the ‘Russia crisis’ caused by the many pathologies that have been gestating unchecked there under Putin’s presidency.

But this is also a crisis for the credibility of the West, particularly for the EU in what it hubristically calls its ‘eastern neighbourhood’. Having failed to check Putin at an earlier stage, when it was certainly possible; the crisis is already spilling over into into other countries and policy areas, with a looming confrontation this winter over Russian energy supplies to Europe.

Interested readers can read an extract from the book. This covers the events on 21 February; the day after snipers were used against the protestors in Kiev and the death toll rose over one hundred; the day a controversial peace deal was negotiated by the EU, only for the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to flee in the early hours. Russia says the events amounted to a coup d’état which justified its subsequent interventions; this piece explain why they did not.

And finally, key parliamentary elections are due in Ukraine on 26 October. Andrew Wilson will be blogging here regularly during the run-up.

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