Ukraine: A Political Landscape

Sergey S. Zhiltsov
Head of the Department of Political Science and Political Philosophy of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Moscow
Professor at People’s Friendship University of Russia
Research fellow at S. Yu. Witte Moscow University

Series: European Political, Economic, and Security Issues
BISAC: POL058000

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The monograph is devoted to the modern development of the Ukrainian state, which appeared on the political map after 1991. The movement to the independence of Ukraine began even before the collapse of the USSR. In the late 1980s, the Ukrainian authorities, represented by the Communists of Ukraine, began to pursue a policy aimed at isolating the republic’s economic and political system from the central authorities. Such a policy in a short time transformed into a national movement, focused on the republic’s withdrawal from the united Union, and the establishment of Ukraine as an independent state. The process of formation of the political elite of Ukraine, its ideological views, which for decades have determined the internal and external policies of the Ukrainian state, are explored.

The book examines the factor of regional development of Ukraine, the role of the historical factor in the formation and development of the modern Ukrainian state. The territory of Ukraine is a “mosaic” of individual regions, which for a long time were part of different states. This factor had a huge impact on the formation of modern Ukraine, laying the inter-regional contradictions.

The significance of the economic problems that Ukraine faced is analyzed. A lot of attention is given to the internal political struggle that has developed since independence. The struggle of the political elites of Ukraine at times reached violent terms, which led to internal political crises.

Throughout the entire period of independent development, Ukraine was torn by internal contradictions. Issues of language, identity and culture were constantly used by the Ukrainian elites in the struggle for power.

The book shows the evolution of Ukraine’s foreign policy. The policy towards European integration and the expansion of relations with NATO was formed gradually, under the influence of internal and external factors. It is concluded that the foreign policy of the Ukrainian state was consistent and aimed at weakening relations with Russia. A similar policy was pursued by all Ukrainian presidents, each of whom contributed to the course of Ukraine towards rapprochement with the EU and the United States of America.

In recent years, Ukraine has not been able to overcome internal contradictions. Interregional differences, the history of the formation of the Ukrainian state, continue to have a negative impact on the process of the formation of Ukraine as an independent state. The victory in the election of the new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, opened up a new stage in the development of Ukraine, which leaves a lot of room for academic discussions of the country’s future.
(Imprint: Nova)

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Chapter 1. Ukraine before the collapse of the Soviet Union: New Realities

Chapter 2. Kravchuk: A President-Romantic

Chapter 3. Kuchma’s Epoch

Chapter 4. A Split Ukraine

Chapter 5. A Geopolitical Turn of President Yushchenko

Chapter 6. Viktor Yanukovitch’s Term: Between Europe and Russia

Chapter 7. Petro Poroshenko: A New Stage of Development in Ukraine

Chapter 8. Volodymyr Zelensky: A Dark Horse

Conclusion

Appendix

Abbreviations

Bibliography

“The author reveals the peculiarities of the internal political development of Ukraine. The stages of establishment of the political elite of Ukraine are shown. The factors that determine its approaches to the implementation of domestic and foreign policy of the country are studied. Of interest is the analysis of constant transitions of Ukraine from the presidential form of government to the parliamentary-presidential one and back. It becomes obvious that the political development of Ukraine can still bring a lot of surprises.” - Nikolay P. Medvedev, Doctor of Political Science, Professor of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Moscow

"“The book reflects the acute confrontation that has been going on in Ukraine for almost thirty years between regional elites. The author has shown that their different ideas about the future development of the country are determined by the history of formation of the Ukrainian state. This factor is the key reason for political clashes. This book is the first one that thoroughly and objectively shows the struggle for power in Ukraine. The works written by Ukrainian authors, which Dr Zhiltsov used for this monograph allowed to avoid political engagement in covering the most acute periods of Ukrainian political life and, at the same time, to show frankly the changes in the ‘political landscape’ and the role of individual political forces.” - Yuliy A. Nisnevich, Doctor of Political Science, Professor of the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (HSE), Moscow

Students, experts, politicians

Ukraine, post-Soviet space, political parties, political systems, political struggle

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