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russia / ukraine / belarus / the left / non-anarchist press Wednesday March 11, 2020 04:54 by Volodymyr Ishchenko
Ukraine ended the 1980s as one of the most advanced parts of the Soviet super-power with a developed machine-building industry. Thirty years later, Ukraine’s major economic indicators are on a par with many Third World countries. The country is fundamentally dependent on the financial, political, and military support of the West, with politics dominated by a handful of powerful oligarchs, right-wing paramilitaries regularly marching on the streets, and a part of the country annexed by neighboring Russia and another part torn through by the frontline. It can rightfully be called the northernmost country of the Global South. Moreover, there is not any relevant political force with a vision of alternative progressive national development. read full story / add a comment
russia / ukraine / belarus / miscellaneous / non-anarchist press Wednesday March 20, 2019 20:34 by Volodymyr Ishchenko
Five years after the “EuroMaidan” protests in Kiev and elsewhere toppled the government of now-exiled former president Viktor Yanukovych, the people of Ukraine are set to elect a new leader. Over 34 million Ukrainian citizens will be eligible to cast their vote on 31 March, although several million will be prevented from participating due to the ongoing conflict situation in the country’s eastern Donbass region. Should none of the candidates receive an absolute majority, a second round of voting will be held on 21 April.
Ukraine consistently ranks among the poorest countries in Europe – last year it overtook Moldova to occupy the top spot in the list. The largest post-Soviet state after Russia in terms of population, it finds itself torn between the European Union promising economic integration and a limited degree of freedom of movement, and deepening the country’s relationship with Moscow, the largest consumer of Ukrainian exports to which Ukraine is tied by centuries of shared history, tradition, and repeated conflict.
EuroMaidan exacerbated the country’s ongoing economic decline and mounting social pressures in 2013–14, ultimately triggering the war in the Donbass region and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. These tensions have facilitated the rise of a vicious Ukrainian nationalism that the government led by current president Petro Poroshenko is not afraid to manipulate for its own purposes. Attacks on left-wing activists and ethnic minorities are becoming increasingly common, while armed far-right paramilitaries like the so-called “Azov Battalion” are normalized and integrated into mainstream political life.
That said, not everyone in Ukraine is happy about these developments. Although none of the candidates in the upcoming elections offer a particularly radical or progressive vision for the country, voters will at least be able to decide whether to endorse Poroshenko’s current course or throw their support behind another figure. Loren Balhorn of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung spoke with Kiev-based sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko to get a better understanding of the candidates, the state of the county, and what is at stake for the people of Ukraine in 2019. read full story / add a comment