Building Ukraine from Within - Anton Oleinik - ebook

Building Ukraine from Within ebook

Anton Oleinik

139,99 zł


Ukraine drew significant media attention after the 2013–2014 Revolution of Dignity and the subsequent undeclared war waged by Russia. However, the nature of these events and their impact on the social, economic, and political development of this country remain under-studied and, hence, often misunderstood. The reader is invited to take an inside look at the recent developments in Ukraine and to search for an answer to the question of whether transition from externally to internally driven development is possible in this case. Anton Oleinik argues that Ukraine is currently going through a revolutionary period aimed at building a nation-state and its aftermath. Ukraine is a latecomer in this process, especially compared with most other European countries. Its outcomes cannot be predicted with certainty. It is yet to be seen if a current surge in volunteerism and bottom-up civic initiatives will lead to the emergence of a viable and sustainable national democratic system in this country.

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Table of Contents


Introduction ‘Looking East, looking West and looking inside’

From an outside to inside focus

I. A known unknown

II. Which case?

II.1 A paradigmatic case

II.2 An extreme/deviant case

II.3 A critical case

III. Is it all geopolitics?

IV. Towards Ukraine’s internally driven development?

V. What the Ukrainian case can teach the West?

VI. Organisation of the book

Chapter 1 ‘Lessons of history: At the crossroads between various paths’

Introduction: a place between two borderlands

I. Longue durée and courte durée

I.1 Histories of Ukraine

I.2 A nation-state in its childhood

II. Myths of the nation-state in the making

II.1 Cossackdom

II.2 Freedom

II.3 Individualism

II.4 Democracy

II.5 Return to the West

II.6 Unruliness

II.7 Betrayal

II.8 Holodomor

II.9 Heroes


Chapter 2 ‘Value of freedom: The case of the post-Soviet Ukraine’


I. Freedom: instrumental and terminal values

II. Qualitative and quantitative approaches to assessing the value of freedom

III. Sources of information

IV. Unexplained components of freedom

IV.1 Statistical tests

IV.2 Content analysis


Chapter 3 ‘Mass protests in 2013–2014: The Revolution of Dignity or EuroMaidan?’


I. Repertoires of collective action: Between singularity and modularity

I.1 Repertoire of collective action

I.2 Modularity

I.3 Relocation

I.4 Actors: entrepreneurs and communities

I.5 Elective affinity

II. Case study of Maidan in 2013

III. Sources of information

IV. Analysis



Chapter 4 ‘Images of the protests: A comparative analysis of the Ukrainian and Russian protesters’


I. Sources of the data on mass protests: an overview

I.1 Social networking sites

I.2 Mass surveys

I.3 Image banks

I.4 Other sources

II. Sociological profile of protesters in Moscow and Kyiv

II.1 December 2011 Moscow protests

II.2 Maidan in November-December 2013

III. Internal dynamics of the Ukrainian protests

IV. Visual records compared with the other sources of data on mass protests



Chapter 5 ‘Undeclared war: Invisible and visible forms of Russia’s domination’


I. Techniques of power: from force to domination by virtue of a constellation of interests

II. Markets versus empires

III. Market-based empires

IV. The 2014 Ukrainian crisis through the lens of the power triad

Conclusions: The price of comfort and opulence

Chapter 6 ‘Transition impossible? Ukraine between violence and power’


II. Conflicting discourses on power

III. Ukraine as a case in point

IV. Path-dependence and changes in the perception of power


Chapter 7 ‘Honour and human rights: A comparative study of Ukraine and Russia’


I. Human rights and honour in the context of dignity

I.1 Dignity perceived through the lens of human rights

I.2 Dignity perceived through the lens of honour

I.3 Types of culture depending on the relative importance of honour and human rights

II. Research design and sources of data

III. Discussion: between honour and human rights

III.1 What meanings are attributed to the notion of human dignity in today’s Ukraine and Russia?

III.2 Has the relative importance of human rights and honour changed over time in Russian and Ukrainian cultures?

III.3 Is the perception of human dignity malleable?

III.4 Predictors for the selection of human rights and honour as correlates of human dignity


Chapter 8 ‘Ukrainian economic thought at the crossroads’


I. From an outside to inside focus in economic sciences

II. Current state of economic sciences in Ukraine

III. Need for Ukrainian economists’ greater contribution to nation-state building


Chapter 9 ‘The national market in the making’


I. Externally driven economy

I.1 External and internal actors of economic modernisation

I.2 Dependence on the situation in the world commodities markets

I.3 Market as a weapon in a conflict situation

II. The national market: a survival kit or an engine of development?

II.1 On the brink of a collapse

II.2 Goodwill to an asymmetrical solution

III. Case of the timber industry: tensions between open economy and the national market


Chapter 10 ‘Volunteers: Actors of internal growth’


I. Types and functions of volunteerism

I.1 Taxonomy of volunteerism

I.2 Role of volunteer initiatives in state- and nation building

II. Data and methods

III. Portrait of Ukraine’s volunteers

III.1 Scope and scale of volunteerism in today’s Ukraine

III.2 Predictors for the involvement into volunteering

IV. Social innovations made by Ukrainian volunteers

IV.1 Use of Facebook as a means to increase transparency

IV.2 From social networks to social connections: on matchmaking

IV.3 Adaptation of some traditional social institutions for the purposes of volunteerism


Annex A

Annex B

Conclusion ‘Guiding or helping hand? On the role of foreign assistance’

I. On an emerging concept of the Ukrainian nation

I.1 Nation forged by the shared experience of resistance

I.2 Scaling up the post-2013 volunteer experience

II. On the role of foreign assistance and aid

II.1 Vernacularising and de-politicising programs of assistance

II.2 Supporting projects that demonstrated their viability

II.3 Helping and letting the local actors do


Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society SPPS



I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all those whose assistance and contributions made the preparation and publication of this book possible: the Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society series editor, Dr. Andreas Umland (Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation) and the manuscript reviewers, Prof. Peter Solomon (University of Toronto), and Prof. Bohdan Krawchenko, Director General, University of Central Asia at Bishkek and founding Director, Institute of Public Administration, Council of Ministers, Ukraine for their constructive comments and interest in the project; Ms. Olga Strelkova (OMI Russia) for her participation in the data collection for Chapter 3 (she is also a co-author of this chapter); Ms. Oguljemal Yaryyeva (St. Petersburg State University), Ms. Victoria Semenova (University of Mannheim), Mr. Arseny Verkeev (European University at St. Petersburg) and Mr. Gervin Apatinga (Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, MUN) for their involvement in the coding of the data for Chapter 4 and especially Dr. Melanie J. Greene (MUN) for her editing and polishing of the final version of the manuscript. Thanks also go to the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC) for creating powerful incentives to complete this research and writing project in spite of the lack of financial support.

The cover picture, ‘Trident’ (Tryzub), is reproduced by kind permission of Andriy Yermolenko, the Ukrainian artist whose works decorated the tent camp on Maidan from November 2013—February 2014.

Previously published material is reproduced by permission of Taylor & Francis (articles ‘The value of freedom: A case study of Ukraine’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 15(3), pp. 239–259, ‘The relocation of a repertoire of collective action: Maidan 2013’, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 2(2), pp. 146–171, co-authored with Olga Strelkova and ‘Transition impossible? Ukraine between violence and power’, Journal of Political Power, 10(3), pp. 371–389), Springer (parts of the article ‘On content analysis of images of mass protests: A case of data triangulation’, Quality and Quantity, 49(5), pp. 2203–2220), Brill (article ‘Honor and Human Rights: A Comparative Study of Russia and Ukraine’, Comparative Sociology, 15(6), pp. 669–698), the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm (article ‘Price of opulence: On a constellation of interests in the European market for natural gas’, Baltic Worlds, 8(3–4), pp. 51–61) and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (article ‘Between the West and the East: Ukrainian economic thought at the crossroads’, Bulletin of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Economics, 9(174), pp. 56–61).


Introduction ‘Looking East, looking West and looking inside’

From an outside to inside focus

This book is written by the author who, prior to 2014, had no strong publication record in Ukrainian studies. He was born in Ukraine and still has family connections in this country. However, he has not considered himself as a specialist in the area—that is, Ukrainian studies. The author started to collect primary data and to study the situation in Ukraine in a systematic matter during the mass protests of November 2013—February 2014 (he visited Kyiv with a research associate collecting visual records and conducting qualitative interviews during the Maidan). He had a feeling that the understanding of these events and subsequent developments, including an undeclared war waged against Ukraine by its neighbour, Russia, represented a theoretical and practical challenge. The challenge has a theoretical dimension since what happened in Ukraine necessitates a rethinking of some foundational concepts for the social sciences in general, namely, freedom, power, violence, human dignity, nation-state, volunteerism—to cite just a few. The challenge has a practical dimension, since the search for solutions to the current crisis in Ukraine remains wide open. Thus, the present book represents an invitation for the reader to follow the author’s trajectory and to find a reason for thinking of and studying Ukraine in a systematic manner. The author’s experience suggests that a background in Ukrainian studies is not a prerequisite.

Speaking more specifically, the intended audience for this book is mainly social scientists in the West. For most of them, Ukraine represents something alien, little known and problematic. Some even suffer from ‘Ukraine fatigue’. Ukrainians do not seem to be particularly receptive to numerous attempts of the West to teach them ‘good practices’.

The author does not make the usual assumption that Western scholars and practitioners have any ready-to-implement advices and solutions to problems observed in Ukraine. Instead, an increased awareness of the situation in this country may give one an opportunity for rethinking his or her theoretical and methodological toolbox.

Arguments developed in this book may be of relevance to the Ukrainian audience too. Some of them were initially conveyed in a series of Op-Ed commentaries published in the Ukrainian mass-media from 2014 to 2017: Ukrains’ka Pravda, Novoe Vremia,, (all based in Kyiv) and Zbruč (, based in Lviv). The author’s line of arguing diverges from the current mainstream thinking in this country. The prevailing discourse departs from the assumption that solutions to the current Ukrainian crisis are well known and that they could be implemented by re-orienting the country from the East (Russia) to the West (the European Union and NATO).

Such expectations may not be met, however. Since the West may not offer ready-to-implement solutions, Ukrainians have to find them—ideally in collaboration with Western scholars and practitioners. In other words, in both the West and Ukraine, the current crisis calls for re-evaluating some theoretical, methodological and practical assumptions that are normally taken for granted.

This book aims to contribute to the body of scholarly knowledge on Ukraine, as opposed to journalistic accounts, travel diaries or policy briefs. The former does not exclude the latter (e.g., when a study informs a policy), but a scholarly contribution must be assessed against the standards of validity and reliability, in addition to the criteria of newsworthiness, personal and public interest. Despite its sheer size—Ukraine is the largest European country by area and the 8th largest by population, the number of scholarly studies of Ukraine remains rather modest. During the past five years (2012–2016), 4,414 publications discussing this country were indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection, the most comprehensive database of scholarly works. This is significantly less than the corresponding figures for the other European countries in general and Eastern European countries in particular. For instance, 46,973 publications deal with Germany, 37,682—with France, 35,303—with Turkey, 19,926—with Russia, 18,584—with Poland, 11,229—with Romania, 6,545—with Hungary, 5,465—with Serbia, 5,096—with Georgia, 5,065—with Slovakia and 5,039—with Croatia. Only Belarus (N=1,068) and Moldova (N=659) attracted less attention of the Western scholarly community.1

Political scientists, economists and specialists in the area studies currently dominate the scholarly writings on Ukraine available in the West. During the same period of time, economists produced 12.4% of all publications discussing Ukraine that are indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection (N=4,414), mostly due to the temporary indexing of two Ukrainian economic journals, Economic Annals-XXI (Ekonomichnyi Chasopys-XXI) and Actual Problems of Economics (Aktual’ni problemy ekonomiki; see Chapter 8 for a more detailed analysis of articles from the latter periodical); political scientists—9.6%, specialists in international relations—5.4%, specialists in the area studies and specialists in environmental sciences—4.8% each. This distribution suggests that a geopolitical perspective prevails in the Western scholarly discourse on Ukraine: political scientists and specialists in international relations authored 15% of the indexed works.2 It follows that an outside view prevails over an inside take on Ukraine.

The author of this book attempts to covey a different message. When thinking of Ukraine, it should not be all about geopolitics. The book offers a perspective of a sociologist, institutionalist and economist on the subject-matter. The approaches of these disciplines provide useful insights into the internal organisation and processes of the Ukrainian polity, society and economy. In order to understand the true scope of the current problems that Ukraine faces, one needs to look inside this country, its formal and informal institutions. When geopolitical issues are considered in this book (in Chapter 5 and the Conclusion), they are viewed through the lens of their impact on internal processes.

A sociological and institutional perspective represents a valid option for those who wish to adopt an inside view. The area studies also offer a relevant perspective. However, the area studies place emphasis on uniqueness and specificity. They highlight what is unique in a particular culture, which potentially limits the appeal of this approach to scholars who want to study more universal situations. This book discusses a single country by placing it into the context of more universal concepts and theories. In other words, the reader is invited to navigate between emic and etic categories. Emic research involves understanding a culture from inside. On the other hand, etic research calls for using universal categories (Hofstede & Bond, 1984, p. 421). By learning the limitations of universal concepts and theories in a highly specific situation that emerged in Ukraine after 2013, one becomes motivated to critically reassess them. At the end of the day, the author’s ambition is to show how the Ukrainian case may be interesting and instructive not only for specialists in the area studies but also for a larger group of social scientists and observers.

I. A known unknown

As suggested before, Ukraine remains relatively unknown and in any case understudied in the West. In the past, various territories of today’s Ukraine were a part of the neighbouring empires: Russian, Polish-Lithuanian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman. This situation not only caused significant delays in the process of nation-state building, but also led to the fragmentation of our knowledge about this country and its institutions. All Ukrainians were united in a single political entity for the first time in centuries after WWII only, as a result of the Soviet conquest of Western Ukraine (Subtelny, 2009, p. 480). Studies of this unified Ukraine by Western scholars were primarily guided by geopolitical considerations being a sub-discipline of well-funded Soviet studies. Even after the proclamation of an independent status of Ukraine in 1991—by an Act of the Supreme Soviet in August that was subsequently validated by a national referendum in December (Harasymiw, 2002, pp. 7–8)—in scientific and everyday discourses Ukraine continued to be often associated, if not confused, with Russia. An excerpt from an interview with a young woman from Ukraine who lived and studied in France for several years illustrates a rather common misperception of Ukrainians as ‘sort of’ Russians in everyday interactions:

‘I have always lived with the understanding that I have my own country and reacted rather sharply to attempts to perceive me as someone from Russia’.3

As to the scientific discourse, post-Soviet and Russian studies emerged as the key successor to Soviet studies, both organisationally and financially. This dominance of post-Soviet and Russian studies in the area studies offers a first explanation for using Russia as a point of comparison throughout this book and especially in Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. Until 2013, the existence of Ukrainian studies in the shadow of post-Soviet and Russian studies was mainly a problem of scholars working in this field. The mass protests of November 2013—February 2014 and Russia’s subsequent military aggression made this situation less tolerable, given a growing interest of policy-makers, scholars and the international community at large in gaining a better understanding of Ukraine and Ukrainian people. The number of articles with the word ‘Ukraine’ in their headlines published in the leading English-language newspapers skyrocketed in 2014–2015 (Figure 0.1). A similar pattern is observed with regards to Russian-language scholarly publications on this topic: their number had peaked in 2014. The number of English-language scholarly publications devoted to Ukraine also started to rapidly grow in 2014 and kept progressively increasing since then. In other words, there is a demand for studies of Ukraine and this demand remains largely unmet at the time of this writing.

Figure 0.1 ‘Frequencies of references to Ukraine in the titles of scholarly publications and newspaper articles indexed in the Web of Science, LexisNexis and eLibrary correspondingly, 1991–2016’


Source: the Web of Science Core Collection, LexisNexis Academic and eLibrary; the search was conducted on February 17, 2017 using TOPIC:(Ukraine), HEADLINE:(Ukraine) and NAME OR KEYWORD:(Ukraina) correspondingly. The search in LexisNexis was restricted to ten major English-language newspapers published in the US, the UK and Canada: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Times (London), The Mirror, The Independent, and The Globe and Mail. The search in eLibrary excluded conference proceedings and research reports. eLibrary is the largest online databank of Russian language scholarly publications (

Without more systematic studies of Ukraine, our knowledge of this country continues to be fragmented, partial and ad hoc, i.e. driven by particular events, such as the 2013–2014 mass protests. The war between Russia and Ukraine has supposedly contributed to a greater dissociation between the two countries in the minds of Western Europeans and North Americans. If they finally perceive Ukraine as a separate entity, with what might they potentially associate this country and its culture? A comprehensive tourist guide published before the 2012 European men’s soccer championship co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine (Ukraine, 2012) provides some clues as to what associations Ukrainians want foreigners to have with their country. A content analysis of visual and textual information on 222 pages of this guide shows that religious symbols (the churches, icons and so on) tend to prevail: there are 131 mentions of them in total. Religious symbols are followed by images of nature (79), military symbols (57), mentions of the arts (47) and references to Cossackdom (32).

The image of Ukraine as a deeply religious country is problematic in several ways. First, even if Ukraine’s population places greater trust in the church than the population of some neighbouring countries, Ukrainians’ religious devotion is by no way exceptional. The 2011 World Values Survey suggests that the level of confidence in the church in Ukraine can be assessed at 1.96 on a 4-point scale (with 1 meaning ‘a great deal of confidence’ and 4—‘no confidence at all’; N=1,500), which is higher than in Poland (2.31), Russia (2.22), Belarus (2.04), but lower than in Romania (1.90) and 22 other countries out of 60 included in the sample (World Values Survey Association, 2015). Membership in Church and religious organisations is not exceptional either: in 2011, 7.6% of Ukrainians declared themselves inactive members and 4.3%—active members. In Poland, Russia, Belarus and Romania, the corresponding figures are 12%/15.2%, 4.1%/2%, 5.6%/5.1% and 8.6%/10.7%. Second, the Church is a traditional institution, which prompts the question of whether Ukrainian culture has more contemporary correlates.

Cossackdom as a symbol of Ukraine has a more specific and recognisable character. Furthermore, the image of Cossacks as warriors of the steppes would ring a bell for many in North America and Northern Europe since Cossacks have some similar characteristics with American cowboys and the Vikings. ‘Today the image of the Cossack is to Ukrainians what the cowboy is to Americans or the Viking to the Scandinavians’ (Subtelny, 2009, p. 122; see also Reid, 2015, p. 30). For this reason, references to Cossackdom will be found in several chapters of the book, namely, Chapters 1 and 3. Yet, the question as to whether Ukraine has more recently produced something similarly distinctive remains without a satisfactory answer.

It would be an error to interpret this line of arguing as the author’s plea for giving a boost to Ukrainian studies as a way for bridging the gaps in the knowledge of Ukraine accumulated in the West. Ukrainian studies need organisational and financial support indeed.4 At the same time, their target audience will unlikely be very large since, in order to appreciate their product, the willingness to immerse oneself into Ukrainian culture and to make necessary investments of time and resources is required. In order to identify truly distinctive features of Ukraine and its culture understood here as a web of formal and informal institutions, other measures may be needed too. In addition to developing Ukrainian studies, there is the option of going beyond the relatively narrow boundaries of Ukrainian and post-Soviet studies and of opening the country to more universal investigations. This book shows an example of how this could be achieved with the help of analytical concepts and methods borrowed from sociology, political and cultural, institutional theory and economic sciences (disciplines in which the author is at home).

II. Which case?

A case study of a single country, even with elements of a two-case comparison, likely still does not sound quite appealing to many scholars. Much depends, however, on how carefully the case study is designed and on the justification of its parameters. Case studies deal with a small number of cases and a large number of variables that are brought into explaining the case or cases (Reisinger, 1998, p. 164). The cases at hand are Ukraine, which is the principal object of inquiry, and Russia, a key reference point. The list of variables includes previously mentioned foundational concepts—freedom, power, violence, human dignity, nation-state, volunteerism—and several others, such as the national market, economic thought, foreign assistance, shared memory, including myths of origins, myths of war and sacrifice. None of these variables is country-specific per se, which potentially extends the scope of the discussion beyond the area studies. Yet in Ukraine these variables have particular attributes, and interact with the others in a unique manner.

The case study as a research design is often misunderstood and, hence, misused, with negative consequences for its perceived validity. Bent Flyvbjerg (2006, p. 230) differentiates between several criteria for selecting cases for a study: paradigmatic, extreme/deviant, critical and maximum variation cases. Depending on the research question, Ukraine has features of either a paradigmatic case, an extreme/deviant case, or a critical case.5 The choice of Ukraine for an in-depth case study in this book has precisely such a triple rationale.

II.1 A paradigmatic case

A paradigmatic case helps develop a metaphor or establish a school for the domain that the case concerns. Ukraine may be considered as a paradigmatic case for studying catch-up development. This country is a latecomer in nation-state building. Ukraine’s independence in 1991 was preceded neither by the development of a nation nor a state (Chapters 1 and 2). Before 1991, Ukraine existed as an independent state during short periods of time only, for example, between 1917–1920. This short-lived state known under the names of the Central Council (Tsentral’na Rada), the Hetmanate (Hetmanat) and the Directory (Dyrektoriia), did not control the entire territory of today’s Ukraine, however (Subtelny, 2009, pp. 350–385). The process of nation-state building started after 1991 only (Harasymiw, 2002), which offers a unique opportunity for studying it in real-time. In most European countries, similar processes took place in the previous centuries and, hence, they can only be studied retrospectively using historical approaches and data.

Alexander Gerschenkron (1992) argues that catch-up development is either propelled by the State or externally driven. The other actors—the investment banks, private businesses or civic groups—take the lead in the countries that embarked relatively early on the path of development. For instance, in Russia, the other relative latecomer, ‘the State, moved by its military interest, assumed the role of the primary agent propelling the economic progress in the country’ in the 18th and 19th centuries (Ibid., p. 120). In contrast to Russia, the State in Ukraine has not been able to assume a similar role until recently. The reason is simple: before 1991, Ukraine had neither a State nor a nation. As for the latter, the population of the Soviet Ukraine was considered to be a part of a larger entity, the ‘Soviet people’, and the large Russian in-migration took place in the 1960s-1970s (Krawchenko, 1983). Since 1991, the progress toward building a nation-state has been slow. The State formally emerged, but remained weak and ineffective. The existence of multiple identities—Ukrainian and Russian, Ukrainian and Soviet and so forth—suggests that the Ukrainian nation is still in the making (Kuzio, 2015, pp. 3, 13–14). In these circumstances, Ukraine’s development has been mostly externally driven and shaped by external forces.

This situation is rather typical in countries going through the process of catch-up development. Their nation-states are often built from the outside in, using blueprints designed by external actors. Nation-state building in these circumstances becomes ‘an externally driven, or facilitated, attempt to form or consolidate a stable, and sometimes democratic, government over an internationally recognised national territory against the backdrop of the establishment and consolidation of the UN and the universalisation of a system of sovereign nation-states’ (Berger, 2006, p. 6). As a result, Ukraine’s emerging nation-state was more dependent on and, consequently, responsive to external actors than to its own people. ‘External’ nation-state-making process makes the national government’s internal legitimacy less important than the alignment and alliances with powerful outside states (Tilly, 1985, p. 186). Ukraine’s dependence on external actors also explains its endless oscillation between the East (Russia) and the West (the European Union and NATO) as key vectors of foreign policy. Ukraine’s dilemma has been framed in terms of the choice of a closer association, even affiliation, with either Russia or the West. The assumption that the real choice is not between internally and externally driven development, but instead between two vectors of the latter is widely accepted both in Ukraine (Chapter 2) and by international observers. ‘Ukraine was repeatedly described as being at the crossroads where it could not make a choice as to whether it would receive a bright future by integrating with Europe or give in to nostalgia by integrating with Russia and Eurasia’ (Kuzio, 2015, p. 2).

The situation began to change during the months of November 2013—February 2014 and especially with the start of the undeclared war with Russia in March 2014. In contrast to the 2004 ‘Orange’ revolution, the 2013–2014 mass protests did not occur ‘by design’ (Chapter 3). External interferences played a marginal role, if they played a role at all. Since they expected accusations of being mobilised from outside the country, ‘the first thing that demonstrators did this time was carry signs saying “we are not paid”… To the regime’s way of thinking… the Maidan must have been paid for by their opponents—either the West… or the domestic oligarchs outside the “Family”’ (Wilson, 2014, pp. 66–67; see also Kuzio, 2015, p. 264). The mass resistance to the military aggression, that took the form of a surge in volunteerism (Chapter 10), has further strengthened the internal actors who are susceptible to potentially assume the lead in the process of catch-up development. In other words, the situation that emerged in Ukraine after 2013 gives a rare chance to study the reorientation from external to internal sources of development. Ukraine has the potential to become a paradigmatic case for a theory of transition from externally to internally driven development.

II.2 An extreme/deviant case

With one of the lowest levels of institutional trust in the world, Ukraine makes a good candidate for an extreme/deviant case. An extreme/deviant case is unusual. In the parlance of quantitatively-minded researchers, an extreme/deviant case can be compared with an outlier whose existence causes troubles but at times suggests useful insights. In 2011, the level of trust in the national government in Ukraine was 3.07 on the 4-point scale going from 1, ‘a great deal of confidence’, to 4, ‘no confidence at all’ (World Values Survey Association, 2015; N=2,015). In 2016, the level of trust in the government further decreased to 3.27 (the survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on a random sample of 2,040 respondents, see Section III of Chapter 6 for more detail). Few countries in the world have a comparable or lower level of institutional trust: in 2011, their list included Slovenia with the score of 3.31, Tunisia—3.22, Romania—3.17, Peru—3.11 and Poland—3.08. In practical terms, the score of 3.27 means that only 1.1% of Ukrainians (excluding those who have no opinion on this issue) have ‘a great deal of confidence’ in the government, 15.5% have ‘quite a lot of confidence’, 38.8% have ‘not very much confidence’ and 44.7% have ‘no confidence at all’. The low level of trust in the government represents an obstacle to nation-state building and makes the society particularly vulnerable to external influence or interference. Chapter 1 explores historical roots of anti-statism in Ukraine, whereas Chapter 6 discusses some of its consequences.

II.3 A critical case

Closely related to this line of reasoning is the assumption that the case of Ukraine allows for the study of limits of path dependence. In this quality, Ukraine has features of a critical case. The study of a critical case permits logical deductions of the type ‘if this is (not) valid for this case, then it applies to all (no) cases’ (Flyvbjerg, 2006, p. 230). With Ukraine’s development being externally driven for most of its history, the influence of Russia has been particularly strong since 1654 when the Treaty of Pereyaslav between Ukrainian Cossacks and the Russian tsar was concluded. Russia’s influence has created the effect of path dependence in the evolution of institutions in Ukraine, both formal and informal. They have been shaped according to the Russian institutional model or adapted to its particularities. The Russian institutional model—the Russian path—has progressively limited the range of options that individual and collective actors in Ukraine have when solving their everyday and more strategic problems. ‘Path dependence is a way to narrow conceptually the choice set and link decision making through time’ (North, 1990, p. 98).

The prevalence of the Russian path in Ukraine offers a second reason for using the case of Russia as a point of comparison throughout this book. The case of Ukraine is critical since if the path can be changed in this country, then it can be changed in other countries where the Russian path also prevails. Speaking more broadly, the case of Ukraine aids inquiry into the limits of path dependence in general.

The Russian path is also known under the name of the Russian world. It comes as no surprise that mentions of the latter term in the Russian public and scholarly discourse became particularly common after 2013 (Figure 0.2). The 2013–2014 events in Ukraine were rightly perceived by many in Russia as a challenge to the Russian world. It is worth noting that the sensitivity of the Western public in general, and the scholarly community in the West; in particular, to the underlying concept, is a recent phenomenon. For instance, before 2014 mostly historians and specialists in cultural studies showed interest in taking the Russian world seriously.

Figure 0.2 ‘Frequencies of references to the “Russian world” in scholarly publications and newspaper articles indexed in the Web of Science, eLibrary and LexisNexis, 2000–2016’

Source: the Web of Science Core Collection, eLibrary and LexisNexis Academic; the search was conducted on February 22, 2017 using TOPIC:(‘Russian world’) in the Web of Science, ‘Russkii mir’ in eLibrary and ‘Russian world’ in LexisNexis. The scope of the search was restricted to newspapers in the latter case.

The Russian world as a particular institutional path was initially defined by political technologists (Shchedrovitskii, 2000) and subsequently appropriated by the Russian power elite (Patriarch Kirill, 2011) as a useful justification for Russia’s foreign policies in the 2010s. According to the official discourse, the membership in the Russian world is a function of specific values, memories of shared historical past, religious faith, language, and ethnicity. The values system of the Russian world involves the rejection of rationalism and the established rules, especially in the international affairs (Malayarenko, 2016). The assumption of social constructivism is pushed here to its extreme: everything allegedly can be shaped at will and manipulated, which paves the way for the virtualisation of the political, economic and social reality (Wilson, 2005). Chapter 7 discusses some other values that prevail in the Russian world. In the Russian world myths about the historical past highlight the unity of its members and overshadow anything that evokes their histories as separate entities. WWII occupies a central place in the shared memories of the Russian world (Patriarch Kirill, 2011, p. 62). Chapter 1 has the opposite ambition in attempting to identify elements of Ukrainians’ shared memories.

The Orthodox Church constitutes the next building block of the Russian world. ‘At the foundation of the Russian world lies the Orthodox faith, which we acquired in our common Kievan baptismal font’ (Patriarch Kirill, 2011, p. 59; see also Suslov, 2012, p. 584). This quote also explains the importance of Ukraine for the proponents of the Russian world. The Russian world supposedly extends to all places where Russian language is spoken (Patriarch Kirill, 2011, pp. 61–62; Shchedrovitskii, 2000; Suliak, 2012; Suslov, 2012, p. 585). Ethnicity—loosely defined as pan-Slavism—helps justify even a more expansionist version of the Russian world (Senderov, 2015). All Slavs are expected to become its subjects.

To this list, two other attributes of the Russian world could be added: the participation in a common market and the acceptance of a particular model of power relationships: Russian power. The Eurasian Customs Union under aegis of Russia provides an economic foundation for the Russian World. Chapter 9 discusses the issues of building the national market as an exit strategy for Ukraine given this country’s heavy economic dependence on the Russian market. Last but not least, the Russian world also relies on Russian power. Russian power lies close to violence (see Chapter 6 for more detail). The discussion of Russian power and its role in ensuring the continuity of the Russian path represents one of the original contributions of this monograph to our knowledge of the Russian world.

III. Is it all geopolitics?

The strategic location of Ukraine at the crossroads between the North (the Nordic countries) and the South (the Ottoman empire), the East (Russia) and the West (Europe) explains why references to geopolitical considerations have prevailed in discussions of the situation in this country since the times of Kievan Rus’, i.e. since the 9th-10th century. The first ruling elite of the territories that form what is today Central Ukraine was comprised of the Vikings. Their interest in securing the control of the trade route ‘from the Varangians to the Greeks’ along the river Dnieper offers a possible explanation (Hedlund, 2005, pp. 28–31). This route carried most of the trade between Northern Europe and Constantinople in the early Middle Ages.

An outside view of Ukraine necessarily had, and continues to have, a geopolitical dimension, in the East as well as in the West, and in the North as well as in the South. An outsider perceives the country as an asset that could potentially strengthen or weaken one’s position in the global game. Any change in this country is then seen as a ‘move in a zero-sum game between the West and a neoimperial Russia: The more Ukraine integrates with the EU, the less will Kyiv belong to the Russian orbit’ and vice versa (Shekhovtsov & Umland, 2014, p. 60). The contents of the 2012 tourist guide mentioned before indirectly confirm the existence of a link between an outside view and geopolitics. This guide contains mentions of the East (Russia), the West (Europe) and the South (the Ottoman Empire, its predecessors and successors) almost in equal proportions: 68, 58 and 32. These figures are comparable with the number of references to internally generated symbols with which Ukrainians wanted foreigners to have with their country: 158 mentions of geopolitical concepts in total against 349 mentions of internal symbols in total.

In addition to these general explanations for the existence of a geopolitical dimension in most discussions of Ukraine, the popularity of a geopolitical take on Ukraine has more specific drivers in the East and in the West. For Russians, especially for Russia’s power elite, any attempt by Ukraine to leave the Russian world signals not only a weakened appeal of the underlying institutional model but also a danger of losing one of its central elements. The Russian world without a significant number of Orthodox Christians, Russian speakers and Slavs in its orbit is necessarily defective and doomed to failure. ‘Ukraine’s desire to preserve its independence and to integrate with the European community has caused much chagrin among Russian pan-Slavists’ (Suslov, 2012, p. 582). This feeling has only intensified after the events of 2013–2014 in Ukraine.

In the West, the perception of Ukraine through the lens of geopolitics may become more popular in response to Russia’s actions. The return of the advocates and ambassadors of the Russian world to the key premises of geopolitics—an exclusive focus on such factors as geographical location, territorial expansion, interstate competition over finite spaces, balance of military powers between the States and the rejection of international law (Teschke, 2011)—requires an adequate response, perhaps in kind. Chapter 5 also discusses a more subtle and less visible strategy with the help of which Russia’s power elite attempt to impose its rules of the game on the international community: by using the energy market as a lever. Finally, some Western scholars and policy-makers find the return to the geopolitical game as justifiable if not desirable. ‘The persistent delegitimation of Russia’s security concerns, the anti-Russianism of the new NATO members, the failure to overcome the asymmetries in the Cold War settlement, the consolidation of a monological Wider European agenda of EU enlargement and its effective merger with the Atlantic security system, and the dismissal of Russian and other ideas for Greater European unity, have all conspired to create conditions for the confrontation [over Ukraine] in 2014’ (Sakwa, 2014, p. 73).

The geopolitical dimension of the public and scholarly discourse on Ukraine has a quantitative expression. Figure 0.1 documents the growing number of publications discussing various aspects of the situation in Ukraine. The relative number of publications mentioning Ukraine in the context of geopolitics is growing even faster since the end of 2013. In 2014–2016 the total number of English-language scholarly publications devoted to Ukraine amounts to 0.37 of the similar figure for the baseline period of 1991–2013 (0.55 for Russian-language scholarly publications on this topic). The corresponding figure for English-language newspaper articles with the word ‘Ukraine’ in their headlines is 0.79. The frequency of the co-occurrence of the words ‘Ukraine’ and ‘geopolitics’ in the topics of scholarly articles has increased by 2.3 times within the same time frame. The frequency of the co-occurrence of the words ‘Ukraine’ and ‘geopolitics’ in newspaper articles has increased by 5 times. The geopolitical dimension of Russian-language scholarly publications has also strengthened. The number of publications discussing Ukraine and geopolitics has increased by 3.1 times.6

As a result of this return to geopolitics in general, and in the discourse on Ukraine in particular, a binary thinking prevails in today’s discussions of the Ukrainian crisis. Ukraine’s future is believed to be possible either within the European Union or within the Eurasian Customs Union, as if no alternative—namely, the maintenance of Ukraine’s non-affiliated status, existed. Examples of such binary thinking can be found even in the formulations of questions for mass surveys, and, consequently, there is a risk that similarly worded questions might be used in referendums. A survey carried out in October 2016 by ‘Rating group Ukraine’ included the following question: ‘If Ukraine could be a member of one international economic union only, the best option would be (i) the European Union, (ii) the Eurasian Customs Union’.7 When forced to choose between two alternatives only, the respondents lean toward the first one, the European Union. If the third option, the maintenance of Ukraine’s independent status, is offered, a growing number of Ukrainians choose the alternative that does not fit the binary picture. In November 2017, more than a third of them (40%) were of the opinion that Ukraine shall maintain its independent status (see Figure 2.1 in Chapter 2 and subsection III.2 of Chapter 10). The maintenance of the country’s independent status potentially does not exclude Ukraine’s membership in the European Union or other international alliances, but this could better be achieved after strengthening the nation-state. A stronger nation-state will enable Ukrainians to have a louder say in decision making that directly affects them. A historical parallel seems appropriate. When assessing the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav between Ukraine and Russia (Ukrainian Cossacks accepted the protectorate of the Russian tsar), Mykhailo Hrushevsky (1996, p. 760) observed that ‘should Ukraine concluded a political union with Moscow earlier, when the country was stronger and with more resources, Ukrainians would have been able to better stand their ground and to prevent the transformation of their country into a province of Moscow. The entire history of Eastern Europe would have taken a different direction’.

IV. Towards Ukraine’s internally driven development?

The binary thinking of Ukraine produces important omissions and blind spots. In this perspective, the 2013–2014 mass protests are seen as EuroMaidan, i.e. a movement for a closer association of Ukraine with the European Union. All aspects related to the defence of human dignity (the other name of the same event is the Revolution of Dignity) and the protest against violence appear to be relegated to the backstage. As a matter of fact, the issues of human dignity and violence were Ukrainians’ key concerns at the height of these protests, whereas the issues of the European integration progressively lost their role as a driver of mobilisation (see Chapters 3, 4, 6 and 7 for more detail).

Moving from an outside to inside focus allows for a move beyond binary thinking. This change in focus leads the impartial observer to see a more nuanced picture of the most recent developments in Ukraine. The 2013–2014 mass protests and especially the undeclared war waged by Russia have created some conditions favourable for the transition from externally to internally driven development in Ukraine. Their success—the then President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, whose tenure was associated with authoritarian tendencies in state management and the harassment of civil activists, chose to resign and to flee from Ukraine to Russia—can be attributed to the creative use of Ukrainian cultural traditions. Namely, the protesters adapted to the circumstances of their fight for human dignity some elements of the organisation of Cossackdom. ‘The Cossack era was further in the past, but a more direct source of inspiration’ (Wilson, 2014, p. 70; see also Chapter 3; some other cultural resources that may be used for rebuilding the country from within are discussed in Chapter 7).

Even more importantly, these events marked the birth of the volunteer movement as an element of civil society that is truly independent both from the government and the foreign sponsors (Chapter 10). If the volunteer movement manages to keep momentum actively participating in the building of a nation-state, then an actor susceptible to propel development from inside, the nation-state, will finally emerge in Ukraine. As of the time of this writing, the volunteer movement unites the nation to a greater extent than any other actor, which confirms the plausibility of this scenario.

For these reasons, the sequence of events that started in November 2013 may mark a new period in the evolution of Ukraine’s formal and informal institutions. When discussing path dependence, Douglass North (1990, p. 94) observes that ‘the consequence of small events and chance circumstances can determine solutions that, once they prevail, lead one to a particular path’. The unique sequence of events in 2013–2016 did not change the country overnight. Important elements of the institutional continuity remain in force and shape the choice sets of actors in Ukraine (see Chapters 6, 7 and 8). At the same time, this sequence of events has the potential to start a new path in Ukraine’s institutional evolution. The new path, on one hand, diverges from the Russian world. On the other hand, the movement along the new path may be propelled mostly internally, by the nascent Ukrainian nation-state.

It is more correct to say that as of the time of this writing, in Ukraine there exists a demand for changing the institutional path. Whether this demand will be met depends to a significant extent on actions of the Ukrainian power elite and sub-elite. Not all institutional innovations, especially as far as the nation-state is concerned, can be carried out by members of critical communities (see Chapters 3 and 10 for a discussion of the communitarian model of innovations). The ability of members of the current Ukrainian power elite to meet the demand for changing the institutional path raises serious doubts, however. Individuals and groups, who gained power as a result of the 2013–2014 mass protests (the presidential elections took place in May 2015, the parliamentary elections—in October 2014), do not appear to be up to the task. As reported before, in 2016 the level of confidence in the national government decreased even when compared with the pre-2013 situation.

A closer look at the official political discourse helps produce a more nuanced picture identifying what exactly has changed and what has not. Presidential addresses delivered on a yearly basis by four Presidents of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Yushchenko, Viktor Yanukovych and Petro Poroshenko during the period from 2000 to 2016, were content analysed using the computer program WordStat version 6.1.24 (15 presidential addresses, 68,563 words in total). In conformity with the comparative approach used throughout this book, the political discourse of three Presidents of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, was used as a point of comparison (23 presidential addresses, 213,145 words in total).

The speeches delivered after November 2013 (3 in Ukraine and 4 in Russia) were compared with the addresses delivered before that date using techniques of quantitative content analysis, namely, two dictionaries based on substitution (Oleinik, 2015d). The first dictionary includes key associations of Ukrainians and Russians with power identified with the help of a mass survey (see Sections III and IV of Chapter 6). The second dictionary includes eight categories that have a close relation to the discussion of catch up development: the West, the East, Non-affiliation, Internally driven, Externally driven, Government, the State and Civil society. These categories operationalise the distinctions between an outside (geopolitical) and inside focus, externally and internally driven development, and potential actors of internal development. For instance, the category ‘Civil society’ contains the following words and phrases: gromads’kist*, gromadians’k* near suspil* (in Ukrainian), obshchestvennost*, grazhdansk* near obshchestv* (in Russian), volonter* (in both languages).

The analysis of the relative frequencies of mentions of the key correlates of power shows some signs of Ukraine’s departure from the Russian path. The relative number of references to corruption in the Ukrainian political discourse after November 2013 has increased whereas the same indicator changed in the opposite direction in Russia (Figure 0.3).8 Keeping in mind that the level of perceived corruption remains remarkably similar and high in both countries,9 this divergence may be indicative of the Ukrainian power elite’s greater perceptiveness to the population’s concerns. After all, corruption was the second most frequently mentioned association with power in a recent mass survey conducted in this country (Figure 6.1 in Chapter 6). Human rights are mentioned more frequently after November 2013 by the President of Ukraine whereas the President of Russia devoted remarkably less attention to this issue. The same situation is observed with several other positive correlates of power as opposed to violence, law and authority. Mentions of honour have increased in Russia but not in Ukraine (see Chapter 7 for an in-depth discussion of human rights and honour as key correlates of human dignity). Nevertheless, references to force have increased in both countries, especially in Ukraine (the same situation with strength), which in the context of the military confrontation should not surprise.

Figure 0.3 ‘Relative frequencies of mentions of the key correlates of power in the yearly addresses of the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia, 2000–2016, per 100 words’

Source: official web-sites of the Ukrainian and Russian presidents; the author’s calculations.

At the same time, the Ukrainian power elite still seem to prioritise externally over internally driven development (Figure 0.4).10 The President of Ukraine now mentions outside centers of influence more frequently than before November 2013 (mentions of Russia expectedly have negative connotations, such as ‘Russia’s aggression’). The popularity of the idea of the maintenance of Ukraine’s non-affiliated status in this country’s political discourse has actually decreased after November 2013. The same is true with respect to the reliance on internal sources of development (vnutrishn* near resur*, vnutrishn* near rezerv*). Given that all three potential actors who could act as an internal driver of Ukraine’s development—the nation-state, the government and civil society—are mentioned less frequently after November 2013 than before; the current power elite continue to rely on external sources of development and attempt to find a source of their own legitimacy outside of the country. The relative number of mentions of externally driven development (mizhnarodn* near dopomog*) has correspondingly increased. In other words, the events of 2013–2016 were not necessarily a learning lesson for Ukraine’s power elite. Without the power elite’s readiness to meet the demand for internally driven development, an attempt to escape geopolitics will result in an even deeper immersion into the geopolitical matters.

Figure 0.4 ‘Relative frequencies of mentions of eight categories relevant to the discussion of externally versus externally driven development in the yearly addresses of the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia, 2000–2016, per 100 words’

Source: official web-sites of the Ukrainian and Russian presidents; the author’s calculations

The fact that the demand for the re-orientation of Ukraine from externally to internally driven development remains essentially unmet by the current power elite calls for searching for other internal actors who could accomplish this transition. Members of Ukraine’s sub-elite are one of them: they support the project of nation-state building not only verbally but also by their deeds (Chapters 6 and 10). Namely, they actively participate in the nascent volunteer movement as either contributors of time and efforts or sponsors.

In countries taking the East European route of nation-state formation (see subsection I.2 of Chapter 10 for more detail) exclusively bottom-up and ‘horizontal’ initiatives might not suffice for succeeding, i.e. for building a sufficiently capable nation-state. There is a need for some ‘vertical’, ‘top-down’ approaches involving an organised religion, intelligentsia or sub-elites (Smith, 2004, p. 187). In its present condition, members of Ukraine’s sub-elite—people at the intermediate layers of the social, political and economic hierarchies—show promise, but in order to become true drivers of development, they need help and assistance. For instance, their leaning toward nationalism is both a source of their strength and a possible limitation. The task of finding a right combination of nationalism and liberal values (as stated before, the desire to protect human dignity lies at the origin of the 2013–2014 events) has never been easy to complete. This combination can be labelled ‘enlightened nationalism’. Nationalism is indeed present in Ukraine, but there have been no efforts to ‘enlighten’ this movement. Without the input of intellectuals and the existence of active debates, both scholarly and public, and at the national level, prospects of finding a liberal and national formula for Ukraine and streamlining nation-state building toward a liberal nation-state look dim.

Or, it could be that Ukrainian intellectuals do not seem to be prepared to move in this direction. Similar to Ukraine’s power elite, they look outside for solutions, not inside. The situation in economic sciences in this country is a case in point (Chapter 8). The country does not have strong traditions of economic thought. Instead of trying to revive economic discussions and debates at the national level, however, Ukrainian economists prefer to simply re-orient from the East to the West as a source of theoretical inspirations and solutions to economic problems. Other intellectuals do not see fit to participate in economic debates at the national level either. They apparently did not learn from the mistakes of early leaders of the national movement in the early 1990s who ‘derided any early focus on economics and improving the economy as unserious and un-Ukrainian, as reflected in the description of economic policy as kovbasna polityka (sausage politics)’ (Havrylyshyn, 2014, p. 173). Healthy debates of economic issues at the national level, both in the mass media and national scholarly publications, is a necessary step toward creating the national market as an economic component of Ukraine’s nascent nation-state (Chapter 9). It is in this and the related areas that the book may be of interest for the audience in Ukraine, as a contribution to creating and strengthening a space of debates at the national level.

V. What the Ukrainian case can teach the West?

Ukrainians may well expect that their power elite move from an outside to inside focus, becoming more responsive to their needs than to wishes of external actors. Why may Western policy makers and observers be interested in the same change of focus? Some of them may be guided by enlightened self-interest. In his Nobel Lecture former US President Barack H. Obama (2009) elaborated on this point: ‘The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest—because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity’.

There are two more compelling reasons for changing the perspective on the situation in Ukraine and the other countries undergoing similar processes: switching from one path of historical development to the other, building a nation-state, and trying to catch up with the level of development. First, when guided by geopolitical considerations, the foreign aid is often wasted at best and appropriated by the corrupt officials at worst (see the Conclusion to this book). A high level of corruption in Ukraine may well be a by-product of externally driven development. All other conditions being equal, the higher the volume of foreign aid, the higher the level of perceived corruption, as illustrated by the lack of progress towards a greater transparency of the national government in Ukraine after November 2013. In other words, the taxpayers in the countries-donors have a rational interest in urging their governments to move from an outside to inside focus when dealing with the situation in Ukraine.

Second, and even more substantially, the Ukrainian case serves as an invitation for the West to revive democracy in general and truly volunteer initiatives in particular (Chapter 10). It shows the dangers of allowing people vested in power to move too far from power as human ability to act in concert and too close to its opposite, violence (Chapters 2 and especially 6). It demonstrates that it is never too late to say a clear ‘No’ to the equation of power with violence. The sacrifices that the Ukrainians made during the 2013–2014 protests (more than one hundred protesters—they are called ‘nebesna sotnia’, Heavenly Hundred—lost their lives) and when curbing Russia’s military aggression (several thousand troops and civilians were killed11) could have been avoidable, nevertheless, if civil society in general and the volunteer movement in particular assumed the role of a watchdog of the government much earlier and not limiting themselves to the provision of services. In the West, civil society organisations too often take for granted the government’s responsiveness to the citizens’ needs. Thus, the Ukrainian case suggests that Western civil society organisations need to exercise more critical control over, and assessment of, the government on a continuous basis as the best guarantee that nations-states in the West operate as a commonwealth (see Section II of Chapter 6)—exactly as they did at the early stages in the development of Western, especially Anglo-Saxon, democracies. In a way, Ukrainian volunteers may be compared with the builders of the first modern democratic nations in the 18th and 19th centuries.

VI. Organisation of the book

Along with this Introduction and the Conclusion, the book includes ten chapters. Their summaries below aim to facilitate the reader’s navigation through the text.

Chapter 1 ‘Lessons of history: at the crossroads between various paths’ offers an overview of Ukraine’s history through the lens of various paths that this country followed at the different stages of its evolution: the Western (Nordic, Polish and Austrian) paths, the Russian path, and attempts to find an original, Ukrainian path. The Ukrainian path can presently be defined in mostly negative terms, through the references to freedom from (externally imposed constraints) and the rebellion against violence. Elements that can define the Ukrainian path positively are also discussed, including key myths that help constitute the Ukrainian identity: Cossackdom, individualism, and democracy. The task of building a Ukrainian nation-state requires that its creators move from the negative definition of their identity to a positive one; for instance, from the rejection of violence to power understood and human ability to act in concert.

Chapter 2 titled ‘Value of freedom: the case of the post-Soviet Ukraine’12 highlights some socio-cultural factors that help contextualise the 2013–2014 protests and especially, subsequent developments. Data that pre-date these protests suggest that binary thinking (the preference for either the Western or Eastern vector of socio-economic development) may be deeply embedded in today’s Ukrainian culture, which contrasts with the tradition of prioritising freedom mentioned in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 discusses how freedom was perceived and understood by Ukrainians a few years before the Revolution of Dignity. An instrumental take on freedom (what benefits one derives from maintaining his/her autonomy) seemed to be prioritised over a take on freedom as a terminal value (from this point of view, freedom cannot be traded for any other good). Chapter 2 opens with a philosophical introduction, laying the foundation for the subsequent reasoning. The instrumental and terminal values of freedom are differentiated and considered in the context of its particular forms: freedom to, freedom from and freedom together. It is demonstrated that the contradiction between power and freedom does not hold for all these forms. Namely, freedom to has a very similar meaning to power to and freedom together—to transformative power (or power with). This approach sheds new light on the back-and-forth movements between the East (a closer integration with Russia) and the West (a closer integration into the EU) that characterise the post-Soviet period of Ukraine’s history. The case study involves using two types of analysis: statistical analysis, namely with the help of a multiple regression model, of the World Values Survey dataset (N=1,000 in Ukraine in 2006) and content analysis of the official programs of ten presidential candidates in 2010.

Chapter 3 ‘Mass protests in 2013–2014: the revolution of dignity or EuroMaidan?’13 discusses the case of the successful resistance of Ukrainian protesters to the government’s violent attacks in November-December 2013. The ideals of human dignity (they lay at the origin of a first name of these events, the ‘Revolution of Dignity’, Revoliutsiia Gidnosti) appeared to be a stronger mobilising force than the ideas of a closer association with the EU (they explain a second name of these events, EuroMaidan). The chapter argues that the strong capacity they demonstrated for resistance can be attributed to the relocation of modular repertoires of contention (street protests, sit-ins and barricades) onto Ukrainian soil by means of their adaptation to traditional institutions, namely Veche (a gathering of community members) and Sich (a military camp of Cossacks). The communitarian model of institutional transfers is better suited to the Ukrainian case than the entrepreneurial model: the protests were initiated, organised and sustained by the ordinary people as opposed to the leaders of the opposition parties. Hence, the Revolution of Dignity was an example of leaderless protest, which justifies the need for a more intensive search for sources of socio-economic development within the country—a solution advocated in this book. Three mass surveys conducted during the protests and a series of the qualitative semi-structured interviews (N=31) provide data for the analysis in this chapter.

Chapter 4 ‘Images of the protests: a comparative analysis of the Ukrainian and Russian protesters’14 continues the discussion of the 2013–2014 events. A content analysis of two banks of images produced during the 2011 protests in Russia (at the time of the 2011 presidential elections, N=382) the 2013–2014 Revolution of Dignity (N=2,344) allows for the comparison of profiles of the protesters in the two countries. It is argued that the mass protests in Ukraine are more solidly connected to the process of nation-state building than in the Russian case, which can explain the opposite outcomes of these two examples of mass mobilisation (the 2011–2012 mass protests in Russia were severely repressed by the government and led to the ongoing period of reaction).

Chapter 5 titled ‘Undeclared war: invisible and visible forms of Russia’s domination’15