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The unfolding crisis in Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of a new Cold War. As Russia and Ukraine tussle for Crimea and the eastern regions, relations between Putin and the West have reached an all-time low. How did we get here? Richard Sakwa here unpicks the context of conflicted Ukrainian identity and of Russo-Ukrainian relations and traces the path to the rece The unfolding crisis in Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of a new Cold War. As Russia and Ukraine tussle for Crimea and the eastern regions, relations between Putin and the West have reached an all-time low. How did we get here? Richard Sakwa here unpicks the context of conflicted Ukrainian identity and of Russo-Ukrainian relations and traces the path to the recent disturbances through the events which have forced Ukraine, a country internally divided between East and West, to choose between closer union with Europe or its historic ties with Russia. In providing the first full account of the ongoing crisis, Sakwa analyses the origins and significance of the Euromaidan Protests, examines the controversial Russian military intervention and annexation of Crimea, reveals the extent of the catastrophe of the MH17 disaster and looks at possible ways forward following the October 2014 parliamentary elections. In doing so, he explains the origins, developments and global significance of the internal and external battle for Ukraine. With all eyes focused on the region, Sakwa unravels the myths and misunderstandings of the situation, providing an essential and highly readable account of the struggle for Europe's contested borderlands.


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The unfolding crisis in Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of a new Cold War. As Russia and Ukraine tussle for Crimea and the eastern regions, relations between Putin and the West have reached an all-time low. How did we get here? Richard Sakwa here unpicks the context of conflicted Ukrainian identity and of Russo-Ukrainian relations and traces the path to the rece The unfolding crisis in Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of a new Cold War. As Russia and Ukraine tussle for Crimea and the eastern regions, relations between Putin and the West have reached an all-time low. How did we get here? Richard Sakwa here unpicks the context of conflicted Ukrainian identity and of Russo-Ukrainian relations and traces the path to the recent disturbances through the events which have forced Ukraine, a country internally divided between East and West, to choose between closer union with Europe or its historic ties with Russia. In providing the first full account of the ongoing crisis, Sakwa analyses the origins and significance of the Euromaidan Protests, examines the controversial Russian military intervention and annexation of Crimea, reveals the extent of the catastrophe of the MH17 disaster and looks at possible ways forward following the October 2014 parliamentary elections. In doing so, he explains the origins, developments and global significance of the internal and external battle for Ukraine. With all eyes focused on the region, Sakwa unravels the myths and misunderstandings of the situation, providing an essential and highly readable account of the struggle for Europe's contested borderlands.

57 review for Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands

  1. 5 out of 5

    John Pedler

    I have qualifications for reviewing this book: I am a former British diplomat now a diplomatic consultant. I have been involved with relations with the USSR and Russia all my working life. I am the author of 'A Valedictory Despatch' (soon to be published) which deals at some length with the Ukraine crisis. My most recent article on the Ukraine crisis in on my site dip consult.blogspot.fr. (it is in Russian too). I have no hesitation in describing Frontline Ukraine as a monumental work. It distrib I have qualifications for reviewing this book: I am a former British diplomat now a diplomatic consultant. I have been involved with relations with the USSR and Russia all my working life. I am the author of 'A Valedictory Despatch' (soon to be published) which deals at some length with the Ukraine crisis. My most recent article on the Ukraine crisis in on my site dip consult.blogspot.fr. (it is in Russian too). I have no hesitation in describing Frontline Ukraine as a monumental work. It distributes the blame for the disastrous Ukraine civil war impartially and correctly. It is the only authoritative work on this very complex subject and everyone involved with the Ukraine should read it as soon as they can. I recommend it unreservedly to the general reader who wants to know how the Ukraine crisis came about. Sakwa's findings are in accord with the House of Lords 10 February 2015 scathing report on Foreign Office (and so EU and US) Ukraine policy. Actually, although an expert's thorough study full of supporting facts and references, it is a surprisingly 'easy read'. Those who say Professor Sakwa is an apologist for President Putin have got it utterly wrong. In fact this is another case where 'the West' has made its own enemies (think Iraq). The EU is to blame because of its weak indeterminate and hesitant foreign policy and thus an inability to make its own Ukraine/ Russia policy in accord with its major national interest in the Ukraine as a hyphen joining both the EU west and the Russian east of Europe. The US must bear a large part of the blame because of the intervention of the neo-conservatives, Atlanticists, and hawkish Republicans in what is an EU/Ukraine/Russia matter. President Putin is much to blame because he is obsessed by an understandable fear of the United States which he sees as pursuing a US unipolar policy not only at Russia's, but at the rest of the world's expense. I am only sorry that Professor Sakwa does not go into what might be done to rectify matters - but that must be left for others. I myself have done a fair amount of work on how the present EU rethink on the Ukraine could result in it becoming that hyphen I mentioned and not the present bone of contention which not in the interest of the EU, of Russia, of the real national interest of the US - and certainly not in the real interest of the Ukrainians. What worries me is the near impossibility of drawing attention to any work - even this one - contradicting the grossly mistaken 'received wisdom' of the print and TV media in both 'the West' and Russia. So this essential book on a subject of immense importance to us all may suffer this self-censorship. I know. I have to struggle against this myself!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cold War Conversations Podcast

    Fascinating insight into the Russian mind set behind the current Ukrainian crisis. I’ve never read Richard Sakwa before and he does come across as being a Putin apologist, however he has put together an interesting book helping us to comprehend the Russian psyche behind the crisis in Ukraine. He argues convincingly that the immediate post cold war lack of engagement with Russia as an equal are at the root of the current conflict and that recent US and EU arrogance in telling Russia how to conduct Fascinating insight into the Russian mind set behind the current Ukrainian crisis. I’ve never read Richard Sakwa before and he does come across as being a Putin apologist, however he has put together an interesting book helping us to comprehend the Russian psyche behind the crisis in Ukraine. He argues convincingly that the immediate post cold war lack of engagement with Russia as an equal are at the root of the current conflict and that recent US and EU arrogance in telling Russia how to conduct its affairs has further exacerbated the crisis. Evidence of direct US interference has also surfaced via the Snowden revelations. The author provides background to the concept of Ukraine as a nation state and details how Ukraine’s borders are as a result of administrative convenience during the soviet period creating a powder keg of ethnic groups with similar histories, but vastly different agendas. This has resulted in the western portion being mainly made up those wanting greater ties with the west whilst the eastern portion, who in the majority were happy to be part of Ukraine, wanted their language, history and connections with Russia to be recognised. Sakwa describes “memory wars” where each group interpret their thousand years of shared histories in vastly different ways. This is particularly highlighted by the support of some Ukrainian Nationalists for Stepan Bandera (1909 – 1959) a controversial figure both in Ukraine and internationally for his alliance with Nazi Germany and ethnic cleansing of Poles in Galicia (Western Ukraine) at the end of World War 2. Sakwa states that hard-core Ukrainian nationalists won’t countenance a pluralist state and have specifically created laws replacing Russian with Ukrainian as a recognised national language and denied those people any form of determination which was not fundamentally of a purely Ukrainian slant. Sakwa sees the parallels with Hitler in the late 1930s as incorrect with Russia having no capability to invade Poland or the Baltic states, however he is not alone in seeing alarming parallels with 1914. In summary the author sees the Ukrainian crisis as a defensive action by Russia with the annexation of the Crimea as Russia seeing the opportunity of dealing with the Soviet aberration of placing it in the Ukraine SSR in the 1960s, Russian fears of ethnic cleansing by Ukrainian extremists as well as putting a clear marker down to the west that this is Russia’s back yard. As I said earlier Sakwa does come across as being a Putin apologist but I feel the book does give some fascinating insight into the Russian state of mind. Some of the language is a bit too scholarly for my liking, but his detail around Russia's fears of being surrounded by NATO and their long memories of the German-Soviet War (1941-45) and even the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War (1917-1922) are notable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Willardson

    I wanted to like this book, but Sakwa's contradictions and easy dismissal of Russia's role in the crisis was quite disturbing. I understand he was working on a book of a current crisis and sources were scarce, but his willingness to quote without question and comment Russian sources while being critical of any sources unsympathetic to the Russian side was too much. Sakwa is critical of world order the US inhabits and creates - the liberal order and the realist order - and the US is at fault for t I wanted to like this book, but Sakwa's contradictions and easy dismissal of Russia's role in the crisis was quite disturbing. I understand he was working on a book of a current crisis and sources were scarce, but his willingness to quote without question and comment Russian sources while being critical of any sources unsympathetic to the Russian side was too much. Sakwa is critical of world order the US inhabits and creates - the liberal order and the realist order - and the US is at fault for the events. Russia's realist outlook and behavior is excused. I also like how Ukraine is to blame for provoking Russian intervention. The tacking of Ukraine between Russia and the West by its leaders - especially Yanukovich - finally caught up to them. But the solution is for Ukraine to carry out an independent foreign policy and connect with China and other states. This book can be a resource for timelines and for those who are interested in the Russian apologetic point of view, but it is less than ideal for those that are looking for a more measured description of the crisis. If you are looking for an objective account, this is not your book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Oleksandr

    Very bad but well-written book. Author has an answer why is that happened and leads through. There are almost no obvious things where you can tell this is a lie. Most of such things are just quotes from other people. The author is doing it in other way. First he is telling just part of the facts. He mentions "little green men" and their Sevastopol airport takeover after Crimean parliament organized referendum. He forgets to mention that that they occupied parliament building and voting for refere Very bad but well-written book. Author has an answer why is that happened and leads through. There are almost no obvious things where you can tell this is a lie. Most of such things are just quotes from other people. The author is doing it in other way. First he is telling just part of the facts. He mentions "little green men" and their Sevastopol airport takeover after Crimean parliament organized referendum. He forgets to mention that that they occupied parliament building and voting for referendum happened only after that. He doesn't mention pro-Ukrainian meetings in Donetsk and how people were beaten and killed there. Second - confusion around Russian citizens of Ukraine, Russian speaking Ukrainians, "sovoks" and pro-Russia separatists. According to last census in 2001 - 17% of population are Russians. It safe to assume about 40% of population are Russian speaking and 20% are bilingual. It hard to say how many people in last two groups. But even in unrealistic 100k of separatists - it less than 5% of adult Donbass population. But it is easy to believe that Majdan consisted of just Ukrainian speaking people and majority of population was against it. Third - separation of timelines in different chapters. First, author writes about starting ATO and Odessa tragedy, in next chapters he describes Crimea and Donbass conflict. He shows Crimea and Donbass as response or sensible prediction. Neither army nor police could help with aggression and murders. People act on their own. Forth - providing quotes to what someone else meant and said. There were some facts that looked very controversial. For example, he says that "Right sector" get weapons from police armory - it is quote from some opinion in some newspaper. I could not find proof for this. There are more controversial and even false quotes like this. Some, at least, are described as quotes. Fifth - missing historical context. Author writes about history of Ukraine and Russia, but forgets to mention so called "gas wars" and Tuzla conflict. He writes about Orange revolution, but he does not mention falsifications. It feels from the text, that it happened because Putin congratulated Yanukovych prematurely and Timoshenko just led people on the streets. He does not write about parties that supported revolution. And how they failed peoples expectations by joining Yanukovych coalition. And how this led to rise of Svoboda party. Their views made it impossible to cooperate with Yanukovych. But this story just doesn't work with radicalisation theory and evil nationalists. And main thing that forced me to write this is the nonsense about NATO base in Sevastopol. It is written that some radicals wanted to cancel agreement with Russia about Sevastopol fleet base and provide it to NATO forces. There was controversial agreement signed by Yanukovych. It moved leaving date from 2017 to 2042. But there was no articles during the revolution about cancelling even this extended agreement. However it was continuously mentioned by the separatists. One more thing. It seems author used sources only in Russian and English. The topic is very interesting and I would like to see more research in this field. It would be nice to find research about "fascist" naming, changes in Russian-Ukrainian politics based on newspapers language.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Lawrence

    I'm sad to say it in a hard way, but the author is Puppet of Russia. He doesn't know Ukraine at all! He doesn't CITE Ukrainian sources, only few of them and those which are already cited by russian or international sources. I'm sad that this book has readers who are in one or another way influenced by russian propaganda. I would advise all the reader to read at least some Ukrainian books (or web-sites) for example this one by Andriy Voloshyn http://amzn.to/1LwLjQ3 or a book by Andrew Wilson I'm sad to say it in a hard way, but the author is Puppet of Russia. He doesn't know Ukraine at all! He doesn't CITE Ukrainian sources, only few of them and those which are already cited by russian or international sources. I'm sad that this book has readers who are in one or another way influenced by russian propaganda. I would advise all the reader to read at least some Ukrainian books (or web-sites) for example this one by Andriy Voloshyn http://amzn.to/1LwLjQ3 or a book by Andrew Wilson

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    If, like me, you find the current Ukraine crisis pretty confusing, this is the book you need. The author goes into the history and origins of the crisis, how it developed and how it is likely to play out. If I still find it all somewhat incomprehensible then no doubt that is my fault not the author’s. A timely and well-researched study of the conflict.

  7. 4 out of 5

    T. Fowler

    Richard Sawka, a professor of Russian and European History, has written an in-depth explanation concerning the unstable political situation that the Ukraine has experienced since the disintegration of the USSR. He argues that observers in the West have only received a one-sided picture of the conflicts that the Ukraine has experienced, which include revolution, loss of the Crimea, and the attempted break-away of the eastern Donbas. He is critical of the extent of US involvement and argues that R Richard Sawka, a professor of Russian and European History, has written an in-depth explanation concerning the unstable political situation that the Ukraine has experienced since the disintegration of the USSR. He argues that observers in the West have only received a one-sided picture of the conflicts that the Ukraine has experienced, which include revolution, loss of the Crimea, and the attempted break-away of the eastern Donbas. He is critical of the extent of US involvement and argues that Russia’s role has been less aggressive than presented by Western media clips and most governments. While it is very difficult to accept a softer view of Putin’s Russia, where all signs of political criticism are eliminated by arrests or assassinations, Sawka appears to be trying to present a balanced view, the purpose of which is to avoid a more serious future confrontation. While some readers may disagree with his presentation, Sawka backs up all his reasoning with facts that show a deep knowledge of a very complex situation. One thing that emerges very clearly, however, is that the political mess in the Ukraine is largely of the Ukraine’s own making, the country riven by political corruption, powerful competing oligarchs, and violence between extreme right-wing and left-wing groups. Western countries must therefore be very careful about the extent that they become involved in the situation. While I found the book very informative and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about events in this part of Eastern Europe, I found the reading a bit of a struggle. I used readabilityformulas.com to evaluate the text of one random page and it got a high Flesch readability score of 22.8, or “very difficult to read.” But that’s what you should expect from a university history professor who knows his subject very well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Pestana da Costa

    This is a very interesting book about the Ukraine crisis that started in 2014, including the far wider historical and geo-political issues at work in those events. Written by an expert in Russian and European politics, this book is a very readable and balanced approach to the issues at stake, and it is definitely very far away from the histrionic anti-Russian propaganda (sometimes barely disguised as just anti-Putin) that one is served by the Western media, even by those reference media outpost This is a very interesting book about the Ukraine crisis that started in 2014, including the far wider historical and geo-political issues at work in those events. Written by an expert in Russian and European politics, this book is a very readable and balanced approach to the issues at stake, and it is definitely very far away from the histrionic anti-Russian propaganda (sometimes barely disguised as just anti-Putin) that one is served by the Western media, even by those reference media outpost usually considered most balanced. The book is not exactly pro-Russian, although it points to facts barely (if at all) referred to in the West, such as NATO expansionist policy and practice, and Western countries confrontational stance, that are of paramount importance to understand the events. Highly recommended!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hung

    In general, this is an insightful, informative and lucid scholarly account of the Ukraine crisis; it challenges conventional wisdom about Putin's Russia and traces the origin of the Ukraine conflict to post-Cold War geopolitical rivalries between Russia and the West. In general, this is an insightful, informative and lucid scholarly account of the Ukraine crisis; it challenges conventional wisdom about Putin's Russia and traces the origin of the Ukraine conflict to post-Cold War geopolitical rivalries between Russia and the West.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    Lots of reviews are split. Some say that this is a balanced review of things going on in the Ukraine. Others say that it's a piece heavily influenced by Russian propaganda. Up until the chapter that went over the Euromaidan Revolution, I was in the former camp. I found it very informative and straightforward to read. But, then we got to the Euromaidan Revolution. My personal bias is that I think what those people did out there was amazing. They fully acted on their right to protest something tha Lots of reviews are split. Some say that this is a balanced review of things going on in the Ukraine. Others say that it's a piece heavily influenced by Russian propaganda. Up until the chapter that went over the Euromaidan Revolution, I was in the former camp. I found it very informative and straightforward to read. But, then we got to the Euromaidan Revolution. My personal bias is that I think what those people did out there was amazing. They fully acted on their right to protest something that they found unjust, and then they got change. Sakwa, on the other hand, finds their plight ridiculous and uncalled for and applauds Putin/Russia from that point on out in the book. So, it had great info and I still think it has a lot of good information for those wanting to know more, but it's also a rather biased book that I wasn't interested in.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Max

    The go-to book for anyone wishing to understand the origins of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. A country I previously did not know too much about, Richard Sakwa's detailed description and analysis have led me to become fascinated with the ongoing events there, while developing a strong understanding of its'history and politics. I used this extensively while writing my dissertation, but it would a great read for anyone The go-to book for anyone wishing to understand the origins of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. A country I previously did not know too much about, Richard Sakwa's detailed description and analysis have led me to become fascinated with the ongoing events there, while developing a strong understanding of its'history and politics. I used this extensively while writing my dissertation, but it would a great read for anyone

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aron Kerpel-Fronius

    What a disappointment. Incredibly apologetic towards the Russian narrative of the conflict. It's a shame, because the scope and depth of the book could actually result in a seminal work, but we get instead is an imbalanced and biased presentation of events. What a disappointment. Incredibly apologetic towards the Russian narrative of the conflict. It's a shame, because the scope and depth of the book could actually result in a seminal work, but we get instead is an imbalanced and biased presentation of events.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Martin Isaksson

    The book describes Ukraine, relations and the very complex geopolitical history. The book gives a very detailed description. 

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris F

    Competently written, but didn't really maintain my interest enough to get me through to the end. Once you've read about half you feel like the rest is much of the same. Competently written, but didn't really maintain my interest enough to get me through to the end. Once you've read about half you feel like the rest is much of the same.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Gives you a global understanding of the Ukraine conflict in a very logical and scientific way of explaining.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hugo

    Very sobering book about the Ukrainian crisis. I recommend this book for those seeking a "balanced" analysis of the situation. Very sobering book about the Ukrainian crisis. I recommend this book for those seeking a "balanced" analysis of the situation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands is an interesting read because it presents a viewpoint frequently not considered in the Western (NATO) world. Candidly, I disagree with quite a bit of what Richard Sakwa argues; however, after reading Frontline Ukraine I have a much better understanding of the incredible complexity of the issue at hand. For American readers, the challenge will be keeping up with European politics. Though Sakwa does an excellent job describing the European Union, Ukrai Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands is an interesting read because it presents a viewpoint frequently not considered in the Western (NATO) world. Candidly, I disagree with quite a bit of what Richard Sakwa argues; however, after reading Frontline Ukraine I have a much better understanding of the incredible complexity of the issue at hand. For American readers, the challenge will be keeping up with European politics. Though Sakwa does an excellent job describing the European Union, Ukrainian politics, and even Russian politics, I’m still unfamiliar with enough of European politics that I found myself “googling” terms, political parties, and even the branches of government in certain countries. This shouldn’t dissuade Americans from reading Frontline Ukraine, actually Sakwa’s intro into European politics is fantastic. I happen to love comparative politics, and appreciated Sakwa’s assessments. Why should you read this book? Because relations between NATO nations and those opposing NATO have not been this tense since the fall of the Berlin wall. The United States is currently involved in Operation Atlantic Resolve (http://www.defense.gov/home/features/...) the Department of Defense stating: “The United States is demonstrating its continued commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America’s dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.” NATO, and perhaps most importantly, the United States and Germany agree that Russia is fueling the unrest in Ukraine, say nothing of the annexation of Crimea. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland…all have undisputed evidence of Russia encroaching on their sea, land, and airspace. Daily, perhaps even hourly, Russia is testing the limits of NATO, in a cat-and-mouse game that has immensely larger ramification than Ukraine. Sakwa states, “Today, Ukraine acts as the Balkans did in 1914, with numerous intersecting domestic conflicts that are amplified and internalized as external actors exacerbate the country’s internal divisions.” Frontline Ukraine helped me understand the Ukrainian events using a different set of eyes. Ukraine is a very large country, with an incredible amount of resources, and a people as diverse as one can imagine. Essentially Sakwa boils down two basic beliefs in Ukrainian politics: Single-nationalism (one Ukrainian culture/language) or Multi-nationalism (embrace many cultures/languages, notably Ukrainian and Russian). Single nationalists (nationalizers) tend to align themselves with Western Europe, and, according to Sakwa, also tend to want to shed their Russian heritage, instead embracing (perhaps even constructing) a heritage entirely distinct from Russia or other Slavic countries. Multi-nationalists (aka. Pluralists), according to Sakwa, are squarely the opposite; instead looking to Russia, a country they tend to identify with more than the West. What’s interesting to me, is the concept that “Multi-nationalists” will divorce themselves from Western Europe, a group that involves dozens of countries, in an effort to be more like the monolith, Russia, specifically, Putin’s Russia. Well I followed Sakwa’s arguments, and definitely found truth in quite a bit of what he says, I think his bias towards multi-nationalists prevents him from writing a complete picture of what’s happening. He paints the muti-nationalists as a people who strive for a united country of different people, and having failed to accomplish that, are being forced to become separatists (really, to join Russia not their own multi-national country). He even credits the historical accounts of the Ukrainian famine as being somewhat a construct to suit the single-nationalist’s agenda. (He doesn’t deny it’s existence, he just stresses that famines were widespread across the Soviet Union, and that Ukraine isn’t all that special.) The elephant in the room in Frontline Ukraine is Russia itself, not the Russian identity of the people living in the Ukraine. Unfortunately, Sakwa avoids thoroughly addressing Putin’s Russia, instead preferring to talk about internal politics and racial/ethnic divides. Without question these divides exist within Ukraine, but it is myopic to talk about “Frontline Ukraine” while only minimally discussing Russia’s hand in this debacle. Furthermore, it is biased to spend a great deal of time discussing the European Union and NATO’s actions—some of which are also unsettling—without providing much insight into Russia’s collusion. Do I recommend people read Frontline Ukraine? Yes, maybe, but don’t let it be the only book you read on the subject. Sakwa does present evidence, facts, and analysis that are not typically discussed in the United States, and he does a reasonable job covering the relevant history of Ukraine. Thank you, I.B. Tauris and NETGAlley for the ARC. Tags: Nonfiction, Military History, Politics, Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe, Putin, NATO, EU, Europe, Civil War, Cultural and Politics, Language and Ethnicity, Ethnic War

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vadim Bychkov

    Reading this book was an excruciating experience. To put it short: Ukraine is in the hands of far-right nationalists, and Russia is a blameless victim of Western contempt and mistreatment. If you are looking for kremlin propaganda playbook, then this book is for you. Because it’s biased in its pro-russian rhetoric and so skewed in its West-bashing presentations, overstatements, exaggerations, inaccuracies and inconsistencies. The author calls Annexation of Crimea – “Return of Crimea”, “Reunificati Reading this book was an excruciating experience. To put it short: Ukraine is in the hands of far-right nationalists, and Russia is a blameless victim of Western contempt and mistreatment. If you are looking for kremlin propaganda playbook, then this book is for you. Because it’s biased in its pro-russian rhetoric and so skewed in its West-bashing presentations, overstatements, exaggerations, inaccuracies and inconsistencies. The author calls Annexation of Crimea – “Return of Crimea”, “Reunification” and “Peaceful takeover” (at gunpoints). His presentation of facts is full of contradiction. For example: on page 19 he claims that “a giant portrait of Bandera alienated the Russophone population” and on page 21 he writes “... during protests on the Maidan in 2004 and again in 2013-2014, the predominant language was Russian”. He’s focusing a lot on Svoboda and Pravyi Sector, far right party and organisation respectively, whereas in fact their prominence and political influence came to a naught after Maidan and subsequent elections. On page 73, author compares wages in Ukraine with those of Poland and Moscow (9 times lower), please note not with the country but with the capital city, richest in all ex-USSR. That either demonstrated lack of knowledge of regional disparities in Russia, or deliberately highlighted big difference between two things one can hardly compare. The author calls throughout the book, separatists – local pro-russian militants and romantics with ideals with limited Russian involvement. He does not even assume that it was a planned operation by russian special forces and agencies who started to occupy governmental buildings and attack police stations in the East in april 2014. The fact that key figures like minister of defence of DNR Strelkov/Girkin, head of cabinet of DNR Borodai, head of state of LNR Bolotov are all Russian citizens is conveniently ignored. The transfer of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 is presented as illegal and the pretext that “it was conducted without debate or consulting the people involved”. Is it a sneer or the author seriously thinks that there were times where most important decisions in USSR were accompanied by debate and consultation?! “Peaceful takeover” of Crimea is justified by threat from NATO and potentially dangerous prospect of having ships and missile defence units would be based close to Russian borders. As if Baltic countries were not located much closer to Moscow and St.Petersburg than Sevastopol and Simferopol! Basic economic agreement, with prospect of joining EU and NATO are frozen for years to come is presented as a direct threat to Russia. The author himself mentions that Putin’s adviser threatened in 2013 social unrest and possible secession of pro-russian regions in Ukraine if it signes that tread agreement (so what romantic idealist rebels is he banging about then). The author goes further to praise Putin’s description of the “Peaceful takeover” of Crimea as: “There was not a single armed conflict, not a single gunshot”. While there were two people killed and two people wounded. How come these basic facts were omitted? Statements representing Putin and Lavrov as doves of peace are staggering. “Russia under Putin had been the opposite of a land-grabbing state. Putin gave up more territory than any other leader except Lenin” (page 116)”. His misunderstanding of internal political dynamics in Ukraine are after all that is not surprising. On page 129 the author goes : “ ...Parubiy, remained head of NSD Council until his surprise resignation on 7 August... his departure now cleared the way for him to campaign against Poroshenko.” Not only he didn't campaign against Poroshenko when he later became a Speaker of the Parliament, he backed Poroshenko during presidential elections 2019 and joined his party for the Parliament elections in July 2019. There are dozens of points like this. All in all it was a painful experience, waste of time and money. As it was mentioned by another reader before, it worth to read Taras Kuzio and Serhii Plokhii on the subject, rather than this piece of pro-kremlin propaganda.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Johan

    Disclaimer: I think Putin and Lavrov and more in the ruling class of Russia are some evil bastards. I base this on the bombing of Aleppo and Groznyj and also on the fact that they completely have destroyed the possibility of a democratic opposition in Russia. Check why Kasparov didn't finally run for President - it is the perfect example how they operate. The book is interesting in that it recalls in great detail what actually happened. It also has some sympathies for the Russian speaking of the Disclaimer: I think Putin and Lavrov and more in the ruling class of Russia are some evil bastards. I base this on the bombing of Aleppo and Groznyj and also on the fact that they completely have destroyed the possibility of a democratic opposition in Russia. Check why Kasparov didn't finally run for President - it is the perfect example how they operate. The book is interesting in that it recalls in great detail what actually happened. It also has some sympathies for the Russian speaking of the East of Ukraine, and tries to convince the (Western) reader the frustations the people of Donbas were feeling about the Majdan movement. It is also interesting to see how much power the Americans seem to have had "undercover", for example in the augeration of Jatsenjuk prime minister (he was basically the "Americans candidate"). I was in Spain when the Crimean conflict and later Donbas problems started. In my apartment I had RT on on television. I find it strange that the author barely mentions this and other Russian "news" channels. It was almost evident from watching RT that the Russians were planning something. Later defectors from the channel said that all news about Ukraine HAD to be negative towards the Majdan movements. Lots of rumours about atrocities against Russian speaking people in Crimea etc (these accusations were lately shown to be completely false). A Putin that literaly drewles in Sevastopol after the fake Referendum (83% turnout where 96,77% voted yes to Russia, a ridicoulus high number). All the time while Lavrov and Putin proclaiming Ukrainian "fascists" over and over again. Those are my memories. The author's conclusions are really strange in my view. The fault seems to be in large extent the EU. Which I can somehow buy, I am sure that their view of Ukraine was too simplistic and incompetent. But all the talk that you have to understand Putins behaviour etc etc. Russia feels cornerned by Nato, sure. But all those lies about atrocities towards the Russian people - they were there to prepare for an invasion. I am completely sure that if it HADN'T been for the sanctions, then Putin would have put much real force behind the Donbas rebellion. It was evident when Ukrainian government was about to win the war, then the Russians put some real force in (this happened 14th of August 2014). Sanctions are a good thing towards Russia. If Trump turns out to bomb civilians in a city like Aleppo or Groznyj (he might very well do that) we shall sanction him and America too.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rhuff

    "Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right," said Lord Randolph Churchill over a century ago. Those pundits inclined to demonize the "breakaway regions" of Ukraine would do well to recall the words of this leading Western guru regarding Northern Ireland's right to reject the impending home rule of a united Irish state, in defense of its own regional autonomy. If Putin is a "spoiler" and the "puppet regimes" of Donetsk and Lugansk are direct assaults on territorial sovereignty, then the UK is ob "Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right," said Lord Randolph Churchill over a century ago. Those pundits inclined to demonize the "breakaway regions" of Ukraine would do well to recall the words of this leading Western guru regarding Northern Ireland's right to reject the impending home rule of a united Irish state, in defense of its own regional autonomy. If Putin is a "spoiler" and the "puppet regimes" of Donetsk and Lugansk are direct assaults on territorial sovereignty, then the UK is obliged to rescind its forced 1921 agreement and cede Ulster to the Irish Republic. But since logic and equity have no place in the calculations of the West then or now, this is mere fantasy. Richard Sakwa has authored the best-to-date book on the Ukraine crisis. Though a bit dated by now it is indispensable in its coverage of the devolution of the Ukrainian state over the last three years. Always in search of "bad guys" upon whom to project its own imperial fantasies, the Western media has as usual served as a propaganda tool of which "Russia Today" could be proud. Sakwa traces the rise of the Maidan Movement in a grass-roots yearning for "good government." I won't disagree with that in essence, but Maidan was far from "hijacked" by oligarchs or "monist" nationalists. They were embedded in the movement from the beginning (like the Koch Bros. vis-a-vis the US Tea Party). The "fanatics" and billionaires merely exerted their true demographic and financial weight in a movement they largely founded and funded for partisan purposes. Ukraine has rather bluntly exposed the deep racism at the core of the Atlanticist project, which requires an alien Other to consolidate Western Civilization around its own axis. No doubt this explains why, for all the rhetoric of liberal democracy, Western powers have never been troubled allying with "monists" from Israel to Croatia. Ukraine has long been a prize in East/West power politics, with Germany seeking to wrest it from Muscovite control in WWs I and II - using the same "monist" ethno-nationalists - and the EU following suit for a third round (with Germany again playing a pivotal role). If the present scenario continues Ukraine threatens to go the way of Yugoslavia, with the adjective Former as part of its new multi-state title. And this will largely be due, again, to Western refusal to accept non-alignment in the post-cold war New World Order which smells strongly of the foul trenches, rhetorical bad breath and gunpowder of a century past.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Slava Gorbunov

    The author is Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent. Excellent research and writing related to the conflict in Ukraine - without emotions, with specifying various conflicting interests and explaining historical set up, with links and references to the quotes of people involved and to the facts. As it should be. Excellent book - I recommend it to everybody interested in practical politics.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alexey Goldin

    It has different emphasis than WMSM (Western Mainstream Media), while not enumerating conspiracy theories. Recommended. Summary: "In the end, NATO’s existence became justified by the need to manage the security threats provoked by its enlargement." It has different emphasis than WMSM (Western Mainstream Media), while not enumerating conspiracy theories. Recommended. Summary: "In the end, NATO’s existence became justified by the need to manage the security threats provoked by its enlargement."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    the pro-Russia perspective. tolerable until he starts defending the MH17 takedown.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  25. 4 out of 5

    John

  26. 5 out of 5

    TheFurgeurge

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nikolett

  29. 4 out of 5

    Markus

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cold War Conversations Podcast

  31. 5 out of 5

    Manray9

  32. 5 out of 5

    Ethan S.

  33. 5 out of 5

    happy

  34. 5 out of 5

    carl theaker

  35. 5 out of 5

    Donna Maguire

  36. 5 out of 5

    Owen

  37. 5 out of 5

    Robert Smith

  38. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  39. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Jones

  40. 4 out of 5

    Bart

  41. 5 out of 5

    Dan Walker

  42. 4 out of 5

    Jacob van Berkel

  43. 5 out of 5

    Regit

  44. 4 out of 5

    Tom Blackburn

  45. 4 out of 5

    Royce

  46. 5 out of 5

    Richard PH

  47. 4 out of 5

    Halvor (Raknes)

  48. 5 out of 5

    Josephine (biblioseph)

  49. 4 out of 5

    Lynnette

  50. 4 out of 5

    Matthijs Piek

  51. 5 out of 5

    Wyatt Keenan

  52. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Lia

  53. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  54. 4 out of 5

    Paul Medew

  55. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Peterson

  56. 4 out of 5

    Adam Aksnowicz

  57. 4 out of 5

    Ray

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