1st Edition

Everyone Loses The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia

By Samuel Charap, Timothy J. Colton Copyright 2017

    Disorder erupted in Ukraine in 2014, involving the overthrow of a sitting government, the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and a violent insurrection, supported by Moscow, in the east of the country.

    This Adelphi book argues that the crisis has yielded a ruinous outcome, in which all the parties are worse off and international security has deteriorated. This negative-sum scenario resulted from years of zero-sum behaviour on the part of Russia and the West in post-Soviet Eurasia, which the authors rigorously analyse. The rivalry was manageable in the early period after the Cold War, only to become entrenched and bitter a decade later. The upshot has been systematic losses for Russia, the West and the countries caught in between.

    All the governments involved must recognise that long-standing policies aimed at achieving one-sided advantage have reached a dead end, Charap and Colton argue, and commit to finding mutually acceptable alternatives through patient negotiation.


    1. Cold Peace

    2. Contestation Entrenched

    3. Breaking Point

    4. The Negative-Sum Game and How to Move Past It


    Samuel Charap is Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, based in the Institute’s Washington, DC office. Prior to joining the Institute, Samuel served as Senior Advisor to the US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff.

    Timothy J. Colton is Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies, Harvard University. Specialist on Russian and Eurasian politics and government. Author of Yeltsin: A Life (2008), Russia: What Everyone Needs to Know (2016), and other works. Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Everyone Loses expertly captures the origins and tragic consequences of the Ukraine crisis. Charap and Colton have produced a balanced, highly readable volume arguing that all sides have miscalculated. They off er constructive ideas for how relations can be improved. As tensions are now running dangerously high, that makes their book required reading for policy communities on both sides of the Atlantic.’ Igor Ivanov, President, Russian International Aff airs Council, and former Foreign Minister of Russia

    ‘Charap and Colton provide a timely, thoughtful and insightful account of a complicated region during a complicated historical period. A must-read for anyone looking to navigate disorder in Eurasia and the very real risks it poses to international peace and security.’ William J. Burns, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former US Deputy Secretary of State

    ‘Understanding the Ukraine crisis is no easy task. This book deftly traces the regional and global roots of this major challenge to the post-Cold War order. It offers valuable recommendations on the steps needed to stabilise both Ukraine and the region as a whole.’ Javier Solana, former Secretary-General of NATO, and former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy

    ‘Historically informed and analytically penetrating, this account of the crisis in Ukraine and other “in-between” areas should be at the top of the reading lists for scholars, policymakers and members of the interested public. What is revealed could be called a comedy of errors if the results were not so tragic. And if leaders in Russia and the West are to cope with the confl ict they have created, they should start by reading this study.’ Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, Columbia University

    'This is a balanced and very readable book that also contains helpful maps and chronology. Given these qualities, as well as the book’s scope and skilled review of various economic and security issues in Eurasia, the volume would serve as an ideal text for graduate and upper division undergraduate courses on international politics of central and eastern Europe and Eurasia.' Andrei P. Tsygankov, San Francisco State University, Slavic Review