With the expansion of NATO, Ukraine is frequently described as the ?linchpin? of security in Central Europe. And after Russia, it is the largest and most important of the post-Soviet states. Yet it is a country about which most westerners know very little, subsumed as it was for decades beneath the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Ukrainian Politics and Society is the first comprehensive study of politics in post-Soviet Ukraine, and is therefore vital reading for anyone concerned with European security, or with politics in the former Soviet Union.The authors' extensive experience in Ukraine allows them to explain the paradoxes of Ukrainian politics that have led to so many false predictions concerning the future of the Ukrainian state. Their examination of nationality politics shows why ethnic and regional differences have tended to recede rather than to spin out of control, as they have elsewhere in the region. At the same time, these differences hamstring the country's political system, and the authors show how difficult a task it is for democratic institutions to provide effective government in a country with little consensus. By viewing economic reform in its profoundly political context, the authors expose the chasm between the theory and practice of economic reform. Understanding of how to make profits has not been lacking, but government regulation to ensure that profit-seeking behavior leads to functioning markets has been conspicuously absent.By examining in detail how Ukrainian politics has followed theoretical expectations and where it has contradicted them, the authors arrive at conclusions with implications well beyond Ukraine. Ukraine must first build a state and a nation before it can successfully reform its economy or build a genuine democracy. For Ukraine and its people, the task is daunting. For the west, whose security increasingly relies on stability in Ukraine, this book provides the knowledge necessary to approach the problem, as well as good reason not to ignore it.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Introduction: The "Quadruple Transition" in Ukrainian Politics and Society -- The Demise of the Soviet Union and the Emergence of Independent Ukraine -- Nation Building and National Identity -- Religion, State, and Society -- Ukraine's Weak State -- Politics and Civil Society -- Economic Crisis and Reform -- Foreign Policy: From Isolation to Engagement -- Ukrainian Defense Policy and the Transformation of the Armed Forces -- Conclusion: Problems and Prospects for Ukraine in the Twenty-First Century