Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

What It Means for the West

Paperback - 2014
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A leading Ukraine specialist and firsthand witness to the 2014 Kiev Uprising analyzes the world's newest flashpoint

The aftereffects of the February 2014 Uprising in Ukraine are still reverberating around the world. The consequences of the popular rebellion and Russian President Putin's attempt to strangle it remain uncertain. In this book, Andrew Wilson combines a spellbinding, on-the-scene account of the Kiev Uprising with a deeply informed analysis of what precipitated the events, what has developed in subsequent months, and why the story is far from over.

Wilson situates Ukraine's February insurgence within Russia's expansionist ambitions throughout the previous decade. He reveals how President Putin's extravagant spending to develop soft power in all parts of Europe was aided by wishful thinking in the EU and American diplomatic inattention, and how Putin's agenda continues to be widely misunderstood in the West. The author then examines events in the wake of the Uprising--the military coup in Crimea, the election of President Petro Poroshenko, the Malaysia Airlines tragedy, rising tensions among all of Russia's neighbors, both friend and foe, and more. Ukraine Crisis provides an important, accurate record of events that unfolded in Ukraine in 2014. It also rings a clear warning that the unresolved problems of the region have implications well beyond Ukrainian borders.
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780300211597
Characteristics: ix, 236 pages : maps ; 22 cm.


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Jun 05, 2015

Andrew Wilson, one of Britain’s leading experts on Ukraine, was one of the first out of the gate with a book on the unfolding disaster in Ukraine, publishing in early November 2014. He was able to produce it so fast, it would appear, by cut-and-pasting filler from earlier work, some of it not even remotely related to Ukraine. (The haste in writing the book is evident in its ignoring standard conventions for books on the FSU: Professor Wilson doesn’t state what system of transliteration from Cyrillic he has used, and a few of his choices, “Potyomkin” for what one usually sees as “Potemkin”, are bizarre.)
While written in a lively way and packed with anecdotes, the book has not aged well. “Ukrainian blood was worth more than Russian treasure”, his explanation for the early success of the Ukrainian forces’ offensive in the Donbas, looks crudely propagandistic after the encirclement of Ukrainian forces at Debaltseve, that prompted the Minsk II agreement. One of the most predictable events of 2015, the default of Ukraine on its debt, was quite unforeseen by Professor Wilson, who seems to have been taken in by the empty braggadocio of PM Yatsenyuk last summer: “Ukraine has not defaulted and never will.” His indifference to the rising inflation in the country on President Poroshenko’s watch is surprising now that it is 60.9% (as of April), making a mockery of the National Bank of Ukraine’s February forecast that the inflation rate at the end of 2015 would be 17.2%.
Early on in his book, Professor Wilson gives his vision of a wider Europe, which would include all of the former Soviet Union west of Russia, plus Armenia and Georgia. It is the vision of a neo-con warmonger rather than a serious scholar of Eastern Europe. We have already seen in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine starting in 2014 where it leads. Such a distorted outlook calls not so much for a change of mind as a change of heart.


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