Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why Ukraine Is a Mess and How It Got There | Johnson's Russia List

In Ukraine, the crisis is messy, the solutions elusive and the outlook bleak.

That is the view of Eugene Rumer, a senior associate and director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Rumer spoke at The Heritage Foundation recently about his new book, “Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post-Cold War Order,” which chronicles the unfolding crisis in Ukraine “up until the first Minsk talk” of last September, which he called a “good place to stop” because the violence and movements had hit a stalemate.

“The purpose was not to offer a blow by blow,” he said, but to take a look at factors that led to the crisis.

First was the story of Ukraine itself.

“The history [of Ukraine] … [is one] that lacks a traditional statehood,” Rumer said. The country “does not have a living memory [of statehood].”

This hurt in two ways, he said. First, because of the historical conflicts, almost all of Ukraine’s neighbors have a claim against what is now Ukrainian territory, including Russia.

Second, Ukraine’s foray into self-government stumbled along lines predictable for a country with little history of self-governance. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, he said, an oligarchy rose in Ukraine, similar to the one in Russia. Once in charge, the oligarchs “fixed the political system” to ensure their own success.

Complete story at - Why Ukraine Is a Mess and How It Got There | Johnson's Russia List

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