Acknowledgments ; Chronology ; Chapter 1: Why Ukraine? ; What is the Maidan, and what made it top news around the world? ; How and why did Russia annex the Crimea from Ukraine? ; Why did fighting break out in eastern Ukraine in the spring of 2014? ; Why did the Ukrainian crisis cause tensions between Russia and the West? ; Chapter 2: The Land and the People ; What is Ukraine's geographical location, and what natural resources and industry does it possess? ; What is Ukraine's demography and ethnic composition? ; Who are the Ukrainians and what is modern Ukrainian national identity? ; Is it true that Ukraine is split into pro-Western and pro-Russian halves? ; How large is the Ukrainian diaspora, and what role does it play in North American politics? ; Chapter 3: The Making of Modern Ukraine ; Was Ukraine always part of Russia? ; What was the medieval state of Kyivan Rus and was it a Russian or Ukrainian polity? ; Who were the Cossacks? ; Is it true that Ukraine was "reunited" with Russia in 1654? ; Who was Ivan Mazepa and why is he considered a "traitor" in Russia? ; What were Russia's imperial policies in Ukraine? ; Did the Austrian Empire govern its Ukrainian lands differently? ; What happened in the Ukrainian lands during the revolutionary turmoil of 1917-20? ; Why did the Bolsheviks create a Ukrainian republic within the Soviet Union, and how did they determine its borders? ; What was the Holodomor (the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33) and was it genocide? ; As one of the Soviet Union's main grain-producing areas, the Ukrainian SSR suffered ; Is it true that all the Ukrainian lands were united in a single polity for the first time under Stalin? ; What is Babi Yar, and how did the Holocaust unfold in Ukraine? ; Who was Stepan Bandera and what was the Ukrainian Insurgent Army? ; What were the Soviet policies in Ukraine during the postwar period? ; Who were the dissidents, and how did they contribute to the collapse of communism? ; Why did the Chernobyl accident happen, and what was its impact on Ukraine? ; Chapter 4: Ukraine after Communism ; Did the Ukrainians have to fight the Russians in order to secede from the Soviet Union? ; What is the Commonwealth of Independent States? ; When and why did Ukraine give up its nuclear arsenal? ; What were Ukraine's relations with the West and Russia in the first decade after independence? ; Did the presidents of independent Ukraine promote a united national identity? ; What religions came to prominence in Ukraine after the Soviet collapse? ; How did independent Ukraine become an inefficient economy and a paragon of crony capitalism? ; Who are the oligarchs? ; Is Ukraine dependent on Russian gas supplies? ; Chapter 5: The Orange Revolution and the EuroMaidan ; What did the two recent revolutions in Ukraine (2004 and 2013-14) have in common? ; Why did mass protests against President Kuchma develop in the early 2000s, and who led them? ; What sparked the Orange Revolution in 2004? ; Was Yushchenko poisoned and were the culprits ever prosecuted? ; How was a peaceful resolution reached in the winter of 2004-5? ; Did the victors of the Orange Revolution manage to create a new Ukraine? ; How did Viktor Yanukovych return to power, first as prime minister and later as president? ; Why was Yulia Tymoshenko imprisoned? ; What caused the new popular revolt in late 2013? ; What role did the Ukrainian radical right play in the protests, and what symbols did they use? ; What led to the high number of casualties on the Maidan in 2013-14, as opposed to 2004? ; Where did Yanukovych escape and how was the transfer of power formalized? ; Was either of the two Ukrainian revolutions the result of a Western conspiracy? ; Chapter 6: Russia's Annexation of the Crimea and the War in the Donbas ; What shared characteristics led the Crimean Peninsula and the Donbas region to become conflict zones? ; What was "New Russia," and why did President Putin revive this concept? ; Who are the Crimean Tatars? ; Why was the Crimea transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954? ; Did the Crimea try to separate from Ukraine in the 1990s? ; Was there a previous conflict between Russia and Ukraine over the Black Sea Fleet, and how was it resolved? ; Why was Russia able to take over the Crimea so quickly and with so little resistance? ; How is the Crimea being absorbed into Russia? ; Was the Donbas historically a Russian region? ; Is it true that a separate republic existed in the Donbas during the revolutionary era? ; Did the Donbas stand out among other Ukrainian regions during the late Soviet period and the post-communist transformation? ; Why did the armed conflict with the new Ukrainian authorities start in the Donbas and not in other eastern regions in the spring of 2014? ; What polities did the separatists create in the Donbas and why did Russia not annex them outright, as was the case with the Crimea? ; Why did the Ukrainian army perform poorly compared to the pro-Russian forces in the Donbas? ; Under what circumstances was the Malaysian Airlines passenger flight shot down over the Donbas on 17 July 2014? ; What has been the human cost of the armed conflict in the Donbas? ; Chapter 7: Building a New Ukraine in a Globalized World ; What sanctions did the West introduce against Russia, and did they work? ; Did Western diplomatic mediation assist in the de-escalation of the conflict in the Donbas? ; How should the results of the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine be interpreted? ; What was the composition of the new Ukrainian government, and what were its first steps? ; What are the consequences of Ukraine's Association Agreement with the EU? ; Has the Ukrainian crisis sparked a new Cold War? ; Notes ; Further Reading ; Index
Born and educated in Ukraine, Serhy Yekelchyk has published widely on modern Ukrainian history and Russian-Ukrainian relations. His Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation was the first historical survey to include the 2004 Orange Revolution and has since been translated into five languages. A professor at the University of Victoria, Dr. Yekelchyk currently serves as president of the Canadian Association of Ukrainian Studies.
a succinct, lucid text ideal for newcomers to recent Ukrainian events * Tony Barber, Financial Times *