This week's editor

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Is there reason to hope for Minsk II?

The last Minsk agreement on eastern Ukraine failed to bring peace. The latest looks similar—but the context has changed.

Ukraine ceasefire announced at Minsk summit—what next?

The ceasefire agreement in Minsk over Ukraine was better than no outcome at all. But only a little better.

In Ukraine, NATO has ceased to be an instrument of US foreign policy

In the renewed cold war over Ukraine, while Russia’s economy has been weakened by European sanctions, the US is no longer the hegemon it once was—and NATO is under strain.

Ukraine steels for more unrest as Donetsk bus attack kills 12

The latest violence in eastern Ukraine would lead most observers to think an end to the military and political attrition is not in sight. They would be right.

Deadly cargo: explosive weapons in populated areas

It’s been a year of searing images of horrifying mass civilian injury and death, from Gaza to eastern Ukraine. The world must set standards to curb resort to weapons with wide-area effects where many civilians are at risk.

Eastern Ukraine: the humanity behind the headlines

The government in Kyiv, aid organisations and the international community must work together to address the humanitarian crisis created by the fighting in the east.

The new cold war Russia (again) won't win

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, burst the 25th-anniversary balloon of the symbolic end of the cold war by warning of a new one, fed by NATO's eastward expansion. An economically weak USSR lost the last one; a still weaker Russia will lose this one too. 

NATO-Russia: time for a change in direction

NATO’s summit this week offers the opportunity to turn the tide against the re-emergence of the cold war in the context of the Ukraine crisis. It is an opportunity, however, unlikely to be taken.

The new Russian power bloc

A quarter century after Mikhail Gorbachev supervised the collapse of Europe’s cold-war division, a world of new dividing lines is emerging—with Vladimir Putin playing an active part in inscribing them.

Kleptocracy: final stage of Soviet-style socialism

The tumult in Ukraine marks a wider crisis of the corrupt post-Soviet model. The impact will be felt most acutely in Russia itself, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Ukraine: what next?

There was a way out of the Ukraine crisis this week, through dialogue and accommodation. But the regime, backed by Russia, chose to pursue victory instead. It will be a Pyrrhic one—but the international community can shorten the agony.

How was he to know? The cracking of the Ukraine regime

Ukraine’s parliament has abandoned the law to curb public protests only recently introduced and the prime minister has resigned. What lies behind these dramatic events?

If only it were fiction ...

In a few months, the EU will decide whether to sign an Association Agreement with Ukraine. President Viktor Yanukovych is, however, focused on a different agenda - how to win a second term in 2015. He's ready to go to any lengths to bring that about, reports Sergii Leshchenko. 

Fighting the developers in Kyiv

The fate of historic buildings is a global hot topic, but this month activists occupying an old trading complex in Ukraine’s capital to try to stop its redevelopment had to deal with a real fire destroying their ‘Friendly Republic’. Marta Dyczok sees here a metaphor for the country as a whole.   

Ukraine: Yanukovych's 'Family' spreads its tentacles

Last October, Ukraine’s ruling Party of the Regions won only a slim election victory, but President Viktor Yanukovych has taken the opportunity to pack his new government with members of his ‘Family’ – and to level new and grave charges at jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. Sergii Leshchenko reports. 

The not-very-convincing victory of Mr. Yanukovych

By means fair and foul, the ruling Party of the Regions came out top in Ukraine’s recent parliamentary election. President Yanukovych is far from home and dry, however: to control parliament he needs a majority, and the necessary concessions to other parties will certainly cost him dear, says Sergii Leshchenko

Ukraine: the far-right in parliament for the first time

The Parliamentary election in Ukraine has, as expected, returned President Yanukovych’s Party of Regions to power. It has also had one less predicted result: the first election to the country’s parliament of MPs from the ultra nationalist far-right. Anton Shekhovtsov looks at the rise of ‘Svoboda’ (Freedom). Photo: RIA NOVOSTI Agency

Ukrainian Elections: the oligarchs are hedging their bets

On 28th October, Ukrainians will elect a new parliament. Their country has moved in the last few years from the forefront of democratic transition in the post-Soviet space to a clan-based authoritarian regime, taking its lead from its neighbour Belarus. Serhiy Leshchenko reports on the state of play.

Can Ukraine find a way out of its political stalemate?

Neither democracy nor authoritarianism has completely succeeded in Ukraine, though Yanukovych has moved towards breaking the stalemate and establishing his sway. But Ukraine is not Russia and it will be an uphill struggle. In the run-up to the 28 October elections, Igor Torbakov considers the differences (photo: RIA Novosti Agency)

Ukraine and Belarus: the dawn of change?

Rigged elections and corruption in post-Soviet states such as Belarus and Ukraine are hardly news. Ukraine’s shift towards authoritarianism has highlighted new similarities between the two countries. But might they both eventually move towards a new bright dawn? Yegor Vasylyev wonders

Ukrainian election: the young hopefuls

Young people from the civic resistance movement are trying to get elected to parliament. If they succeed, it could be the beginning of the end for the Yanukovych regime, thinks Roman Kabachiy.

School buses, oil rigs and raspberries: corruption in Ukraine

Rampant corruption among government officials is a given for most Ukrainians. A recent scam involved the purchase of school buses, which were so defective that fatalities were avoided only by a miracle. But without the political will at the very highest level, there is no chance that this case will go to court and the criminals be punished, says Natalia Sedletska

Ukraine today: a guide for digging deeper

Ukraine_Euro

When in 2007 Ukraine was given the privilege of co-hosting the Euro 2012 games, the tournament was seen as a unique opportunity to unite the country, improve infrastructure and set in train European reforms. Everything that has happened since has deviated from that script. Today, the world’s media routinely portray a country in democratic crisis; Andrew Wilson’s take, which delves a bit deeper, concludes that things are, in fact, even worse.

Ukraine's justice deficit

Ukraine_Euro

As the 2012 European Football Championship approaches, co-host Ukraine has been hitting global headlines for its treatment of former PM Yulia Tymoshenko. Carolyn Forstein argues, however, that international attention should be more focused on a systemic shortcoming of the judicial system — the non-enforcement of court judgments — which threatens the credibility of the European Court of Human Rights itself.

Ukraine: the logic of Absurdistan

Ukraine_Euro

While the rest of the world is embracing new forms of civil activism, Ukrainians, who were once responsible for one of history’s most symbolic and peaceful revolutions, are staying at home. With the country in severe economic difficulty and the Yanukovych government winding back all but the most trivial of Orange reforms, there is no shortage of reasons to protest. So what is keeping Ukrainians from the streets? asks Nataliya Gumenyuk

Ukraine's Euro 2012? We’ll do it our way!

Ukraine_Euro

Recent press coverage of Ukraine has been extremely negative. Now, as the European Football Championships get under way, a Ukrainian writer gives a bird's eye view of the state of affairs across the country. Not a pretty picture, thinks Yuriy Andrukhovych

Football & politics: the legacy of Euro 2012 in Ukraine

Ahead of the Euro 2012 football championships, media attention on political scandal and excessive profiteering has undermined Ukrainian attempts to raise prestige in the eyes of the world. Janek Lasocki and Łukasz Jasina wonder if the hosts will eventually be able to defy critics and secure a positive legacy from the tournament.

Ukrainian ‘Freedom’ party should be ringing alarm bells

Ukrainian politics have gone through several major upheavals: the alleged poisoning of Yushchenko, the Orange Revolution and, more recently, the hounding of Tymoshenko. The rise of the far-right seems to have ruffled few feathers, but it would be a mistake to ignore them, argues Ivan Katchanovski.

Ukraine, Europe and the Yanukovych game

Negotiations over the Ukraine's EU Association Agreement were finalised last month, but Yulia Tymoshenko's continued imprisonment prevented the EU from signing off on a deal. Borys Tarasyuk wonders whether the Europeans may have overestimated their leverage in the matter, and whether their approach will turn out to be counterproductive.

Is Ukraine heading East?

On the eve of an EU-Ukraine summit on December 19, Ukraine’s relations with Brussels are deteriorating. EU officials have warned that the detention of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is damaging Kiev’s hopes of signing an Association Agreement by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Ukraine is considering relinquishing a 50%-share of its pipelines to Russia for cheaper gas. David Marples looks at the possible political direction Ukraine is headed for in 2012.

Yanukovych’s playground battle

Ahead of the Ukraine-EU summit, Europeans are attempting to understand Ukraine (and, more accurately, its current leadership) from a rational point of view. This is where they are going wrong, says Roman Kabachiy

Tymoshenko case appeal: all escape routes blocked?

The case against Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine, created a stir in Europe and further afield. The conviction and prison sentence were greeted with outrage. Her appeal against the verdict is about to come to court, but will any judges be brave enough to stand up for her rights? Natalia Sedletska thinks it unlikely.

Ukraine-Poland: history wars rage on

A controversial new book by a Ukrainian historian attempts to reclassify cruel Polish-Ukrainian conflicts of the 1940s as part of WWII, rather than local issues. He has encountered considerable opposition on both sides, writes Roman Kabachiy

Tymoshenko: soon at liberty, but never free?

Despite the severity of Tuesday’s verdict, all the signs are that Yulia Tymoshenko will soon be released. But what of her political future? That all depends on Victor Yanukovych, says Valery Kalnysh

Ukrainian strategy: take nothing seriously

Ukraine’s post-Soviet governments traditionally follow the logic of safety razors: “tighten as far as you can, and then release a few notches”. Yulia Tymoshenko’s unexpectedly long sentence was shocking, but in all probability she will be soon be at liberty again. The real question is what she does then, writes Dmitry Vydrin

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