This is an excerpt from Crisis in Russian Studies? Nationalism (Imperialism), Racism and War by Taras Kuzio. Get your free obtain from E-International Relations.

This ebook makes use of the time period tutorial orientalism to explain how western historians of ‘Russia’ and a few political scientists with experience on Russia selectively use sources when writing about Ukraine and different non-Russian international locations of the previous USSR. Using sources primarily printed in Russia is each lazy and biased. Academic orientalism is lazy as a result of we reside in an Internet period the place sources from Ukraine can be found on-line and within the Russian language; subsequently, students don’t essentially want a command of Ukrainian. Publications, sociological polls, suppose tank publications, and official websites – which as this ebook exhibits can be found on-line – are largely ignored by most western students of Russia who’ve written about Ukraine, Crimea, Donbas, and Ukrainian-Russian relations.

Until World War II, orientalism was mirrored in western students writing about abroad colonies by way of the eyes of London, Paris, and different imperial metropolitan cities. Today, tutorial orientalism is mirrored in western students writing about Ukraine by way of the eyes of Moscow. Academic orientalism is biased as a result of it produces a subjective, Russo-centric outlook on Ukrainian-Russian relations. This type of tutorial orientalism is taken one step additional when western students writing about Ukrainian-Russian relations cite Russian leaders advert infinitum, however hardly ever cite Ukrainian politicians. Sakwa (2015), for instance, by no means as soon as cites Poroshenko, however quotes Putin 31 instances. Toal (2017) cites Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev on 44 events and Poroshenko solely as soon as – fewer than his two citations for Soviet President Gorbachev. Charap and Colton’s (2017) work is stuffed with citations of Russian leaders with solely 4 of Poroshenko.

Changes in Ukrainian historiography since 1991 and identification since 2014 have been recognised to a point amongst historians in North America (however not within the UK and western Europe) and to various levels amongst political scientists. Academic orientalism stays a difficulty inside Russian research, whose political scientists are often the gatekeepers in most western tutorial centres on post-communist Europe and Eurasia. One instance of educational orientalism on Ukraine is that of political scientist Sakwa (2015), an professional on Russian politics. The solely Ukrainian supply utilized by Sakwa (2015) was the English-language Kyiv Post. This is as a result of ‘the author has no intention of delving into the Ukrainian material comprehensively’ (Kravchenko 2016). Writing a ebook on the Russian-Ukrainian War ‘had no impact on his [Sakwa’s] preconceived notions and interpretation of Russia, Eastern Europe, and the world order’ (Kravchenko 2016). Other examples of educational orientalism are given all through this chapter.

This chapter is split into 5 sections. The first part applies Edward Said’s (1994, 1995) idea of orientalism to western writing on the 2014 disaster and the Russian-Ukrainian War. The second part makes use of orientalism to analyse how the Russian-Ukrainian War is imagined by way of a biased use of sources. The third part discusses manipulation of opinion polls, and the fourth part discusses non-scholarly overview processes and analyses. The ultimate part is a crucial dialogue of 4 conspiracies of the Euromaidan Revolution: first, that it was a US-backed operation to put in western Ukrainian nationalists in energy; second, that Ukrainian nationalists murdered protestors in the course of the Euromaidan; third, that the May 2014 hearth in Odesa was organised by Ukrainian nationalists; and fourth, that Ukraine’s navy technique (in the identical method because the nation as a complete) is managed by the US and NATO.

Academic Orientalism

Said’s (1994, 1995) description of western nationalist (imperialist) imagining of the Orient is present in Russian nationalist (imperialist) imagining of Ukraine and within the imagining of Ukraine by western historians and a few political scientists. The Orient and Ukraine are handled as passive, subaltern topics of the world order who’re denied the dignity of selecting their very own future. 

The imaging of European colonies and Russia’s neighbours was – and stays – a relationship of energy, domination, and hegemony that allegedly benefitted the lives of those that had been dominated over. This is a relationship of the robust over the weak, greatest served by an important energy awarded a sphere of affect to take care of order over subaltern individuals incapable of ruling themselves. Such views had been present in British imaginings of Ireland and Polish and Russian imaginings of Ukraine (see Kuzio 2020a). Ukraine was imagined in Polish and Russian literature as terra incognita, an empty land the place chaos reigned and the place there was a necessity for the imposition of order by extra ‘civilised’ peoples.

Said’s (1995, 7, 15) orientalism is mirrored within the relationship of energy and cultural hegemony in western writing of ‘Russian’ historical past, Crimea, and the Russia-Ukraine disaster. Said (1994, 96) factors out, ‘Almost all colonial schemes begin with an assumption of native backwardness and general inadequacy to be independent, “equal,” and fit.’ To legitimise colonial rule, the colonies of European empires, Irish, and Ukrainians had been handled as backward, ignorant, barbarians, risks to civilisation, kids, gullible, devoid of vitality, crafty, dishonest, treacherous, liars, and cheats (Said 1995, 35, 38–40, 39–40, 59, 228, 232, 328).

In the Russian-Ukrainian ‘colonizer-colonised’ relationship, ‘Russia endures disobedience from these leaders in the way adults endure naughty children’ (Minchenia, Tornquist-Plewa and Yurchuk 2018, 225). When Lukashenka and Yanukovych have behaved in assist of Russia’s pursuits, they had been inspired and pardoned. When they didn’t, they had been castigated as ‘traitors’ and ‘Russophobes.’ Russian nationalism (imperialism) is offered as benevolence that conserves ‘Russian feelings of superiority over its neighbours and endorsing among the Russians the ruling logistics of dominance’ (Minchenia, Tornquist-Plewa and Yurchuk 2018, 226). Igor Gretskiy (2020, 19) writes, ‘What the Kremlin wants from the Ukrainian government is the public demonstration of compliance with Moscow’s preponderance.’ When this didn’t happen in 2004 or 2014, the Kremlin grew to become indignant and retaliated in opposition to Ukraine. Russian political technologist Gleb Pavlovsky described 2004 as ‘Putin’s 9/11’ (Krastev 2005). Would Hiroshima or Nagasaki be the easiest way to explain 2014 for Putin?

Western imperialists introduced ‘civilisation’ to ‘backward peoples’ who had been unable to rule themselves. The colonies are ‘a subject race, dominated by a race that knows them and what is good for them better than they could possibly know themselves’ (Said 1995, 35). Colonial rule was justified within the identify of progress by a extra ‘civilised’ individuals.

There is an extended historical past of Russian nationwide identification, which claims ethical superiority over a ‘degenerate West.’ Solzhenitsyn complained a few ‘degenerate West’ throughout his western exile within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties. Russian nationalists (imperialists) consider that Tsarist Russian and Soviet rule had been useful to Ukraine and different peoples, and subsequently that life within the Russian World can be higher than within the EU. Eurasianism claims that Russia’s values are superior to European values, rejects western political fashions and embraces the Mongol-Tatar-Eurasian heritage.

The origins of Putin’s ‘neo-revisionism’ are present in long-term Russian inferiority complexes, the place nothing unfavorable is present in Russia’s previous. The most excessive instance of that is the rehabilitation of Stalin (Kuzio 2017b). A cult of Stalin throughout Putin’s presidency has made him the second hottest historic determine in Russia (Tsar Nicholas II got here first).

Laruelle (2020b, 345) denies {that a} full-blown Stalinist cult is rising in Russia, as an alternative describing it as an ‘ambivalent rehabilitation of Stalin by some segments of the Russian political elites.’ Cohen (2019) additionally denies that there’s a cult of Stalin in Russia. Putin’s cult of Stalin has led to excessive numbers of Russians holding a optimistic view of Stalin. By 2019, 52% of Russians held a optimistic view of Stalin, in comparison with solely 16% of Ukrainians. In distinction to Russians, almost three-quarters of Ukrainians (72%) believed, ‘Stalin is a cruel, inhuman tyrant, guilty of the destruction of millions of innocent people’ (Stavlennya Naselennya Ukrayny do Postati Stalina 2019).

In 2019, the Russian Levada Centre, the final remaining impartial suppose tank and polling organisation in Russia, wrote:

There isn’t any important age differentiation in relation to views of the chief – in all age cohorts and generational teams, a optimistic notion of Stalin now dominates over a unfavorable one, though 18–24-year-olds in Russia are usually extra detached than others. At the identical time, the dynamic pattern of opinions between 2012 to 2019, even within the youngest age group, signifies acceptance of the norm of the older generations with younger individuals starting to precise optimistic assessments extra typically to keep away from answering questions concerning the chief. Support for the optimistic picture of Stalin and the romanticisation of the Soviet period are attribute not solely of respondents with communist views, but in addition of supporters of different political events (Stavlennya Naselennya Ukrayny do Postati Stalina 2019).

Academic orientalism describes European colonies and Ukraine as synthetic entities, regionally divided and weak states with immature rulers. European depictions of crafty colonial peoples are just like Russian depictions of sly (khytryy) Ukrainians, who excel at intrigue, mendacity, and deception. Left to themselves, colonial peoples and Ukrainians would produce instability and threaten ‘civilised’ order (Said 1995, 328–367). From the nineteenth century to the current day, Russian scholarship, literature, novelists, travelogues, navy expeditions, judges, pilgrims, and bureaucrats have written about Ukrainians as disorganised, uncivilised, despotic, backward, and bloodthirsty individuals (see Riabchuk 2016).

Russian nationalists (imperialists) think about Ukraine as a man-made, failed, and divided state, whose ruling elites have bought their souls to the West (see chapter 4). Being incapable of their very own initiative, Ukrainians are manipulated by the West to pursue ‘Russophobic’ insurance policies and ‘anti-Russian conspiracies’ (Belafatti 2014). Ukraine is seen as a puppet state of the West as a result of, as Said (1994, 1995) noticed, colonists at all times think about these they conquer to be passive subaltern topics unable of changing into energetic topics (Belafatti 2014).

Ukraine’s artificiality is allegedly compounded by its lack of historical past. European colonies and Ukraine are marginalised as ‘un-historic peoples’ in what Said (1994, 1995) describes as a western-imposed, racist hierarchy. European and Russian identities maintain better significance than that of the subaltern topics within the Orient or Ukraine.

Western writing on post-communist international locations has been written from ‘a distorted, hierarchical and, ultimately, orientalist (if not outright racist) perspective on the small countries of Eastern Europe’ (Belafatti 2014). Condescending mentalities have lengthy formed how the West views central-eastern Europe and the previous USSR. In the mid-twentieth century, Hans Kohn (Kuzio 2002) wrote about ‘good’ western and ‘bad’ japanese nationalisms and Said (1994, 1995) wrote about colonial imagining of the Middle East.

Liberals, Realists, and Nationalists (Imperialists)

Since the nineteenth century, hegemonic imperial ideologies in cultures have been a part of European and Russian imaginings of the territories over which they dominated. There was little dissent then in western Europe and there may be little dissent now in Russia over the suitable of sure races to rule over others (Said 1994, 62). British and Russian liberals (e.g. John Stuart Mill, Pyotr Struve, Pyotr Stolypin, Russian liberal Kadets in 1917, and the White military) supported the constructing of empires and a racist hierarchy of peoples (Said 1994, 96, 129; Procyk 1995).

Mill opposed Irish and Indian independence (Smart 1992, 529) as a result of he believed some international locations weren’t able to take this step (Said 1994, 96, 97). European international locations corresponding to Britain had a ‘schizophrenic adherence to both racism and liberalism’ (Weight 2000, 437). Russian intellectuals have ‘granted the empire the role of a Western “civilizing” power with license to repress national resistance in the name of modernization and social reform’ (Shkandrij 2001, 103).

Russian liberalism has at all times ended on the Russian-Ukrainian border. The idea of Russians and Ukrainians as ‘one people’ harks again to Struve, a member of the liberal Kadets and after 1917, the anti-Bolshevik Whites. ‘In 2014, Putin brought about the reincarnation of Struve’s concepts on the highest ranges of Russian politics’ (Plokhy 2017, 341). The phrase ‘Russian Westernisers’ is an oxymoron, as that they had at all times been suspicious of any Ukrainian motion (Plokhy 2017, 115). In the nineteenth century, a number one Russian ‘Westerniser,’ Vissarrion Belinsky, criticised Ukrainians corresponding to Shevchenko for searching for independence for Ukraine as a result of a union with Russia gave them a chance to beat their earlier ‘semi-barbaric way of life’ (Shkandrij 2001, 121). Similar colonial racism typified British views of Ireland (see Kuzio 2020a). Belinsky wrote, ‘Oh those khokhly! [a racist term for Ukrainians]. They are just dumb sheep, but they liberalise in the name of dumplings with pig fat!’ (Plokhy 2017, 116). Ukrainians are stereotyped as eaters of lard (pig fats [salo]) simply as Irish are of potatoes.

There had been a small variety of exceptions, corresponding to Aleksandr Herzen, the daddy of Russian populism and socialism, in addition to Russian dissidents Bukovsky and Amalrik. Writing in January 1859 in The Bell printed in London, Herzen described the struggling inflicted upon Ukrainians by ‘Muscovites’ and requested why Russians had been shocked that Ukrainians don’t want to be both Poles or Russians: ‘As I see it, the question is to be decided very simply. In that case, Ukraine should be recognised as a free and independent country’ (Plokhy 2017, 128). Herzen had let the cat out of the bag.

During the Cold War, the Russian diaspora within the West was dominated by the National Alliance of Russian Solidarists (NTS), which continued supporting Tsarist Russian and White émigré views of Ukraine and Ukrainians. Émigré Eurasiasnists who, like NTS, emerged from the youthful era of White émigrés, got here round to supporting Stalin’s nationwide Bolshevism. NTS’s monopoly was challenged starting within the Nineteen Seventies with the arrival within the West of exiled democratic Russian dissidents, corresponding to Bukovsky. Russian democrats weren’t anti-Ukrainian, however they hardly ever commented on nationality questions within the USSR. Ukrainian dissidents and nationalists had good relations with Jewish dissidents and non-Russian nationalists.

In the post-Soviet period, most Russian liberals developed into nationalists in the course of the Nineteen Nineties. Alexei Navalnyi (2012a, 2012b) started speaking of Russians and Ukrainians as ‘one people’ similtaneously Putin (see Laruelle 2014b, 281). In 2014, Navalnyi stated, ‘I don’t see any form of distinction at all between Russians and Ukrainians’ (Dolgov 2014; Bukkvoll 2016, 270). It is subsequently unusual that almost all western political scientists engaged on Russia have ignored what number of elements of the Russian opposition have taken Putin’s chauvinism in the direction of Ukrainians on board. At the identical time, it’s mistaken for students to explain opposition politicians corresponding to Navalnyi as professing ‘liberal nationalism’ as a result of there may be nothing liberal in Navalnyi’s attitudes in the direction of Ukraine (see Kolsto 2014; Laruelle 2014b; Hale 2016).

There are a number of exceptions that might be described as Russian liberals. Grigory Yavlinsky, chief of the Yabloko occasion, believes that Crimea has a proper to self-determination, however he opposed the usage of Russian troops to realize this (see Bacon 2015). Boris Nemtsov (who was assassinated in February 2015) and Garry Kasparov opposed the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. In the Nineteen Nineties, Nemtsov had completely different views and supported the combination of the three japanese Slavs and Russian ‘economic expansion’ (quite than navy aggression) into ‘Crimea, beginning in Sevastopol.’

On Crimea, there isn’t a such factor as Russian ‘liberalism.’ Nemtsov supported Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s claims to the port of Sevastopol, describing it as a ‘Russian city acquired with Russian blood.’[1] The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), LDPRF, Just Russia, Other Russia (successor to the National Bolshevik Party led by Eduard Limonov), and exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky have supported Crimea’s annexation. Russia’s hottest opposition chief, Navalnyi, has stated on many events that Crimea won’t be returned to Ukraine (see Dolgov 2014).

Russian and European imperialists believed that they possessed ‘inalienable’ rights to Eurasia and the Middle East, respectively. Russia is seen as possessing a ‘hierarchical superior position’ in Crimea, Ukraine, and Eurasia, which Ukrainians don’t have any proper to query. Ukrainians ought to settle for their place in ‘an order of things in which Russia’ dominates (Belafatti 2014).

The 2014 Russia-Ukraine disaster has introduced collectively the western left- and right-wing realists (Mearsheimer 2014; Menon & Rumer 2015), who agree that Ukraine is of course a part of Russia’s sphere of affect, and non-Russians in Eurasia ‘are denied the dignity of actors in the process’ with no proper to decide on their alignment (Belafatti 2014). Such views permeate realist proposals about how Eurasia ought to be configured by Russia and the West in a brand new grand cut price[2] – over the heads of Ukrainians, simply as this was undertaken in 1945 over japanese Europe within the Yalta Agreement signed by the victorious allied powers.[3]

Left-wing critics and right-wing realists each deny company to Ukraine and small international locations to find out their future, believing that the destiny of nations corresponding to Ukraine ought to be determined by the good powers. Bizarrely, subsequently, left-wing students grew to become followers of populist nationalist Trump (Cohen 2019). In searching for Trump’s election, ‘Russia wanted the deal clinched by the great powers and imposed on Ukraine’ (Charap and Colton 2017, 131).

Downplaying Russian and exaggerating Ukrainian nationalism lays blame on Kyiv for the Donbas War. Just because the West is blamed for democracy promotion and fomenting color revolutions, and as NATO and EU enlargement are blamed for resulting in the disaster, so too are Ukrainian leaders blamed for preventing, quite than negotiating. While Putin presumably shares little to no duty, President Poroshenko was blamed for unleashing a struggle after he was elected in May 2014, quite than searching for compromise.

Hahn (2018, 253, 264) blames the Ukrainian authorities for launching an ‘unnecessary war’ accompanied by struggle crimes, human rights abuses, and a ‘dehumanising’ discourse. Pijl (2018, 8) compares Ukraine’s navy actions from April 2014 as just like these carried out by Georgia, which launched an ‘invasion’ of South Ossetia in 2008. Pijl (2018) is clearly unaware that international locations can not ‘invade’ their very own territories.

Imaging the War Through Russian Sources

The disaster in relations between Russia and the West following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and navy aggression in japanese Ukraine has led to a lot of publications and the proliferation of poor scholarship. Scholars have written concerning the disaster from the vantage level of their subject of speciality, whether or not Russian and Eurasian space research, worldwide relations, realism, and safety research. Other have added chapters on Ukraine to books that had been already in manufacturing.

The Euromaidan, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and Russian hybrid warfare in japanese Ukraine have led to the publication of over 500 scholarly and suppose tank books, journal articles, and papers (for a partial bibliography see Kuzio 2017c, 363-399). Western scholarship on the disaster is just not dominated by a pro-Ukrainian perspective or an official Ukrainian interpretation of the battle. Claims to this impact relaxation upon stereotypes that exaggerate the affect of the Ukrainian ‘nationalist’ diaspora (see Matveeva 2017, 276; Molchanov 2018, 73, 227; Sakwa, 2015, 257). The Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) don’t historically cowl politics and worldwide relations and have largely ignored Crimea and the Russian-Ukrainian War. Harvard Ukrainian Studies and the East-West/Journal of Ukrainian Studies have printed no articles on the 2014 disaster, Crimea, or Donbas War.[4]

Scholars of Russian politics have continued to assert experience on the non-Russian international locations that emerged as impartial states after 1991. In the Soviet period, journey was restricted past Moscow to delicate republics, corresponding to Ukraine, however this isn’t the case in the present day. The Internet additionally supplies students with extensively accessible main sources from Ukraine, lots of that are in Russian. The official web sites of the Ukrainian president, parliament, and authorities can be found in Ukrainian and Russian.[5] The majority of Ukrainian media have Russian-language pages or are printed in each Russian and Ukrainian. Three of Ukraine’s 5 weekly political magazines are printed in Russian: Fokus, Korrespondent, and Novoye Vremya, and two are printed in Ukrainian: Kray and Ukrayinskyy Tyzhden.

MA and PhD college students are instructed to make use of main sources and undertake fieldwork in pursuing their analysis. This recommendation is ignored by students of Russia writing on Ukraine (Sakwa 2015, 2017a; Toal 2017; Charap and Colton 2017), who rely closely on secondary sources and quotes from official Russian sources.

While citing sources from Russia on 75 events, Sakwa’s 16 Ukrainian sources are all from the English-language Kyiv Post. One wonders whether or not exterior reviewers would supply optimistic evaluations of a manuscript a few hypothetical Ukrainian invasion of Russia if it solely used sources from the English-language Moscow News.Mark Galeotti’s (2016) research of hybrid warfare makes use of no Ukrainian sources from a rustic that has skilled the best affect of Russian hybrid warfare and which has printed many research of hybrid warfare (see Russia’s ‘Hybrid’ War – Challenge and Threat for Europe 2016; Horbulin 2017).

The overwhelming majority of western authors writing concerning the disaster and struggle have by no means travelled to Ukraine. One Ukrainian professional notes, ‘Many people participate in the discussions about the Donbas. Far fewer of them actually went there. The lack of real experts on the region is noticeable’ (Mairova 2017, 83). While many students might not want to comply with within the footsteps of this creator in travelling to the Donbas warzone, this doesn’t excuse the absence of fieldwork analysis in Kyiv, and southeastern Ukraine. Few western publications on the disaster embody interviews with Ukrainian officers, civil society activists, and safety forces in Kyiv, and in southeastern Ukraine.

Anna Matveeva (2018) travelled to Russian-controlled Donbas enclaves and to Moscow, the place she carried out interviews in the midst of her fieldwork, and her ebook supplies a bottom-up view of the Donbas War. This may have been extra balanced if comparable fieldwork had been undertaken in Kyiv and southeastern Ukraine, together with in Ukrainian-controlled Donbas. Seemingly, tutorial orientalism doesn’t consider that the Ukrainian viewpoint is worthy of research or quotation. 

Interviews in southeastern Ukraine would have illuminated the views of Russian audio system, historically wrongly stereotyped as ‘pro-Russian’ by Western students and journalists writing about Ukraine. The failure of Putin’s ‘New Russia’mission in Ukraine’s eight southeastern oblasts brings out the significance of interviews with main sources on the bottom (see O’Loughlin, Toal, and Kolosov 2016; Kuzio 2019a). Ukrainian opinion polls accessible on the Internet are helpful for researchers; nonetheless, nothing is extra illuminating than speaking to individuals within the midst of a battle as a result of, all through historical past, wars have sped up the crystallisation of nationwide identification (Smith 1981). By not doing fieldwork, students ignore an intellectually rewarding alternative to analysis an important second within the remaking of Ukrainian nationwide identification and Russian-Ukrainian relations.

Manipulating Opinion Polls

Manipulation of polling knowledge to supply ‘evidence’ for pre-conceived views that search to show that there’s assist for pro-Russian separatism in Crimea. In 1991, 93% of Crimeans didn’t vote for a ‘separate Crimean republic,’ however quite for upgrading their oblast into an autonomous republic of Soviet Ukraine (Pijl 2018, 87). In writing that Crimea ‘never reconciled itself with its place in an independent Ukraine,’ Pijl (2018, 40) goals to show that Crimea eagerly awaited its ‘liberation’ and return to Russia in 2014. This unscholarly declare has no relationship to historic details.

Presenting Crimea’s annexation as a ‘return to normality’ has been undertaken by some western students misusing sociological knowledge to make the case {that a} majority of the peninsula’s inhabitants have at all times supported separatism. This was by no means the case. In his desperation to seek out sociological knowledge displaying a majority of Crimeans supporting separatism, Sakwa (2017a, 155) writes, ‘Already in 2008 the Razumkov Centre for Economic and Political Studies (hereafter Razumkov Centre) ‘polling agency’ discovered that 63.8 % of Crimean’s wished to secede from Ukraine to affix Russia.’ Sakwa’s manipulation of Razumkov Centre polling knowledge to painting majority assist in Crimea for separatism is cited by different Putinversteher students, Ploeg (2017), Pijl (2018, 40), and Hahn (2018, 235). Sakwa’s (2017a, 157) description of Crimea’s annexation as ‘democratic secession’ is predicated on opinion polls that don’t exist. In a uncommon second of doubt, Sakwa (2017a, 157) concedes that it was additionally ‘imperial annexation’ as a result of Russia had not reached an ‘agreement with the country from which the territory seceded.’ Elsewhere Sakwa (2017b, 10) admits that there was no majority assist for separatism in Crimea or the Donbas.

The Razumkov Centre (AR Krym: Lyudy, Problemy, Perspektyvy 2008, 19-22) defined that the polling knowledge cited by Sakwa (2017a, 157) present a disorientation of Crimeans over the standing of their autonomous republic, which meant ‘supporting at times mutually exclusive alternatives.’ Half (50.1%) selected ‘at least one of the options, which involves the Crimea leaving Ukraine, and one of the other alternatives that will allow it to stay in the future within Ukraine.’ The Razumkov Centre concluded that ‘half of the Crimeans, depending on circumstances, can support both the separation of Crimea from Ukraine as well as the opposite scenario’ (AR Krym: Lyudy, Problemy, Perspektyvy 2008).

This was not an endorsement of pro-Russian separatism that Sakwa (2017a) claimed; quite it mirrored confused identities that had been commonplace in post-Soviet states, corresponding to in Ukraine in the course of the Nineteen Nineties. Prior to 2014, no opinion ballot had ever given majority assist for separatism in Crimea, and definitely nothing of the magnitude that Russia claimed in its March 2014 referendum. Typically, polls gave assist for a Crimean impartial state and union with Russia, each wrongly conflated below the label of ‘separatism,’ with roughly 40% assist. Not a single opinion ballot previous to 2014 gave over 50% assist for ‘separatism’ in Crimea.

Non-Scholarly External Review Process and Unscholarly Analysis

Factual errors in a lot of the writing concerning the Russian-Ukrainian War are a product of poor, ideologically pushed scholarship that ought to have been flagged by exterior reviewers. Pijl’s (2018) ebook can not, for instance, be described as tutorial when it contains citations from Wikipedia and conspiracy theories from Putin’s propaganda tv channel Russia Today.

A equally curious case of the absence of a diligent exterior overview course of is that of Boris Kagarlitsky, Radhika Desai, and Alan Freeman (2018), whose ebook compiled proceedings from a convention held in May 2014 in what was then Russian occupied Crimea. Indeed, why would established western students attend such a convention three months after Putin annexed Ukrainian territory? One wonders how the exterior reviewers utilized by Routledge allowed this to slide by way of.

It is suspicious that Putinversteher students present endorsements on the surface covers of one another’s books, main one to marvel in the event that they had been the ‘blind reviewers’ for Pijl (2018) and Kagarlitsky, Desai, and Freeman (2018). They cite each other liberally, particularly Sakwa (2015).

Poor data about Ukraine results in quite a few errors in books concerning the disaster and once more leads one to ask concerning the low high quality of the exterior overview course of. Hahn (2018) contains so many errors that it will require a separate chapter to debate them. Just a few of them embody (Hahn 2018, 118, 165, 249) western Ukraine described as ‘Catholic,’ when 4 of its seven oblasts are Orthodox, chesno translated as garlic and honesty, when the Ukrainian phrase for garlic is chisnyk. Not solely has Hahn (2018) by no means visited Ukraine, he almost certainly has by no means studied a map of Ukraine as he describes Chernihiv as a ‘western region,’ when it’s positioned in northeastern Ukraine. Hahn’s dedication to pigeonhole all ‘Ukrainian nationalists’ as coming from western Ukraine is almost certainly why he has geographically positioned Chernihiv in Ukraine’s west. Doing so is as a result of many of those students can not settle for the existence of Russian-speaking Ukrainian and Jewish patriotism in japanese Ukraine.

Claiming that western and central Ukraine are the poorest areas of the nation ignores Kyiv, which is the wealthiest metropolis in Ukraine (Hahn 2018, 121). To show his level that Ukraine is a man-made assemble, Hahn artificially lowers the proportion of the inhabitants that’s ethnic Ukrainian. Current figures present that 92% of the inhabitants declare themselves to be ethnically Ukrainian, whereas solely 6% are ethnic Russians (amongst 18–29-year-old, solely 2%).

Pijl (2018, 25) ignores the truth that the Holodomor has been accepted as an act of genocide by each Ukrainian president (Kuzio, 2017b). During Kuchma’s presidency, the Party of Regions upheld the official place of the Holodomor as a genocide, solely adopting the Russian place after 2005–2006 and particularly throughout Yanukovych’s presidency in 2010–2014. Throughout his ebook, Pijl (2018, 40) portrays japanese Ukrainian politicians as pro-federalist, which is factually inaccurate; no president, together with japanese Ukrainians Kuchma and Yanukovych, and no political occasion, together with the Party of Regions and Communist Party of Ukraine, has supported federalism.

In downplaying Yanukovych’s plunder of Ukraine, Pijl (2018, 83) writes that he despatched his ‘private possessions’ to Russia earlier than fleeing Kyiv. In truth, as safety digicam footage at his palace confirmed, an enormous quantity of stolen loot, corresponding to gold bars, artwork, and different valuables had been taken with him when he fled Kyiv in February 2014. While downplaying Yanukovych’s looting of Ukraine, Putin is offered as a president who positioned ‘limits on oligarchic enrichment’ (Pijl 2018, 158), an announcement which has no relationship to the kleptocracy that Russia has turn into on his watch (see Dawisha 2014; Belton 2020; Sakwa 2017b, 19, 22).

In Love with Conspiracy Theories

Academic orientalist writing concerning the Donbas War loves conspiracies (see Ploeg 2017, 36–68), which may have been taken from Russian data struggle templates. There are 4 key conspiracies.

The first is that the Euromaidan was a US-backed conspiracy by ‘Ukrainian nationalists,’ who dominated the ranks of protestors and who proceed to affect Ukrainian politics closely. Hahn (2018, 285) writes that the ‘deep political paralysis’ in Ukraine is ‘driven by the ultranationalist and neo-fascist wings of the Ukrainian polity.’ Ukrainian nationalists dominate post-Euromaidan Ukrainian politics (Sakwa 2015, 99, 320; Cohen 2019, 61, 84, 91, 126, 144. 180, 181; Pijl 2018, 1, 5).

An ‘extraordinary level of repression in post-Euromaidan Ukraine’ was allegedly the norm (Ploeg 2017, 176). ‘Galicia-based Ukrainianness’ and the ‘inordinate influence’ of the Ukrainian diaspora had been omnipresent (Molchanov 2018, 73). Cohen’s (2019, 44, 144) declare of ‘pro-Yanukovych’ events being banned is full fiction. The Opposition Bloc and Opposition Platform-For Life, two successors to the Party of Regions, have participated in each election held since 2014. D’Anieri (2018) has analysed how the lack of 16% of Ukrainian voters in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine is among the causes for the discount within the pro-Russian vote, not as a result of Ukrainian polls manipulate Ukrainian views of Russians (Petro 2016, 2018).

Matveeva (2018, 53) wrongly claims that President Yushchenko closed Russian language tv broadcasts, claiming there was ‘no Russian permitted until the 2012 language law was passed.’ Ukraine’s hottest tv channel Inter has at all times broadcasted primarily in Russian, together with below Presidents Yushchenko, Poroshenko, and Zelenskyy. Far extra Russian-language print media are printed in Ukraine than are Ukrainian-language print media. Medvedchuk, Putin’s consultant in Ukraine, owns three tv channels – NewsOne, 112, and Zik, and exerts a excessive degree of affect over Inter by way of his political allies in Opposition Platform-For Life.

Seeking to assert that Ukrainianisation occurred, Matveeva (2016, 27) writes that Yushchenko’s presidency ‘dealt a decisive blow to Russian language in Donbas.’ That that is unfaithful is past query, as a result of there have been few Ukrainian-language faculties on this area previous to 2014. What is weird is that Matveeva’s accusation is predicated on a quotation from an undated article in RusBalt News Agency, which was closed down in October 2013 by the Russian authorities, and from an undated interview with Alexei Volynets. Presumably official Ukrainian statistics and opinion polls wouldn’t have backed up her declare and therefore had been by no means used.

The second conspiracy is that the snipers who killed Euromaidan protestors had been Ukrainian nationalists, not Berkut particular forces from the Ministry of Interior. Russia later re-modelled this conspiracy idea by claiming that Georgian snipers, organised by former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, killed the protestors.[6]

This conspiracy idea was developed by Ivan Katchanovski (2016), who’s the one supply cited by all Putinversteher students for this alleged false flag operation on the Euromaidan. Katchanowski’s (2016) work displays that of a political technologist greater than that of a scholar by way of his extremely selective compilation of sources gleaned from conspiratorial corners of the Internet and YouTube. That the conspiracy is bogus could be seen within the six imprisoned Berkut officers whom Russia sought within the December 2019 prisoner alternate (see chapter 6).

Katchanowski (2016) is cited by all Putinversteher students (Sakwa (2015, 320; Hahn 2018, 199; Ploeg 2017, 38, 41; Pijl 2018, 80; Cohen 2019, 144, 179). Ploeg (2018, 174–176) cites Katchanowski (2016) on thirty events, a few of them being very lengthy quotations. David Lane (2018, 146) praises the ‘detailed research of Ivan Katchanowski’ (2016). Hahn (2018, 200-201) writes that there’s ‘no evidence’ of police shootings, and that safety forces ‘seemed to demonstrate some restraint,’ downplaying human rights abuses by the safety forces and Party of Regions vigilantes. One significantly brutal kidnapping within the Euromaidan is described as a ‘faked’ abduction (Hahn 2018, 218).

Proof that the killings had been undertaken by Berkut has been proven by journalists (Harding 2014), 3D analysis (Schwartz 2018; Chornokondratenko and Williams 2018), and tutorial research (see bibliography in Kuzio 2017c, 363–367). There is little dispute among the many broad mainstream of students, consultants, and policymakers that Yanukovych’s vigilantes and Berkut riot police killed and wounded Euromaidan protestors.

The third conspiracy is that ‘Ukrainian nationalists’ are accountable for the two May 2014 hearth in Odesa, which killed 48 protestors, 42 of whom had been pro-Russian activists. The Odesa hearth was deliberate by Kyiv utilizing ‘Ukrainian nationalists’ who had been ‘disguised as civilians and pretending to be “separatists” who fired at Ukrainians’ (Hahn 2018, 109, 260, 262; Pijl 2018, 109; Ploeg 2017, 129). Sakwa’s (2015, 97–99) important supply of knowledge for this conspiracy is the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ White Book (he makes use of no Ukrainian sources). This unsurprisingly exaggerates the variety of deaths into the a whole lot as a ‘massacre’ with ‘beatings’ and ‘rapes’ dedicated by ‘Ukrainian nationalists’ to the chants of ‘Glory to Ukraine.’

This conspiracy ignores the presence of nationalists (imperialists) and neo-Nazis from Russia and the Trans-Dniestr area, who had been energetic in Odesa from February 2014. Russian neo-Nazi chief Anton Raevskyj, who referred to as for violent assaults in opposition to Ukrainians and Jews in Odesa, was expelled from Ukraine on 29 March 2014.

Fieldwork and interviews in Odesa had been by no means undertaken, and Ukrainian sources had been ignored. The in depth work of Odesa journalists and video footage was utilized by this creator to compile ‘The Odesa Conflict on 2 May 2014: A Chronology of What Took Place’ (see Table 11.1. in Kuzio 2017c, 334–337). In Odesa, the primary deaths on 2 May 2014 had been of pro-Ukrainian protestors. Both sides had been capturing at one another from and into the Trade Union constructing. Both sides threw Molotov cocktails from inside and into the constructing, which set hearth to the constructing. Of the 48 individuals who died, six died from gunshot wounds, 34 from smoke inhalation and burns, and eight from leaping from the hearth to their deaths.

The fourth conspiracy is that US and NATO led Ukraine’s navy technique. Ploeg (2017, 226) writes, ‘It seems reasonable to suggest that Ukraine’s struggle technique is closely influenced by Washington.’ US ‘directed regime change’ in Kyiv by ‘neo-conservatives in the US government and NATO’ labored by way of ‘fascists,’ ‘nationalists,’ ‘Blackwater’ mercenaries, the CIA, and the FBI (Pijl, 2018, 30, 69, 105). Perhaps Pijl (2018) and his exterior reviewers at Manchester University Press had been unaware that, in 2014, the US was led by Democratic President Barack Obama, who was not a neo-conservative and neither supported democracy promotion nor NATO and EU enlargement.

Pijl’s (2018) function is to deflect blame for the capturing down of MH17 from Russia to Ukraine and the West. Pijl (2018, 29) discusses MH17 as a part of a Western conspiracy of the EU Eastern Partnership (which he describes because the ‘Atlantic project’), the place Ukraine can be reworked into an ‘advance post for NATO’ (Pijl 2018, 147). Ukraine can be used ‘to destabilise the Putin presidency’ (Pijl 2018, 76).


A lot of scholarly articles, suppose tank papers, and books have been printed on the 2014 Russia-Ukraine disaster, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and Russian navy aggression in opposition to Ukraine. Many of those are glorious. They are cited on this ebook and could be discovered within the references. There is a lot of scholarly articles primarily based on ground-breaking analysis, typically carried out by a brand new era of political scientists.

Academic orientalist imagining of Ukraine is, nonetheless, evident in students primarily utilizing sources from Russia when writing on the Russia-Ukrainian disaster. The roots of educational orientalism lie in Western histories of ‘Russia’ and Crimea, political scientists who work on Russia appearing as ‘gatekeepers’ to Russian and Eurasian research within the western world, and western journalists persevering with to cowl the complete former USSR from Moscow. Academic orientalist views of Ukraine are fleshed out within the subsequent chapter, through which nationalism in Ukraine and Russia is mentioned. Orientalism at all times depicts nationalism in colonies in a unfavorable method and the nationalism of the imperialist hegemon in a beneficial gentle. In the identical method, modern tutorial orientalism – as proven within the subsequent chapter – exaggerates the affect and cruelty of Ukrainian nationalism and downplays the existence and nationalist (imperialist) drive of Russian nationalism.

[1] Tass, 20–21 January 1997.



[4] and

[5] The official Russian-language pages of the web sites of the Ukrainian president:; parliament:; and authorities:


Further Reading on E-International Relations