Democratization, Corruption, and the New Russian Imperialism

by Taras Kuzio


Ukrainian foreign policy has sought to balance East and West, but satisfies neither.

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Cover image for Ukraine

June 2015


Pages 611
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/International and Transnational Security
  Politics, Law, and Government/International Relations

A definitive contemporary political, economic, and cultural history from a leading international expert, this is the first single-volume work to survey and analyze Soviet and post-Soviet Ukrainian history since 1953 as the basis for understanding the nation today.

Ukraine dominated international headlines as the Euromaidan protests engulfed Ukraine in 2013–2014 and Russia invaded the Crimea and the Donbas, igniting a new Cold War. Written from an insider's perspective by the leading expert on Ukraine, this book analyzes key domestic and external developments and provides an understanding as to why the nation's future is central to European security. In contrast with traditional books that survey a millennium of Ukrainian history, author Taras Kuzio provides a contemporary perspective that integrates the late Soviet and post-Soviet eras.

The book begins in 1953 when Soviet leader Joseph Stalin died during the Cold War and carries the story to the present day, showing the roots of a complicated transition from communism and the weight of history on its relations with Russia. It then goes on to examine in depth key aspects of Soviet and post-Soviet Ukrainian politics; the drive to independence, Orange Revolution, and Euromaidan protests; national identity; regionalism and separatism; economics; oligarchs; rule of law and corruption; and foreign and military policies.

Moving away from a traditional dichotomy of "good pro-Western" and "bad pro-Russian" politicians, this volume presents an original framework for understanding Ukraine's history as a series of historic cycles that represent a competition between mutually exclusive and multiple identities. Regionally diverse contemporary Ukraine is an outgrowth of multiple historical Austrian-Hungarian, Polish, Russian, and especially Soviet legacies, and the book succinctly integrates these influences with post-Soviet Ukraine, determining the manner in which political and business elites and everyday Ukrainians think, act, operate, and relate to the outside world.


  • Integrates late-Soviet and post-Soviet history to explain the continuity of the legacies of the USSR on contemporary Ukraine
  • Provides alternative and original insights into Ukrainian politics that provide an original perspective different from standard frameworks
  • Includes an extensive range of interviews with leading Ukrainian politicians, civic activists, and businesspersons as well as Western policymakers and leaders of the Ukrainian diaspora who provide unique insights into contemporary Ukrainian politics
  • Shares biographical entries that reflect the author's three decades of personal involvement in contemporary Ukraine
  • Draws on a wide range of primary and original sources
  • Features original and previously unseen photographs
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Written by subject experts and well-known researchers, the books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, first responders, economists, journalists, civil servants, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth reflections, thorough analysis, and international perspectives that are unavailable in mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students and researchers as well as anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Taras Kuzio is a senior research associate at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta; senior research fellow at the Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Toronto; and a non-resident fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. His previous positions have been at the University of Birmingham, the University of Toronto, The George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, and Hokkaido University. He has published extensively as a scholar and public intellectual on contemporary Ukraine, post-communist politics, democratization, nationalism, and European security. A noted international expert on Ukraine, Kuzio is the author of Praeger's Dilemmas of State-Led Nation Building in Ukraine, named an "Outstanding Title" by Choice in 2003.



"Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."Choice

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