The Ukraine Syndrome and Europe: Between Norms and Space

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Richard Sakwa School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent,

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It is no accident that the Euromaidan revolution from November 2013 was triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to postpone signing the Association Agreement with the European Union. This paper traces the connection between a certain type of Ukrainian state building, here labelled as monist, and the larger context of European institution building based on the eu, which from the pan-European perspective is also monist. These two monist projects, which fail systemically to allow for alternatives and pluralistic diversity, feed off and mutually reinforce each other. Neither in structural terms can imagine alternatives existing outside of themselves. Both are deeply plural internally, but claim certain hegemonic privileges. By contrast, projects for the constitutional incorporation of pluralistic diversity in Ukraine offer the perspective of national reconciliation, and this would be facilitated by the advancement of some sort of greater European pluralism that would obviate the need to choose between alternative integration projects. The Ukraine syndrome is part of the broader failure in the post-Cold War years to create an inclusive European political order.

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