Introduction

Július Koller, U.F.O.-NAUT J.K. (U.F.O.), 1987, color photograph on paper. 24 × 18 cm. Courtesy of the artist and gb agency, Paris.

Two years after central Kyiv exploded in protest, leading to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies, the situation in Ukraine remains in flux. Russia is visibly decreasing its presence in the rebel-occupied east, but whether Donetsk and Luhansk will be reintegrated into Ukraine or remain “frozen” between two countries as Transnistria and South Ossetia have is unknown. Meanwhile, Western creditors and nationalist forces present their own menacing demands.

The following symposium does not pretend to be definitive about a difficult and in many ways tragic situation. But it does hope to shed light on some aspects of post-Maidan Ukraine that are less often discussed in the West. Anastasiya Osipova reflects on the emotional pressure of life in Kyiv; Tony Wood asks where neoliberal reforms are going to take Ukraine; Sophie Pinkham describes the logic of decommunization; Keith Gessen looks at Western media depictions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict over the past two years; and Nina Potarskaya recalls the trials and tribulations of the Ukrainian left since the protests began on Maidan in November 2013.

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