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Conflict‐prevention in a transition state: The Crimean issue in post‐Soviet Ukraine

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Ukraine's post‐Soviet state‐building has been characterized by two simultaneous, yet contradictory trends: the strengthening of the political institutions of the central state and a process of selective autonomization in Crimea. The Crimean issue with its different ethnic, historical, regional and international dimensions posed a considerable challenge to the ‘new’ Ukraine. Ethno‐regional conflict was widely expected to erupt in Crimea during the first half of the 1990s. Parallel institution‐building at the regional and national levels, in particular the protracted elite bargaining over Crimean autonomy, helped to integrate the region into the Ukrainian polity. This article argues that the political process behind the establishment of Crimean autonomy has been far more significant for conflict prevention than the actual institutional outcome which is politically weak, albeit symbolically significant.
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... The literature would suggest a host of reasons, from geopolitics and state capacity to proxy wars and competing oligarchs (Fedotov 2015;Dragneva & Wolczuk 2016;Kulyk 2016Kulyk , 2019). Yet it is hard to escape the ethnic dimensions that exist between the nominal Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking communities in Ukraine, which are the focus of much of the existing literature around the ethnopolitics of the former Soviet Union (Furtado & Hechter 1992;Brubaker 1994;Smith & Wilson 1997;Sasse 2002). We say 'nominal' because the overlap between ethnicity and language is at best tenuous; besides, the situation is too complex to simply say that there exists an ethnic Ukrainian side and an ethnic Russian side with overlapping languages split down the middle. ...
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Article
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In the aftermath of the EU’s diplomatic mission to resolve the Orange Revolution in 2004, several Russian policy makers perceived the EU as an aggressive actor which sought to undermine Russia’s influence in the post-Soviet space. About a decade later, Russian policy makers are mocking the EU’s limited abilities in the ongoing Ukraine crisis. The purpose of this article is to explain the reasons for this change of the EU’s abilities by focusing on its state-building in Ukraine. The article examines the EU’s state-building initiatives in Ukraine between November 2013 and July 2015. The article assesses the factors which shape the EU’s state-building in Ukraine. It argues that the EU’s state-building was hampered by two interrelated factors. First, the EU did not possess the policy tools to counter-balance Russia’s affirmative foreign policy towards Ukraine which was reflected in Crimea’s annexation to Russia. Second, as a consequence, this annexation turned Ukraine into a case of contested statehood. © 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.