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Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands

Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands
Richard Sakwa


The unfolding crisis in Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of a new Cold War. As Russia and Ukraine tussle for Crimea and the eastern regions, relations between Putin and the West have reached an all-time low. How did we get here? Richard Sakwa here unpicks the context of conflicted Ukrainian identity and of Russo-Ukrainian relations and traces the path to the recent disturbances through the events which have forced Ukraine, a country internally divided between East and West, to choose between closer union with Europe or its historic ties with Russia. In providing the first full account of the ongoing crisis, Sakwa analyses the origins and significance of the Euromaidan Protests, examines the controversial Russian military intervention and annexation of Crimea, reveals the extent of the catastrophe of the MH17 disaster and looks at possible ways forward following the October 2014 parliamentary elections. In doing so, he explains the origins, developments and global significance of the internal and external battle for Ukraine.With all eyes focused on the region, Sakwa unravels the myths and misunderstandings of the situation, providing an essential and highly readable account of the struggle for Europe's contested borderlands.

Author Info

Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, an associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia programme at Chatham House, and a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. His main research interests are Russian domestic and international politics, European international relations and comparative democratisation. Recent books include The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession (2011), Putin and the Oligarch: The Khodorkovsky–Yukos Affair (I.B.Tauris, 2014) and Putin Redux: Power and Contradiction in Contemporary Russia (2014).


'[Frontline Ukraine] gives the best analysis yet in book form of events on the ground in eastern Ukraine as well as in Kiev, Washington, Brussels and Moscow... Sakwa makes repeated criticisms of Russian tactics and strategy, but he avoids lazy Putin-bashing and locates the origins of the Ukrainian conflict in a quarter-century of mistakes since the cold war ended.'
Jonathan Steele, Guardian

‘Offers a thoughtful and vividly written corrective to numerous existing ideological accounts of the Ukrainian upheaval... Sakwa offers a new approach to understanding the sudden eruption of a new violent hotspot on the world map’
Serhiy Kudelia, Open Democracy

‘In these fraught times, informed analysis of the causes and context of the crisis is invaluable... Sakwa’s account of the crisis is a powerful critique of Western policy towards Ukraine and Russia.’
John Barber, Times Higher Education

‘Fascinating... an intelligent, well-researched and thoughtful attempt to explain the major crisis of our time. Anybody, whatever he or she might think of the issue, would benefit from reading it.’
Mail on Sunday

‘The great merit of Richard Sakwa’s book is its willingness to challenge the prevailing wisdoms about the Ukraine crisis and to explain how its origins lie in the West’s failure to create an equitable political and security order in Europe after the collapse of communism. It is essential reading to understand the causes and complexities of the Ukraine crisis.’
Angus Roxburgh

‘This is an amazing book challenging the dominant Western narrative… It is a balanced analysis highlighting the deeper causes of this European crisis.’
Gerhard Mangott

Frontline Ukraine is a formidably powerful, well argued and thoroughly sourced attempt to correct world opinion on the Ukrainian conflict. Even those who cannot accept Professor Sakwa’s  underlying case – that the Ukrainian disaster has been brought about more by Western post-Cold War triumphalism than by President Putin’s supposed ‘imperialism’ – will find  invaluable data and perceptions in this brilliant and hard-hitting book.’
Neal Ascherson

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd

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