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Ukraine and the Empire of Capital – From Marketisation to Armed Conflict

Ukraine and the Empire of Capital
Yuliya Yurchenko
Pluto Press, 2018
Level: advanced
Perspective: Marxian Political Economy
Topic: Crises, Criticism of Capitalism, Economic History, Globalization & International Economic Relations
page count: 284 pages
ISBN: 9780745337371


Since 1991, nominally independent Ukraine has been in turmoil, with the Orange Revolution and the Maidan protests marking its most critical moments. Now, its borders are threatened and the civil unrest and armed conflict continue to destabilise the country. In order to understand these dramatic events, Yuliya Yurchenko looks to the country's post-Soviet past in this ambitious analysis of contemporary Ukrainian political economy. Providing distinctive and unexplored reflections on the origins of the conflict, Yurchenko unpacks the four central myths that underlie Ukraine's post-Soviet reality: the myth of transition, the myth of democracy, the myth of two Ukraines, and the myth of 'the other'. In doing so, she sheds light on the current intensification of class rivalries in Ukraine, the kleptocracy, resource wars and analyses existing and potential dangers of the rightwing shift in Ukraine's polity, stressing a historic opportunity for change. Critiquing the concept of Ukraine as 'transition space', she provides a sweeping analysis which includes the wider neoliberal restructuring of global political economy since the 1970s, with particular focus on Ukraine's relations with the US, the EU and Russia. This is a book for those wanting to understand the current conflict as a dangerous product of neoliberalism, of the empire of capital.

Comment from our editors:

Reconstructing the political and economic history of Ukraine from the fall of the Soviet Union and to onset of the crisis in the Donbas, Yulia Yurchenko provides a crucial background for understanding the current War in Ukraine beyond its concrete manifestation and is an absolute must-read. Her critique of the historical role played by (neoclassical, western) economists in creating the myth of transition and thus contributing to highly unequal and socially devastating path of post-socialist transformation is therein especially valuable for students of economics.

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