Tatiana Zhurzhenko

Inner-party factionalism, political compromises, and corruption scandals: the year following the Orange Revolution has been an annus horribilis for the new Ukrainian government. Added to its woes have been setbacks in foreign relations, first in signing a detrimental deal with Russia over gas supplies, second in having its aspirations for EU membership thwarted. Despite improvements in democratic freedoms, the Orange movement feels let down by its political representatives. Just how far this is the case emerged when the votes were counted in the elections on 26 March.

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Have borders become irrelevant with the project of a united Europe, which is supposed to overcome the historical divisions of the continent and the political isolation of its East? No, just the opposite. In a focal point guest-edited by Tatiana Zhurzhenko, essayists and researchers look at the dilemmas of border building and cross-border cooperation in the EU and its neighbourhood.

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Why has no one called the victory of Bolivian president Evo Morales a “revolution”, despite it sharing some of the characteristics of the “coloured revolutions” in post-Soviet countries? Because unlike the politics of the coloured revolutionaries, which has been about complying with Western norms and values, the leftist nationalism of Morales challenges the established hierarchy of the global order, says Tatiana Zhurzhenko. Is Morales’s victory an anachronism, the last socialist revolution of the twentieth century, or a new type of response to social injustice from outside globalization’s charmed circle?

Most intellectuals agree that Ukraine is dramatically polarized along an East-West axis. The differences manifest themselves in linguistic differences and cultural orientation, especially however in different interpretations of the national history. How can this split be overcome in order to avoid a drifting apart between the ‘europeanized’ West and the more ‘russified’ East?