Vladimir Putin’s ‘ordinary bloke’ appeal is cultivated through calculated breaches of political decorum. Donald Trump’s transgressions also cement his popularity, even if he lacks the traditionally masculine self-restraint of his Russian counterpart.
Tatiana Zhurzhenko is currently a Visiting Professor of Comparative Politics with a specialization in eastern and south-eastern Europe at the University of Vienna. From 2014 to 2018 she was Research Director of the Russia and Ukraine programs at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna and guest editor of the Eurozine focal points Ukraine in European Dialogue and Russia in Global Dialogue.
Her books include Borderlands into Bordered Lands: Geopolitics of Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine (2010) and War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (co-editor, 2017).
What 1917 means for Ukraine, in light of the Maidan
This year marks 100 years since the momentous revolutions in Russia in 1917. The Russian government’s stance on the anniversary is deeply ambivalent, but 2017 offers Ukraine a chance to explore its own centenary of (short-lived) independence, as well as other parts of its national story, as Tatiana Zhurzhenko explains.
The conflict over YUKOS, between Russia’s two most powerful men at the time, became a turning point in post-Soviet Russian history, writes Tatiana Zhurzhenko. The expropriation of YUKOS opened the way to the annexation of Crimea a decade later; meanwhile, a new Russian masculinity was born.
It seems that, subsequent to the “hybrid war” between Ukraine and Russia, reconciliation efforts have ensued – but only at first glance. In fact, what we witness is a continuation of war by other means, writes Tatiana Zhurzhenko. Mapping the growing alienation between the two nations, she asks: under what conditions is dialogue possible?
Memory politics in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict
Seventy years after the end of World War II, writes Tatiana Zhurzhenko, the fight for hegemony in Europe continues – disguised as a conflict of historical master narratives. The beginning of the current round of memory wars in the post-Soviet space can be dated back to 2005, when the sixtieth anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany turned into a loyalty test for the politicians of neighbouring countries.
With Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, the era of post-Soviet tolerance of blurred identities and multiple loyalties has ended. Borderlands, writes Tatiana Zhurzhenko, have once again turned into bloodlands.
Ukraine from November 2013 to February 2014
In these impressions of the Maidan protests collected by Timothy Snyder and Tatiana Zhurzhenko, one hears the voices of those who witnessed history in the making. The role of civil society and the Russian-speaking middle class, as well as individual existential decisions, also come to the fore.
Putinism is not communism, yet it seems that many in the West are willing to understand and even accept Moscow’s actions. So how firm will the West’s stance be in protecting the foundations of European security subverted by Putin’s actions in Ukraine?
A conversation with Tatiana Zhurzhenko
In an interview conducted before Euromaidan commenced, Tatiana Zhurzhenko discusses the intricacies of regional tensions surrounding Ukraine, taking into consideration questions of memory, language and a putative civic, liberal Ukrainian nationalism.
She was once the female icon of the Orange Revolution. Lately, the drama of repressed Ukrainian democracy has been staged upon the immobilized and tortured body of the imprisoned opposition leader. But how much longer can this postmodern political spectacle go on?
The Second World War in post-Soviet memory politics
In post-Soviet societies, narratives of suffering have overtaken heroic triumphalism. Tatiana Zhurzhenko examines reasons for this shift, asking whether new victim narratives reconcile former enemies or provide additional opportunities to articulate hostilities.
As voters go to the polls in Ukraine, Tatiana Zhurzhenko considers the future prospects of a weak and embattled leadership. Do parliamentary elections still matter? Can the cultural and political divide between western and eastern regions of the country ever be overcome?
Ukraine, the EU and the Tymoshenko case
The Ukraine-European Union summit, originally planned for 19 December, was to have brought talks on an Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU to a conclusion. However the conflict over the prosecution of Yuliya Tymoshenko has endangered the process, raising serious doubts about the European aspirations of the current Ukrainian leadership. The country’s future hangs in the balance, writes Tatiana Zhurzhenko.
An interview with Gleb Pavlovsky
Gleb Pavlovsky, the Ukrainian-born former dissident turned “political technologist”, abruptly fell out with the Kremlin in April, reportedly over “indiscreet comments” made about the 2012 presidential elections. In interview with Transit a short while before, Pavlovsky gave a revealing inside view of the workings of political power in the former Soviet Union and in post-Soviet Russia.
The controversy around the statue of the Soviet soldier in Tallinn in April 2007 provided a striking demonstration that Russia remains both an external and an internal factor in the national narratives of the post-Soviet space. Here, history is used to lay claim to European identity and as a means of emancipation from Moscow. In the former socialist satellite states, meanwhile, nationalists are using their opponents’ communist pasts for political capital. Tatiana Zhurzhenko suggests that before we talk about European solidarity, we need to trace the emergent fault lines running through eastern European memory.