Contradictions of Post-Soviet Ukraine and the New Left

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2017 ... March 10, 2020

Contradictions of Post-Soviet Ukraine and the New Left

Volodymyr Ishchenko

Ukraine ended the 1980s as one of the most advanced parts of the Soviet super-power with a developed machine-building industry. Thirty years later, Ukraine’s major economic indicators are on a par with many Third World countries. The country is fundamentally dependent on the financial, political, and military support of the West, with politics dominated by a handful of powerful oligarchs, right-wing paramilitaries regularly marching on the streets, and a part of the country annexed by neighboring Russia and another part torn through by the frontline. It can rightfully be called the northernmost country of the Global South. Moreover, there is not any relevant political force with a vision of alternative progressive national development.

Several profound contradictions have defined the dynamics of the Ukrainian economy, politics and society since the collapse of the Soviet Union: the contradiction between transnational and local capital, those between factions of the local capital, Ukrainian national identity contradictions, geopolitical contradictions with Russia, the US, and EU, and contradictions between civil... society, the active public, and Ukrainian society at large. I will first expose them, and then discuss how the Ukrainian new left has been failing to respond to these contradictions with a project for Ukraine’s alternative development.

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