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ARCHIVES  Danyliw Seminar 2017

Oleksandr Melnyk

U of Alberta, Canada

Oleksandr Melnyk is a Bayduza Post-doctoral Fellow at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at University of Alberta and has published several articles on World War II era Soviet and Ukrainian history. His current area of research focus is related to state-making and state-breaking in the Ukrainian-Russian borderlands from 2014 to present. 

PRESENTATION

Abstract

The Politics of State-Making and State-Breaking in the UkrainianRussian Ethnic Borderlands: Decentralized Insurrection and Charismatic Warlordism, April-August 2014

In 2014 the Ukrainian government struggled to stabilize the politically volatile situation in South-Eastern Ukraine as groups of radical activists occupied the Secret Service of Ukraine headquarters and the Kharkiv regional administration. These developments marked a transition from the political struggle over the legitimacy of the post-revolutionary government to armed insurrection and the efforts to create new state entities through the use of force. This paper maps the parameters of the insurgency movement prior to the direct military intervention by Russia in August 2014. It explains the phenomenon of charismatic warlordism and explores the political profile of the various armed groups that comprised the insurgent forces, their tactics and their relationships with each other, with civilians, and with the Russian state. By situating the activities of these groups in a broader political, cultural and military conflict, the author sheds life on the little-known historical aspects of the war in the Ukrainian-Russian ethnic borderlands.