Mykola Riabchuk


Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv

EURIAS Senior Visiting Fellow
(September 2013 – June 2014)


Muddling Through in a Grey Zone: Divergent Trajectories of the Hybrid Regimes after Communism

The project aims at a study of the post-communist transformations in a large group of states, Ukraine in particular, stuck for years in a “grey zone” between unconsolidated democracy and unconsolidated authoritarianism. Of many factors that determine this (under)development, identity split and informal character of national politics are the primary objects of the proposed research.


Previous stays at the IWM:
2001 Milena Jesenská Visiting Fellow


Ukraine: Russian Propaganda and Three Disaster Scenarios

As the Ukrainian presidential election scheduled on May 25 gets closer, Kremlin's window of opportunity for invading the country and derailing its European course is gradually narrowing. The rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin justifying the Anschluss of Crimea and unscrupulous meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs has been based on the premises that there is no legitimate government in Kiev, that it is being run by a gang of Nazis and anti-Semites who took power by coup d'etat and terrorised Russians and Russophones all over the country.
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Revolution in Ukraine: Take Three

The main threat to the revolution comes not from Crimean separatism nor from far-right groups, writes Mykola Riabchuk. The biggest threat comes from within: from old habits and oldboy networks. New politicians are needed to avoid repeating the missed opportunities of 1991 and 2004.
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Zerstörte Illusionen

Im Protest gegen die herrschende Elite in der Ukraine bilden sich neue Allianzen heraus. Trotz zerstörten Hoffnungen werden der gesellschaftliche und der politische Wandel längerfristig nicht aufzuhalten sein.
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Ukraine: Across the Dividing Lines

After a couple of failed attempts to push out protesters from the centre of Kyiv, Ukrainian authorities changed their tactics. They declared the goodwill for roundtable talks with the opposition, released most of the detained protesters from custody, and fired four top officials arguably responsible for the bloody beating of students on November 30.
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Maidan & Beyond: Some Preliminary Conclusions

“Would anyone anywhere in the world be willing to take a truncheon in the head for the sake of a trade agreement with the United States?”, asks Tymothy Snyder acerbically in his article “A Way Out for Ukraine?” knowing the answer perfectly well.
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Raiders’ State

Even Ukrainian cultural journals have become the target of "raiders" – shady groups working on behalf of powerful interests who use bogus property claims to close down businesses. The biggest raider of all is the Yanukovych government itself, says Mykola Riabchuk.
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Tymoshenko: Wake-up call for the EU

Back in April 2010, I happened to talk to the ambassador of a leading EU country in Kyiv. My message was short: “How can you tolerate everything that is going on over here?” I meant, first of all, the parliamentary coup d’etat staged in March, shortly after Viktor Yanukovych’s inauguration, when a parliamentary majority was …
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They Will Not Sing

During my schooldays, I heard an interesting account of the etymology of the word “shantrapa” (“šantrapá”), broadly used in Soviet slang to define petty thugs or, as a dictionary more politely suggests, “worthless persons”. The word had arguably come from the French “ne chantera pas”, meaning “will not sing”. It referred to actors who lacked …
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Két Ukrajna Miért bizonytalanok az ukránok?

Hungarian translation of “Ukraine: One State, Two Countries” Dolgozatom célja, hogy a ketto”sséget mint az ukrán társadalom és politika fontos jellemzo”jét bemutassam. Jóllehet a ketto”sség szinte mindegyik poszt-kommunista országra jellemzo”, Ukrajna jelenlegi (alul)fejlettségében meghatározó a szerepe. A ketto”sség részint Ukrajna területi, kulturális és nyelvi megosztottságából, részint viszont a szovjet totalitarizmus által az ukrán társadalomra gyakorolt …
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Ukraine: One State, Two Countries?
With Comments.

This paper aims to explore ambivalence in Ukraine as a socio-political phenomenon. Although ambivalence characterizes virtually every post-communist country, it is determinant in Ukraine's current (under)development. Broadly confirmed by both empirical evidence and sociological data, ambivalence is a result of Ukraine's regional, cultural and linguistic discrepancies as well as of the atomizing impact of soviet totalitarianism on Ukrainian society. The author argues that this pervasive legacy not only has not been overcome during the first decade of Ukrainian independence, but on the contrary, has deliberately been maintained by the post-soviet elite currently in power as a necessary if not unique condition of its political survival. The March 2002 legislatives in Ukraine are discussed as a graphic example of manipulation, even if the results were not entirely favorable for the regime. The author contends that the nascent civil society in Ukraine, however weak and thwarted it may be, is still quite resilient, giving Ukraine some chance to transform its post-soviet ambivalence into democratic plurality and, hopefully, subsequent unity.
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