Saturday, 19 April 2014

Déjà Vu? Regionalism and Separatism in Ukraine in a Longer Term Perspective

In 1991 Ukraine emerged as an independent country with strong regional differences. The reconciling of these differences has since represented one of the most profound challenges that Ukraine has faced and failed to address. A lack of effective and systematic efforts to tackle regional diversity has repeatedly presented grave ramifications for Ukraine’s political cohesion and territorial integrity. Rather than diminish, over the last two decades this regional diversity has metamorphosed into a political confrontation, albeit with a changing configuration of parties and elites. As a result, the political contest in today’s Ukraine is still fought along geographical lines, rather than being focused on the problems that plague the country as a whole - such as living standards and corruption - despite their top ranking in public opinion surveys in all its regions.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Welcome to the Centre for Russian and East European Studies' Blog

Operating since 1963 within the University of Birmingham, the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) has generated world-class social-scientific and humanities-based research and analysis on its region of focus for over half a century.  Recent events in Ukraine have once again demonstrated the strategic importance of its area of interest: the geographically vast territories between the river Oder and the Pacific Ocean, populated by states of varying power and coherence, with variably free societies and a wide range of ethno-political complications.

This blog will provide its readers with short articles aimed at stimulating thought and debate on current events, emerging research, and broader issues related to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, written by members of the CREES community, including current and former academics, researchers, PhD students and alumni.  Aiming to both provide ‘advice to the prince’ and ‘speak truth to power’ from within the social sciences and humanities, it will allow its contributors greater leeway than formal academic writing in expressing their opinions on subjects of acute concern to a wider audience.

Our first contribution is due to be published before the end of April 2014, with others to follow soon thereafter.  In time, we aim to transform this space into one of the premier sites for information and discussion on an always evolving and ever-complicated region.