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This volume analyzes crises in International Relations (IR) in an innovative way. Rather than conceptualizing a crisis as something unexpected that has to be managed, the contributors argue that a crisis needs to be analyzed within a wider context of change: when new discourses are formed, communities are (re)built, and new identities emerge. Focusing on Ukraine, the book explore various questions related to crisis and change, including: How are crises culturally and socially constructed? How do issues of agency and structure come into play in Ukraine? Which subjectivities were brought into existence by Ukraine crisis discourses? Chapters explore the participation of women in Euromaidan, identity shifts in the Crimean Tatar community and diaspora politics, discourses related to corruption, anti-Soviet partisan warfare, and the annexation of Crimea, as well as long distance impacts of the crisis.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Drawing on Dirk Nabers’s 2015 book on crisis and change, this edited volume is built on the key assumption that any social inquiry into global politics should transcend the canonical emphasis on intergovernmental relations with the privileged agency conferred to the role of states. Following a not so recent trend in social theory, we conceptualize the social realm as a discursive space of infinite, endless articulations in which power attempts to transform social relations in an open process to constitute society. We turn our lenses to Ukraine (which has been elsewhere described as a classic crisis) in order to engage with some of the assumptions prescribed above: What is the relationship between crisis and change? Is there an ontology of crisis? How are crises culturally and socially constructed? How do issues of agency and structure come into play in Ukraine? Which subjectivities were brought into existence by the Ukraine crisis discourse? How does identity come to play with the making of this crisis? This introductory chapter explains the rationale behind the book and summarizes the arguments behind the chapters that make this edited volume.
Erica Resende, Dovilė Budrytė, Didem Buhari-Gulmez

Crisis and Change: Theory and Practice


Chapter 2. Crisis and Change in Global Politics: A Dialogue with Deleuze and Badiou’s Event to Understand the Crisis in Ukraine

A classic definition of crisis within IR refers to crisis in terms of something that happens—an unexpected event—and has to be dealt with, managed, to be put managed and put under control. Perhaps, this is why the word “crisis” is simultaneously employed to designate momentary emergencies as well as opportunities, for they are moments in which interventions are possible. The aim of this chapter is to suggest a dialogue with concept of the “Event”—which Gilles Deleuze characterizes as “pure,” “true” events in relation to ordinary, superficial, historical events, while Alain Badiou claims it a rupture in being—to help us to navigate a sea of crisis discourses. I will argue that Deleuze’s use of the imagery of scars and wounds clarifies how he differentiates event from Event, which will lead us to a better understanding of the ontology of crisis and change. Based on 2013/2014 events in Ukraine, I will reflect upon the currently unfolding dynamics in post-Soviet space to, finally, characterize the end of the Ages of Empire in global politics as the Event.
Erica Resende

Chapter 3. The Rationality and Emotion of Russian Historical Memory: The Case of Crimea

This chapter explores Russian state motivation in the annexation of Crimea, emphasizing historical memory. It examines the public case of Russian President Putin to the Duma in detail. It examines whether the speech to justify the annexation was a merely example of public diplomacy or as the actual motivation for the aggression. In the former, it fits a Russian conception of international law as rights held by nations to protect its population by forming new nations or realizing irredentist claims. In the latter, the need to correct historical injustices driven by emotional responses to crisis through the lens of memory explains the Russian annexation. Through this contrast, it illuminates rationalist and emotionalist perspectives on explaining Russian foreign policy in this crisis.
Douglas Becker

Chapter 4. Collective Trauma, Memories, and Victimization Narratives in Modern Strategies of Ethnic Consolidation: The Crimean Tatar Case

This chapter focuses on contemporary strategies of ethnic consolidation during a crisis. The ethnic discourse reflected in accumulated collective memories, helped to overcome the past traumatic event and to provide ethnic group with vital sense of identity. Based on the trauma of Sürgün (forceful deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea in 1944), I will research the practices of remembering of the Event (deportation). By using theories of political victimization, I will establish a new framework for analysis of mechanisms for political mobilization during the crisis. The empirical part will be devoted to current interpretations of the traumatic Soviet past in Crimean Tatar community’s relation to the ongoing political changes in both mainland Ukraine and the annexed Crimea since 2014.
Milana Nikolko

Crisis and Social Change: Ukraine in Comparative Perspective


Chapter 5. Corruption, Crisis, and Change: Use and Misuse of an Empty Signifier

Applying the post-structuralist approach to corruption, the aim of this chapter is twofold: First, this chapter explores, how the Presidents of Ukraine—Viktor Yushchenko in 2005–2010 and Viktor Yanukovych in 2010–2014—use an empty signifier of corruption, and second, what role the term “corruption” plays for both, political crisis and political change in Ukraine. Accordingly, the main question is: What meaning do the Presidents of Ukraine assign to corruption as an empty signifier and to what extent this temporarily fixed meaning unfolds potential to create social identities? The main challenge the Presidents face with this respect is creating a dominant public discourse and framing corruption in a way that represents themselves as “non-corrupt Self” and their competitors as “corrupt Others”.
Oksana Huss

Chapter 6. Gender Role Scenarios of Women’s Participation in Euromaidan Protests in Ukraine

Current Ukrainian gender order was reflected in the modes of men’s and women’s participation in Euromaidan protests that took place in November 2013–February 2014. Despite presence of both men and women, gendered aspects of their participation have been visible in division of labor and functions performed by women and men during the protests. The modes of women engagement into the protests varied significantly during different stages of the protests—from peaceful demonstrations to violent clashes. Taking into account the existing controversy in the perception of women’s role into the protests, we will argue that there were different gender role scenarios of women’s participation into the protests according to functions they performed and the way they represented themselves.
Tamara Martsenyuk, Iryna Troian

Chapter 7. Memory, War, and Mnemonical In/Security: A Comparison of Lithuania and Ukraine

This chapter analyzes the interaction of discourses associated with World War II and its aftermath and the formation of related cultural, social, and political practices in Ukraine in comparison with Lithuania. The focus is on what can be considered a hegemonic war memory in the two countries—discourses about the anti-Soviet partisans and their memorialization. Political developments described as “revolutions” (Sąjūdis in Lithuania, the Orange Revolution and Euromaidan in Ukraine) have coincided with major discursive changes regarding memory politics. It is during those times that narratives extolling the virtues of anti-Soviet partisans and dwelling on losses associated with national tragedies, described as genocides, have attracted more supporters willing to “defend history” in both countries.
Dovilė Budrytė

International/Regional Dimensions of the Crisis in Ukraine


Chapter 8. Framing of Crimean Annexation and Eastern Ukraine Conflict in Newspapers of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 2014

This chapter analyses the framing of annexation of Crimea by Russian Federation in March 2014 and conflict in Eastern Ukraine during the spring of 2014 in newspapers of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The focus is in possible linkage of Crimean annexation to relations between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, including the possibility of similar annexation of Northern Kazakhstan, which has large Russian majority. Findings include that the amount of coverage is rather small in official, state-published or sponsored newspapers while in privately owned newspapers, the amount and spectrum of coverage is wider. It seems also that (especially in Kazakhstan) the Kazakh-language papers are less controlled by the officials and therefore more varied in their views than Russian-language papers. In some private newspapers, the similarities of Northern Kazakhstan and Crimea are discussed while the state media report only the official version that the annexation is against international law but that the people of Crimea also have right to organize a referendum. In Kyrgyzstan, the coverage has broadly the same pattern, Kyrgyz-language privately owned newspapers being the most varied and critical in their views towards Russian policy in Ukraine.
Katja Lehtisaari, Aziz Burkhanov, Elira Turdubaeva, Jukka Pietiläinen

Chapter 9. “Crisis” and Crimean Tatars: Discourses of Self-determination in Flux

Following Nabers’ seminal work that establishes a “missing link” between crises and transformations, this study focuses on the changes in the Crimean Tatar discourses about Crimean Tatar identity, crises, and Russian and Ukrainian “Others” with a special emphasis on the question of national self-determination. It suggests that a discursive shift of emphasis from the “Deportation crisis” to “Annexation crisis” among Crimean Tatars operates as a “myth” to deal with the inherent divide within the Tatar political movement and conceals the ongoing “hegemonic struggles” over the Crimean Tatar identity and its political representation. Exploring the multiplicity of discourses about Crimean Tatar self-determination, the study emphasizes the need to trace the universalizing and particularizing processes through which Crimean Tatar subjectivities are reconstructed.
Didem Buhari-Gulmez

Chapter 10. The Self/Other Space and Spinning the Net of Ontological Insecurities in Ukraine and Beyond: (Discursive) Reconstructions of Boundaries in the EU Eastern Partnership Countries Vis-à-Vis the EU and Russia

This chapter explores Dirk Nabers’ notion of “disruptive processes” in the EU Eastern Partnership countries to scrutinize contested patterns of belonging amid continued talk of a “new Cold War” in light of the Ukraine Crisis. The arguments brought forward are that the crisis in Ukraine: (1) pointed to a case of ontological insecurity where the (narrated) existence and autobiography of Ukraine are challenged and reconfigured; (2) reflected a situation where, through mutual constitutions of othering/belonging, not only Ukraine was rendered ontologically insecure, but in particular Georgia as well; (3) led to a substantial refortification of already existing images of Self(s) and Other(s); and (4) showed that balancing images of (the) significant other(s) is a discursive strategy of rendering one ontologically secure again.
Susanne Szkola


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