Summary

This book dissects—from both philosophical and empirical viewpoints—the peculiar developmental challenges, geopolitical contexts, and dystopic stalemates that post-Soviet societies face during their transition to new political and cultural orders. The principal geographical focus of the essays is Ukraine, but most of the assembled texts are also relevant and/or refer to other post-Soviet countries.

Mikhail Minakov describes how former Soviet nations are trying to re-invent, for their particular circumstances, democracy and capitalism while concurrently dealing with new poverty and inequality, facing unusual degrees of freedom and responsibility for their own future, coming to terms with complicated collective memories and individual pasts. Finally, the book puts forward novel perspectives on how Western and post-communist Europe may be able to create a sustainable pan-European common space. These include a new agenda for pan-European political communication, new East-Central European regional security mechanisms, a solution for the chain of separatist-controlled populations, and anti-patronalist institutions in East European countries.

Reviews

An accurate and balanced account of the most recent history of Ukraine presented by an involved observer. It is a good sample of the Ukrainian vision of the phenomenon called the "Ukrainian crisis"―obviously extending beyond Ukraine's borders. (Georgiy Kasianov, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine)

Development and Dystopia is a philosopher’s inquiry into the political processes that shaped the post-Soviet world and a political analyst’s search for the philosophical underpinnings of the changes that those processes brought about. Both of Mikhail Minakov’s probes focus on Ukraine, but his ultimate goal is to illuminate the broader scope of the East European transformations. Anyone wishing to delve beyond newspaper headlines and pundits' clichés in order to understand what is really going on in that world can do no better than pick up this book. (Serhii Plokhii, director, Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University)

Mykhailo Minakov is a leading observer of contemporary Ukrainian, Russian, and European politics and society. His work is a vital source for understanding the deeper phenomena that drive change―and lack of it―in these states. With this book, he has tackled a subject worthy of his talents, and offers a multilayered perspective on some of the central dilemmas of post-Soviet political culture and social development. (Matthew Rojansky, Kennan Institute)

About the Author
Image of Mykhailo Minakov
Mykhailo Minakov

Mikhail Minakov is associate professor of philosophy and political science at the National University of Kyiv–Mohyla Academy. He worked on this book with a Fulbright-Kennan Institute Research Grant from 2012-2013. Read More