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Author: Mykola Riabchuk

For our freedom and yours

Ever since 2014 the war in Ukraine has often been thought of as a local conflict, wholly separate from wider issues. If Putin’s full-scale invasion has proven anything, however, it is that Kyiv now finds itself on the frontline of a battle to defend liberal democratic values against authoritarianism.

For at least a few years, if not more, we have heard many intellectuals grimly point to a growing crisis of democracy and an increase in populistic, authoritarian and even dictatorial tendencies in an increasing number of states. This trend has also been evidenced by Freedom House studies. The data these investigations have collected in recent years demonstrate that the number of democratic countries in the world has been on the decline since 2005. In addition, there have been numerous reports on the worsening quality of democracy in countries that may have not formally abandoned the democratic system of governance, but have become illiberal nonetheless.

July 15, 2022 - Mykola Riabchuk

Incident. Or three short essays on solidarity

In the absence of civic traditions and positive social capital, society often organises itself along mafia-style norms. Ukrainian society after communism developed in two different ways: it developed mafia structures centred on the post-communist authorities, as well as grass-root civic networks as an alternative to these hierarchies. Every Ukrainian revolution since then can be seen as a clash of two different projects of state-nation building.

July 7, 2020 - Mykola Riabchuk

When bridges turn out to be walls

With all due respect to my western friends, I cannot accept calls to construct “bridges” with Russia right now, unless and until Russian proxies stop killing my fellow citizens. Only after the shooting stops and Russian troops withdraw from Ukrainian territory can we engage in any kind of dialogue.

The only bridge I remember seeing in my childhood was the railway bridge across the Styr River. It separated the city of Lutsk, where I was born, and Rovantsi, a village where I used to spend my summer holidays at my grandparents’ house. The bridge separated two banks of the river rather than connected them. I do not misuse the word. The bridge was closed for civilians and only military personnel from a small garrison nearby were allowed to cross, maintain and guard it from the high towers on both banks.

May 2, 2019 - Mykola Riabchuk

Passion over censorship

This piece originally appeared in Issue 3/2017 of New Eastern Europe. Subscribe now.

July 7, 2017 - Mykola Riabchuk

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