Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

234 × 156 × 30 mm
296 pages
29 illustrations
16 Jul 2018

Ukraine A Nation on the Borderland Karl Schlögel

The Euromaidan uprising in Kiev, followed by radical regime change, the annexation of the Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine, have shattered European security. The Western response to Russian aggression has been uncertain and hesitant in handling the unfamiliar yet large nation of Ukraine, a country with a complicated past, and one whose history is little known in the rest of Europe.

In Ukraine: A Nation on the Borderland, Karl Schlögel presents a picture of a country which lies on Europe’s borderland and in Russia’s shadow. In recent years, Ukraine has been faced, along with Western Europe, with the political conundrum resulting from Russia’s actions and the ongoing Information War. As well as exploring this present-day confrontation, Schlögel provides detailed, fascinating historical portraits of a panoply of Ukraine’s major cities: Lviv, Odessa, Czernowitz, Kiev, Kharkov, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk and Yalta – cities whose often troubled and war-torn histories are as varied as the nationalities and cultures which have made them what they are today, survivors with very particular identities and aspirations. Schlögel feels the pulse of life in these cities, analysing their more recent pasts and their challenges for the future.

‘The deftly translated Ukraine: A Nation on the Borderland is a powerful and erudite assertion of Ukraine’s legitimacy as a nation-state, its rich cultural heritage, and the underlying sources of Russia’s campaign against it. In the book, Schlögel, a renowned scholar and life-long admirer of Russia, takes his readers on a tantalising historical and intellectual tour of Ukraine’s major cities. . . . What’s best about Schlögel’s Ukraine is the affectionate, inspiring journey on which he takes the reader through the nation’s ages, empires, and metropolises, colouring in the blank swathes with history, purpose, and significance . . . He populates each vignette with its literary and luminaries and other figures of history who lived at least part of their lives in Ukraine.’ — International Politics and Society

‘This book is an invitation to the broader public, well-familiar by now with the cities in Western and Eastern Europe, to discover Ukraine, to explore its multifaceted identities. Since an end to the war in Ukraine is not yet in sight, books like this are much needed. When most of the publications available reiterate the same narratives of unbridgeable differences between Ukraine’s east and west, it takes Schlögel’s insightfulness and erudition to show the commonalities between Lviv in the West, Odessa in the South and Donetsk in the East; to take Ukraine out of the shadow of Russia and put it back on Europe’s mental maps.’ — European History Quarterly

‘Suggesting that, despite its prominence as a target of Russian aggression, Ukraine remains unfamiliar to most Westerners, Schlögel profiles the country’s major cities. He explores the dilemmas presented by the country’s geographical relationships with Russia and Europe.’ — Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

‘One of the best works on Ukraine’s highly peculiar geography, history, and modernity I’ve ever come across . . . As Schlögel himself points out repeatedly, the struggle for Ukraine’s future is not going to end any time soon. Books such as this inspire hope that the struggle is not in vain and that Ukraine will eventually emerge as a fully fledged European state – not just “a country at the edge.”’ — Geographical Magazine

‘In response to these events, this book is an effort to make amends: to educate the broader public about Ukraine, Europe’s terra incognita. It presents not only a fascinating, oftentimes poetic investigation of Ukraine’s highly diverse urban landscapes, but also records the inner struggles of a German historian trying to make sense of Putin’s undeclared war against Ukraine . . . This book is a path-breaking study of the urban archaeology of post-Soviet Ukraine, haunted by the demographic catastrophes of the twentieth century.’ — Europe-Asia Studies

‘Karl Schlögel excels at bringing 20th century history to life through urban space, to which he is a guide with wit, subtlety, humanity and restraint. His skills lie in his assiduous research, scouring through phonebooks, minutes, memoirs and maps, brought to life through a vivid eye for the look and feel of a city's architecture, streets and vistas. Here, Schlögel leaves his usual territory - Soviet and post-Soviet Moscow - to take us on a tour of the cities of Ukraine, revealing the diversity, complexity and importance of a country too often seen through a reductive East/West binary. Here, we have great cosmopolitan cities like Odessa and Kiev, and cities that were once great cosmopolitan cities forced into provinciality by the Holocaust, like Lviv and Chernowitz; the crushing of the diverse histories of Crimea into a shrill Russian nationalism; the stories and streets of Soviet industrial behemoths like Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk; and the outward-looking capital of the Soviet avant-garde of the '20s, Kharkov. All these cities suffered from Russian nationalism, from Stalin's great famine, and from a horrific German occupation, that Schlögel describes with a restrained rage. They have carved out from these terrible experiences distinctive identities and unique spaces, and here they've finally found a sympathetic western interpreter.’ — Owen Hatherley

‘Through Karl Schlögel’s encounter with Ukraine the reader will understand the crisis of democratic politics in the West as a whole. It is among the very few texts written in our century which reveal the psychological core and philosophical
essence of the challenges thinking citizens now face.’ — Timothy Snyder

Show all

Karl Schlögel is a historian and essayist and Professor Emeritus of the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. His many books include histories of Moscow, Berlin and St Petersburg, and he won the European Charles Veillon essay prize in 1990 and the prize of the Historisches Kolleg Munich in 2016.

Ukraine, Or Remapping Europe: Preface To The English Edition
Author’s Note

Europe’s Ukraina: An Introduction

1 Information War
2 Farewell To Empire, Farewell To Russia?
3 Seeing For Ourselves: Discovering Ukraine
4 Kiev, Metropolis
5 Ah, Odessa: A City In An Era Of Great Expectations
6 Promenade In Yalta
7 Look Upon This City: Kharkov, A Capital Of The Twentieth Century
8 Dnepropetrovsk: Rocket City On The Dnieper And City Of Potemkin
9 Donetsk: Twentieth-Century Urbicides
10 Czernowitz: City Upon A Hill
11 Lviv: Capital Of Provincial Europe
12 The Shock: Thinking The Worst-Case Scenario

Further Reading
Photo Acknowledgements