From an article in Internazionale by Luigi Spinola and Lorenzo Peace, translated for Eurozine by Catherine Salbashian
Ukraine has a structural problem in terms of the concentration of wealth. In 2013, the year of the revolution, the country's 50 richest men owned more than 45% of the GDP, more than double that in Russia. This also has heavy consequences on the health of the economy, not just that of democracy. And since then, things haven't changed a great deal.'
The oligarchs profit by investing in the political system, not in their own businesses. They sell poor-quality goods and raw materials at overblown prices, thanks to licences and contracts that are gifted to them by the state', Kalenyuk explains.
Alongside this elephantine economy, however, a stream of young entrepreneurs is making Ukraine into a rather unlikely start-up nation; in 2015 it had more than two thousand businesses, and 20 thousand IT engineers. A Ukraine which is travelling fast, perhaps too fast.
From an article in Letras Libres by Ricardo Dudda, translated for Eurozine by Nick Rider
Yevhen Hlibovytsky, an intellectual, activist and political analyst, sips an over-hot Americano coffee with some difficulty in a cafeteria off the Maidan, or Independence Square. This is where independence was celebrated in 1991, the protests of the Orange Revolution took place in 2004 and more than a hundred people died in 2014 in the Revolution of Dignity.
Hlibovytsky believes that Ukraine has experienced a trauma similar to that suffered by a rape victim. 'As we grow older we realise what has happened, and who did it to us. The question now is whether we are going to let ourselves be carried along by an idea of revenge or find a way to ensure it doesn't happen again’.
It is perhaps not the best analogy, but it's a good example of the burden their history represents for Ukrainians. Historical memory here seem more like a trauma and individual memories than history; it has more to do with emotional and psychological proximity than rigour; it's a matter of perceptions, more than realities. In many instances it's simply illusory, or false. Putin's Russia falsifies history and exploits historical memories for propaganda purposes, and Ukraine plays an essential role in this propaganda.