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6 - “The Russian Spring” (Eastern Ukraine)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2023

Dominique Arel
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa
Jesse Driscoll
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
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Summary

Chapter 6 is the second part of our analytic narrative. We describe coordination failure by Russian-speaking elites trying to decide whether or not they wanted to try to emulate Crimea. The chapter contrasts the orderly spectacle of irredentist annexation in Crimea with the chaotic “Russian Spring” across Eastern and Southern Ukraine. The existential question was whether the interstate border would change again. The Party of Regions had imploded, so there was no mechanism of transregional cooperation. Dozens of Russian-speaking communities each had to decide locally whether sedition or loyalty to Kyiv would prevail. Russia attempted, but failed, to use a television narrative to encourage established elites in the East to back secessionist uprisings. Sedition did not really get off the ground in most Russian-speaking communities, as pro-Ukraine militias became dominant in the streets. By early May, anti-Kyiv protests died down most everywhere – except in the Donbas.

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Ukraine's Unnamed War
Before the Russian Invasion of 2022
, pp. 121 - 144
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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