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First lines: This June, a massive flood led to the destruction of multiple homes and roads in western Ukraine, as well as the loss of several lives. The disaster elicited a less than empathetic response in Ukraine’s public sphere. A frequent reaction to the news has been to blame the victims, who allegedly provoked the catastrophe by cutting down trees en masse. “They, the locals, have been content with this situation for many years – they have all been active or passive participants of this devastation. In this situation there’s no point in calling on the state in case of new floods, washed away roads and destroyed villages,” says this blog entry, which summarises the attitude of a significant section of the Ukrainian internet.

in Studies of Transition States and Societies Publication date 2020-06
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This article examines hegemonic norms of political and moral economy in Ukraine today acting at the level of the workplace. My research is based on fieldwork I conducted in a large industrial city in the east of Ukraine from January to June 2019. Using the general Gramsci-inspired theoretical framework and the insights of Hillel Ticktin, Simon Clarke and Michael Burawoy regarding Soviet and post-Soviet factory regimes, I analyse differences between the life-worlds of workers, relating them to the structurally different context in which they find themselves. All enterprises feature path-dependent informal bargaining and underinvestment as cornerstones of their factory regimes. However, they differ in the ways in which these traits combine in practice. These configurations, in turn, elicit different strategies and attitudes from the workers, each of them more typical at one enterprise than at others: an archaic manufactory attitude at a new window factory, exit in mines torn between owners, voice at the foreign-owned metalworking factory, and loyalty at a ‘native’ oligarchic holding. The general trend is not towards eliminating informality as a ‘post-Soviet residue’ but rather towards renegotiating it with different outcomes.

in Focaal — Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology Publication date 2019-07
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In order to explore factors conditioning the political quietude of Ukrainian labor, this article analyzes ethnographic data collected at two large enterprises: the Kyiv Metro and the privatized electricity supplier Kyivenergo. Focusing on a recent labor conflict, I unpack various contexts condensed in it. I analyze the hegemonic configuration developed in the early 1990s, at the workplace and at the macro level, and follow its later erosion. This configuration has been based on labor hoarding, distribution of nonwage resources, and patronage networks, featuring the foreman as the nodal figure. On the macro scale, it relied on the mediation by unions, supported by resources accumulated during the Soviet era and the economic boom of the 2000s. The depletion of these resources has spelled the ongoing crisis of this configuration.

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Nationalist and conservative hysteria, corruption scandals and political violence threatening to escalate even further – this is the background for this month's presidential election in Ukraine.

First lines: The recent wave of anti-Roma pogroms in Ukraine has spawned a new series of texts on right-wing violence. However, a significant part of this literature still mostly relies on discourse analysis, which cannot fully explain the actions of far right organisations on the ground. Analysing far-right movements’ programmes and ideological statements can be useful when combined with a closer look at the actual activities of the movements in question, the way they interact among themselves and the wider social and political context. But judging a group primarily by how it presents itself to the world is misleading.