In 2021, Ukraine celebrates its thirty-year independence anniversary. During this relatively short period of time—when considered in historical terms—Ukraine underwent a number of drastic changes that have so far shaped the country’s domestic and international environments. From “the Ukraine” to Ukraine: A Contemporary History, 1991-2021 (Ibidem Press, 2021), edited by Georgiy Kasianov, Matthew Rojansky, and Mykhailo Minakov, guides its readers through the labyrinthine developments that provide a wide spectrum of views and approaches that help receive a better understanding of the contemporary history of Ukraine. While detailing how independent Ukraine was taking shape locally, the editors and contributors of the volume simultaneously position Ukraine in the international environment that arouse after the fall of the USSR. Ukraine is thus inscribed into the international political map, which further complicates and advances the surveys presented in the volume. After the collapse of the USSR, the country faced a number of challenges: in addition to learning how to construct and narrate its own history, the new independent state also had to find a way to present itself to the global community. From “the Ukraine” to Ukraine outlines trajectories that illustrate a gradual process of the country’s political awareness, ambitions, and maturity. Thirty years may seem like an inconsiderable amount of time for a new independent state. The material presented in the book proves otherwise. In a concise and yet acute way, the contributors touch upon the most challenging and sensitive issues which have shaped the recent history of Ukraine: ranging from the enthusiastic support of independence to the current Russian-Ukrainian war, the volume constructs a multilayered historical scene which at the same time invites further surveys and elaborations.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD student in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, Indiana University