Ukraine is embroiled in a bloody civil war. Both sides stand accused of collaborating with fascists, of committing war crimes, of serving foreign interests. This proxy-war between Russia and the West was accompanied by a fierce information war. This book separates fact from fiction with extensive and reliable documentation. While remaining critical of Russia and the Donbass rebellion, De Ploeg demonstrates that many of the recent disasters can be traced to Ukrainian ultranationalists, pro-western political elites and their European and North-American backers.
Ukraine in the Crossfire tackles the importance of ultranationalist violence during and after the EuroMaidan movement, and documents how many of these groups are heirs to former nazi-collaborators. It shows how the Ukrainian state has seized on the ultranationalist war-rhetoric to serve its own agenda, clamping down on civil liberties on a scale unprecedented since Ukrainian independence. De Ploeg argues that Kiev itself has been the biggest obstacle to peace in Donbass, with multiple leaks suggesting that US officials are pushing for a pro-war line in Ukraine. With the nation´s eyes turned towards Russia, the EU and IMF have successfully pressured Ukraine into adopting far-reaching austerity programs, while oligarchic looting of state assets and massive tax-avoidance facilitated by western states continue unabated.
De Ploeg documents the local roots of the Donbass rebellion, the overwhelming popularity of Crimea’s secession, and shows that support for Ukraine’s pro-western turn remains far from unanimous, with large swathes of Ukraine’s Russophone population opting out of the political process. Nevertheless, De Ploeg argues, the pro-Western and pro-Russian camps are often similar: neoliberal, authoritarian, nationalist and heavily dependent on foreign support.
In a wider exploration of Russo-Western relations, he examines similarities between the contemporary Russian state and its NATO counterparts, showing how the two power blocs have collaborated in some of their worst violent excesses. A far cry from civilizational or ideological clashes, De Ploeg argues that the current tensions flow from NATO´s military dominance and aggressive posture, both globally and within eastern Europe, where Russia seeks to preserve the status-quo.
Packed with shocking facts, deftly moving from the local to the international, from the historical to the recent, De Ploeg connects the dots, consistently offering the necessary context for understanding the multiple faces of imperialism within Ukraine and beyond.
Written in an accessible language, Ukraine in the Crossfire offers a truly comprehensive and independent narrative on the Ukrainian conflict.
HECTOR REBAN –
‘’Every now and again readers with a particular interest in international politics find a gem served on a silver platter, which you would hope gains a readership that extends to the inner circles of political decision making. Especially when that book is written by a Dutchman and follows an informed, rational, left principled line that is rarely if ever observed in the mainstream media. Ukraine in the crossfire … is such a book, one that you also finish rapidly and with delight.
… [De Ploeg] follows the American dissident Noam Chomsky and his method of promoting peace, security and democracy by creating a discourse in which the facts speak for themselves but argue against the powers-that-be. … The force of the book by Chris de Ploeg lies in the clear, logical structure, whereby the reader gains layer for layer insights into the meaning of the conflict in Ukraine on every political level.’’
HECTOR REBAN, Ravage Webzine
LODE VANOOST –
‘’This book is the best analysis in the Dutch language to date of the complexity, the conflicting interests, the cynical power games that the EU, the US and Russia play there, and the one-sided reporting on this in the European and American media.’’
LODE VANOOST, De Wereld Morgen
KEES VAN DER PIJL –
‘a splendid little book”
KEES VAN DER PIJL, emeritus professor of international
relations at the University of Sussex.
RICHARD SAKWA –
”A highly informative and forcefully argued analysis of the contradictions of the Ukrainian revolution and Western reactions. The informational war over the Ukraine crisis demonstrates not just the limits to our understanding of these complex events but above all the tensions generated by the failure to establish an inclusive peace after the Cold War. Chris Kaspar de Ploeg brilliantly dissects the resulting dilemmas, and provides a convincing analysis of where we went wrong.”
RICHARD SAKWA, Professor of Russian and European
politics at the University of Kent. Author of Frontline
Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands
NICOLAI N. PETRO –
“A meticulously documented interpretation of the Second Maidan that focuses on the darker side of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity. By weaving together the role of the Far Right and western governments, the emergence of resistance in Donbass, and the reasons why Kiev responded to it with military force, De Ploeg provides the sort of compelling narrative that is typically missing in the media. An impressive achievement.”
NICOLAI N. PETRO, professor of political science at the
University of Rhode Island (USA), formerly U.S. Fulbright
Research Scholar in Ukraine.
VOLODYMYR ISHCHENKO –
”Chris de Ploeg’s book stands out from other major accounts on the Ukraine’s crisis, even by highly esteemed academics, in its careful work with the facts, which is a very important feature amidst the conscious propaganda and information war from all the sides of the conflict. It is also the best left-wing analysis so far. Being critical to a problematic Maidan uprising and the neoliberal-nationalist government it helped to bring to power, the author does not take equally wrong Putin-versteher position and shows how the rivalry of competing imperialisms and nationalisms brought Ukraine into the current political and economic disaster.”
VOLODYMYR ISHCHENKO. Deputy director of the Center for
Social and Labor Research in Ukraine and lecturer at the
Department of Sociology in Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
JAMES CARDIN –
“The newest addition to the literature comes courtesy of the Dutch journalist Chris Kaspar de Ploeg, who refuses to go along with the mainstream Western narrative that has studiously ignored the ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist aspects of post-Maidan Ukraine. De Ploeg’s Ukraine in the Crossfire is a deeply researched account that lets no one in this sordid drama off the hook. Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings, Natalie Jaresko’s greed, Victoria Nuland’s imperial pretensions, and Petro Poroshenko’s gross criminality are each given their due. What makes De Ploeg’s account particularly valuable is his detailed examination of the role of the far right in perpetuating not only the violence which racked the Maidan but in then launching a brutal war (the so-called “anti-terrorist operation”) against the Russian-backed rebels and the civilian Russophone population of eastern and southern Ukraine. The atrocities carried out by neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector and the Azov battalion are glossed over in the Western press almost as a matter of course, but, as De Ploeg shows, ignoring their influence and reach makes a rational understanding of the conflict impossible.
JAMES CARDIN, Consortium News
STEPHEN COHEN –
“…a thorough but sharply critical account of the role of the West in the now three-year Ukrainian civil war, the political epicenter of the new Cold War.”
STEPHEN COHEN, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies,
New York University/Princeton University,
The Boston Globe
P.S. RAGHAVAN –
“a detailed analysis by Dutch scholar Chris Kaspar de Ploeg, … a serious effort to sift facts from the propaganda generated in the information war between the various actors in this drama … Ukraine in the Crossfire is perhaps the first comprehensive exercise to present a different perspective from that which
dominates ‘mainstream’ media, academia and political circles.”
P.S. RAGHAVAN, Former Ambassador of India to Russia,
now Convener, National Security Advisory Board of India,
India Quarterly (Sage Journal)
MACIEJ BANCARZEWSKI –
“Ukraine in the Crossfire helps to overcome this imbalance and provides a much needed, informative analysis of present day Ukraine. In contrast to the mainstream picture, de Ploeg goes beyond the anti-Russian hysteria and depicts the country as a sphere of influence of three imperialisms: Russia, the European Union and the United States… Ukraine in the Crossfire is a very up to date study (the last chapter deals with “Cold War Politics in the Age of Trump”),
thoroughly researched and based on numerous sources, including wikileaks… a critical left wing antidote to the media bias and blackout on Ukrainian current affairs.”
MACIEJ BANCARZEWSKI, International Socialism