Background and geopolitics

Russia's war in Ukraine

These book chapters and free articles examine the background to the Russia-Ukraine war, focusing on Ukraine's culture and national identity and the relationships between Ukraine, Russia, and the EU.

Journal articles

Featured article

National Identity in Ukraine: Impact of Euromaidan and the War

by Volodymyr Kulyk in Europe-Asia Studies

This essay examines the Russian aggression on Ukrainian national identity, which followed the Euromaidan protests in 2013 and 2014 after president Viktor Yanukovych chose not to sign an agreement to integrate the country more closely with the EU.

Downtown Kyiv at night

Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the jus ad bellum

by James A. Green in Journal on the Use of Force and International Law

This editorial examines and scrutinizes the legal justifications advanced by President Putin for Russia’s use of military force in Ukraine. The editors also look at the impact on the rules and norms governing the use of force.

A shelled building in Kyiv

Hope Deferred: Russia from 1991 to 2021

by Rodric Braithwaite in Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

Rodric Braithwaite was the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Moscow at the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This article examines the latter history of the Soviet Union and the 30 years that have followed since the end of the Cold War.

Images of presidents on Russian dolls

The Minsk Agreements – more than "scraps of paper"?

by Cindy WittkeLeader in East European Politics

The implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which sought to end the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine, has been persistently flawed and prone to failure. This article investigates the Minsk Agreements’ troubled implementation. It also discusses ways to approach the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements.

Civil society and external actors: how linkages with the EU and Russia interact with socio-political orders in Belarus and Ukraine

by Honorata Mazepus et al. in East European Politics

External actors such as states or regional alliances pursue a variety of goals with respect to other countries. In this article, the authors map the landscape of civil society organizations in Belarus and Ukraine that are linked to the EU or Russia.

Russia and its Allies in Three Strategic Environments

by Nikolai Silaev in Europe-Asia Studies

This article provides a geopolitical analysis of Russian alliance policy in three environments: Russia's immediate post-Soviet neighborhood; more distant regions of the Eurasian continent; and, the global stage.

Why Didn’t Ukraine Fight for Crimea? Evidence from Declassified National Security and Defense Council Proceedings

by Adam Charles Lenton in
Problems of Post-Communism

Using recently declassified primary-source materials from Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, this article explores the Ukrainian decision not to fight for the Crimea peninsula.

Russian Society and Foreign Policy: Mass and Elite Orientations After Crimea

by Thomas Sherlock in Problems of Post-Communism

Most Russians balk at the costs of confrontation with the West. However, Russian elites often differ from the general public in their stronger backing for a more assertive foreign posture. This article examines these differences in attitude.

The Ukraine Conflict: Russia’s Challenge to European Security Governance

by Derek Averre in Europe-Asia Studies

Published in 2016, this essay explores the implications of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine for the rules-based security order in Europe. It investigates European institutions’ reaction to the conflict and concludes by analyzing the challenges facing Europe and Russia.

Books and book chapters

Featured book

Ukraine: Contested Nationhood in a European Context

by Ulrich Schmid

This book, published in 2021, explores the common view that Ukraine is a country split between a pro-European West and a pro-Russian East. It looks at the complicated cultural history of Ukraine and highlights the importance of regional traditions for an understanding of the current political situation.

It examines interpretations of Ukrainian nationhood that have been especially influential, such as the Russian tradition, the Habsburg past, and the Polish connections. 

It also analyses Ukraine’s political and economic options for the future, including the potential of integrating into the EU, and the effect of NATO on its relationship with neighboring countries.

Book cover - Ukraine, Contested Nationhood in a European Context By Ulrich Schmid

Book chapter

Diasporic Visions of Democracy and Territory

by Jumana Bayeh in Democracy, Diaspora, Territory: Europe and Cross-Border Politics

This chapter explores the complexity of territory within the field of diaspora studies. It emphasizes a modern perspective of diaspora, framed by deterritorialization.

Routledge Handbook of Russian Security cover


Religion During the Russian Ukrainian Conflict

edited by Elizabeth A. Clark and Dmytro Vovk

This book investigates how the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has affected the religious situation in these countries. It considers threats to and violations of religious freedom, including those arising in annexed Crimea as well as in Russia and Ukraine more generally.