This book managed to tick all of the boxes for the first few chapters actually quite a few chapters because they're only short and I was pleasantly surprised to find a young adult author that: As a matter of fact, the author attempts to write quite prettily and sets the scene in the Sicilian countryside very well, you This book managed to tick all of the boxes for the first few chapters actually quite a few chapters because they're only short and I was pleasantly surprised to find a young adult author that: As a matter of fact, the author attempts to write quite prettily and sets the scene in the Sicilian countryside very well, you can practically hear the waves of the Mediterranean sloshing against the shore.
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The protagonist - Rosa - immediately stands out against countless other young adult urban fantasy heroines. She's introduced as something of a kleptomaniac, she's snarky and upon meeting the novel's obvious love interest, rather than seeing cupids flying and hearing someone playing a violin, she turns away with a good dose of sarcasm as a goodbye present. It's no secret that they will clearly meet again and gradually Rosa's attitude towards him will change, but I was thankful for the lack of insta-love and sappy heroines. So, I had the protagonist I've always longed for, the setting out of my wildest dreams The lack of story.
Or, at least, the lack of an engaging story. I kept reading and waiting for the moment when the author would use her heroine and her setting to create a novel that would blow my mind but it just never delivered. The big mystery of the book was easy to guess, even the author realised this and revealed it all pretty early on I felt that the author set the kind of scene that had me anticipating something awesome but it was highly anticlimatic in the end.
I do wonder if this was done intentionally, because this book is the start of a trilogy and perhaps the author wanted to place emphasis on the setting and characters in book one so that you would actually care about them when the real story gets going in book two. It's possible but it isn't enough, if you're writing the first book in a series it's so important to make sure the readers are going to want to continue.
I finished this book feeling like I had nothing to look forward to in the sequels. Many thanks to the publisher for kindly providing an arc of this for review View all 12 comments. Hier geht's zu meiner Rezension: This book is gorgeously written, with no stone left unturned, and makes for a very good first book in a trilogy.
For a first book, this part of the Arkadien trilogy is surprisingly full-bodied. Had I not already known that this had been published as a trilogy in Germany, I would have thought it a standalone. It reads like a standalone, and yet leaves lots of room for more expansion into this world of snakes, tigers, myths, and the mob. Meyer covers all of his bases so thoroughly that I was quite impressed and just a taste speechless by the end of the book.
The characters feel fully-rounded and totally 3D hell, I kind of wish I were in the Alacantara household — even if dangerous, it never seems dull! All of the arcs and the sub-arcs were executed more or less flawlessly, without leaving me scratching my head in confusion or worse, throwing the book across the room in rage at lack of that sense of completion we as the reading audience look for when reading. More impressive, Meyer has conquered cross-gender narration. Meyer does that here so well that I was completely convinced that this had been written by a woman.
But it needed to be said. That being said, I think that this will be one of the few YA books with a female protagonist that will be easily relatable to both genders as an audience. But what really knocked my socks off was the part about a more obscure bit of Greek mythology: King Lycaon and Arcadia. This definitely is within my top ten of so far, so you guys really have to give it a read. Nov 08, Tatiana marked it as abandoned Shelves: As much as I want to know more about the difficult main character she lies, steals and is fond of acting all emo , as much I like a good mafia story and as much as I adore an exotic locale Sicily!
The sentences are choppy and don't flow together, the observations are often trite or unnecessary, the narrative is dull, distant and lifeless. This might be the case of writing style incompatibility though. View all 11 comments. This book was a very solid 3. But as it stands you have some heros that are very anti hero in all ways, you have multiple mysteries to unravel, and a lot of intrigue. If you need to love your heros this might not be the book for you but if your ok with morally grey sometimes unreliable narrators then I say buckle up.
A rant is coming. Arkadien erwacht had a really good start, I mean, it quoted something from the Tintenwelt -trilogy, what's not to love about that? Plus the first chapter of the book was just so beautifully written, it hooked me right in. But from there, the book simply spiraled down.
The writing style is plain and simple, and reminded me a lot of Twilight which I just despise , and even though the book was written in German, the characters sometimes swear in English.. I like neither of that. And of course, the instalove. Oh, I'm so fed up with instalove.
Moreover, he brought in lesbian characters, just to kill them off - he plainly used them for shock. And then killed them off because he didn't really need them anyway. Arkadien erwacht got compared to Twilight , but I thought it couldn't be that bad. Turns out, it is. I should have taken the hint and not read it. It also got compared to Romeo and Juliet but the only thing they have in common is the instalove and the only thing it has in common with The Godfather is the mafia-story.
So if you're looking for something like Twilight , read this. If you're looking for something as beautifully written and well honed as Romeo and Juliet , don't read this. If you're into stories about mafia-clans and don't mind all I mentioned before, you might try this, too. View all 3 comments. Das Buch fand ich ganz nett, Teil 2 wird auf jeden Fall gelesen.
A cheesy romance between two young people from families that are enemies for centuries now and all of that is overshadowed by a dark mysterious secret. While using old and known elements from familiar stories Kai Meyer manages successfully to create a new and thrilling world that the reader can fully sink in and let us fight along with the characters until the very last page. Because from a sweet romance and the problems of a teenage girl the story leads us to a bloody power struggle and dark intrigues of the mafia; and main character Rosa is always in the middle of it.
Aug 19, Katherine rated it really liked it Shelves: Unlike most other readers, the premise of this book did nothing for me, simply because I've never had any sort of interest in the mafia which is a big theme in this book. I was a little unsure about the shapeshifter element, another big theme, as I've not yet read any books about shapeshifters that I've really enjoyed. Why did I read this then? I'm not all that sure - I guess I just wanted to see if this was any different to other young adult books at the moment and I'd read some great reviews. I'm very glad that I did decide to read this one as it was a surprisingly engrossing read!
I'll start with the main thing that bugged me and that was the writing style. This book was actually written in German, so I'm not sure what was lost in translation and I can't blame the author for that. I just felt as though a lot of the sentences didn't flow well - note that I did read an ARC of this book though, so this may be slightly different in the final version.
Apart from the sometimes awkward writing, I found Arcadia Awakens to be a very enthralling read. This is a quite loosely based modern day Romeo and Juliet, set on the alluring island of Sicily, Italy. The backdrop to the story wasn't overly described but Meyer gave us a very good sense of the setting.
Our two main characters, Rosa Alcantara and Alessandro Carnevare, are from opposing sides of the Sicilian mafia and they form a forbidden bond, falling in love with each other. Thankfully the love wasn't instant and instead, they gradually grew to trust each other. I actually did find myself wishing that there was slightly more chemistry between them, but I think that it was enjoyable enough as it was - it felt natural and unforced. There was potential for conflict between them and I thought that could've been explored more - especially because of the feud between the two families.
Of course, there is certainly room for a lot more exploration in the next books in the series. I really did begin to care for both Rosa and Alessandro, they were both very likeable and strong characters. I thought that Rosa was particularly fascinating. From the beginning, we see that she is quite head-strong and confident - however, she does have a somewhat fragile layer underneath which we can see from her recollections of what's happened to her in the past.
Rosa clearly has a history outside Italy and the Mafia, which I would love to learn more about. I think that Alessandro and the mafia history were equally as interesting - something that I never thought I'd say! I did find it slightly confusing at points as parts of the clans, the history and hierarchy were explained but it wasn't overly heavy or difficult which I was thankful for - I am glad that it was explained to help me understand the story as it was quite intricate.
Arcadia is a part of Greek mythology and it was interesting to see how this was interwoven into the clans lives. As well as unexpectedly enjoying the mafia aspect of the story, I also really liked reading about the shape shifters. The Carnevares turn into different species of big cats i. I thought that the transformation was very well described and I didn't find it 'creepy' like I have in other novels - although it's fantasy, it didn't actually seem that bizarre, it was almost mesmerising to see how the humans changed and how their animal sides acted.
I thoroughly enjoyed Arcadia Awakens and would love to see how the rest of the trilogy turns out. It's quite a unique, complex story which certainly brings something original to the young adult genre. I'd recommend this to anyone who simply wants a different fantasy read. If you're a little apprehensive of the subject matter like I was, I'd also urge you to give it a go - you'll probably be very pleasantly surprised!
Jan 31, K. It hurt my brain trying to understand what the hell was going on here. But this really didn't live up to my expectations. At the end of the d 2. At the end of the day, I came out of it enormously confused. Because there's a LOT going on in this book. Like, a lot a lot. Let's do this in bullet points, shall we? Her sister's girlfriend gets ripped apart by a lion. And then her sister is killed by a dude who turns into a boar. I wanted to like this. Basically, I was more confused at the end than when I first started. I'm definitely not going to be looking for book 2.
Feb 01, Sylvia rated it it was ok Shelves: Ok this book seemed to have promise but I really don't know what happened to be honest. It took me forever to read, even though I was reading it a couple of chapters are day for a challenge, but in all honesty it really wasn't that captivating. I think it's because it has been translated form German to English and somewhere along the lines it lost soul.
I really didn't feel connected to the characters and couldn't care less what happened to them. If only most of the book was like this. The premise was unusual and unique but it was too weird for me. I was asking more questions about the story then getting the answers I needed to figure out what was going on. I was left confused at times and I still am. I really don't know what happened in this book LOL. This book is the first in a trilogy and I'm sorry to say I will not continue with it.
Just not my cup of tea View all 18 comments. Don't think I'm going to pick this up again. I so wanted to like the book and have been waiting eagerly for quite a while to read it, but neither the story nor the characters drew me in. I'm glad I got it from the library and therefore didn't spend any money on it. Zwei Namen zwischen all den anderen. Trotzdem trifft sich Rosa weiterhin mit Alessandro. Doch in ihm ruht ein unheimliches Erbe, das nicht menschlich ist Auch dieses Buch hat mich begeistert. Die Charaktere - Rosa und Alessandro - haben mir sehr gut gefallen. Alessandro hat mir ebenfalls unglaublich gut gefallen.
Er war sympathisch und charmant, hatte aber auch etwas geheimnisvolles an sich. Alles in allem kann ich nur sagen, dass es ein gelungenes Meisterwerk ist, welches von mir mit 4 Sternen bewertet wird. Ich bin ab jetzt ein riesiger Fan von Kai Meyer! Jul 24, Krys rated it did not like it Shelves: I only made it 50 pages into Kai Meyer's Arcadia Awakens. There is something off about the translation to me. Civil war and external military intervention did not allow Ukrainian leaders to pay much attention to the language issue, but in general this political and cultural shift was of course in favor of the Ukrainian language.
But with the establishment of Soviet power over most of the Ukrainian territory only the western regions remained under Poland and the emergence of the Soviet Union it became clear that the idea of an independent Ukrainian state would not be realized and the official policy turned again to some version of Russian-Ukrainian bilinguism. This rather unclear policy, mainly determined by pragmatism, mysteriously changed some years later. The reason for it can be found in the changing international environment and the new focus on supporting anti-imperialist struggle in the colonial world.
Soviet republics were supposed to demonstrate the successful solution to the nationalities question. Forceful measures were implemented to ensure the official status of the Ukrainian language: It was the first attempt to conquer the urban cultural space — usually the fortress of Russian speakers. In the early 30s with the total change of political climate and the beginning of Stalinist terror the ukrainization campaign was stopped by the order from Moscow.
The social basis of a further Ukrainization was eventually eliminated by a deliberately organized famine among rural the population: This caused a new political shift and some concessions to the Ukrainian language, but soon the war with Nazi Germany cut this tendency. Western Ukrainians had a particularly bad record because of collaborating with the Nazis against the Soviet army.
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Some military groups continued to resist to Soviet authorities till the end of the 50s, and this struggle cost many lives on both sides. Millions of Ukrainians were forcibly moved to Siberia. Many who did not accept the Soviet rule and tried to avoid political repressions emigrated to the West. Since these years the fear of Ukrainian nationalism has never left the Moscow leadership and later it was this that caused the particularly extensive repressions against Ukrainian dissidents.
Poetry readings, public lectures and celebrations of cultural events attracted students and intelligentsia both in Eastern and Western Ukraine. Khrushchev and later P. Shelest tried to keep these activities under control in order not to scare Moscow, but at the same time provided some kind of protection for them. On the other hand some political and administrative decisions were made at the same period, which in fact were in favor of further russification.
In the Congress of CPSU announced a policy to eliminate ethnic differences and develop a new community — the Soviet people. According to the law of , Ukrainian language lost its compulsory status at schooling: Public opinion, awakened by the young intelligentsia, perceived these politics as anti-Ukrainian. However, the wave of national cultural renaissance had one particular feature: A new generation of intelligentsia, committed to Ukrainian language and culture grew up in Soviet society and believed in its values: What they wanted was to clear up these values from distortions and bureaucratization.
The first arrests among Ukrainian intelligentsia started in , and in the beginning they only fuelled public solidarity for the national cause. But after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in and the worsening political atmosphere any open manifestations of national feeling became almost impossible. Publications of books, journals and newspapers in Ukrainian were subsidized by the state and this fact partly explains the paradox of the decline of the Ukrainian media and publishing industry after the collapse of the USSR. What the Soviet authorities were concerned about was the danger of turning the language into a banner of the national consolidation of Ukrainians against the existing political regime.
And this threat to the Communist system was very real, particularly in Western Ukraine and was becoming more and more real in other regions. The official ideology of internationalism in the USSR encouraged inter-republic migration and cross-ethnic marriages. The Soviet leadership encouraged ethnic Russians to relocate on Ukrainian land and supported Ukrainians moving to the eastern and northern territories of Russia.
These factors plus the continuing reduction of teaching in Ukrainian led to the change of balance not in favor of Ukrainian-speakers but rather of a hidden russification. The growing dissident movement in Ukraine, being concerned about human rights and having a lot in common with Russian dissident groups, was mainly focused on the facts of ethnocide of Ukrainians, discrimination of the Ukrainian language and oppression of cultural life. The cruel repressions against Ukrainian dissidents and the general political stagnation resulted in the radicalization of the nationalist movement and the revival of the idea of a secession from the USSR.
According to the Ukrainian constitution, the people of the Ukraine are divided into three categories: The Russian language, which is still very influential in Ukraine, automatically gained secondary status, and a campaign to introduce the Ukrainian language into the educational system and state structures began. This is not due to a conscious political strategy but mainly because of the administrative capacities of the new Ukrainian state which were not sufficient for radical reform; in addition to that, the unstable political leadership could not formulate a clear language policy.
In Eastern and Southern Ukraine both historically Russian-speaking ukrainization faced hidden resistance, hence was not very successful and rather superficial. The state tried to promote the Ukrainian language mainly through bureaucratic measures, which were efficient only to some extent. President Leonid Kuchma came to power in due to support from Eastern Ukraine. This policy or absence of a clear policy became a subject of criticism from Ukrainian nationalists on the one side and the Russian-speaking intelligentsia on the other.
By the end of new appointments in the Ukrainian government were made: At the same time, the Constitutional Court made a decision regarding the usage of state language in Ukrainian society. This decision, rather political than juridical, was in fact an attempt to expand the compulsory usage of state language to institutions like local self-administration bodies and municipal higher education.
The danger of this decision was stressed in the special opinion of one of the constitutional judges, Mironenko, who argued that according to the constitution Ukrainian is the official and working language of the state but not necessarily of society or private persons. Another issue in the recent language debate became the ratification of the European Charter of Minority Languages by the Ukrainian Parliament in December Moreover, a new situation has emerged, since now Russian-speakers can use democratic and human rights rhetoric and consequently the authority of Western liberal ideology against Ukrainian nationalism.
But the Charter had no chance of being implemented because after 6 months the ratification was abandoned by the Constitutional Court on the ground that mistakes were made during the procedure of ratification, but the true reason was political. This rather banal crime was interpreted by extremist nationalists as a crime against the Ukrainian culture and nation and led to an escalation of anti-Russian hatred.
As a result Igor Bilozir became a national hero — as his predecessor, another Ukrainian composer, Volodymyr Ivasuk, who was killed in supposedly on the order of the KGB. All these events of the last two years initiated a new wave of politization of the language issue. Currently the population of Ukraine, which is about 50 million people, speaks mainly two languages: According to one recent sociological survey January Panina, Bilinguism in Ukraine: Real Situation and Perspectives. A Sociological survey , in: Russian-Ukrainian Bulletin , Nr.
In fact Ukraine is a bilingual country. Despite all the historical transformations, the changes of the political system and of state borders, despite a significant progress made by Ukrainian language and despite the efforts of ten years of independence, the contemporary situation in a way reproduces the old pattern of the beginning of 20 century. The language split has actually two dimensions: What makes Ukraine different from other former USSR republics, such as the Baltic states, is that the Russian language is widely spread and still dominant in culture, science, business and other spheres except, possibly, politics.
The ruling political and administrative elite remains to a large extent Russian-speaking, and Ukrainian is used mainly for political rituals. In the case of the Ukraine, Russian can hardly be considered as a national minority language. There are some points, which are crucial for the situation with language politics in Ukraine.
First, these are mainly language differences not so much ethnic, religious, nor even cultural that constitute the grounds for political tensions in Ukrainian society. Up to now religious differences played only a marginal role, and some confessional tensions between members of the Ukrainian Orthodox and of the Greek-Catholic churches had only regional importance. Although cultural differences do exist between the Eastern and Western regions of Ukraine, they are traditionally articulated first of all as language differences.
In this context the issue of language has become crucial. As it was shown above, for the Ukrainian nationalist intelligentsia language was the main focus of struggle against the Austrian authorities, the Russia Empire, and then against Soviet rule. It is no wonder that the very idea of the Ukrainian nation has been constructed by constant attempts to defend the Ukrainian language and to save it from vanishing — first of all in opposition to Russian.
The second thesis may seem contrary to the first one: Language problems become politicized not so much because of the urgency of these problems, but because transitional processes in post-Soviet countries have their own logic. One of the core elements of this logic is the growing gap between elites and masses, alienation of the masses from political life. In some sense, language can be considered as a signifier of other interests, first of all of the economic interests of the Ukrainian regional elites, their geo-economic and geopolitical orientations.
Third, the issue of closeness or differences of Russian and Ukrainian, which is the subject of political discussions, can hardly be solved in a neutral and objective way. But what political implications can this have? Does it favor the mutual understanding and communication, perspectives of bilinguism, and make the life of Russian speakers easier than, say, in Estonia?
Surzhyk is a term, which initially came from the mill industry: This distorted language different in every region serves as an inter-linguistic mediator and also poses additional difficulties for a full-fledged functioning of Ukrainian. The argument of Russian-speakers as a people with no identity. Russian speaking people do not constitute a homogeneous group with common interests.
They have lost their origins as ethnic Ukrainians but cannot be considered as Russians either. Another side of this argument — Russian-speakers are not represented in civil society and are rather passive politically. There are no NGOs or political parties of the Russian-speaking population, only some marginal groups, who pretend to do so but in fact represent the private interests of their leaders. This argument marginalizes Russian-speakers in both discourses: Being culturally marginal they are deprived of cultural heritage — both Russian and Ukrainian, and that is why they have no group identity and consequently no right to refer to democratic norms and human rights.
Obviously, it is the Ukrainian nation-oriented intelligentsia who monopolized human rights rhetoric during the decades of Soviet rule. The access to this human rights rhetoric becomes a new side of the struggle between Russian speaking and Ukrainian speaking elites. The argument of the imperialist status of the Russian language. Russian speakers cannot be considered a national minority, since they pretend to keep their imperialist status.
If the Russian language obtains the status of a second state language or equal status with Ukrainian , the dominance of the Russian language and culture would be inevitable. Therefore Ukrainian needs some kind of affirmative action policy tax privileges for media and publishing, state support for education in Ukrainian, and probably some advantages for Ukrainian speaking specialists.
The current situation is considered a tragic consequence of Russian imperialist cultural intervention, and a result of the violation of nation-building processes by external factors. Therefore the development of the Ukrainian language is possible only at the expense of Russian. This is a typical postcolonial syndrome, and clearly Russian speakers are treated as the main obstacle to the restoration of national identity and national culture.
They are considered not only as a potential force which could be used by Russia for political pressure on Ukraine in a potential future conflict, but as a shameful reminder of the colonial past. Arguments based on similarity and common origins of the Russian and Ukrainian language: That is why it sounds so striking that Russian literature will be taught at school as a foreign literature.
Ukrainianized Russian can be considered an independent cultural phenomenon, part of Ukrainian culture, moreover — as a mediator in the communication between Russians and Ukrainians who can easily understand each other. From their point of view, Soviet policy cannot be considered anti-Ukrainian since the Ukrainian communist nomenklatura took an active part in these politics; it was mainly anti-democratic.
A shared past presupposes a shared future, and these paternalistic or one could call them neo-imperialistic relations are doomed to be reproduced again and again. Russian speakers insist that they represent the interests of the highly developed Eastern part of Ukraine, where the main industrial and scientific centers are located.
Limitation of the sphere of operation of the Russian language would lead to scientific, industrial and social backwardness. Russian is still the language of international communication in the former USSR, one of the most spoken languages in the world. Therefore limiting Russian cannot be considered a rational policy for the future of the Ukrainian nation.
Another modification of this kind of argument represents the current language situation in terms of urban-rural relations. The politics of ukrainization can be seen as revenge by the first generation of urban people, who had been forced to abandon their native Ukrainian language in order to adapt to urban life. Now these people constitute the main force interested in the politics of ukrainization. The progress argument is rather typical for the classical Western-centered discourse of rationality. We should admit that as long as world dynamics are still being determined by the logic of modernization and market globalization, this argument is quite powerful.
First, contemporary language politics in Ukraine can be analyzed as a field of political battle for the right to use a new political language — the language of democracy values and human rights. Language politics can be seen as a fight for symbolic power, a competition of different interpretations of the key values of democracy. The enormous symbolic power of such kinds of notions and norms was demonstrated during the Kosovo war. Third, what the nationalist project did not take into account is now evident: Here inevitably arises the question of state interference in cultural processes.
And both sides blame the state for representing the interests of nomenklatura capitalism and not paying attention to the issue of language. These appeals to state authorities may also be considered a sign of weakness of civil society in Ukraine. Due to the obvious fact that the rhetoric of the language debate in Ukraine is now determined to a significant extent by liberal and democratic discourse, it might be interesting to consider the theoretical debates surrounding concepts of multiculturalism, minority rights and cultural differences in contemporary political theory.
How can the situation in the field of language politics in the Ukraine be interpreted from this point of view? During the last two decades the theory of liberal democracy has been faced with global challenges of the post-colonial world: The Canadian political philosopher Will Kymlicka[ 14 ] is one of those who try to incorporate the problems of cultural ethnic, language difference into the liberal paradigm. It is well-known that in mainstream liberal theory one of the main mechanisms for accommodating cultural differences is protecting individual civic and political rights.
He focuses on three groups of such rights: State interference into these issues is not only unavoidable, but there are even important arguments for it. Kymlicka identifies three main arguments in defense of group specific rights as a means of accommodating cultural differences: The principles of laissez-faire in the area of culture are not sufficient from the point of view of ethnic groups and national minorities.
The minority should be given the same opportunity to protect its language and societal culture as the majority has. It does not mean, as Kymlicka stresses, the rejection of the very idea of a cultural market-place. The second argument comes from the fact of historical agreements — some nations such as Canada were created by such agreements between two or more communities.
By determining the terms under which people decided to create common state these agreements often give rise to certain group-differentiated rights. For example, Quebecois leaders agreed to join Canada only on condition that jurisdiction over language and education is guaranteed to the provinces. The third argument comes from recognition of the value of cultural diversity.
From this point of view not only the national minority, but the whole society benefits from introduction of group-differentiated rights by expanding cultural resources, experience and quality of life. This argument appeals not to the obligation but also to the interests of the majority. Nonetheless, Kymlicka warns that this argument is more applicable to intracultural than to intercultural diversity, especially if the cultures are totally different.
In this case the development of a minority culture does not create more options for members of the majority group and can even have an opposite effect. One of the main reasons why so few liberals support these rights is that they assume a country contains only one nation. Taylor appeals to the value of reciprocal recognition as a main condition for the formation of individual and group identity in modern society. The violation of individual rights in the name of collective goals of survival contradicts the very idea of procedural liberal society Dworkin which has no particular substantive view about the ends of life.
Taylor insists that it is not just a matter of having the French language available for those who might chose it it can be ensured by federal bilingualism policy.
Let us try to apply this discussion between liberal and communitarianists to the contemporary situation in Ukraine. The main peculiarity of this situation is that there are three major linguistic groups based on two languages: For example, Mykola Ryabchuk writes: Both Ukrainians and Russians compete for the support of this group, and both claim it to be their own. Are these assumptions not based on the implicit idea that Kymlicka mentioned: And the second idea: But paradoxically the marriage of Ukrainian nationalism with liberalism does not look happy.
It is even more paradoxical if we recall that it is Russian speakers who are usually accused of having a post-Soviet, post-communist identity. Ukrainian-speakers concerned with the creation of the Ukrainian nation are doomed by the same logic to reject the laissez-faire principle and turn to other ideas: But does it mean that the Russian language still maintains its imperial or, at least, dominant status, as Ukrainian nationalists insist?
This question hardly can be answered in essentialist terms. What is obvious now is that it is still uncertain who is a national majority and who is a national minority in Ukraine. As Ryabchuk says, the Ukraine can be compared with Canada, but it is still questionable where its Quebec will be: Indeed, the role and position of Russian speaking Ukrainians will be decisive.
The Russian-speaking community has a decisive role, but not because they should take a pro-Ukrainian or a pro-Russian position. Their role is decisive in the sense that the very destiny of the Ukrainian national project depends on them: Hospitable to cultural differences or not? Friendly, tolerant or hostile to the majority of Ukrainian citizens? The factor of similarity between Russian and Ukrainian, as well as the presence of Russian-speaking Ukrainians as one of the main linguistic groups can be seen from both perspectives: Providing that Russian speaking Ukrainians do not identify themselves with Russia but with the Ukrainian state, the best strategy would be not to impose on them a Ukrainian cultural identity, but strengthen their Ukrainian political identity also by improving the image of the Ukrainian state through real reforms.
But one should admit, that this promising potential and historical chance is very difficult to realize, because Russia imagined or real still remains a very important factor of Ukrainian national identity formation. For Ukraine, Russia is an external, geopolitical, but also internal problem because of a significant part of the population is russified — that is how Ryabchuk formulates one of the main fears of Ukrainian nationalism. Ukraine is following the model of nation-building, which was typical for Eastern-European countries and particularly countries which emerged after the break-up of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, though with a significant delay.
By using the historical chance of the collapse of the USSR ruling elite tries to establish an ethnocentric state based upon one titular nation Nation-State , which has been already criticized in contemporary political theory. In this case Ukrainian nationalists risk finding themselves in opposition to democracy and human rights ideology, which had served so well to legitimize the project of the national state. Apparently the attempts of Ukrainian political elites to create the image of a European nation will force them to adopt some elements of multiculturalism.
But because the process of nation-building is far from completed, it is difficult to say which group will benefit most from this affirmative action policy. Should Ukrainian identity be redefined to include the historical experience, cultural and linguistic differences of Russian speakers as an integral part of Ukrainian nation? The continuing alienation from Ukrainian language caused not least by the inability of the ruling elite to cope with social and economic crisis, corruption and political scandals and by a general shift to the formation of a police-bureaucratic state.
Until now one positive point was the wide public consensus on the language issue as an internal affair of Ukrainian society. It was largely shared by the Russian speaking community, except for a few marginal radical pro-Russian organizations. In fact, the failure of some attempts of political mass mobilization around particular linguistic interests of Russian-speakers prevented dangerous political cleavages in a disintegrated society. And hopefully the national identity formation can be influenced more by the fact of a common future instead of a divided historical past. Despite the recent judgment of the Frunze district court deputies of Kharkiv[ 26 ], the City Council refused to abandon their previous decision made in concerning the official status of Russian language.
Since this decision was a subject of 22! The public prosecutor of the Kharkiv region insisted on the dismissal of the City Council in his letter to the Mayor of Kharkiv. Now according to the legal procedure the major of the city can apply to the Verkhovna Rada the Ukrainian Parliament , which should then make the final decision concerning the dismissal of the City Council. Being under double pressure from the Kyiv central authorities and the public opinion in the city it is an open question if the Parliament will take this decision or not.
I am thankful to Alexei Miller and Janos M. Kovacs for their comments and suggestions regarding the first version of this paper. The German version will be published in: Factors of the Russification of Ukraine: Ivan Dzyuba, Internationalism or Russification? An Anthology , London In my opinion, besides the equality argument, which is central to the language debate in Ukraine, the argument of cultural diversity is also extremely important.
The reason is that the Russian and Ukrainian cultures benefited from each other and created a common cultural heritage, which cannot be neglected. This idea of three major groups was proposed by Andrew Wilson in: Andrew Wilson, Ukrainian Nationalism in the s: Kharkiv is the one of the biggest cities in Eastern Ukraine, an industrial and academic center, with a traditionally Russian speaking population of more than one million. Warszawa , s.
Are You an Author?
Gazeta Wyborcza , 9. Ce changement a pris des formes multiples: De notion individuelle, elle est devenue une notion collective et de subjective, elle est devenue quasi formelle et objective. Je suis tenu de devenir ce que je suis: Il y en a, me semble-t-il, deux principaux. Dans son effet, elle est devenue souvent un appel au meurtre. Comment cela se fait? La certitude est ici inexpugnable au point de nous faire avouer: En tenir compte, non les ruminer. One State, Two Countries? Mykola Riabchuk Posted on 14 October, Abstract This paper aims to explore ambivalence in Ukraine as a socio-political phenomenon.
The author argues that this pervasive legacy not only has not been overcome during the first decade of Ukrainian independence, but on the contrary, has deliberately been maintained by the post-soviet elite currently in power as a necessary if not unique condition of its political survival. The March legislatives in Ukraine are discussed as a graphic example of manipulation, even if the results were not entirely favorable for the regime. The author contends that the nascent civil society in Ukraine, however weak and thwarted it may be, is still quite resilient, giving Ukraine some chance to transform its post-soviet ambivalence into democratic plurality and, hopefully, subsequent unity.
Anybody who visits extreme eastern and western Ukraine, for example, Donetsk and Lviv, inevitably feels the profound differences between the two regions, as if in reality they belonged to two different countries, two different worlds, two different civilizations. Architectural dissimilitude is the most immediately evident. Lviv is a typical Central European city, having been governed under Magdeburg Law for centuries. Today the faithful fill the numerous churches on feast-days, and little cafes have always attracted people wanting to meet and chat, even during Soviet times.
Beneath the surface, the differences are no less substantial. This habit had disappeared from eastern Ukraine due to permanent food shortages and the total pauperization of everyday life. Western Ukrainian peasants who put on their suits and white shirts and ties and polished shoes every Sunday for church are rather difficult to imagine in eastern Ukraine. Donetsk represents what was built instead: A typical Soviet city, it is indistinguishable from myriads of other industrial monsters stretching for thousands of kilometers from Donbass to Kuzbass and from Norilsk to Karaganda.
Here people speak a different language, which they think is Russian, attend different churches when they attend at all , watch different TV channels and vote for different political parties. Political differences are no less striking. Easterners tend to prefer the opposite. Indeed, this perspective leads many observers to conclude that, since western and eastern Ukraine are too different to coexist within the same country, the split between the two halves is inevitable.
However, the main paradox is that nobody can say where one half ends and the other begins. Ukraine had been russified and, later on, sovietized very gradually, region by region, over years. These two Ukraines co-exist like two symbols, two options for future development: Nevertheless, it would be inaccurate and deceptive to extrapolate the specific ideological implications of these two symbols onto any other significant part of the country. Opinion polls confirm that Ukrainian society is not just radically divided on virtually every fundamental issue with perhaps the one exception of territorial integrity[ 2 ].
Perhaps the best example of this ambiguity was revealed by the national survey when 1, respondents were asked to define which political tendency they supported. Another question, however, was addressed to the same respondents within the framework of the same survey: It means that nearly half of them believe that the renewed Soviet Union and the newly born national independence can be somehow combined.
Do you approve or disapprove? Do you live or simply survive? Do you exist at all? Yet in the long run it becomes an unbearable burden per se , a collective neurosis that lends itself to skilful manipulation by the new spin-doctors. Stability turns into nasty stagnation, ambivalence into ambiguity. Needless to say, the post-soviet oligarchy has a vested interest in keeping society highly atomized, confused and alienated. They do all they can to prevent any civic democratic development within the country, since it could expose them to objective and fair political competition entailing, ultimately, the loss of political power and power-based economic privileges.
The real problem that post-soviet rulers faced in post-independence Ukraine was the lack of a founding ideology. Neither of the two former Ukrainian nationalisms is viable today since neither mobilizes the population at large. There is no Ukrainian counterpart to the Russian evolution in this respect, since in Russia, inversely, every political force can call upon two nationalisms: In Ukraine, with its divided and undecided politicum, native, ethnic nationalism is weak and marginalized, and imperial nationalism, that legacy from the soviet past, is moribund and marginalized by communist monopolization.
Of course, theoretically, the possibility of Ukrainian civic nationalism could at least have been considered. But to be viable, this option should have been rooted in strong civic institutions and democratic procedures; Ukrainian leaders should have promoted a full-fledged civil society and a genuinely transparent political and economic environment. Clearly, this would have translated into inevitable political suicide for the highly corrupt and incompetent post-soviet elite, a suicide which none of them was eager to commit.
Therefore in Ukraine we have the emergence of a peculiar ersatz-ideology, which can be defined in the negative.
It is primarily based on the assumption that things are going badly but could get much worse. So, the oligarchic media proclaim, would it not be wiser to accept the status quo, rather than to rock the boat with all kinds of crazy demands and radical suggestions? Our officials are corrupt? Yes, but there are corruption scandals everywhere! Just take look at model western democracies like Germany or the USA! After all, please remember that our democracy is only ten years old. Did you say that our elections are a farce? Well, they are no more and no less imperfect than our society, only so recently emerged from totalitarianism.
It did not distort elections as cynically as Mugabe, did not steal as much as Mobutu or Marcos, and did not kill in the same proportions as Milosevic or Putin. Had Ukraine not had a colonial, communist legacy, the authorities would have invented it. The colonial legacy furnished the nomenclatura with the specific regions and local identities that could effectively be played against each other. The objective of the post-soviet rulers was to preserve this legacy for as long as possible.
Ten years of Ukrainian independence give a graphic example of how the consolidation of a nascent civil society and nation can variously be impeded. To expose the total process would require a voluminous study. Democratic elections are a major headache for a good many authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes throughout the world. Democracy is fashionable and democracy has a price. But very few third-world leaders are prepared to pay it fully, fairly and on time. Ukraine has no oil, no nuclear power and no significant role to play in fighting international terrorism. Every election for them has turned into a sprint across a minefield.
A careless step too far left or right, and their politico-economic set-up may blow up. On the one hand, they are perfectly conscious that they can win the elections only through widespread, systematic and coordinated fraud, since the opposition is gaining in strength while their own popularity is plummeting at close to nil. Yet on the other hand they also realize that violations, which are too brutal, too visible and too cynical, could entail harsh international sanctions especially for the ruling elite.
Juggling these considerations, they must adjust their implementation of electoral fraud in terms of scale, configuration and frequency in order to ensure national victory and to avoid international defeat. Despite not having a clear majority in parliament, the post-soviet nomenclatura was in a position to keep both the communists and national democrats at bay by playing them off against each other and, if necessary, blackmailing each side with threats of political coalition with the other. In , by the same token, he beat his communist rival with the support of the national democrats. The communists did not have much sympathy for Kuchma in or the national democrats in when his popularity declined to a one-digit percentage.
Firstly, the Communist party lost a significant percentage of its popularity, in part through the gradual shrinking of its elderly electorate, in part through a dubious collaboration in certain key issues with the highly unpopular Kuchma regime. Secondly, a broad national democratic base was consolidated for the first time since under the leadership of the very popular former Prime Minister, Victor Yushchenko.
This meant that the authorities have been able to practice electoral fraud in a significant way in the majority districts, but were confronted with insurmountable problems in rigging results decisively in the proportional districts. Kuchma was determined to win the battle at any price. If it is true that the incumbent president has only two choices, the Milosevic option or the Lukashenko option, he would certainly choose for the latter, as his recent election campaign has proved. Government pressure on the political opposition, their supporters and sympathizers, and on the members of electoral commissions has been extremely strong, especially in certain regions, small towns and villages.
Many people have been blackmailed and intimidated by officials or even harassed and beaten-up by unidentified civilians. On election day, in some eastern Ukrainian regions the paramilitary groups went from poll station to poll station openly, attacking opposition members and sympathizers in the presence of police forces. In one way or another, the authorities obstructed every other electoral meeting held by oppositional candidates.
Having monopolized all the TV channels and virtually all the newspapers, the government and pro-government oligarchs launched an extremely filthy disinformation campaign against opposition leaders, particularly Victor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko. With little chance of success in western and central Ukraine, Kuchma and his supporters decided to make a last stand in the more sovietized and russophone Donbass and other eastern Ukrainian oblasts. Three more percent have probably been stolen from Yushchenko by various manoeuvres during voting and ballot counting.
The data appears reliable since both exit polls and parallel vote counting confirm it. These results could indeed be seen as a triumph of the nascent Ukrainian democracy or, at least, as a clear sign that Ukrainian society is becoming more politically mature and less susceptible to official manipulations and propagandistic brainwashing. However, the election results in the majority constituencies leave much less room for optimism. There are many reasons for this electoral twist: Firstly, local authorities have more incentives to promote specific pro-government candidates in the majority constituencies rather than campaigning for some abstract party list.
And of course, the candidates promote themselves much more actively than the party they represent. And secondly, people depend much more on the individual candidates personally, since it is at their discretion that decisions are made to bring gas to their district, give new jobs in the local factory, pay pension arrears, or purchase some urgently needed equipment for the local hospital. Leonid Kuchma proved to be a perspicacious politician. One may easily calculate that if the proportional system had been adopted, the opposition parties could have created an anti-oligarchic majority in parliament even without the communists.
However imaginary they may seem, these two Ukraines do exist in reality. Western Ukraine tends to support democratic parties and their candidates in both proportional nationwide voting and head-to-head contest in local districts. Irrespective of the electoral system, these people would always elect more or less the same parliament. Southern and eastern Ukraine tends to support kuchmists and communists in both the proportional and the majority framework. Their parliament would also be more or less the same regardless of the electoral system.
Resistance is growing in strength. There are many signs that since the ruling regime is gradually loosing ground in central Ukraine, in order to maintain its power base it is moving east into the heavily sovietized regions of traditional communist domination. This move might result in the eventual marginalization and decline of the semi-authoritarian system of government in Ukraine or, vice versa, it might lead to a brutal totalitarian restoration.
But in Donetsk the authorities do not even appear to bother with appearances. These are the people who are the main bulwark of the declining president, his most reliable long-term partners.
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They used violence, bribery, intimidation, and electoral fraud: But even in this respect, Donetsk is an exceptional case in point. If all the other political forces, clans, and individuals do not fully apprehend this danger, it might turn into reality. The Donetsk region was the only one where the FUU scored highest in majority balloting.
Our Ukraine won in 14 regions center and west , the Communist Party in nine south and east , the Socialist Party in one Poltava. The authorities must indeed sorely want to generalize the Donetsk and prison-army pattern to Ukraine as a whole. This scenario will not appear so far-fetched if we remember the presidentials, or if we just refer back to the alleged conversations between president Kuchma and his aides, as revealed by his former guard Mykola Melnychenko.
Kuchma speaking over the phone to Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko: Azarov [head of the National Tax Service] is here. This is the mechanism at work here. They have a case on virtually every collective farm head. They have to be collected in every rayon, so that every militia head and tax service head… And say: Another fragment is very similar, although this time the president is speaking to Leonid Derkach, head of the SBU, the successor organization to the KGB: The first is a permissive attitude of state authorities towards corruption.
In Ukraine, corruption and illegality among the elite were accepted, condoned, and even encouraged by the top leadership, resulting in a general condition of impunity. The second element is extensive state surveillance. Even as the violation of the law is encouraged, the state or rather the surveillance organs controlled by the President continues to monitor and collect information on such illegal activities. Thanks to the surveillance organs, the state amasses a stockpile of files and criminal cases documenting the wrongdoings of office-holders as well as private actors.
When compliance with state directives is required, this information is used for blackmail, with payment exacted — not in cash, but in political obedience. The president and his team gain power, the oligarchs gain wealth, the press is controlled, and the masses are threatened, fragmented, and repressed. In this manner, the informal mechanisms of state control continue to be sustained, and graft is unlikely to be eradicated so long as it remains an essential tool of rule.
However acute these observations may be, they do not account for certain phenomena that render Ukrainian reality even more complex. In fact, Darden very aptly describes one Ukraine, but tends to ignore the other. And finally, there is one more player on the Ukrainian scene who can metaphorically be called international civil society and international public opinion.
International government and non-government organizations try to encourage Ukrainian politics and economy towards a greater transparency and at the same time to dissuade authoritarian tendencies. Having obtained an impressive victory in the nationwide vote, democratic forces sustained a no less significant defeat in the majority constituencies. Victor Yushchenko and his Our Ukraine coalition constitute a serious threat to the stagnant post-soviet regime.
There is every reason to believe that he will remain the main target for attack by pro-presidential forces from present until the eve of the presidential elections. The main objectives of the anti-Yushchenko strategy are clear: We shall see what kind of strategy Victor Yushchenko and his team will implement, given that their media access will be limited by the authorities, and to what degree the Ukrainian voters will submit to government brainwashing. The recent survey confirms these findings indirectly: See Dzerkalo tyzhnia, 23 September , p. Yevgeniy Golovakha, Transformiruyushcheyesia obshchestvo.
Opyt sociologicheskogo monitoringa v Ukraine. Institute of Sociology, , p. All these results largely correlate with subsequent sociological findings. See Den, 24 July , p. Politychnyi portret Ukrayiny , no. Democratic Initiatives Center, , pp. Yuriy Andrukhovych, Krytyka, vol. The most extensive and impartial account of the election violations can be found at the web-site of the Committee of Ukrainian Electors, one a few major NGOs that had monitored the election campaign in virtually every region, due to financial and technical assistance of TACIS and some other international organizations.
The colourful map of Ukraine that reflects the results of the voting in each region is available at www. See also Dzerkalo tyzhnia , 6—13 April ; http: Der junge Johannes R. Legenden und Tatsachen sind, wie immer in seinem Falle, nicht leicht zu trennen. Hofmannsthal einen Besuch in seiner Villa abstatten wollte.
The question may be posed rather differently: The principle of solidarity has a long history, and like most evaluatively charged concepts its meanings have changed over time and its interpretations remain varied. For example, both socialists and catholics commonly appeal to the ideal of solidarity, but what they understand by this is in many respects very different. It is not my intention here to explore the etymology and historical evolution of the concept, but it is important to highlight some of its contrasting implications. One conception presupposes common identity , the possession of characteristics which mark individuals as members of a group — the nation, the tribe, the religious sect or perhaps also devotion to a particular football club or pop group — with a collective loyalty and a clear sense of difference from those outside its ranks.
Sometimes the homogeneity of the group may be reinforced by rituals, uniforms, an arcane vocabulary. In the past, perhaps, this model of solidarity played a significant part in the collectivism of labour movements. A second type of solidarity, at times overlapping with the first, is based on awareness of common interests which are best pursued collectively. This is the classic rationale for trade unionism: And because interests are shaped by subjective perception as well as objective situation, belief could create its own reality.
A third understanding of solidarity involves mutuality despite difference. This may be based on a sense of interdependence, generating what might be called a second-order community of interest in sustaining a set of social relationships in which all are positively implicated. It was in this sense that Durkheim wrote that the elaborate division of labour within modern societies created the basis or at least the potential for an organic solidarity, more nuanced and more flexible than the rigid uniformity of earlier social structures.
A different way of comprehending such mutuality is as an expression of the obligations of humanity. No man [or woman, we would add today] is an island, wrote John Donne. From this perspective, there is an obligation on the strong to support the weak — either on the pragmatic rationale that the roles might on some occasion be reversed, or through a more diffuse recognition of the human condition. This third approach may turn solidarity into a synonym for charity, implying pitying support for passive victims. This is far removed from the socialist view of solidarity as active and collective; but can aspects of this approach be used to inform and enrich the solidarity of labour movements?
To explore this question we should note an important distinction, between what may be termed solidarity with and solidarity against. By contrast, conceptions of solidarity-as-charity often avoid any reference to conflicting interests and collective mobilisation and struggle. This is also true, we may note, of the conventional usage of solidarity in the contemporary politics of the European Union: Class opposition was historically an important foundation of trade union conceptions of solidarity.
Yet the understanding of class was always somewhat problematic, and has become increasingly so. Unions were traditionally organised on the basis of particular constituencies: In uniting one group of workers, unions could divide them from others. To some extent, the ideal of class solidarity can be seen as an effort to overcome such divisions. And typically, if class was able to unite it was not so much through common interests in the present as through a vision of the future: But if the traditional class utopias have lost their credibility, is class solidarity still possible?
More prosaically, it was easiest to identify trade unionism with class solidarity when the boundaries of class seemed relatively clear-cut. The typical union members of the past were manual workers in factory, mine or mill, on the docks or the railways, confronting employers whose own impressive class solidarity underlined the need for an equally effective proletarian counterforce. Now that manual workers in the traditional sense are a minority of the labour force, and in some countries also of trade union members, collective identities have become far more diffuse, and employee interests far more differentiated.
Concurrently, with the expansion of public employment, the idea of the employer as oppressor has lost some of its force. Of course sociologists may argue that class analysis, with modifications perhaps, can encompass the situations of white-collar workers or public employees; but subjectively the heterogeneity of contemporary employment means that the collective interests of particular employee groups are often likely to be viewed in opposition to those of other workers rather than in parallel.
Class as the motor of solidarity is also challenged by the significance of other bases of interests and identities. One obvious example is gender. Trade unions have been forced to come to terms, often with some difficulty, with the fact that traditional conceptions of solidarity were essentially a masculine construct, while the universalism of the rhetoric of class typically expressed the circumstances of men and neglected those of women.
As unions have come slowly — more slowly indeed in some countries than in others — to recognise the more complex interdependence between waged employment and domestic labour, and the manifold ways in which gendered inequalities pervade the work environment, so many of the simple dimensions of old ideas of class collectivism have lost their coherence. More specifically, solidarity within and between gender groups involve very different issues, which in neither case can be reduced to old formulae of class solidarity. Just as class relations are cross-cut by those of gender, so they are also permeated by the increasing ethnic diversity of contemporary societies.
For ethnic minority workers, problems of class oppression are often reinforced by those of racism and xenophobia. In many countries, such workers are underrepresented in union membership, and far more so in positions of leadership. In the past, trade union job protections have often been associated, whether or not intentionally, with discriminatory practices. For victims of xenophobia and racial discrimination, solidarity with those in a similar position may be the first priority.
Again, a challenge for trade unions is how far they can accommodate such concerns — especially when their own members may be beneficiaries and indeed perpetrators of discriminatory practices. To take this logic further, workers possess multiple identities. The stereotype of the traditional proletarian status emphasised a common work situation, an integrated and homogeneous local community, and a limited repertoire of shared cultural and social pursuits. By contrast, in contemporary society the spatial location and social organisation of work, residence, consumption and sociability have become highly differentiated.
This poses obvious difficulties for traditional understandings of the solidarity of labour. This was problematic in three key respects. First, it presupposed a standardisation of regulation: Yet the principle of standardisation often failed to recognise any differentiation of issues. Unions correctly identified some essential common rules — minimum rates of pay, maximum hours of work — which were essential if workers were not to engage in a competitive undercutting of conditions.
On some issues, however, individual choice need not necessarily undermine general safeguards; but traditional union approaches to collective bargaining have been sceptical at best towards ideas of flexible regulation which allow scope for personal preferences. I return to this issue below. Second, to some extent as a corollary, mass trade unionism was normally based on a hierarchical control which mirrored that of the employer, with a centralised determination of policy and insistence on disciplined observance of authoritative decisions. Such a model of solidarity could be justified in terms of the needs of an effective fighting organisation: Third, the solidarity of interest representation has always been selective.
It is possible to identify four main types of issue of concern to unions. The second relates more to procedure, status and opportunity: The third addresses the role of the state: