Chris Kaspar de Ploeg

ISBN: 978-0-9972870-8-0  369 pp.
$23.95   2017

ISBN: 978-0-9978965-4-1


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 Washington is
using its financial leverage to push 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 post-soviet space, where Russia
seeks to defend 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.

Chris Kaspar de Ploeg (1994) is a freelance journalist and political analyst. His
publications have appeared in De Groene Amsterdammer (NL), Follow the Money (NL),
Dissident Voice (US), De Wereld Morgen (BE), De Omslag (NL) and Spanning (NL). In the
spring of 2016, de Ploeg joined Platform Authentieke Jouirnalistiek to write an
investigative journalism series on Ukraine.

''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.

"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.

''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

''a splendid little book''
- Kees van der Peijl, emeritus professor of international relations at the
University of Sussex.


A Divided Country  

The Return of the Wolfsangel

The Militarization of Maidan       

Far Right-backed Regime Change  

Oligarch-backed Regime Change   

Western-backed Regime Change     

Imposing Austerity        

Condoning Corruption

Dismantling Russophone Ukraine

The East Responds

Civil War Darkens the Landscape of Ukraine

The Ravages of War

Dehumanizing the Donbass, Embracing the Far Right

Beyond Populism: Assessing the Influence of the Far Right

Repression and Diversion in Divided Ukraine   

Obstructing Peace

The Imperial Desire for War

Western Military Doctrine and the Normalization of War Crimes

Seeing Beyond the Imperial Divide

Divisions on the Western Front?

Cold War Politics in the Age of Trump     

Also on Ukraine