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The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has its roots in the events of 2013–2014. Russia cynically termed the seditionist conflict in Crimea and Eastern Donbas a 'civil war' in order to claim non-involvement. This flies in the face of evidence, but the authors argue that the social science literature on civil wars can be used help understand why no political solution was found between 2015 and 2022. The book explains how Russia, after seizing Crimea, was reacting to events it could not control and sent troops only to areas of Ukraine where it knew it would face little resistance (Eastern Donbas). Kremlin decisionmakers misunderstood the attachment of the Russian-speaking population to the Ukrainian state and also failed to anticipate that their intervention would transform Ukraine into a more cohesively 'Ukrainian' polity. Drawing on Ukrainian documentary sources, this concise book explains these important developments to a non-specialist readership.
Jesse Driscoll is an associate professor of political science and serves as chair of the Global Leadership Institute at the University of California. He is an area specialist in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Russian-speaking world. Driscoll’s first book, Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States, (Cambridge University Press, 2015) maps the processes by which well-functioning domestic hierarchies emerged after relatively short periods of anarchic violence in Georgia and Tajikistan. His second book, Doing Global Fieldwork: A Social Scientist’s Guide to Mixed-Methods Research Far From Home (Columbia University Press, 2021) is a practitioner's guide to assist in collecting original data. His third book, joint work with Dominique Arel, is Ukraine’s Unnamed War: Before the Russian Invasion of 2022 (Cambridge University Press, 2023).
Carol Saivetz is a Senior Advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program. She is the author and contributing co-editor of books and articles on Soviet and now Russian foreign policy issues.
Elizabeth Wood is a Professor of History at MIT. She is the author most recently of Roots of Russia's War in Ukraine as well as articles on Vladimir Putin, the political cult of WWII, right-wing populism in Russia and Turkey, and US-Russian Partnerships in Science. She is Co-Director of the MISTI MIT-Eurasia Program.