Departures Podcast featuring Volodymyr Ishchenko, author of ‘Towards the Abyss: Ukraine from Maidan to War’

The tremendous velocity of history that Ukraine has experienced since independence to the Maidan revolution to the catastrophic war brought on by Russia’s aggression often tends to be sold and told in neatly packaged narratives to the West – a heroic tale of a plucky democracy breaking from from the yoke of an authoritarian past. But the reality, as always, is much more nuanced, complex, and messy.

This week we are pleased to feature an interview with Volodymyr Ishchenko, the author of the fascinating collection of essays, “Towards the Abyss: Ukraine from Maidan to War.” Ishchenko, a sociologist based at Berlin’s Freie Universität, offers a critical examination of Ukraine’s trajectory post-Maidan revolution and asks probing, intimate questions about moral leadership and the future political model that the people of this nation at war are still seeking and negotiating.

While making no excuses for Russia’s brutality in the war, in this conversation with Robert Amsterdam, Ishchenko brings criticism to bear on the leadership from the left-leaning school of thought, examining the costs of ignoring history, misrepresenting identities, and other factors which have fed the growth of nationalism in Ukraine at the cost of other sectors of the society.