Ukraine is at the center of Russia’s conflict with the West, playing a vital role in Vladimir Putin’s ambition to restore Russia’s great-power status, The Economist notes:
The Kremlin has used the upheaval since Ukraine’s revolution of 2014 to cow its own dissidents by demonstrating that rising up against corrupt, authoritarian regimes lead to chaos. The West, meanwhile, wants to show that liberal democracy can succeed in a state that was at the core of the former Soviet empire.
Svyatoslav Vakarchuk (above) “is now the voice of the younger generation, the voice of the agents of change,” says Yaroslav Hrytsak, a Ukrainian historian. Vakarchuk’s most significant recent performance was not a concert but a speech marking his return to the political arena. (He served a one-year stint in parliament between 2007 and 2008, The Economist adds:
Taking a stand against the identity politics that Ukrainian leaders have long used to distract from failed reforms, Mr Vakarchuk articulated a vision of Ukrainian identity for the 21st century. “We need to stop building a state based on blood patriotism, and begin building a state based on constitutional patriotism,” he declared. “We shouldn’t be united by a common past, heritage, blood or appearance, but by a common set of values, lifestyles, rules and a constitution.”