chapter  1
28 Pages

Introduction

Given the difficulties Ukraine has faced since becoming a state one may wonder why it wanted to be independent. There are many answers to this question. On one level Ukraine's elites sought power and when an opportunity appeared they made a bid for it. Ukrainians making power bids is not a new phenomenon. The twentieth century alone shows numerous attempts at independence during times of larger geopolitical changes. Those who looked closely saw a recurring power struggle between Moscow and Kyiv throughout the history of the Soviet Union. What made 1991 unique for Ukraine's elites is that their power bid succeeded: they gained political control of their territory for the first time in centuries. History has shown over and over that once gained, power is not readily given up and judging by their actions since achieving independence, it appears that Ukraine's elites are no exception to this pattern. Since 1991 they have consistently acted to protect their recent gain and, barring natural disaster or foreign invasion, it seems reasonable to assume that Ukraine will remain a state for the foreseeable future.