In This Review

Ukraine and Russia: The Post-Soviet Transition
Ukraine and Russia: The Post-Soviet Transition
By Roman Solchanyk
Rowman & Littlefield, 2001, 237 pp

Among the several books on Russian-Ukrainian relations, Solchanyk's stands out for its detailed reconstruction of unfolding events, particularly those involving Crimea. When it comes to explaining their drift -- particularly the question of why the relationship has been so prickly -- the author settles for the commonplace view that the problem lies in the Russians' deep psychological inability to accept the loss of their Ukrainian rib. Although correct, the author runs away from a rigorous examination of the Ukrainian side of the equation by leaning so hard on this explanation. As a result, he oversimplifies the bilateral interaction, understating both the relationship's complexity and the tension between the positive and negative issues at stake. But Solchanyk enriches the picture by including other dimensions of Ukrainian policy, including the preferred but elusive option of turning toward the West and the burden imposed by Ukraine's domestic failings.