Book Review: Putin’s Putsches by Maria Lewytzkyj

In this edition of Knyzka Corner: Maria Lewytzkyj’s book Putin’s Putsches – Russia, Ukraine and the Near-Abroad Conflict.

Maria Lewytzkyj defines “Putsch” as “a violent attempt to overthrow a government.” She explains that Vladimir Putin’s “hybrid war” against Ukraine is a blatant attempt to destabilize the current government. She also tells the stories of ordinary people who are struggling to survive Putin’s “putsches.” It is ironic that Lewytzkyj begins her book with the words of Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, “Anything is better than lies and deceit!”

Based on research from many sources as well as conversations, Lewytzkyj describes the devastating effects of Putin’s actions on the Ukrainian people. She tells readers that, “They are true heroes to me for practicing the rights and freedoms they fight to preserve.”

Tatyana Zarovnaya, a journalist for “Newspapers in Ukrainski” and the website Gazeta.ua, was reporting on the conflict in Donetsk when she was attacked by pro-Russian separatists and labelled as a “Provacateur.”  Fearing for her life, she moved to Kiev to live as an internally displaced person. Anna Pavlychko, a mother and aviation company manager in Crimea, was a Jewish-Ukrainian who actively supported the Maidan movement. She was intimidated by pro-Russian activists, witnessed the injustices of the referendum, and now fears for her safety after the Russian takeover of Crimea.

Lewytzkyj goes on to tell the remarkable stories of other brave Ukrainians including a Crimean tour guide, a law student and a journalist for the Daily Beast. Several names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Interspersed between these stories is an analysis of Putin’s actions. Lewytzkyj looks at several key issues including the supposed pro-fascist orientation of the Kiev government, Putin’s obsession with his powerful pro-Russian image, his supporters in Russia and Europe, and the political and social implications of his policies.

Putin’s Putsches  is a short but blunt analysis of the critical issues impacting Ukraine today.  These issues are evolving every day.  Most recently, the international community has seen ceasefires which do not last, mysterious white trucks on humanitarian missions. and hundreds of innocent airline passengers killed.  Lewytzkyj’s compelling analysis of this crisis touches on the historical background as well as the political and economic issues involved.

Readers who want to understand the current events in Ukraine will definitely enjoy Putin’s Putsches since it provides a window into life in Ukraine as well as Putin’s designs on the Ukrainian nation.  International journalists would also find this book a good background source for their stories about Ukraine since Putin’s propaganda machine is often mistaken for the truth by these journalists.  This book is not meant to be an academic treatise. Some readers may question the lack of footnotes; however, the writer does readers an extensive list of sources for her research.

Maria Lewytzkyj-Milligan is a Ukrainian-American and former CIA analyst. She has a keen eye for human rights violations amid Russia’s push to build a new empire. Her focus in Putin’s Putsches  is the international crisis in Crimea and the Eastern part of Ukraine. She studied at Monterey Institute of International Studies where she earned an MA.

It is available at Chapters and Amazon.

Lewytzkyj, Maria.
PUTIN’S PUTSCHES – Russia, Ukraine and the Near-Abroad Conflict
Mango Media, 2014. 125 p. ISBN 978-1-63353-010-2
Available at Chapters (print) and Amazon (both print and e-book)
– Reviewed by Myra Junyk

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