The New Year is upon us, and millions of people around the world sum up their year.
We at Euromaidan Press are no exception: we looked back at the 776 articles we published this year and selected the ones you shouldn’t miss. These are either the ones you, our readers, chose by giving them the most views*, or the ones we, the editors and journalists, chose because they are important.
Thanks to all our readers for your interest in Ukraine, and especially our patrons — it is with your support that we can keep bringing the world stories from Ukraine that it needs to hear.
Rephrasing a wonderful New Year’s song from our neighbor Georgia, we wish you a Happy New Year. God bless the past year and the new one. Prosperity to you and yours. May your storehouses be filled with corn! May the bird of your dreams flap its wings! May you soon see your loved ones who are far away! See you in 2022!
And if doing more good for the world is part of your New Year’s resolutions, we invite you to join our winter marathon to send letters to the Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin.
* Please disregard the Facebook shares counter — it is nulled because we have (finally!) moved to https — meaning the website is now more secure for you to use.
Euromaidan Press’ top articles in 2021
1. The secret of Go_A’s singer and Eurovision song
Ukraine’s electro-folklore band Go_A took fifth place at Eurovision-2021 with Shum, an archaic pagan song calling to awaken spring. One of the distinctive perks of this performance was Go_A‘s enigmatic soloist, whose hypnotic gaze was compared to that of a shaman’s. Her name is Kateryna Pavlenko, and in an interview with Ukraine’s Public Broadcaster, she told what lies behind the solemn stare: a childhood of homelessness, an illness that led to the removal of a lung, and the will to persevere, despite all odds. And if you are wondering what makes the song so mesmerizing, we investigated that here.
2. How Lukashenka tried to smear Belarusian dissident Protasevich as a neo-Nazi, and why that is dead wrong
At the start of the Belarusian protests against rigged elections, a pro-Lukashenka anonymous Telegram channel smeared their organizer, Roman Protasevich, as a neo-Nazi — a technique as old as the world itself. That fake claim was laid to rest until investigators of the Ukrainian far-right decided to prove it right on the occasion of the Lukashenka regime hijacking a plane to arrest Protasevich. Here is why this claim is dead wrong, and why far-right investigators should be more scrupulous in the narratives they push.
3. How drones are changing the face of the war in Donbas and why that got Germany worried
Germany’s selective concern with Ukraine’s first combat use of the Turkish Bayraktar unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) in the east of Ukraine against Russian-hybrid forces got us interested in how drones are changing the face of the trench war in Donbas. We talked to military expert Mykhaylo Samus, Deputy Director for International Affairs of the Center for Army, Conversion, and Disarmament Studies, and found out that Turkish drones helped Azerbaijan completely change the war in Nagorny Karabakh and ultimately win it (which has Russia very worried, as it lacks any similar drones, and has Germany expressing its concern as well) and that Ukraine, like Azerbaijan in that war, is finally moving on to a network-centric approach in warfare, while Armenia fought trench warfare like it was still stuck in the Soviet era.
4. Sensational archeological discoveries
In the past year, a team of Ukrainian archaeologists has almost completed excavations of an ancient kurgan (burial mound, sacred hill) which historians claim is older than the Egyptian pyramids. The archaeologists state that this “Ukrainian Stonehenge,” an ancient burial ground, is more than 5,300-5,500 years old, dating back to the Bronze Age. Another sensational find made this year is the discovery of the grave of a tall Scythian warrior buried about 2,500 years ago on the island of Khortytsia in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
5. The incredible story of a beautiful Ukrainian girl from Lutsk who became the Princess of Siam
The story of Kateryna Desnytska is undoubtedly an incredible mixture of adventure, intrigue, romance, and emotions, which could easily be made into an exciting film.
6. How an NGO with shady financing became a portal for the projection of the Kremlin’s soft power upon the Austrian Armed Forces
This is a report about Russian influence over Austria. There, an NGO with shady financing, suspected money flows to the right-wing populist Freedom Party, and an overtly pro-Russian agenda, has become a portal for the projection of the Kremlin’s soft power upon the Austrian Armed Forces.
Funded by the Austrian Ministry of Defense and a gambling company, it has managed to get the country’s National Defense Academy involved in the activities of the Valdai Discussion Club, a propaganda stage of the Kremlin, and the Dialogue of Civilizations, a think tank founded by a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin — with all ensuing consequences for Austria’s security policy. The report was written by the Alliance for a Stable Democracy – a collective of authors who desire to remain anonymous.
7. 30 years of freedom: public intellectuals from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, and Lithuania tell about their countries’ paths after the dissolution of the USSR
26 December 2021 marked exactly 30 years since the USSR ceased to exist. To mark this historical event that became a liberation and restoration of independence for post-Soviet states, we launched a series of interviews about post-Soviet transformation in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia over the last 30 years.
- Part One. Demolishing monuments not enough to destroy post-Soviet nostalgia, but property rights help | 30 Years of Freedom, p.1
- Part Two. The post-Soviet oligarchies and how they shaped national state politics | 30 Years of Freedom, p.2
- Part Three. The end of the Soviet Man: How ex-USSR states forged their national identities | 30 Years of Freedom, p.3
- Part Four. How to stop Russia’s wars in post-Soviet states? | 30 Years of Freedom, p.4
Bonus! A summary article about the takeaways from this series. Realpolitik to deter Russia and other takeaways from our series on post-Soviet transformations
8. Russia’s ultimatum that NATO not expand (and now NATO should react)
Foreign policy discussions now are framed around a series of demands that NATO not only not expand, but withdraw westward that the Kremlin made in December. The ultimatums came after more than a month of increasing tensions near the Russian-Ukrainian-Belarusian border that had experts worldwide guessing whether Russia would invade. Security experts explain why this statement of Putin comes at such a time and what it aims to achieve. How should NATO respond? A military alliance must be willing to resort to military power when other means do not work, writes Hans Petter Midttun in his article NATO’s defining moment is now or never.
9. Will Russia invade Ukraine (again)? How can anybody even know? Is it the real issue of Russia’s aggression?
The last two months of 2021 were marked by worldwide attention drawn to Russian troop and equipment movements along Ukraine’s borders that served as a backdrop to the Kremlin’s subsequent demands towards NATO. Ukraine’s ambassador to NATO Natalia Galibarenko shared recently that there is a growing consensus in NATO that the meaning of Putin’s saber-rattling is less about an imminent invasion and more about raising the stakes in political dialogue. But as the troop concentration continues, experts worldwide are sure to keep guessing whether an (another) invasion of Ukraine will happen anytime soon. How can anybody know? What should you watch out for before making any prognosis? And what are the limitations of our forecasts? Here is your guide to these questions.
And also, a reminder that military actions are only one component of Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine, and an attempt to reconceptualize the question of the invasion: The possible invasion is not the real issue. Russia’s new wave of destabilization needs a three-dimensional approach
10. Ukrainian films and music for your list
If you’re in the mood for something new this New Year, check out our list of films about Ukraine worth putting on your watching list. And if Go_A’s Eurovision song has you intrigued, you’re in luck: there is a wealth of Ukrainian folk music worthy of your ears: Beyond Go_A: a playlist and guide to modern Ukrainian folk music. And more Ukrainian artists to discover on Ukraine’s new official Spotify account.
(And, of course, we would like to remind you of this oldie but goodie — a Ukrainian Christmas music playlist from Euromaidan Press).
11. Not an article, but a project: we helped launch a course on disinformation and hybrid war
In 2021, we not only published articles but helped create an online course on disinformation and hybrid war on Ukraine’s largest online education platform Prometheus. Titled “Disinformation: Types, Tools, and Countermeasures,” the course is in Ukrainian, but the videos have Russian and English subtitles.
12. Ukraine Explained: a positive series about Ukraine
In 2021, we teamed up with Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, Internews, StopFake, and Texty.org.ua to produce the Ukraine Explained series, aimed at telling the truth about Ukraine’s successes to the world. Produced with the support of the National Democratic Institute, it tells about the European heritage encapsulated in the Ukrainian language, how Ukraine wants to make its space sector great again, the Habsburg Prince who chose Ukraine, whether Ukraine is European, how a Ukrainian-born linguist cracked the Maya code, and many other things — check out the entire series here.