The participation of LGBTQ+ people in the war effort cannot be ignored

Interview for the Forum for Ukrainian Studies

Ostap Kushnir: In your opinion, what major gender-based challenges in social and political life has Ukraine faced, resolved, or failed to resolve since the beginning of the war in 2014?

Maryna Shevstova: When it comes to legislation, Ukraine has been on the right path and demonstrated good progress. This has happened not without the help of its Western partners. Immediately after Euromaidan in 2014, Ukraine reoriented itself toward integration with the European Union, which was accompanied by technical, economical, financial, political, and other kinds of support from the outside. This also additionally empowered civil society, activists, and individual MPs to push forward for further updates.

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Ukrainian Politics

Podcast: Resisting Russian propaganda: on nationalism in Ukraine

According to the Russian government, the goal of invading Ukraine was to “denazify” the country and its leadership and “to protect people” who have been “subjected to bullying and genocide». The trope of Ukraine «nazification» has been enormously highlighted and elaborated within the official Russian discourse since 2014. Since the Crimea annexation and the war in Donbass, the Russian state-linked mass media has been promoting discussions on the rise of nationalism and nationalistic movements in Ukraine portrayed as a threat to the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine.

The current podcast is aimed at dismantling the Russian propaganda’s trope of Ukraine «nazification». Postdoctoral researcher Anna Avdeeva (Swedish School of Social Science) discusses the nationalism in Ukraine, understood widely, together with the Ukrainian scholar Dr. Maryna Shevtsova, Postdoctoral researcher at University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and Senior FWO Fellow at KU Leuven (Belgium). The podcast continues the series of the discussion on the war in Ukraine. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Civil society, Feminist perspectives

Ukrainian feminist activist Maryna Shevtsova: All women’s rights organisations have switched to emergency mode

My interview for Feministeerium

What has the war meant for women? Hille Hanso talked to Maryna Shevtsova, a Ukrainian scholar, feminist and activist, about the history of the feminist movement in Ukraine, the developments in women’s and minorities’ political rights in Ukraine before the war, about the views on surrogacy and the impact of the war. Their conversation began in the autumn and ended when Russia had attacked Ukraine and the normal functioning of society ceased abruptly.

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Women’s March in Ukraine 2019. Creative Commons: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev
Civil society, Feminist perspectives, LGBTQ rights, Ukrainian Politics

School as a Battlefield: The Debate on Sexuality Education in Ukraine

Sex Education, a three-season Netflix series in which the teenage son of a sex therapist mother sets up an underground sex therapy clinic at his school, has been a resounding hit among audiences of various age groups across the globe, and Ukraine is no exception. Ukrainian teenagers and many of their parents seemed to appreciate following the on-screen adventures of diverse characters dealing with their sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, teenage pregnancies, STDs, gender-based violence, female orgasms, coming outs, asexuality, sex lives of people with disabilities, and so on. While the characters’ problems were avidly discussed by viewers of different ages on social media, would it be realistic to expect an open discussion of the above-mentioned topics in a typical Ukrainian classroom?

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Civil society

Democracy Quarantined? Authoritarian Regimes and Protests During the Pandemic

(For ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies))

It seems that not only the economy and health care systems, but also human rights and democracy have proven particularly fragile during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even in more consolidated democracies, governments did not always succeed in ensuring that all the restrictions were necessary and proportionate to the threat to the lives of their citizens. According to the Freedom House report, the condition of democracy and human rights has grown worse in more than 80 countries. As the vaccination campaign is advancing worldwide, although in a patchy way, civil society organizations and activists in countries led by authoritarian regimes face new challenges of coping with the consequences of the accelerated illiberal agenda of their countries’ leaders. During the last one and a half years, one could observe how authoritarian leaders introduced excessive control and surveillance, discriminatory restrictions on freedom of assembly, movement, and speech, often enforced by police or the military. In this regard, this article looks at the strategies that authorities in Russia, Belarus, and Turkey have chosen to use the crisis to deal with civil society activism and strengthen their own position.

Feminist perspectives

Iceland – the country, where feminism has won?

(In Ukrainian)

Уже кілька років поспіль Ісландія посідає топові місця у світових рейтингах гендерної рівности. Західні видання, як-от «Форбс» і «Економіст», постійно згадують цю невелику північну країну як приклад, який повинні наслідувати всі розвинуті демократичні держави. Майже десяток років як в Ісландії найменший розрив у зарплаті між жінками й чоловіками і ця країна — світовий лідер із залучення жінок як робочої сили: частка жінок, які працюють, 2017 року сягнула 80 %. У правліннях великих компаній жінки займають майже половину посад, це результат запровадженої 2013 року обов’язкової гендерної квоти у 40 %. Країна також надзвичайно дружня до ЛГБТІК-спільноти: з 2010 року тут узаконено одностатеві шлюби, одностатеві пари можуть удочеряти і всиновлювати дітей та користуватися послугами штучного запліднення, а для людей з інтерсекс-варіаціями з 2020 року є опція обрати стать «Х» у документах. Інакше кажучи, Ісландія з населенням трошки менше як 320 тисяч осіб принаймні зовні схожа на країну, де фемінізм, толерантність і права людини таки перемогли. Чи справді це так і як ісландським жінкам вдалося те, про що в інших частинах світу можна лише мріяти, спробуймо розібратися в цій статті.

Civil society, Feminist perspectives, LGBTQ rights, Ukrainian Politics

Covid-19 Pandemic Case Study: Ukraine

My report on COVID-19 situation in Ukraine for Heinrich Boell Stiftung, Brussels

 Covid-19 Pandemic Case Study - Ukraine

The first Covid-19 case was detected in Ukraine on 3 March in the western oblast of Chernivtsi. As of the end of August, almost 115,000 cases had been confirmed, including some 2,500 deaths. The primary sources of the initial outbreak were Ukrainians returning home from work and tourist trips from abroad.

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