The article focuses on the on-going conflict in the East of Ukraine. Two years after its beginning, it has become a challenge for both national and regional security. By now, it carries the features of the so-called “frozen” conflicts, typical for post-Soviet political space. Managing these conflicts is specifically difficult due to strong impact of the Russian policy, to which these conflicts are instruments for strengthening control over immediate neighbourhood. On the other hand, the conflict resembles other militarized internal disputes (MIDs) of the post-bipolar world. They encompass numerous issues, including identities, resources, symbols, and narratives. They also often result from structural factors, triggered by weakness of states. Most of these conflicts are hard to manage and/or resolve. So far, there is no defined strategy for Ukraine to apply for settling the conflict. We argue that theoretical guidelines for internal conflict management combined with the critical analysis of similar conflicts’ trajectories could help elaborate a more precise approach.
Mykola Kapitonenko, PhD, is a Co-editor-in-chief at UA: Ukraine Analytica and an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. He is also a Director to the Centre of International Studies, an NGO, specializing at regional security studies and foreign policy of Ukraine. He has also been invited as a visiting professor to the University of Iowa, and was teaching at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Mykola’s main research focus is in conflict studies and Ukrainian foreign policy. He has been managing a number of analytical projects, and he is an author of a textbook on international conflict studies, a monograph on power factor in international politics, and more than 60 articles on various foreign policy and security issues. Dr Kapitonenko had advised members of Parliament of Ukraine and Government on foreign policy issues and being a regular commenter on TV.