Wilson, Andrew 1961-
Wilson, Andrew 1961-
Born October 15, 1961. Education: Oxford University, graduated; London School of Economics, Ph.D.
Office—University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, 16 Taviton St., London WC1H 0BW, England. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Cambridge, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, England, former senior research fellow; University of London, London, England, senior lecturer in Russian and Ukrainian studies.
Alec Nove Prize, British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, 2005, for Ukraine's Orange Revolution; honorary fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs.
(With Taras Kuzio) Ukraine: Perestroika to Independence, foreword by Norman Stone, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor, with Wendy Slater) The Legacy of the Soviet Union, Palgrave Macmillan (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England), 2004.
Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2005.
Contributor to books, including Nation-Building in the Post-Soviet Borderlands: The Politics of National Identities, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1998.
Andrew Wilson is a political scientist, historian, and educator. Educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, Wilson is a specialist in the politics and culture of independent Ukraine and in the post-Soviet democracy. He teaches classes on subjects such as the construction of modern Ukraine and ethnicity and nationalism in the former Soviet Union. His interaction with students involves supervision of topics covering geographical areas in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.
In Ukraine: Perestroika to Independence, written with Taras Kuzio, Wilson and his coauthor present "an excellent analysis of political developments in Ukraine prior to independence," commented Margery McMahon in Europe-Asia Studies. They examine a number of theories on the emergence of Ukrainian nationalism and describe in detail Ukraine's history and the development of Ukraine as a nation. They recall the conditions in Ukraine under former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, then explore how new political parties, and proto-parties, developed and grew under the rigors of perestroika. "Based on extensive research, and with a particularly helpful notes and references section, the book is a useful guide to understanding not only political change in Ukraine from 1985 to 1991 but also developments since independence," McMahon concluded.
Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith contains Wilson's idea that "throughout history, Ukrainian nationalism as an ideology and movement was never able to emerge as a mass phenomenon with crucial and lasting political impact," commented Gwendolyn Sasse in a Europe-Asia Studies review. Wilson carefully considers topics such as origins of diversity in Ukraine; the ideology and proponents of Ukrainian nationalism; and the manipulation and use of nationalist ideas by the country's religious groups, civil institutions, and major political parties. "This study on Ukrainian nationalism fills an important research gap and covers an enormous amount of original historical and political material," remarked Sasse, who concluded: "All in all, this is a book that will soon be a standard item in the field of Ukrainian studies."
With The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation, Wilson presents a comprehensive overview of the history of Ukraine, "focusing on questions of national identity and describing Ukraine as a recent invention as a nation," noted a Publishers Weekly writer. "This marvelous work examines Ukrainian history and politics in light of the literature" of Ukrainian nationalism, according to John R. Holmes in Library Journal. Ukrainian national identity, Wilson suggests, is dependent upon the complicated and often changing relationship between Ukraine and Russia. Wilson portrays Ukraine as a "cultural construct," the Publishers Weekly critic explained, a nation conceived and defined within Russian and Ukrainian thought and politics. The reviewer called the book "rigorous and informative," while Canadian Journal of History contributor Bohdan Klid remarked that "Wilson has written an informative introduction to a complex subject." Wilson "does Ukraine a great service with his book, which is both engaged and critical," remarked Steven Erlanger in the National Interest. "He describes with admirable subtlety Ukraine's key dilemmas, caught between a blustering, poor, semi-Asiatic Russia and a central Europe moving rapidly toward the West, leaving its eastern neighbors behind." William Richardson, assessing the book in History: Review of New Books, remarked: "This is an excellent book that should appeal to professional historians, students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and the general adult reading public." Wilson concluded, "No other single volume provides a better examination of its subject."
The Legacy of the Soviet Union, edited with Wendy Slater, contains essays that explore the widespread effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the profound effect the collapse had on fifteen successor states. The contributors provide essays on a wide variety of relevant topics, including national identity in Russia and whether the country is perceived as a single nation or a federation of states; ethnic relations in Russia and Kazakhstan; the status of Russia ten years following the collapse; the important role of personal networks and associated informal contacts in the post-Soviet economy; economic relations between the United States and Russia; censorship; and law reform. A Contemporary Review critic remarked: "This is an important contribution to our understanding of post-Soviet history."
Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World is a "fully referenced scholarly addition to the burgeoning literature on democracy that emphasizes Russia and Ukraine," commented Donald Bowles in Perspectives on Political Science. Here Wilson "expertly plumbs the depths of post-Soviet politics, introducing readers to a world in which cynical ‘political technologists’ craft and destroy people, parties, and programs in order to achieve and maintain power for their unprincipled clientele," related Political Science Quarterly reviewer Juliet Johnson. Wilson describes a number of methods used by Russian political parties who seek to retain their hold on power. He details such tactics as "black PR," in which damaging information on opponents is found and widely used. He discusses how virtual parties are created, without an actual constituency, in order to advance a political agenda. He describes the process he terms "body doubles," in which politicians and office-seekers are undermined by the presence of bogus candidates with similar names. Wilson also reports that many of the staples of underhanded and dishonest politics, such as deceptive advertising, election fraud, and physical violence, are still used where necessary. "This is designer politics, where every image is crafted and no politicians are what they seem," Johnson commented. "This is a remarkable study of Russia in the post-Soviet world," remarked Max Teichman in the National Observer. "Wilson's well-researched book reveals the fascinating and sadly understudied dark side of post-Soviet politics," Johnson added.
Nation-Building in the Post-Soviet Borderlands: The Politics of National Identities, a collection of essays by Wilson and other contributors, contains detailed studies of the transitions and changes faced in post-Soviet areas in the non-Russian borderlands. "The present book is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on the subject," commented Vera Tolz in a Europe-Asia Studies review. In his essay, Wilson considers the phenomenon of the rewriting of national histories of Ukraine and Belarus, and how these revisionist histories clash with the reality of the historical record. Wilson also contributes a chapter on group boundaries in Ukraine, where he "focuses on the politics of symbolic and cultural representation, as reflected in intellectual debate and government policies, among and within three main groups: Ukrainophone Ukrainians, Russophone Ukrainians, and Russians," Tolz reported. In assessing the work, Tolz stated: "All the chapters in the book are very well informed and provide a sophisticated analysis of the construction of various myths related to nation-building projects in the post-Soviet borderlands." Tolz further concluded that Nation-Building in the Post-Soviet Borderlands is "the most significant, well informed and comprehensive contribution so far to the study of the construction of national identities in non-Russian newly independent states and their impact on the internal and foreign policies of their governments." Tolz recommended the work to "scholars and students interested in post-communist transitions as well the politics of ethnicity, nationalism, and national identity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Journal of History, August, 2002, Bohdan Klid, review of The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation, p. 356.
Contemporary Review, December, 2004, review of The Legacy of the Soviet Union, p. 382; spring, 2006, Peter Hylarides, "Political Manipulation in the Post-Soviet World," review of Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World, p. 103.
Europe-Asia Studies, September, 1995, Margery McMahon, review of Ukraine: Perestroika to Independence, p. 1057; September, 1997, Gwendolyn Sasse, review of Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith, p. 1117; September, 1999, Vera Tolz, review of Nation-Building in the Post-Soviet Borderlands: The Politics of National Identities, p. 1116.
Foreign Affairs, November-December, 1997, Robert Legvold, review of Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s, p. 170.
History: Review of New Books, spring, 2001, William Richardson, review of The Ukrainians, p. 127.
Library Journal, September 15, 2000, James R. Holmes, review of The Ukrainians, p. 97.
National Interest, fall, 2001, Steven Erlanger, "Ukraine, Unexpected," review of The Ukrainians, p. 136.
National Observer, summer, 2006, Max Teichmann, review of Virtual Politics, p. 66.
Orbis, fall, 1997, Yaroslav Bilinsky, review of Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s, p. 642.
Perspectives on Political Science, fall, 2006, Donald Bowles, review of Virtual Politics, p. 234.
Political Science Quarterly, summer, 2006, Juliet Johnson, review of Virtual Politics, p. 359.
Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2000, review of The Ukrainians, p. 338.
Slavonic and East European Review, July, 2007, A. Umland, review of Virtual Politics, p. 589.
Yale University Press Web site,http://yalepress.yale.edu/ (April 22, 2008), author profile, and review of Ukraine's Orange Revolution.