Ukraine’s Nuclear Culture: Past, Present, Future
Kate Svyatets maps Ukraine’s social circles and values in order to explain Ukrainian restraint regarding pursuit of nuclear weapons, despite its Soviet inheritance of nuclear facilities and latent capability. Svyatets examines the aspects of Ukrainian identity, social and security norms, values, and public memory of its nuclear age to identify those cultural factors which are likely to strengthen Ukraine’s nonproliferation stance and those likely to push against it. Particularly innovative are her analysis of traditional and nontraditional actors and her exploration of popular culture and memory, including that surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Ultimately, Svyatets predicts that as Ukraine’s security woes continue to flame, so too will its wistful narratives of nuclear capability. Svyatets makes clear where the United States has a critical opportunity to intervene by providing Ukraine the incentives it is looking for to remain a “team player” and forgo the nuclear path.