Sophie Pinkham

Black Square

Black Square

Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine


Each time Ukraine has rebuilt itself over the last century, it has been plagued by the same conflicts: corruption, poverty, and most of all Russian aggression. Sophie Pinkham saw all this and more over ten years in Ukraine and Russia, a period that included the Maidan revolution of 2013-14, Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the ensuing war in Donbass.

With a keen eye for the dark absurdities of post-Soviet society, Pinkham presents a dynamic account of contemporary Ukrainian life. She meet a charismatic doctor helping to smooth the transition to democracy even as he struggles with drug dependence; a band of Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian hippies in a Crimean idyll; and a Jewish clarinetist agitating for Ukrainian liberation. These fascinating personalities deliver an indelible impression of a country on the brink.

Black Square is necessary reading for anyone who wishes to learn the roots of the current Russo-Ukrainian war and the personal stories of the people who live it every day.