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Wolves Live as Outlaws. How Yanukovych Lost Ukraine (Wilki żyją poza prawem. Jak Janukowycz przegrał Ukrainę)
Zbigniew Parafianowicz, Michał Potocki
published by Czarne, Wołowiec

Anatomy of an explosion
This is not just a story about the president’s downfall and the Maidan’s victory. It enables readers to understand what happened in Ukraine two years ago as we watched with empathy. The power of this brilliantly written book lies in iron discipline. The writers search for truth (on both sides of the barricade), though they know that quite often it will be impossible to find. They verify rumours and myths. They count, check, confront reports, going against stereotypes and journalistic generalisations. At the same time, this is not a cold book. The temperature is high both in the description of the exploding Maidan rebellion and in the passion with which the Polish reporters worked.
Piotr Mitzner

Zbigniew Parafianowicz

(born in 1979) has a degree in political science from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, western Poland. He works as a journalist for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily in Poland. Previously he worked for Życie and Dziennik dailies. He has been reporting on developments in Ukraine since 2003. As a correspondent for Życie he wrote reports from Kiev about the country’s Orange Revolution. When working for Dziennik, he reported on how Ukraine fared under Viktor Yushchenko and on Viktor Yanukovych’s return to power in 2010. After joining Dziennik Gazeta Prawna he reported on how President Yanukovych quickly concentrated not only power but also wealth in the hands of his family. He also covered Yanukovych’s fall in 2014.

Michał Potocki

(born in 1984) has a degree in international relations from the University of Warsaw. He works for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily and contributes to Nowa Europa Wschodnia as a freelancer. Previously he was a journalist for Dziennik. He has been covering Ukrainian and Belarusian issues since 2008. As a reporter in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, he covered the country’s 2010 elections and the rise and fall of the country’s ousted president Viktor Yanukovych. He also traveled to Minsk in Belarus to report on how authorities in that country brutally suppressed protests by the opposition in 2010. His stories about Belarus won him first prize in an international competition called Belarus in Focus 2012.

Precision, thoroughness, inquisitiveness

Jury member Katarzyna Nowak on the book Wolves Live as Outlwas. How Yanukovych Lost Ukraine (Wilki żyją poza prawem. Jak Janukowycz przegrał Ukrainę) by Zbigniew Parafianowicz and Michał Potocki

„Oh no, not the Euromaidan and Ukraine again! The same places, the same people, the same emotions…”. I’m ashamed to admit it, but those were precisely my thoughts as I sat down to Michał Potocki’s and Zbigniew Parafianowicz’s book.

It starts off as expected – with a visit in a tyrant’s fairytale world. We’ve all seen it on TV – the fountains, artificial ponds, helicopter landing strips and golf courses, the private church, the gold-plated toilet and the Brandoesque portraits. But we shouldn’t be misled by this brief sojourn into cheap kitsch and trash. This book is no laughing matter – in fact it has the power to turn laughter into a painful lump in our throats.

The acquisition and reconstruction of Mezhyhirya is the starting point of a report about the privatisation of an entire country, and its gradual takeover by the Simja, a narrow circle around Viktor Yanukovych and his son Olexandr. Rise-and-fall stories usually need a tragic culminating point, which in this case came on February 20, 2014. Were the deaths of the “Heaven’s Hundred” really only a smoke-screen to conceal the evacuation of the Family and its estate?

The authors build the tension up masterfully in their accounts of the atmosphere surrounding the EU Association Agreement talks and negotiations between the authorities and the opposition, and the mysterious meetings with Vladimir Putin. Interviews, reports and documentation come together into a fascinating tale about a country balancing between the law and the balled fist, East and West, the tragic and the grotesque. After all, Ukraine’s and Russia’s primary goal is accession to the European Union.

With its excellent investigative journalism, precision, thoroughness and inquisitiveness, Wolves Live as Outlaws. How Yanukovych Lost Ukraine is doubtless a “Ukraine book” but certainly not “just another one” in the genre.

Katarzyna Nowak


Wolves Live as Outlaws. How Yanukovych Lost Ukraine (Wilki żyją poza prawem. Jak Janukowycz przegrał Ukrainę)

published by Czarne