Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Ukraine’s long and sordid history of treason

By Adrian Karatnycky

04 Sep 2023 · 8 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has given rise to a new generation of individuals branded as traitors, echoing infamous names from history. The motivations of these individuals are varied, from genuine political belief to opportunism, but their actions have profound implications for the conflict and the future of Ukraine.

Benedict Arnold, Vidkun Quisling, Philippe Pétain: The names of famous traitors and enemy collaborators resonate through history. Now their ranks are being replenished amid the Russia-Ukraine war, even if few names have yet become infamous outside Ukraine.

Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s history as an independent nation has seen plenty of betrayal and treason. From the start, Russian leaders who resented Ukraine’s break with Moscow found willing helpers in their efforts to subvert the Ukrainian state and infiltrate its national security institutions.

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