He studied engineering at Lviv Polytechnic. In 1988 Riabchuk graduated from Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow.
Riabchuk is known for his analytical articles and essays on Ukrainian politics, national identity and analysis of Ukrainian history from postcolonial perspective. Married to Ukrainian poet Natalka Bilotserkivets. Consequently, he took different jobs including working for the railway, theater electrician, et cetera
From 1985 till 1994 Riabchuk worked as an editor of the "Vsesvit" journal dedicated to translations of literature from foreign languages.
In the 1990s Riabchuk was the editor of Suchasnist magazine, which published new Ukrainian literature, he is responsible for bringing several now famous Ukrainian writers to the broad audience. Riabchuk was one of the founders of the Krytyka magazine.
Writes a weekly column for "Gazeta po-ukrayinsky". Riabchuk is currently a research fellow at the Ukrainian Center for Cultural Studies in Kyiv.
He was a member of the literary group around Hryhoriy Chubay with whom he authored the samizdat literary almanach "Skrynya", for which he was expelled from the university. Since 1997 he is a member of the Association of Ukrainian Writers.