A University of Victoria professor who is a world-renowned authority on the history of Ukraine-Russia relations will lead an online teach-in about the Ukraine crisis this afternoon.
Dr. Serhy Yekelchyk, who was born and educated in Ukraine, will discuss how the crisis is seen from the context of the country’s war of independence (1917 to 1921) to two recent democratic revolutions in the country, the last of which ended in 2014.
“The situation today is unprecedented, with people in the country up to recently having difficulty imagining a full-scale invasion,” Yekelchyk said.
“In many ways, the current conflict can be traced back eight years, after the country emerged from its second democratic revolution with a desire for democracy.
“[Russians] had endured major demonstrations themselves in 2011 and 2012. The fear in Russia was that the Ukrainian revolution could inspire Russians to overthrow their government to establish democracy as well.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s historical concept of a Russian empire is central to today’s conflict, Yekelchyk said.
Yekelchyk, who has taught German and Slavic studies at UVic for more than 20 years, believes that while Russia might win the war, it has already its war against Ukrainian independence and democracy
“Ukraine will survive. I do not believe he [Putin] has enough troops to occupy the country,” said Yekelchyk, who also teaches a course on Modern Ukraine and Russian-Ukrainian Conflict at the university.
“He also got the campaign wrong when he thought the Ukrainian people would greet the Russians with open arms,” .
Also taking part in today’s teach-in is Dr. Tamara Krawchenko, an assistant professor in the School of Public Administration and a member of UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, who has expertise in comparative public policy and territorial development.
A UVic teach-in is typically a one-time session that is open to the public. Unlike a lecture, a teach-in is interactive and is meant to engage with the audience.
The online event, which runs from 4:30 to 6 p.m., is free, but registration is required. The event will be recorded and there are tentative plans to offer it as part of a future blog.
For more information and to register, go to the UVic events page.