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Russia and Ukraine: Entangled Histories, Diverging States

February 13 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm

Please join the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School for a conversation with Oxana Shevel, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at Tufts University, and Maria Popova, Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University, about their new book, Russia and Ukraine: Entangled Histories, Diverging States (2024). The event will mark the two-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The book examines the root causes of Russia’s war against Ukraine. It explains how Russia and Ukraine diverged politically beginning in 1991, ending up on a collision course. Russia slid back into authoritarianism and imperialism, while Ukraine consolidated a competitive political system and pro-European identity. As Ukraine built a democratic nation-state, Russia refused to accept it and came to see it as an “anti-Russia” project. After political and economic pressure proved ineffective and even counterproductive, Putin went to war to force Ukraine back into the fold of the “Russian world.” Ukraine resisted, determined to pursue European integration as a sovereign state. These irreconcilable goals, rather than geopolitical wrangling between Russia and the West over NATO expansion, are – the authors argue – essential to understanding Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The event is open to the public. Please make sure to register via Eventbrite to attend the event on Zoom. If you would like to submit discussion questions for the speakers in advance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Maria Popova is an Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University and the Scientific Director of the Jean Monnet Centre Montreal. Her work explores the rule of law and democracy in Eastern Europe. Her first book, Politicized Justice in Emerging Democracies, which won the American Association for Ukrainian Studies book prize in 2013, examines the weaponization of law to manipulate elections and control the media in Russia and Ukraine. Her recent articles have focused on judicial and anticorruption reform in post-Maidan Ukraine, the politics of anticorruption campaigns in Eastern Europe, conspiracies, and illiberalism. Her new book (co-authored with Oxana Shevel), on the roots of the Russo-Ukrainian war, Russia and Ukraine: Entangled Histories, Diverging States (2023) is now available from Polity Press.
Oxana Shevel is an Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science and Director of the International Relations Program at Tufts University. Her research and teaching focus on the post-Soviet region, especially Ukraine and Russia, and issues such as nation-building and identity politics, citizenship policies, memory politics, church-state relations, and the democratization process in the post-Soviet region. She recently co-authored (with Maria Popova) a book on the root causes of the Russia-Ukraine war, Russia and Ukraine: Entangled Histories, Diverging States (2023). Her earlier book, Migration, Refugee Policy, and State Building in Postcommunist Europe (2011), won the American Association of Ukrainian Studies (AAUS) prize for best book in the fields of Ukrainian history, politics, language, literature, and culture.

Fletcher Russia and Eurasia Program

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