The War in Ukraine: Dictated by History?
Russians and Ukrainians perceive their histories in different ways. The clash between their respective narratives of national history plays a large role in the present conflict. Putin’s February 21 speech, in which he threatened war on Ukraine, was essentially an hour-long history lesson. Putin claimed that Ukraine is an intrinsic part of Russia as a nation, its independent existence is an anti-Russian invention by the West and Bolsheviks and that Ukraine has been ruled by (neo-)Nazis since 2014. The Ukrainian version of history is radically different: Ukraine supposedly struggled for its independence for over 300 years and has always been a victim of Russian expansionist aggression and Communist totalitarianism. In this edition of Let’s Ask, Nicolaas Kraft van Ermel will explore how these juxtaposed historical narratives created the ideological cauldron that erupted on February 24 with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Following this there will be time for discussion about the buildup and consequences of the war.
Nicolaas Kraft van Ermel teaches in the history department at the University of Groningen. His research focuses on the instrumentalization of history by politicians in Ukraine, Russia and Poland.
In Let's Ask (before: Ask a Scientist) Groningen's finest researchers share their knowledge to provide context to that recurring 'thing' in the news and will answer your questions. In collaboration with Usva.