Ohio State nav bar

Two Years of War and Counting

February 23, 2024

Two Years of War and Counting

Ukrainian Flag (banner)

A year ago when we posted a message about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine it certainly did not seem that we would be marking the two-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion. And yet here we are. Over recent months Ukraine and Russia have frequently been in the headline news, among other things in discussions about U.S. federal legislation, budgets, and even political campaigning. In the meantime, though, all the politics in the world become meaningless in the face of tragedy. We, along with like-minded people across the world, continue to call for the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and the end of armed conflict.

At Ohio State we have seen cooperation and support for the Ukrainian cause and an awareness that any study of the region must take Ukraine into consideration, and we have hosted events almost monthly to continue to educate about Ukraine.

In September CSEEES hosted a special guest lecture with Bradley A. Gorski, assistant professor of post-Soviet literature and culture in the Department of Slavic Languages at Georgetown University. His lecture "Male Fantasies: Gender, Play, and the War in Ukraine" explored the connection between Russia’s regressive gender norms and its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and how Putin's government has sought to exploit a perceived weakness in the new liberal world order: its devaluation of traditional masculinity. This talk was scheduled in conjunction with SLAVIC 3320: Queer Comrades which is taught by Philip Gleissner and allowed his students to look at the current war from a new angle. 

In early October, CSEEES and the Hilandar Research Library had the pleasure of hosting Ukrainian author Oleksii Nikitin for a discussion of his novel The Face of Fire (Ukrainian title Бат-амi, Russian title От лица огня). Nikitin discussed the history and inspiration behind his novel and how wars give rise to legends and stories that come down to us in many versions. Members of the audience also participated in a Q&A afterwards where they asked Nikitin about the development of the story and how the current war in Ukraine has possibly changed the reading of this particular work. The Face of Fire will be published in English in 2024.

Later that month CSEEES hosted a film screening of The Guide (2014) as part of the Stand with Ukraine Through Film Initiative. Professor Marianna Klochko (Sociology, Ohio State Marion) and Mykyta Tyshchenko (PhD student in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures) led a post-film Q&A featuring child actor Anton Sviatoslav Greene who is now a student at the University of Michigan.

In November we invited Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID's Europe & Eurasia Bureau, Mark Simakovsky, to speak with students about his work and provide the audience with an update on USAID's role overseeing and supporting non-security related assistance to Ukraine since early 2022. 

In February we co-hosted a book talk with the Ukrainian Society at The Ohio State University in which author and journalist Megan Buskey discussed her newly published book Ukraine is Not Dead Yet, which chronicles her maternal family’s experience in Ukraine during and after World War II and her family’s emigration to Cleveland from the Soviet Union.  

Finally, we will feature Ukraine in the upcoming Queer Focus panel on March 22 that provides a specific look at LGBTQIA experiences in Ukraine, especially considering Russia's war against the country.

For scholars and students of this region who continue to mourn the bombing and other military actions by the Russian army, we reiterate that knowledge is power. Please join us at the Midwest Slavic Conference April 5-7 where we will explore the theme of Cold Wars past and present, which will surely enable more exploration of the implications of the contested relationship between Ukraine and Russia. As we noted in our call for papers, the impact of Cold War-era tensions can still be felt in many parts of Eastern Europe and Eurasia and the effects continue to shape political and social landscapes. Our discussions at the conference will examine the ways in which the Cold War has influenced political ideologies, relationships with the West, and ongoing conflicts and pressures in the region. The conference theme will provide students and scholars with the opportunity to discuss these complex political and social dynamics. 

We encourage you to explore the articles and videos on Ukraine created by Origins: Current Events in Historical Context and our additional resource guide for K-14 educators. You can also view our resource page to find titles of articles, books, events, films, etc. that we have found useful in our efforts to study and teach about the war in Ukraine. Please share our resources with those who may be interested, and feel free to contact us at any time.