Harvard professor to shed light on the situation in Ukraine

Harvard professor Serhii Plokhii

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the current crisis in Russia’s relations with the West reveal with unprecedented clarity that the drama of the disintegration of Europe’s last empire is far from over.

Serhii Plokhii, professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University and the author of "The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union" (2014), will discuss the origins and driving forces of the Ukraine crisis in the lecture that brings together the fall of the USSR and the events of ongoing military conflict between the two largest post-Soviet republics.

The lecture is set to take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16 in the Memorial Union, Room 207 on ASU's Tempe campus.

"In 2014, the old Soviet empire that had disappeared from the map of the world struck back as the Russian leadership decided to use its newly acquired economic and military might to rewrite the history of the Soviet collapse," says Plokhii. "Vladimir Putin, who has never concealed his regret, and even bitterness, about the fall of the Soviet Union, referred specifically to the Soviet collapse in a speech delivered on the occasion of the Russian annexation of the Crimea in March 2014:

“'The Soviet Union fell apart. Things developed so swiftly that few people realized how truly dramatic those events and their consequences would be,' said Putin, recalling the events of 1991. 'It was only when the Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realized that it had not only been robbed but plundered.' Putin’s speech was meant to remove all doubt that the “hard times” were over and that Russia was back, prepared to undo the 'injustice' inflicted on it by the disintegration of the USSR."

Serhii Plokhii is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History and the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. A leading authority on the region, he is the author of several influential monographs, including "Yalta: The Price of Peace" (2010), "The Cossack Myth: History and Nationhood in the Age of Empires," and "The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union" (2014). For three successive years (2002-2005) Plokhii's books won first prize of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies. In 2009, he was honored with the Early Slavic Studies Association Distinguished Scholarship Award. In 2013 Plokhii was named Walter Channing Cabot Fellow at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University for scholarly eminence in the field of history.

To attend, RSVP at http://shprs.clas.asu.edu/empire.