On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, launching a full-scale war of aggression. This war is the product of imperialism rooted in historical fantasy, intended to deny Ukraine the fundamental right to exist. It is enabled by the Putin regime’s longstanding assault on the very notion of truth.
While Ukrainians are left to defend their country, what is at stake goes far beyond the borders of Ukraine. Moderated by Philipp Blom, Serhii Plokhii and Timothy Snyder discussed what the war in Ukraine can teach us about humanity and inhumanity, continuities and ruptures in the global order, and how to respond in the face of tyranny.
Philipp Blom is a historian and author of several novels, journalism, politics, and philosophy. He also works a radio presenter, documentary film maker and as a public lecturer. Philipp Blom’s book combine historical research, philosophical enquiry and an essayistic, literary approach. Among his best-selling works are The Vertigo Years (2008), A Wicked Company (2010), Fracture (2015), and, more recently, What is at Stake (2017), dealing with climate change, digitization, and democracy.
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 Eastern Europe and Russia, he has published extensively on the international history of Cold War. His books have won numerous awards, including the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best English-language book on the international relations for The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union (2014), Taras Shevchenko National Prize (Ukraine) for The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine (2015), and the Ballie Gifford Prize and Pushkin House Book Prize, UK for Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, (2018). His latest book, Atoms and Ashes: From Bikini Atoll to Fukushima, is forthcoming in May 2022.
Timothy Snyder is the Levin Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University and an IWM Permanent Fellow. His historical work concerns central and eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and the Holocaust. He has also written on U.S. history, international relations, health care, digital politics, and political thought. His fifteen books, which include Bloodlands and Black Earth, have been translated into more than forty languages and have received a similar number of awards. He holds state orders and honorary doctorates and has appeared in documentaries, on network television, and in major films. His books have inspired posters, sculpture, punk rock, rap, film, theater, and opera. His words are quoted in political demonstrations around the world. He is finishing a philosophical book about freedom.