The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History

Book Talk
Event Format

Mykhailo Hrushevs’kyi Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and the director of the university’s Ukrainian Research Institute, Dr. Serhii Plokhii, will speak on the topic of his new book The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History (W.W. Norton, May 2023).

Though the current war began in 2014, eight years before the all-out assault of February 2022, the roots of this conflict can be traced back even earlier, to post-Soviet tensions and imperial collapse in the 19th and 20th centuries. Providing a broad historical context and an examination of Ukraine's and Russia's ideas and cultures, as well as domestic and international politics, Plokhii shows that while the largest war in Europe since WWII was not inevitable, it was predictable. Ukraine, Plokhii argues, has remained central to Russia’s idea of itself even as Ukrainians have followed a radically different path. The implications are momentous not just for the two nations involved, but for the broader conflict between democracy and authoritarianism globally, here at one of its most volatile fault lines. 

Ukrainians interested in participating in the Davis Center's Scholars Without Borders initiative are especially encouraged to attend.


This event is co-sponsored by the Davis Center's Scholars Without Borders program and Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI).


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.