Russia’s War against Ukraine

Analysis, events, and resources about the ongoing conflict.

Statement on Russia’s War against Ukraine

We at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University are horrified by the Russian military attack on Ukraine and the pain and suffering it is imposing on Ukrainians and all those who hold them dear. 
Read full statement

Upcoming Davis Center Events

The Economic Impact of War: Ukraine, Russia and Africa
April 28, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. EDT
A discussion on the impact of war in Russia, Ukraine, and the African continent.

Webinar Recordings

Rapid Response Panel: Ukraine Under Attack
Watch on YouTube
In this rapid response panel, organized by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, experts representing various perspectives and fields answered a series of questions of priority to the media, scholars, and the general public.

The Closure of Memorial in Russia and the Repercussions from Putin's War against Ukraine
Watch on YouTube
This seminar explored the connections between Putin's repression of human rights at home and his bellicose policies abroad. These aspects of Putin's lengthy tenure in office are two sides of the same coin.

War in Ukraine: The View from Here
Watch on YouTube
The narratives explaining and justifying national positions on Russia's war in Ukraine are remarkably different. This panel explored these points of view, given recent developments.

War in Ukraine: The View From Beijing
Watch on YouTube
Tony Saich and Alexandra Vacroux on the crisis in Ukraine, China’s response, and what this may portend for the future of the Russia/China relationship.

The Impact of Russian Sanctions
Watch on YouTube
Russia is facing an arsenal of sanctions by the U.S. and European countries. What are the goals of these sanctions, and are those goals achievable?

The War in Ukraine: A Community Conversation
Watch on YouTube

Harvard experts discuss the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine with members of the Harvard Community. 

Russia’s War in Ukraine and the Economic Aftershocks in Central Asia
Watch on YouTube
This event explores both the short and long-term challenges Central Asia will face in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the potential policy options available to prevent instability.

Small States in the International Order: What Next for Georgia after Ukraine?
Watch on YouTube
This panel will focus on the degree of agency possessed by small powers like Georgia. We will discuss the Russo-Ukrainian war and its impact on Georgian foreign policy, and its relations with Russia.

War and Russian Higher Education
Watch on YouTube
Professor Irina Busygina speaks with Alexandra Vacroux about how the war in Ukraine will hit Russian higher education.

Russian Energy Chains: Keys for Understanding the Current Russian-Ukrainian War
Watch on YouTube
Discussion about Margarita Balmaceda’s new book, Russian Energy Chains: The Remaking of Technopolitics from Siberia to Ukraine to the European Union (Columbia U.P., 2021).

How Will the War in Ukraine Impact China’s Engagement in Eastern Europe?
Watch on YouTube
This panel discusses China’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine and the impact that developments will have on China’s presence in Eastern Europe and its BRI plans.

Resources

Russia’s War in Ukraine
A resource from the Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program at Harvard’s Ukrainian Research Institute includes FAQs, Voices from Ukraine, media, news roundup, and related content.

Harvard Library Slavic & Eurasian Collective: The War on Ukraine
Information about Ukrainian Collections at Harvard, digital resources, and archiving efforts. 

In the News

Is Putin Planning to Start a Nuclear War Against Ukraine?
Rawi Abdelal (interview) | India Today | April 21, 2022
Davis Center Director Rawi Abdelal discusses the chances of nuclear warfare amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Wimbledon's Decision to Ban Russian and Belarusian Players Is a Good Idea
Margarita Balmaceda (quoted) | Time | April 21, 2022
“Excluding Russian players from Wimbledon is not going to change materially the outcome of the war, but it sends a very important symbolic message,” says Center Associate Margarita Balmaceda.

Russian Energy Chains
Margarita Balmaceda | April 18, 2022
Rereading Russian Energy Chains under the thunder of this new war brings forth uncomfortable—and hopeful—questions about the future, writes Center Associate Margarita Balmaceda.

Sinking of Russian Warship Offers Ukraine a Morale—and Maybe Strategic—Boost
Kevin Ryan (quoted) | The Hill | April 16, 2022
“If they start losing their fleet during this war, before the war is even done, the impact on their long-term strategy will be tremendous,” says Advisory Board member BG (ret) Kevin Ryan.

Missiles Fly, but Ukraine’s Pipeline Network Keeps Russian Gas Flowing to Europe
Margarita Balmaceda (quoted) | Yahoo!News | April 12, 2022
Russia, for its part, is in no hurry to cut off the revenue stream that Europe's energy demands generate, says Center Associate Margarita Balmaceda

The False God of Tsar Vladimir
Walter Clemens | CEPA | April 11, 2022
The notion with “God is with us,” Gott mit uns, has been part of Vladimir Putin’s Russian nationalist revival, a boast that is sacrilegious and untrue, writes Center Associate Water Clemens.

Was Ukraine Wrong to Give Up Its Nukes?
Mariana Budjeryn | Foreign Policy | April 8, 2022
At stake in Ukraine is not just the future of that country and its people but also something much bigger: the future of nuclear nonproliferation, writes Center Associate Mariana Budjeryn.

Reparations: What Will Russia Owe Ukraine?
Walter Clemens | The Hill | April 7, 2022
For now, Russia’s damage to its sister nation continues, adding to the vast sums owed to Ukrainians. The West may help with another “Marshall Plan,” but the weightiest obligations are Russia’s, says Center Associate Water Clemens.

The Stain of Bucha Will Stay with Russians Forever
Yevgenia Albats | The Moscow Times | April 6, 2022
The guilt for this will lie on our children and grandchildren for generations, writes Yevgenia Albats, Ph.D. ’04.

After Ukraine, Can the Arctic Peace Hold?
Ingrid Burke Friedman | Foreign Policy | April 4, 2022
A Western boycott of the Arctic Council could backfire, writes Ingrid Burke Friedman in Foreign Policy.

An ‘Austrian-Swiss’ Solution for Ukraine?
Walter Clemens | The Hill | April 4, 2022
Many details of a Ukrainian settlement must be negotiated, but a useful starting point would be to agree on an Austrian-Swiss solution, writes Center Associate Walter Clemens. 

Reporting from Moscow under Kremlin Censorship
Yevgenia Albats (interview) | ABC Radio National | April 3, 2022
For almost two decades Russian investigative journalist Yevgenia Albats hosted a talk show on Echo of Moscow radio. That all came to an end when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Russian Actions Speak Louder Than Withdrawal Promises
Alexandra Vacroux (interview) | The Harvard Gazette | March 31, 2022
Alexandra Vacroux on the latest developments in Ukraine. 

The West Can Strengthen Zelensky’s Negotiating Position
Alexandra Vacroux and Rawi Abdelal | The Boston Globe | March 30, 2022
Western allies should announce that President Zelensky has been empowered to dial back or even withdraw elements of the unprecedented sanctions on Russia, write Rawi Abdelal and Alexandra Vacroux.

What, Exactly, Is a “Neutral” Ukraine?
Mark Kramer (quoted) | Vox | March 29, 2022
“There were probably at least a dozen international agreements that Russia signed with Ukraine that did commit Russia to respecting Ukraine’s December 1991 borders, yet, the Russian government has shown no importance to adhering to those obligations,” said Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Project.

Is the Russian Military Running Out of Soldiers?
Kevin Ryan | The National Interest | March 28, 2022
When the fighting stops in Ukraine and the two sides stake out their claims and demands, it is almost guaranteed that Russia’s new conventional military force will be weaker than it was before the war, writes Advisory Board member BG (ret) Kevin Ryan.

Inside Russia: An Alternative Reality
Yevgenia M. Albats (interview) | Channel 4 | March 25, 2022
Channel 4 speaks to Yevgenia M. Albats, Ph.D.'04., who’s seen many of her outlets shut down or blocked, but continues to report the truth from inside Russia.

Ukrainian Refugees Rely on Generosity of Strangers in Moldova
Haley Bader | bne IntelliNews | March 23, 2022
Moldovan authorities are setting up tents and converting old boarding schools, exhibition centers and kindergartens to house those who are fleeing, writes REECA alum Haley Bader.

Ukraine War: People Are Fighting and Dying for Vladimir Putin’s Flawed Version of History
George Soroka | The Conversation | March 22, 2022
The irony within the tragedy of the current situation is that Putin will assuredly go down in history as the figure that did more to unite the Ukrainian people (albeit against Russia) than any other in recent memory, write Center Associate George Soroka and Félix Krawatzek.

‘It Is Definitely a Matter of Racism’: People of Color Face Extra Burden in Trying to Flee Ukraine
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon (interview) | KCRW | March 21, 2022
“The EU has opened its doors to Ukrainians who hold Ukrainian passports, but not to third country nationals, like these African students, says REECA alum Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon.

What a Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal Might Look Like
Arvid Bell (quoted) | The Washington Post | March 18, 2022
Arvid Bell and Dana Wolf argue on Harvard University’s Russia Matters site that Ukraine could acquiesce on major points while still maintaining sovereignty, writes Anthony Faiola for the Washington Post.

How Does the Ukraine War End?
Esther Tetruashvily | Foreign Policy | March 17, 2022
The West needs to prepare for a lose-lose cease-fire, writes REECA alum Esther Tetruashvily.

Black in the USSR
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon (podcast) | MSNBC | March 17, 2022
REECA alum Kimberly St. Julian Varnon speaks about the unique experience of being Black in this part of the world.

Putin’s Rhetoric Increasingly Unhinged amid War Crime Accusations
Ingrid Burke Friedman | Jurist | March 17, 2022
As war rages in Ukraine, and Moscow faces increasingly grim economic prospects following a raft of powerful Western sanctions, Washington and Moscow have exchanged mutual accusations this week of humanitarian law violations, writes Fellow Ingrid Burke Friedman.

Russia Threatened to Shut Off Its Gas Taps to Europe. Can It Do That?
Margarita Balmaceda (interview) | Marketplace | March 15, 2022
Somebody like Putin loves the optics of closing the pipeline, closing the supply spigot — but in reality, natural gas doesn’t really work like that, says Center Associate Margarita Balmaceda.

The Canadian Companies That Are Pulling Out of Russia—and What It Means for Ukraine
Aurel Braun (quoted) | Canadian Business | March 14, 2022
It has to be a combination of strategic and military factors that will determine whether Russia definitely fails its attempt to annex Ukraine—sanctions are just one part of that, says Center Associate Aurel Braun.

How Russians See Russia
Natasha Yefimova-Trilling (interview) | The Harvard Gazette | March 14, 2022
Pockets of worry and anger, says ex-Moscow Times journalist, but anti-West sentiment likely to withstand Ukraine reality.

Is a Ceasefire Agreement Possible? A Negotiation Analysis of the Russia-Ukraine War
Arvid Bell | Russia Matters | March 12, 2022
For more fruitful negotiations to begin, Russia’s interest in a cease-fire must be heightened, even if it remains lower than Ukraine’s, write NTF Director Arvid Bell and Dana Wolf.

Putin’s Thousand-Year War
Kelly O'Neill (quoted) | Foreign Policy | March 12, 2022
“Eurasianism is an imperial idea because it offers a way to reconcile the unity of the people as a whole and their diversity,” Imperiia Project Director Kelly O’Neill says. “It’s difficult to do that if you don’t have an empire.”

Why Some Say Putin Is Happy His Oligarchs Are Getting Sanctioned
Alexandra Vacroux (quoted) | Forbes | March 11, 2022
Veteran Kremlin watchers tell Forbes that the Russian president doesn’t care much about the asset freezes and travel bans that hound his country’s billionaires. 

A Look at Russia’s Military as War in Ukraine Continues
Kevin Ryan (interview) | WBUR | March 11, 2022
Advisory Board member BG (ret) Kevin Ryan discusses Russia's military capabilities and how the war in Ukraine is unfolding.

The War in Ukraine
Rawi Abdelal (podcast) | After Hours | March 11, 2022
Mihir Desai and Felix Oberholzer-Gee welcome back their colleague Rawi Abdelal to discuss the origins of the conflict, the effects of the sanctions, and how the situation might evolve.

Russia’s Punishment Is a Global Event
The Harvard Gazette | March 11, 2022
Expert expects dramatic ripple effects as sanctions, corporate measures take hold.

Why is Russia invading Ukraine?
Erin Hutchinson (podcast) | But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids | March 11, 2022
In this episode, Erin Hutchinson, REECA '13, Ph.D. '20, helps kids understand the history behind this conflict. 

Will Putin Turn the War in Ukraine into a Nuclear Crisis? We Can’t Rule It Out.
Alexandra Vacroux | USA TODAY | March 10, 2022
Putin has been noisily rattling his nuclear saber to remind the world that he has plenty of dangerous weapons in his arsenal, writes Executive Director Alexandra Vacroux.

In Ukraine, There’s No Second Chernobyl Disaster in the Making—Not Yet
Mariana Budjeryn | The Boston Globe | March 10, 2022
While there are reasons for concern, there is no need for panic, says Center Associate Mariana Budjeryn.

Ukraine's Dangerous Independence
Serhii Plokhii (interview) | NPR | March 10, 2022
"What you see today in Ukraine is really something that many other nations experienced. It is a war for independence. And the war for independence is very much about the formation of this new identity. And for that reason, history becomes really very important," says Executive Committee member Serhii Plokhii.

War in Ukraine: Soaring Gas Prices and the Return of Stagflation?
Rawi Abdelal (interview) | Harvard Business School Working Knowledge | March 9, 2022
With nothing left to lose, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will likely intensify, roiling energy markets and raising questions about the future of globalization, says Davis Center Director Rawi Abdelal.

Putin's Unholy War
Sean Eriksen (podcast) | Harvard Divinity School | March 9, 2022
REECA master’s student Sean Eriksen spoke with the Harvard Religion Beat podcast about the religious dimensions of Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Russia Shut Down Free Press during Ukraine Invasion. I’m Risking Jail to Tell the Truth
Yevgenia M. Albats | USA Today | March 8, 2022
Russia has passed new repressive laws in an attempt to curtail the independent media and block the truth about the war in Ukraine, writes Yevgenia M. Albats, Ph.D.'04.

How Russia's War In Ukraine Could Change The World
Alexandra Vacroux (interview) | NPR | March 6, 2022
Alexandra Vacroux speaks with NPR's Rachel Martin to try and understand how we've gotten where we are now and what this war might mean for us all.

Majlis Podcast: The Central Asian Dilemma Over Russia’s Attack On Ukraine
Nargis Kassenova (podcast) | Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | March 6, 2022
Muhammad Tahir and Senior Fellow Nargis Kassenova discuss the cautious public comments made by Central Asian officials regarding Moscow's incursion into Ukraine and the actions of Central Asian citizens in response to the Russian invasion.

While the Russian Army Invades Ukraine, Putin Has Already Quietly Taken over Another European Country
Margarita Balmaceda (quoted) | Fortune | March 5, 2022
“Russian companies were able to sell or supply oil to Belarus without paying Russian export duties because this was a union state, and then Belarus would be returned those duties, and with that was receiving at least $2 billion to $3 billion per year,” Center Associate Margarita Balmaceda said.

Refugees Fleeing Ukraine Now Represent Biggest Movement of People in Europe Since World War II
Matthew Luxmoore | The Wall Street Journal | March 5, 2022
More than 1.45 million people have left the country since Russia invaded, with most headed for Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, writes REECA alum Matthew Luxmoore.

Meet Russia’s Oligarchs, a Group of Men Who Won’t Be Toppling Putin Anytime Soon
Stanislav Markus | The Conversation | March 4, 2022
Individual survival with a view to the Kremlin, not the defense of common interests such as sanctions’ removal, has been the oligarchs’ modus operandi, says Stanislav Markus, Ph.D. ’09.

African, Asian Refugees Leaving Ukraine Face Discrimination at Borders
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon (interview) | MSNBC | March 4, 2022
“This is a significant crisis that we’re seeing for these African students. People are walking 20 and 30 miles to get toward the Polish border,” REECA alum Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon says.

The 20th-Century History Behind Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Oxana Shevel (quoted) | Smithsonian Magazine | March 4, 2022
“Any kind of reevaluation of the Soviet treatment of history is what Putin would consider a Nazi approach or Nazification,” says Center Associate Oxana Shevel.

‘15 New Chernobyls’: A Survivor’s Fears about Putin’s War
Serhii Plokhii (interview) | The Washington Post | March 2, 2022
On April 26, 1986, Serhii Plokhii and his family were living near Ukraine’s Dnieper River downstream from the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Now Plokhii worries about history repeating itself. 

Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine: A Desperate Gamble to Reverse a String of Failures
Ingrid Burke Friedman and Jeremy Friedman | Jurist | March 2, 2022
A closer look reveals that this invasion is the product of weakness, not the victory of a strongman, write Fellow Ingrid Burke Friedman and Executive Committee member Jeremy Friedman.

The Ukraine Invasion
Alexandra Vacroux (interview) | WHYY's Radio Times | March 1, 2022
This episode looks at how the invasion is unfolding, Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s military forces, the impact of the sanctions Moscow and its oligarchs, and how to stop Putin’s war.

‘Denazification,’ Putin Style
Benjamin Tromly | The Seattle Times | March 1, 2022
"But Putin-style “denazification” rhetoric cannot be written off as the ravings of a mad emperor," writes REECA alum Benjamin Tromly. "The waging of war based on historical comparisons between the Third Reich and democratic Ukraine is a logical outcome of Putinism."

‘Yes, He Would’: Fiona Hill on Putin and Nukes
Fiona Hill (interview) | Politico | February 28, 2022
Putin is trying to take down the entire world order, says Fiona Hill. But there are ways even ordinary Americans can fight back.

How NATO and the West Can up Their Game on Ukraine—Right Now
Alexander S. Vindman | The Washington Post | February 28, 2022
"Make no mistake, the world is watching. Ukraine is leading. Now, the West must decide whether it has the fortitude to support the Ukrainian people’s fight for freedom," writes REECA alum Alexander S. Vindman.

Putin’s Memory Laws Set the Stage for His War in Ukraine
Francine Hirsch | Lawfare | February 28, 2022
In claiming to rescue Russian “victims” in Ukraine, Putin is building on a foreign policy strategy from the 1990s, writes Visiting Scholar Francine Hirsch.

A West Philly Expert on Russia and Ukraine Is Now a Social Media Celebrity
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon (profile) | The Philadelphia Inquirer | February 24, 2022
Twitter users have looked to the history-heavy feed of REECA alum Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon as a way to understand the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: What to Expect for the Future of Europe
Nina Tumarkin (interview) | NBC Boston  | February 24, 2022
Russia has launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, and experts, including Center Associate Nina Tumarkin, are looking at what led to Vladimir Putin's offensive and what's next.

‘He May Unfortunately Believe His Own Delusions’: Why Putin Is Invading Ukraine
Oxana Shevel (interview) | GBH | February 24, 2022
After months of buildup, Russia has launched its long-expected invasion of Ukraine. But what comes next—within Ukraine, not just the international response—is less clear. Center Associate Oxana Shevel joined GBH’s All Things Considered to give the historical context.

As Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Unfolds, Many Analysts Question What Happens Next
Mariana Budjeryn (quoted) | The Boston Globe | February 24, 2022
“If Russia is determined to suffer some significant losses, which it will, it can still prevail and capture large parts of Ukraine. The question is: What will they do with that later?” says Center Associate Mariana Budjeryn.

Wide Range of Possible Targets for Russian Cyber Strikes, from Infrastructure to Smartphones
Lauren Zabierek | The Harvard Gazette | February 24, 2022
Ex-intelligence officer notes role of individuals in defending against attack.

What Happens Next in Ukraine?
Kevin Ryan and Alexandra Vacroux (quoted) | The Harvard Gazette | February 24, 2022
As the Russian attack unfolds, escalation and nuclear standoff are among Harvard experts’ worst fears.

Ukraine-Russia Crisis: Everything You Need to Know About the Regions Caught in the Crossfire 
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon (interview) | Fox 7 Austin | February 24, 2022
The U.S., UK, and European Union have responded with sanctions to Russia's latest move on Ukraine but some wonder if it will be enough and if further steps need to be taken.

Russia, Ukraine, and the United States–A Diplomat’s View
George Krol | The Newport Daily News | February 23, 2022
Since the end of the Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine, as separate, independent states, have been developing their own national identities and historical narratives that seem to divide more than unite them.

Fiona Hill Weighs in on Ukraine Crisis as Putin and the West Trade Blows
Fiona Hill (interview) | WBUR | February 23, 2022
Host Lisa Mullins gets REECA alum Fiona Hill's thoughts on the crisis in Ukraine as Putin orders troops into the eastern separatist republics.

As Russia-Ukraine Crisis Ramps Up, Biden Faces Sanctions Dilemma 
Alexandra Vacroux (quoted) | Al Jazeera | February 23, 2022
U.S. policymakers appear united on need to oppose Russian invasion, but disagreements emerge on pace of sanctions.

Western Deterrence Has Failed in Ukraine
Aurel Braun | The Globe and Mail | February 23, 2022
"There are genuine opportunities for the West to restore deterrence, help Ukraine thrive and ensure that Mr. Putin’s tactical victories turn into pyrrhic ones. NATO is hardly helpless but it needs to restore deterrence," says Center Associate Aurel Braun.

Sanctions on Russia Will Not Stop Putin
Alexandra Vacroux (interview) | RTÉ Ireland | February 23, 2022
"They are not really a deterrent anymore—they are punishment and, because they are punishment, we still have to impose them. But they are not going to change Russian behavior in terms of the impact on Russia," Executive Director Alexandra Vacroux told RTÉ Ireland.

Upending Putin’s Russia-Ukraine Myth
Timothy Snyder (quoted) | The Harvard Gazette | February 22, 2022
Historian rebuts claims of two nations as inseparable, argues leader is trying to control narrative to justify actions.

Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine
Matthew Luxmoore | The Wall Street Journal | February 22, 2022
Russian president earlier recognized their independence, escalating tensions with West, write REECA alum Matthew Luxmoore, Ann M. Simmons, and Yaroslav Trofimov.

What Does Putin Want?
Alexandra Vacroux | The Boston Globe | February 22, 2022
International efforts to get Vladimir Putin to negotiate or at least fear the consequences of invading Ukraine have failed, writes Executive Director Alexandra Vacroux.

Why Ukraine Gave up Its Nuclear Weapons—And What That Means in an Invasion by Russia
Mariana Budjeryn (interview) | WBUR | February 21, 2022
This is a document signed at the highest level by the heads of state. So the implication was Ukraine would not be left to stand alone and face a threat should it come under one, says Center Associate Mariana Budjeryn.

Independent Sources from the Region in English

From Ukraine

From Outside of Ukraine

  • Meduza
  • R.Politik (aka Stanovaya Bulletin): Access with Harvard Key; in-depth analysis of current events in Russia and the region; downloadable issues come out every 2 weeks

Independent Sources from the Region in Russian