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. 

The attempt by the Russian president to resolve longstanding grievances with both the Ukrainian government and the post–Cold War international order through violence is a grave mistake. The future historians of Russia, Europe, and Eurasia will describe this dark moment as a regrettable, avoidable turning point of twenty-first century geopolitics.

Since our founding as the Russian Research Center, the Davis Center has sought to understand Russia and the broader Eurasian region with all the tools scholarship has to offer. Not surprisingly, in 75 years we have grown into a community with close ties to the region we study. The social scientists, humanists, and artists in our midst have spent time, energy, and emotion building relationships with these countries and the people who love them. It is devastating to see the Russian government turn against its neighbor Ukraine, with whom it shares part—though far from all—of its history. 

The present-day Davis Center fosters understanding through dialogue, research, and scholarly exchange. Although geopolitical harmony has eluded us for many decades, we have always hoped for and promoted peaceful mutual understanding. Simmering violence in eastern Ukraine and elsewhere in the post-Soviet world has been alarming for years, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a definitive change in the political trajectory of the region. 

The Davis Center stands with the people of Ukraine and with the many people around the world who are and will be harmed by this war.

Rawi Abdelal
Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management, Harvard Business School
Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Alexandra Vacroux
Executive Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

February 25, 2022

See also: Statement on Suspension of Linkages with Russian Institutions of Higher Education (March 9, 2022)