Timothy Snyder lecture kicks off 'Ukraine:Thinking Together' conference

Historians in the News
tags: Timothy Snyder

On May 15, Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder delivered the opening address at the “Ukraine: Thinking Together” conference at Kyiv Mohyla Academy, outlining Ukraine’s European history, and advocating its European future.

Snyder stressed that Ukraine has a “very typical European history,” noting its Renaissance, Reformation, and counter-reformation during the rule of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He argued that although many see the Cossack subjugation under Muscovite rule in the 17th century as drawing Ukraine away from Europe, the impulses behind its eastward shift were decidedly Western: Snyder described the populist Cossack rebellion under Polish-Lithuanian rule that led to closer ties with Muscovy as being distinctly European.

Even Soviet rule, snyder argued, included elements of Europeanism, as Soviet leaders worked hard in the 1910s and 1920s to embrace European-style capitalism, before attempting to surpass it to achieve the utopia of communism: “Europe was both a model and an enemy, explained Snyder.”

The Ukraine: Thinking Together event brings together 25 leading intellectuals to discuss Ukraine’s history, its current crisis, and its potential futures. Snyder and Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor at The New Republic, thought up the idea for the conference, which is being organized by Krytyka, an academic journal.

Snyder suggested that since the beginning of the EuroMaidan Revolution in November 2013, Russia has deliberately worked to undermine Ukraine’s European trajectory. Although Ukrainians have largely seen the EU in a positive light since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Snyder argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been working to change this perception by constructing a counter, transnational project: the Eurasian Union.

Read entire article at KyivPost

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