Since February, we’ve all been consumed by news from Ukraine. We follow military action closely; we read media accounts of refugees, and see photos and video of cities, villages and the Ukrainian people.
But many of us have only a vague knowledge of the country itself. What is its history, from the Middle Ages and the “Kievan Rus,” through 600 more years of rule by the Austrian Empire, Ottoman Empire and Russian tsars? How did it become part of the Soviet Union in 1922, and what happened during the horrors of World War II? When the USSR collapsed in 1991, how did Ukraine transition to independence? We know that President Zelensky is Jewish, and a former comedian. But what was his path to office?
How does Ukraine’s geography impact its history? What about its natural resources? Why is it fighting so fiercely for its independence, and why does Russia covet it so?
In other words: What do we need to know about Ukraine’s past, to understand what’s happening there today and tomorrow?
On Monday, May 9 (7 p.m., in-person and Zoom), we can all learn together.
The Westport Library hosts “Understanding Ukraine: Past, Present and Future.” Professor Wolodymyr Zaryckyj — director of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations — will provide insights into this fascinating and important country that most of us know only through recent news reports and images.
It’s a great way to learn about the geography and history — long-ago and just-before-February — that most of us never learned or knew.
“06880” is a co-sponsor of the event. I’ll moderate the discussion, and lead a question-and-answer period at the end with Professor Zaryckyj.