Unpacking the crisis in Ukraine

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has taken much of the world — including many in the diplomatic, journalistic and academic communities — by surprise.

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, a panel of Washington University in St. Louis faculty will attempt to sort through the roots of the conflict, the latest developments and a range of potential futures, in a virtual discussion, “Crisis in Ukraine.”


“The goal is to explore why Russia is doing this and where we stand today,” said Krister Knapp, who organized the talk and will serve as moderator. Knapp is a teaching professor and minor adviser in history in Arts & Sciences and coordinator of the Crisis & Conflict in Historical Perspective series.

Knapp said topics will include the history of Russia’s relationship with its “near abroad”; the current military and humanitarian situations; and the potential effects of Western sanctions. A Q&A featuring questions from the audience will immediately follow.

“No one has a crystal ball,” Knapp said. “But to the extent that we can speculate, what are the likely outcomes? Can Russia ‘win’ this conflict? What are the prospects for Ukrainian resistance and insurgency? What does the future look like?”

“Crisis in Ukraine” is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Crisis & Conflict in Historical Perspective and the Department of History in Arts & Sciences. Panelists are:

  • U.S. Army Lt. Col. Andrew Betson, professor and chair of military science for the Gateway Battalion, the St. Louis-area ROTC program;
  • Leila Sadat, the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law at the School of Law and a special adviser on crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court;
  • Janis Skrastins, assistant professor of finance at Olin Business School; and
  • James Wertsch, the David R. Francis Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information or to register, visit history.wustl.edu.

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