Stand With Ukraine!

I attended a rally yesterday in support of Ukraine. Organized by a group of Wesleyan students from the region, we were able to voice our support for the resistance against the brutal invasion by the Russian army. Faculty, staff, students and other supporters gathered on a cold winter’s afternoon to offer prayers, poems and donations. Heartbreaking accounts of atrocities were mingled descriptions of great courage in the face of brutality. Putin’s war must end, we chanted, and in the meanwhile, we must support those who defend themselves and their country.

As noted in a previous blog, you can donate support here and find a list of organizations to support here.

Student organizer of rally


Senator Blumenthal at Rally


Stand With Ukraine!



Some Campus Events on Invasion of Ukraine

Cross-posted with the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life


Ukraine-Russia Crisis: A Series of International Livestream Conversations

The Wesleyan community is invited to meet in-person and on Zoom for a series of international livestream conversations with students, journalists & civic leaders in Ukraine.

The first event in the series is a student panel that will include students from Taras Shevchenko Institute for International Relations, together with students Melaniya Podolyak, a civic activist and communications expert from Lviv, Ukraine, currently studying at the master’s program at the School of Public Management and Oleksii Diatlov, a QA engineer in the state company Prozorro, Kiev, and veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war, both currently studying at the master’s program at the School of Public Management in Ukrainian Catholic University.

Remote access link:

Student Panel
Friday, February 25

noon to 1 pm
Fisk 201 (Global Studies Commons)
Grab-and-go lunch will be provided.

Additional series events:

* Journalist Panel: Friday, March 4, noon to 1 pm, Fisk 201

* Civic Leaders Panel, Friday, March 11, noon to 1 pm, Fisk 201

The series is sponsored by the College of the Environment, the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Fries Center for Global Studies and the Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies Program.

All attendees must follow Wesleyan’s most current covid guidelines found at





Russia Out of Ukraine!!!

Teaching a Wesleyan course online presents me with the opportunity to interact with students from scores of different countries. I am teaching The Modern and the Postmodern in Middletown, and the course is also available on the Coursera platform. Here in what students often call the “campus bubble” our political issues often seem abstract or “first world problems.” But for students in the same class but in different parts of the world, politics (and even the intellectual issues in the class) are sometimes a matter of life and death.

Recently Arianna posted the following on our class Facebook page:

Dear friends, I want to say that what we read here is very important. The last couple of weeks I do not have time for this and I apologize to the teacher, but I’ll catch up with you! In Ukraine, the revolution now. My friends and I smell smoke, because our capital (Kiev) on fire. Texts we read here, helping to become conscious, self-reliant. This contributes to empathy and transparency.
Thank you. We will win!
(Pardon my French)

There followed exchanges that linked some of the concepts in political philosophy we are studying with the quickly changing situation on the streets of Kiev. How can a revolution be successful, especially when confronted with violence? How does a new regime establish legitimacy?

Last week it seemed that Arianna and her fellow-citizens had won. Then Russia turned its attention from making authoritarianism attractive via the Olympics to real geopolitical stakes in Crimea. This morning Arianna posted this from a friend:

“This sunny sunday morning feeling when you wake up and your country is on the edge of war. You can’t sleep, eat, feel. Yesterday Russia’s parliament officially approved the use of its military in Ukraine. The south of the country (Crimea) today is basically occupied by the russian army. What? Militaries enter the territory of a sovereign country quietly and occupy it in the 21st century just like that? “Russia, the UK and the USA undertake to respect Ukraine’s borders in accordance with the principles of the 1975 CSCE Final Act, to abstain from the use or threat of force against Ukraine, to support Ukraine where an attempt is made to place pressure on it by economic coercion, and to bring any incident of aggression by a nuclear power before the UN Security Council”, – states the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed in 1994. The autonomy of Ukraine was guaranteed in return on it becoming a non-nuclear state. And what do we see now? It’s hard to believe that after everything that has been happening in my beloved Motherland during these 3 months, after all those people who were injured or died fighting for the freedom and democracy, Russia de facto declares a war against Ukraine. Please, wake me up, tell me it’s just a fucked up nightmare.” my friend, Inna

There are many reports now giving a context for Arianna’s and Inna’s first-hand accounts. Timothy Snyder’s account here seems particularly helpful.

I understand that it is not clear what exactly the United States and the European Union should do to stop this blatant act of aggression against Ukraine. But let’s begin by acknowledging that Putin’s regime, the same regime that (in the name of protecting national sovereignty) is supporting the Syrian dictatorship’s murderous war against its own people, has just invaded its sovereign neighbor. These are historical nightmares, at the very least, we should not ignore.

Arianna and her friends are struggling for the future of the country, while they are also trying to build more democratic political practices. How can we show our solidarity?