Director’s Message on Ukraine
Dear CGES community
I write to express my deep grief and horror concerning the war waged by the Russian government against Ukraine. At the Center, we are deeply affected by this ongoing and expanding violence. For the first time since the end of World War II, we witness a war of aggression against a sovereign European state—something that most of us would not have thought possible in our lifetimes. It brings to an end the postwar era that has certainly not been without violence, war, or genocide in Europe, but the circumstances this time seem different. Many of us are frightened by the unpredictability of this aggressor and by what the future may hold. Whether Russia wins or loses this war—and history teaches us that dictators often hold on for a long time, even in the face of unfathomable suffering by the civilian population–both paths likely portend only more violence and instability. When I traveled to Berlin over Spring Break, Ukrainian refugees were visible everywhere, at train stations and the airports; when I went to have my passport renewed at an administrative office, I met a young Ukrainian woman, who was pushing her baby in her carriage and had her African boyfriend in tow, trying to find her way to a processing center; all three were clearly traumatized. I heard mayors across Germany talk about being overwhelmed by the quickly swelling flow of refugees. But I was also heartened to see so many people rush to be helpful, reminding me of the vaunted ‘welcome culture’ of 2015. Georgetown University as well has immediately taken steps to support Ukrainian students and scholars at risk with special scholarships and aid, hoping to embody that spirit of welcome.
At the BMW Center we have tried to respond to these events in numerous ways. We have collaborated with our colleagues in the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies to hold a roundtable discussion. Individual faculty members have written op-eds: Abe Newman (with his long-term collaborator Henry Farrell) published an op-ed in the New York Times. So did Professor Zimmer in The Guardian, and Professor Manfredi in El Confidencial, The Conversation, and El Independiente, as well as a number of outlets (for a list of English postings, see below).
I am reaching out to MAGES alumni that are Ukrainians to make sure that they and their loved ones are safe.
Please stay well.
Juan Luis Manfredi:
English commentaries: (originally at The Conversation).