Congressional Briefing on the Ukraine Crisis

The National History Center of the American Historical Association held a Congressional briefing on Friday, January 23 on the Ukraine crisis in historical perspective.  Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University and Professor Mark Von Hagen of Arizona State University discussed the historical roots of the current Ukrainian-Russian war and its larger regional implications.  Professor Dane Kennedy, Director of the National History Center, moderated and reflected on the discussion.

Briefing Description

In their remarks, Professor Timothy Snyder, the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University, and Professor Mark von Hagen, professor of history at the Arizona State University School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, examined the history and implications of the Ukraine crisis that erupted in late 2013. As part of the briefing, the experts discussed the true nature of the conflict, and why it should be thought of as more than simply a Ukrainian civil war, but as a Russian-Ukrainian war as well. In addition, Professors Snyder and von Hagen discussed the history of the Ukraine since the First and Second World Wars, as well as how the United States, Western Europe, and Russia have affected the security of the Ukrainian political and economic environment, as well as those of other Eastern European states.

Further Readings Suggested by the Experts

Survey texts (long history)

Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History

Paul Robert Magocsi, History of Ukraine, 2d rev. ed.

Historical Atlas of Central Europe, 2d. rev. ed.

Anna Reid, Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine

Mark von Hagen, “Does Ukraine Have a History?” and responses Slavic Review, Vol. 54, No. 3 (Fall 1995)

Andrew Evans, Ukraine (Bradt Travel Guide)


Twentieth Century History

Serhy Yekelchyk, Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation

Andrew Wilson, Ukrainians: The Unexpected Nation


Broader contexts of Ukraine’s history:

Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe Gulag: A History

Dominic Lieven, The Russian Empire and Its Rivals

Andreas Kappeler, The Russian Empire: A Multi-ethnic History

Jane Burbank, Anatolii Remnev, Mark von Hagen, eds., Russian Empire: Space, People, Power, 1700-1930

Mark von Hagen, “Writing the History of Russia as Empire,” co-edited with Catherine Evtuov, Boris Gasparov, Alexander Ospovat, in Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg: Multiple Faces of the Russian Empire. (Moscow, ITS-Grant, 1997)

Von Hagen, “Empires, Borderlands, and Diasporas: Eurasia as Anti-Paradism for the Post-Soviet Era,” American Historical Review Vol. 109, No. 2 (April 2004): 445-68;

Omer Bartov and Eric Weitz, eds., Shatterzone of Empires: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands (2013)

Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999

The Red Prince: Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke

Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin

Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine


Ukraine Before the Twentieth Century

Ihor Shevchenko and Frank Sysyn, Ukraine Between East and West: Essays on Cultural History to the Early Eighteenth Century

Ivan L. Rudnytsky, Essays in Modern Ukrainian History

Serhii Plokhii, Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History

Plokhii, The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus

Faith Hillis, Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation


Ukraine in War and Revolution, 1914-1923

Taras Hunczak, ed., The Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution

Mark von Hagen, War in a European Borderland: Occupations and Occupation Plans in Galicia and Ukraine, 1914-1918, Donald W. Treadgold Studies on Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (Published by the Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, University of Washington; Distributed by the University of Washington Press, 2007)

Richard Pipes, The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923 (Cambridge, MA., 1997)


Ukraine Under Stalin

Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Ithaca, NY, 2001)

Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine

Hiroaki Kuromiya, The Voices of the Dead: Stalin’s Great Terror in the 1930s (2007); Freedom and Terror in the Donbas (1998)


Ukraine and World War II

Karel Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair (Harvard/Belknap)

Alexander Dallin, German Rule in Russsia, 1941-1945


Ukraine after Stalin

Yaroslav Bilinsky, The Second Soviet Republic: Ukraine after World War II

Serhii Plokhii, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union (2014)

Yalta: The Price of Peace

Roman Szporluk, Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union


Ukraine, Neighbors and Minorities

Hans-Joachim Torke and John-Paul Himka, eds., German-Ukrainian Relations in Historical Perspective

P. J. Potichnyj, ed., Poland and Ukraine: Past and Present

P. J. Potichnyj and Marc Raeff, eds., Ukraine and Russia in Their Historical Encounter

Andreas Kappeler, Zenon Kohut, Frank Sysyn, and Mark von Hagen, eds., Culture, Nation, and Identity: The Ukrainian-Russian Encounter 1600-1945


Jews and Ukraine

Henry Abramson, A Prayer for the Government

Peter J. Potichnyj and Howard H. Aster, eds., Ukrainian-Jewish Relations in Historical Perspective (Edmonton, 1988)

Shimon Redlich, Together and Apart in Brzezany: Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians, 1919-1945 (2002)

Yohan Petrovsky-Shtern,  The Anti-Imperial Choice: The Making of the Ukrainian Jew

Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-building and the Holocaust in Ukraine; with Ray Brandon, The Shoah in Ukraine


Ukrainian Literature and Thought

Dmytro Czyzhevskyi and G.S. N. Luckyj, A History of Ukrainian Literature from the Eleventh to the end of the 19th Century

Myroslav Shkandryj, Russia and Ukraine: Literature and the Discourse of Empire from Napoleonic to Postcolonial Times

Shkandryj, Jews in Ukrainian Literature

George Grabowicz, Toward a History of Ukrainian Literature

George Luckyj, Literary Politics in Soviet Ukraine, 1917-1934

Ralph Lindheim and George Luckyj, Towards and Intellectual History of Ukrainian Thought