"Arguably the most disgraceful war": Forum explores Russia's war in Ukraine, from tactics to tragedy

- March 18, 2022

Experts from Dalhousie and other local universities discuss the conflict in Ukraine last week during an online forum. (Screen grab)
Experts from Dalhousie and other local universities discuss the conflict in Ukraine last week during an online forum. (Screen grab)

As the war in Ukraine stretches on, it’s become increasingly clear to chief instigator Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world that the assault won’t produce the quick victory Russia may have expected.

And the prolonged conflict appears to be taking a toll on all parties involved.

"The invasion of Ukraine is arguably the most disgraceful war in Russia’s modern history. This war is a catastrophe not only for Ukraine but for Russia as well,” said Denis Kozlov, an associate professor in Dal's Department of History, during a forum on the conflict hosted by Dal, Saint Mary’s and Mount Saint Vincent universities last Thursday.

The virtual forum was led by Ruben Zaiotti, director at Jean Monnet European Union Centre of Excellence at Dalhousie, and also included Dal colleagues Leah Sarson (Political Science), Brian Bow (Political Science), Anders Hayden (Political Science) as well as Maya Eichler from Mount Saint Vincent (Political and Canadian Studies/Women's Studies) and Lyubov Zhyznomirska from Saint Mary’s (Political Science).

Related reading: How two Dal colleagues teamed up to help Ukrainian family find safe passage from conflict

An expansive discussion

Major themes discussed during the forum included the role the Canadian government is playing in the war, making sense of the war from a historical perspective, the gender dimensions of the war, Ukraine’s application to become a member of the European Union, the role of fossil fuels in the war and NATO's influence in the conflict.

Viewers were encouraged to submit questions during the forum, broadening the discussion into the origins of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Putin’s potential plans to drive this conflict into further Baltic countries like Latvia, the impact of this war on Russian women and children and on food inflation.

With answers of the war’s origin dating back to the fall of the Soviet Union, Dr. Hayden noted current contributions to the cause of Russian aggression.

“Climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots, fossil fuels and our dependence on them,” says Dr. Hayden.

Panelists shed light on the conflict from different angles, using their respective areas of expertise to field questions. While nobody could pinpoint the future of Putin’s political plans, they made clear the current stress on both countries is and will be devastating.

Related reading: At Dal gathering, a silent show of resolve for peace in Ukraine

How to help

The forum ended on a final question posed by Dr. Zaiotti.

“How do you think people in the audience might be able to help, in whatever fashion, with regards to what’s happening today in Ukraine?”

“Donating to a source that is close to the people,” offered Dr. Zhyznomirska, “Boycott products with the companies that are staying in Russia and supporting the war machine.”

“The Canadian government is matching donations to the Red Cross to a maximum of $30 million,” added Dr. Sarson to the call for donations.

Related reading: War and Peace in Ukraine

Watch the full forum below


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