The Ukraine Factor in Russia-Europe Relations

October 16, 2017 @ 4:15 pm – 6:00 pm
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1730 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02138-4453
United States
Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard UniversityEvent website

Seminar in Ukrainian Studies
“TheUkraine Factor in Russia-Europe Relations”

Igor Torbakov, Senior Fellow, Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University;HURI Fellow

The Ukraine crisis and the subsequent Russo-Ukrainian war have been sparked by a seemingly technical issue: the planned signing by Ukraine of the Association Agreement with the European Union. Yet Russia’s international conduct over the last several years,both in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, appears to demonstrate that foreign policy formulation involves more than the rational analysis of the “correlation of forces,” economic interests and geopolitical positions. It would seem that foreign policy makers’ decisions can also be powerfully influenced by various forms of political imagination, including historical myths and symbolic geographies. To get a better handle on the fluctuations in the EU-Russia bilateral relations, one has to take a closer look at how Russia’s proverbial love-hate relationship with Europe is projected back and forth between the two interconnected spheres: the world of political imaginary and the realm of actual decision making. Notably, Ukraine has pride of place in the dream-world ofRussian greatness.

Igor Torbakov is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University and Associate Senior Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairsin Stockholm. A trained historian, he specializes in Russian and Eurasian history and politics. He was a Research Scholar at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow; a Visiting Scholar at the Kennan Institute (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) in Washington, DC; a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University; a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University; a Fellow atthe Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study; a Senior Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki; and a VisitingFellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. He holds an MA in History from Moscow State University and a PhD from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Hisrecent publications discuss the history of Russian nationalism, Russian-Ukrainian relations, the links between Russia’s domestic politics and foreign policy, Russia’s and Turkey’s geopolitical discourses, and the politics of history and memory wars in Eastern Europe.

Room S-050, CGIS South, Harvard University