Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage ST. THOMAS MORE COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN

PCUH Online Round Table – “Ukrainian Question” or “Russia’s War”

Online Round Table

“Ukrainian Question” or Russia’s War?

Searching for a New Vocabulary to Define the Current War

On February 21, 2022, on the eve of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin delivered a “historical lecture,” discussing Ukrainian history and nationhood as a “question” that must finally be solved by making Ukraine part of the “Russian world.” Putin’s neoimperial drive to solve the “Ukrainian question” is not a new one, however. In 2014, amidst the growing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the annexation of Crimea, and the subsequent war in Donbas, Putin used this question rhetoric when discussing Ukraine, asking: “Can a compromise be found on the Ukrainian question between Russia and America?”

Challenging Putin’s framing of Russia’s invasion as a solution to the “Ukrainian question,” this round table aims to analyze Russia’s neoimperial glossary. It will also explore a wider “vocabulary of war,” which is used by politicians and the media in Ukraine and in the West to refer to the war in Ukraine. Using various terms and definitions of the current war (e.g., “special military operation,” “Putin’s war,” “Russia–Ukraine conflict,” “Ukraine crisis,” “the third world war,” and “Ukraine war”) as a lens, the round table will analyze multiple perspectives on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Specifically, it aims to explore the following questions: What vocabulary should we use to define the current war in Ukraine and the multilayered geopolitical crises it has triggered? How do various international players (e.g., Canada, US, EU, and Russia) perceive Ukraine’s place in the international arena? How have the attitudes of the international community toward Ukraine changed since the invasion? How can Ukraine preserve and advance its agency on the global stage?

Title: “Ukrainian Question” or Russia’s War? Searching for a New Vocabulary to Define the Current War

Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Time: 3:00 p.m. PDT/4:00 p.m. CST/6:00 p.m. EDT/0:00 AM EET 
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Format: Zoom meeting


Marta Dyczok


Bohdan Kordan

Oxana Shevel

Serhy Yekelchyk

Oksana Dudko


Oksana Dudko, Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Studies (Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage, University of Saskatchewan)

Biographical Notes


Bohdan Kordan is Professor Emeritus, Political Studies, St Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to his appointment in 1993 he held research and teaching positions at the University of Alberta, University of Toronto, and MacEwan University. Founding Director of the Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage (PCUH), Chair of the Department of Political Studies and Acting Chair of the Department of Economics, Professor Kordan’s recent research interests focus on the politics of state/minority relations and Canadian foreign policy. He has published widely on WWI internment in Canada, redress and historical memory, as well as contemporary Canada-Ukraine relations. His most recent books include Canada and the Ukrainian Crisis [with M. Dowie] (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020); Strategic Friends: Canada-Ukraine Relations from Independence to the Euromaidan (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018); and No Free Man: Canada, the Great War, and the Enemy Alien Experience (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), which received the 2017 Jennifer Welsh Award in scholarly writing and was shortlisted for the Kobzar Book Award.

Oxana Shevel is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University where her research and teaching focuses on Ukraine and the post-Soviet region. Her current research projects examine the sources of citizenship policies in the post-Communist states and religious politics in Ukraine. Her research interests also include comparative memory politics and the politics of nationalism and nation-building. She is the author of award-winning Migration, Refugee Policy, and State Building in Postcommunist Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which examines how the politics of national identity and strategies of the UNHCR shape refugee admission policies in the post-Communist region. Shevel’s research appeared in a variety of journals, including Comparative Politics, Current History, East European Politics and Societies, Europe-Asia Studies, Geopolitics, Nationality Papers, Post-Soviet Affairs, Political Science Quarterly, Slavic Review and in edited volumes. She is a member of PONARS Eurasia scholarly network, a country expert on Ukraine for Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT), and an associate of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She currently serves as President of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies (AAUS) and Vice President of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN).

Born and educated in the Soviet Union, Serhy Yekelchyk obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. He is the author of seven books on modern Ukrainian history, Stalinism, and Russo-Ukrainian relations including the award-winning Stalin’s Citizens: Everyday Politics in the Wake of Total War (Oxford University Press, 2014). Yekelchyk’s most recent publication is Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2020)—the second, much expanded edition of his popular book about the Euromaidan Revolution and Russian aggression in Ukraine. A professor of History and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria, Yekelchyk is current president of the Canadian Association for Ukrainian Studies.

Oksana Dudko is a historian and curator. Her research explores 20th-century Europe with a special focus on violence; gender; and the cultural history of Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union. Currently, Oksana is the Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She holds a Ph.D. (Candidate of Sciences degree) in history from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine (2011). In addition, Oksana has taught courses about Ukrainian history, Ukrainian–Russian relations, and Russian aggression in Ukraine at the University of Saskatchewan and York University. Before moving to Canada, Oksana was a research fellow at the Center for Urban History in Lviv, Ukraine. In addition, for more than ten years, Oksana has been curating theatre and exhibition projects in Europe. She is a founding director and artistic curator of international theatre and the drama festivals Drabyna and Drama.UA in Ukraine.


Marta Dyczok is Associate Professor at the Departments of History and Political Science, Western University, Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, and Adjunct Professor at the National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. She was a Wilson Fellow (2005-2006) and a Harvard Shklar Fellow (2011). Her books include Ukraine Calling. A Kaleidoscope from Hromadske Radio 2016-2019 (New York and Hanover: Columbia University Press and ibidem-Verlag 2021) Ukraine’s Euromaidan. Broadcasting through Information Wars with Hromadske Radio (E-IR 2016) Ukraine Twenty Years After Independence: Assessments, Perspectives, Challenges (Aracne editrice 2015), Media, Democracy and Freedom. The Post-Communist Experience (Peter Lang 2009), and The Grand Alliance and Ukrainian Refugees (Palgrave Macmillan 2000). She has also published numerous book chapters and her articles have appeared, among others, Europe-Asia Studies, Demokratizatsiya, and Canadian Slavonic Papers. Her doctorate is from Oxford University, she researches mass media, memory, migration, and history, and regularly provides media commentary.

Image courtesy of@sophia.suliy