CIVICA Tours d’Europe Public Lecture at CEU Examines Russo-Ukrainian War and the Future European Order


Event closes two-day conference hosted by the CEU Department of International Relations, the Invisible University for Ukraine and the Open Society University Network (OSUN).

On December 1, CEU hosted a CIVICA Tours d’Europe Public Lecture reflecting on the Russo-Ukrainian War and its impact on the future European order. The Tours d'Europe Public Lectures aim to strengthen the knowledge base of citizens on contemporary issues through conversations with researchers and academics. They are hosted in turn by each university in the CIVICA alliance, of which CEU is a part.

This edition featured CEU Distinguished Visiting Professor Mary Kaldor from the London School of Economics; Viktoria Sereda from the Ukrainian Catholic University and Virtual Ukraine Institute for Advanced Studies, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin; and Anton Shekhovtsov from the Centre for Democratic Integrity in Vienna. It was moderated by Thomas Fetzer, Head of CEU’s Department of International Relations, which co-hosted the event.

In her opening remarks, Kaldor raised the recent essay by Ukraine’s commander in chief, General Valery Zaluzhny, published in The Economist, in which he admits that the war is at a stalemate due to an equalization of military technology. She highlighted similarities between Russia’s impact on Chechnya and Syria, saying that Russia has not been successful in controlling territory in these cases, but has succeeded in creating chaos, which she said makes the development of a normal democracy difficult.

“What I’m really worried about is if the war [in Ukraine] lasts for a really long time, will it turn into a similar type of ‘new war’ in which the point is to reproduce the situation of disorder?” she said. Among the significant implications of the current war, Kaldor noted the development of new debates regarding human security and highlighted that the security context cannot be de-linked from the economic and environmental context, given, for example, the EU’s dependence on Russian oil. She also mentioned what she observed to be Ukraine pioneering a civic state, and that the wide documentation of the current war has already led to the International Criminal Court investigating war crimes and indicting Putin, making this war one with an emphasis on international law and justice.

Shekhovtsov, opened his contribution with discussion of the 2013 Euromaidan protest in Kyiv - an event that evolved into the Revolution of Dignity, ousting pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. He asserted that the country is still living through the developments of the geopolitical process launched at that time.

In terms of the current war, Shekhovtsov said that in addition to pursuing NATO membership, Ukrainian civil society should be communicating with Russian civil society as a way to build relationships and contribute to Ukraine’s long-term national security. He said: “I don’t think that the long-term Ukraine security can be achieved without having a peaceful border between Ukraine and Russia or Russian territories… Ukraine will always have on its borders Russia or Russian regions.”

Sereda focused on challenges to migration studies due to the dispersed nature of Ukrainians hosted by civil society. She mentioned that the scattered locations in which Ukrainian migrants reside cause them to be less visible than those refugee populations that are hosted in centralized locations receiving aid from a hub.

She additionally highlighted that Ukraine has high numbers of internally displaced people because of the war and suggested that discussion of internal displacement of Ukrainians is lacking. Closing her remarks, Sereda raised the questions: What happens when temporary migration protections expire? Will people return to Ukraine? And what will restoration look like?

The CIVICA Public Lecture, “The Russo-Ukrainian War and the Future European Order”, received funding support from the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) within the “CIVICA for Ukraine” project of SGH Warsaw School of Economics. The lecture served as the closing event of the two-day conference, “The Politics of Knowledge Production and the Russo-Ukrainian War”, hosted by CEU’s Department of International Relations, the Invisible University for Ukraine and the Open Society University Network.

Watch the full discussion here.

Written by Julie Potter (CEU). 

Photo credits: Sotiris Bekas.