The event took place last Thursday in one of the Theil building lecture halls. Associate professor Vadym Volosovych, who comes from Ukraine, talked about how Putin describes the war and Ukraine and which myths the Russian president believes. “Putin’s first myth is that Russians and Ukrainians are one people. According to Putin, Ukraine has never really been a nation state,” he stated.
In his speech, Board Member of Open Door Ukraine Diederik Kramers also talked about Putin’s way of thinking and demonstrated how Putin’s stories differ from Ukraine’s actual history. For example, Putin claims that Ukraine was never a real country. “According to Putin, Ukraine is a creation of Lenin, while Ukraine actually came into being much earlier and was indeed one of the most important nations during the middle ages.”
Kramers had many dealings with the former Soviet Union during his time as journalist and later started focusing more on Ukraine. Many of those present at the event responded with interesting questions and comments. “It’s so important that we engage in discussion with interested people, which is why it was great to see how many students in the hall took part,” Kramers said afterwards.
Not only international guest speakers were present; Ukrainian student Alice Zolotareva also shared her story. She talked about one of her teachers from Ukraine who taught Ukrainian language. She showed an emotional video that this teacher recorded specially for the event.
“The subject I teach has always been the most important subject in our education, but now it’s even more so,” the teacher stated in the video. “Do you remember when we were going to make a Ukrainian dictionary with the words you thought were the most beautiful, vivid and important?” she asked Alice.
Student Macha Taquet responded to this: “I recognise her story so well, as I also had a passionate Ukrainian language teacher. The video was extremely emotional; I wanted to cry.”
Student Armand Bonn thinks these kinds of stories are vital. “It’s good to hear more personal stories from people in Ukraine. Events like this are so important for those of us living so far away, as you then hear what’s really happening in Ukrainians’ lives.”