PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Chris Burton

Identity and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Dr. Chris Burton, Department of History

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 took nearly everyone, including the “experts” by surprise, but is rooted in the long and uneasy history between Ukraine and Russia. Chris Burton will analyze the contemporary and historical causes of the conflict with a focus on questions of identity. Vladimir Putin himself claims to be acting on behalf of the diaspora of ethnic Russians but cross-border populations have a long and tangled history. Who is a Russian? Who is a Ukrainian? The answers are complex, problematic, and illuminate the fighting in 2022.

Christopher Burton grew up in St. John's, Newfoundland, taking his BA in history at Memorial University, followed by an MA from Carleton University. He worked in the Soviet Union during the glasnost’ years, then studied with Sheila Fitzpatrick in the 1990s at the University of Chicago for his PhD. He is an associate professor of history at the University of Lethbridge and has been teaching Russian history, and modern European history more generally, for the last twenty years.  His research interests include the medical profession under Stalin, social policy in the Soviet Union, and the Soviet science of environmental health, including their understanding of air and water pollution.

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