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Crisis in Ukraine

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Today the Josef Korbel School kicked off the first event in a small series of discussions on the crisis in Ukraine with a panel moderated by Associate Professor Rachel Epstein, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Europe and the World. Today's event featured the Josef Korbel School's Dean Christopher Hill and Professor Jonathan Adelman as well as Associate Professor Christoph Stefes (Ph.D., 2002) from the University of Colorado Denver.

Hill, who was U.S. ambassador to Poland from 2000 to 2004, indicated that he sees this situation as a Russian crisis and described it as a "shocking effort by the Russians to destabilize Eastern Ukraine." He further explained that the Russia of today "is different than the Russia of 25 years ago." Here he speculated that post-Soviet new world order has ended and that Russia is no longer interested in aligning itself with the West.

Stefas, an expert in post-Soviet studies, also seemed to suggest that the situation in Ukraine is a Russian crisis. According to Stefas, since 2008 Russia has developed an increasingly strong nationalist streak. He also noted, "What Russia is doing is exploiting the ethnic tensions in neighbor states."

Adelman added that the situation in Ukraine is Putin's attempt to regain Russia's footing as a super power. To illustrate this, he offered the Russian perspective on global affairs. According to Adelman, because of the Obama administration's handling of Libya, Egypt and Syria, Moscow sees President Obama as an enormous gift in their efforts to regain super power status, and view U.S. promises to other nations as "absolutely meaningless."

Following the panel discussion the audience of nearly 50 students had the opportunity to ask questions. The next event in this small series will be on April 29, 2014 from noon to 1:30 p.m. and will feature Karina Korostelina.