Please join the Harriman Institute for a book talk by Mikhail Zygar on his work War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine. Moderated by Elise Giuliano.
As soon as the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, prominent independent Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar circulated a Facebook petition signed first by hundreds of his cultural and journalistic contacts and then by thousands of others. That act led to a new law in Russia criminalizing criticism of the war, and Zygar fled Russia. In his time as a journalist, Zygar has interviewed President Zelensky and had access to many of the major players—from politicians to oligarchs. As an expert on Putin’s moods and behavior, he has spent years studying the Kremlin’s plan regarding Ukraine, and here, in clear, chronological order he explains how we got here.
In 1996 to 2004, Ukraine became an independent post-Soviet country where everyone was connected to the former empire at all levels, financially, culturally, psychologically. However, the elite anticipated that the empire would be back and punish them. From 2004 to 2018, there were many states inside one state, each with its own rulers/oligarchs and its own interests—some of them directly connected with Russia. In 2018, a new generation of Ukrainians arrive, and having grown in an independent country, they do not consider themselves to be part of Russia—and that was the moment when the war began, as Putin could not tolerate losing Ukraine forever.