The Historical Origins and Mythologies of Putin’s War against Ukraine


TUE 31 OCTOBER, 20:00

Auditorium, Minderbroedersberg 4-6


Prof. Orlando Figes
Emeritus Professor of history, Birkbeck, University of London

Putin’s war against Ukraine is based on a view of history that has deep roots in the Russian consciousness. His 2021 essay on the 'Historical Unity of the Russians and Ukrainians’ - in effect his declaration of the war - is consistent with nineteenth-century Russian imperial historiography, which continues to inform the Russian view of Ukraine and the West.

In this lecture, the famous British historian and award-winning writer Orlando Figes, known for his works on Russian history, will unpack the ideas of this historiography and explain their influence in the context of Russia’s own experience since 1991.

Orlando Figes is the author of ten books on Russian and European history which have been translated into over thirty languages. In September 2022 he published The Story of Russia, a general history of Russia from the earliest times to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Other books include: The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia; Just Send Me Word; Crimea: The Last Crusade; The Europeans: Three Lives and the Making of a Cosmopolitan Culture.

The Tans Lecture is organised every year to honour Dr. J. Tans (1912-1993), the founding father of Maastricht University.

31 October 2023

20:00 - 21:30