School of Health and Human Sciences

Russia-Ukraine War (2022)

Information may have changed due to this on-going conflict.

Ali Askerov
Ali Askerov

When Russia invaded the country of Ukraine in February of this year, many were shocked by the Russian invasion in the United States and elsewhere. However, this invasion from Russia has been a long time coming, and those who have lived there and know people who live there are the best people to ask about exactly that.

In the Q&A below, Dr. Ali Askerov, an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at UNC Greensboro, shares his insight into this on-going conflict.

Dr. Askerov researches Russian studies, ethnic conflicts, human rights, terrorism, mediation and pace education, among other topics. While most of his academic pursuits have been in the areas above, he also lived in Ukraine in the late 1980’s and has personal connections and experiences to the country.

Could you give us a little background on your connections to Ukraine, both professionally and personally?

I have friends and family that live in Ukraine. I have cousins that live in Kyiv and Kharkiv. Some have fled to Poland or Germany, while others are trying to defend their country actively, and others are hiding in Ukraine.

What do you think people should know that they may be missing in everyday news coverage in the United States, Russia, and elsewhere?

The truth is, this is not a new conflict. This conflict has been anticipated since 1991 when the Soviet Union fell. Russia has acted as a post-Soviet gendarme and wanted to dominate Ukraine and other former Soviet countries for many years. Russia has created a conflict before in [the country of] Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan, among others. Russia’s threat to the Central Asian countries also creates serious problems for peace and security in Central Asia.

Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, and Russia received little to no consequences. Ukraine is a multinational country. Russians and Ukrainians have a similar language and cultures, but Russia emerged out of Ukraine originally. Ukraine began to build a national identity after 1991 when it won its independence from the Soviet Union.

How is this invasion similar or different to previous Russian invasions?

This conflict is more bloody than previous conflicts created by Russia. Russia’s previous conflicts with countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and others, were easier to dominate their foreign policies and dominate them militarily. For example, the Karabakh War that began in the late 1980s lasted for decades because Russia did not want the sides to conflict resolve their differences through negotiations.

With our current conflict in 2022, Russia is making itself more permanent in this region, which puts huge amounts of pressure on other countries in the East and West.

Written by: Victoria Cox, with contributions from Alexandra McQueen.

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