What lies at the heart of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Why does Putin talk of Ukraine as an ‘anti-Russia’? What is the significance of the Russkiy Mir project?

This discussion will shed light on the clash between the Kremlin’s vision of a monocultural, neo-imperialist society and the vibrant and democratic culture of modern Ukraine. Traumatic events in Ukraine’s history will be explored alongside the lessons gleaned from Russia’s two brutal invasions of Chechnya.

Anna Gunin, Daria Mattingly and Javaad Alipoor will look at the issue through the lens of key literary works by leading authors such as Svetlana Alexievich and Vasily Grossman.

About The Speakers

Javaad Alipoor

Javaad Alipoor is a writer, director and sometimes performer whose work comes out of discussions and workshops with communities that don’t usually engage with mainstream theatre. His recent theatre work has included My Brother’s CountryOrgreave: An English Civil War and The Rising of the Moon.  He is a published poet and his writing about politics and theology have appeared in Critical Muslim.

Anna Gunin Headshot

Anna Gunin

Anna Gunin is a translator from Russian of literary fiction and memoir, films and fairy tales, plays and poetry. Among her translations are Svetlana Alexievich’s Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future (co-translated) and Mikail Eldin’s The Sky Wept Fire: My Life as a Chechen Freedom Fighter, which won an English PEN award for writing in translation. She is currently translating a novel set in Tajikistan.

Daria Mattingly

Dr Daria Mattingly is a historian with specialist knowledge of the Holodomor. She helped Anne Applebaum with background research for her book Red Famine. A Ukrainian, Daria has an MA in Russian History from the University of Bristol and received her PhD at Cambridge University, where she is now at the Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics. Daria’s research interests include perpetrator studies, social and cultural history of the Soviet Union, with an emphasis on Ukraine. She is also on the selection committee of the Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine, University of Ottawa.