The Russian invasion of Ukraine : the February 2022 Slavonic item of the month

There had been other plans for this month’s blog post, but Putin’s invasion of Ukraine yesterday and its unfolding violence and tragedy are all any of us can think about now.

In this blog, we normally point readers to books but of course in the current situation, books will follow and internet resources are what we need for information now.  This list put together by a New Mexico State University academic of freely available news sources in English from Ukraine, Russia, and more is a good starting place.  Please click on the tweet below to see the list.

Here is the Cambridge Ukrainian Studies twitter account too:

The events of these last two days have been devastating and almost unbelievable for those of us fortunate to be far away from the violence, but many Ukrainians and commentators have taken pains to point that Putin’s incursions into Ukraine started nearly 8 years ago, with war in the east and the taking of Crimea.  The hybrid war in eastern Ukraine had in its direct form already taken many thousands of lives, including that of the brother of Dr Olesya Khromeychuk, who was one of two language specialists who taught me Ukrainian here when I was getting my feet under the table.  Her book, A loss : the story of a dead soldier told by his sister, has recently been bought by the UL.

As previous blog posts have detailed, the UL has bought academic and source material from Ukraine and from Russia (as well as from further afield) about these tragic times, and we will continue to do so as far as we can in the light of the overwhelming new invasion.

We will also continue to hope and work for peace as private individuals (through contacting MPs and supporting charities) and hope for a kind and genuine welcome in the UK and elsewhere for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.  The sanctions being correctly levied against Putin and his Russian elite will have an awful impact on ordinary Russians too, many of whom have already been brave enough to risk arrest and imprisonment by peacefully protesting the war, and we think of them too.  We have many books about Putin, some academic but some ‘popular’ publications too – about him and by him (eg this and this) – to have examples of such material being published into the Russian book market.

As librarians, we are also looking at ways of helping our Ukrainian counterparts.  Since I first published this blog post, the UK Slavonic librarian network COSEELIS has published a statement of support for Ukraine and committed in it to seeking and listing initiatives to provide professional aid to Ukrainian libraries and archives.

Mel Bach