Statements from the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies on Russia's War Against Ukraine


24 February 2022                


As the democratic world is watching in disbelief at the Russian army’s full-scale military assault on sovereign Ukraine, the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta stands united with Ukraine and Ukrainians in these critical times.
The world is currently in the midst of the worst and greatest security crisis in Europe since World War Two. On 24 February 2022, 5:00 a.m. Kyiv time, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a massive and ferocious invasion of Ukraine. Fatalities and other casualties are rapidly mounting as a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented proportions unfolds. The advantages of science and technology are being applied to destroy democracy, annihilate lives, and impose the will of an aggressor.
The military aggression against Ukraine is simultaneously an assault on democracy and the values that Ukraine embraced during its development as a sovereign state since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The authoritarian regime that Vladimir Putin has built in the Russian Federation has global ambitions and is inspired by long discredited policies that drove empires to conquer peoples and expand their territories at huge human costs. The recent speech in which Mr. Putin denied Ukraine the very right to exist contradicts the modern democratic principles the world adopted after World War II. Indeed, the invasion of Ukraine should serve as a warning to the rest of the world that Ukraine may not be the end goal, and that there may be other sovereign nations that Mr. Putin may label as historical fiction and then proceed to invade.
The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta has been closely following developments in Ukraine and especially so since the beginning of the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territories in 2014. Established in 1976, CIUS has accumulated knowledge about Ukraine and possesses globally recognized expertise in all areas related to the study of Ukraine and its relations with other nations and cultures. Our scholars have commented on past tragedies and acts of aggression in this part of the world, such as the Famine of 1932-33 (Holodomor), World War II, the Chornobyl disaster of 1986, the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and others. We have strong and long-established partnerships with colleagues in many countries, including Ukraine’s immediate neighbours to the west but also those to the north and east, in Belarus and Russia, the countries that have launched the attack on Ukraine.
CIUS strongly condemns the war that Mr. Putin has unleashed on the territory of Ukraine and expresses its deepest concern for the people of Ukraine, and for all our colleagues and partners in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, and around the world. As academics, we have the power to effectively contribute to the ongoing struggle for democracy in the world. A series of CIUS events that will address the war in Ukraine, including its current and historical contexts, is being planned. Stay connected with CIUS, follow our social media, and join us in our efforts to bring peace to Ukraine, Europe, and the globe.


24 February 2022

in Support of Scholars in Ukraine

Since its founding in 1976, the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta has sought to further knowledge about Ukraine, the Ukrainian language, and Ukrainian Canadians through research and publishing in a field hitherto much neglected. In pursuit of this goal, the institute reached out to scholars throughout the world who wished to join in collaborative ventures to expand the world of learning. 

 With the fall of the Soviet Union, CIUS finally had the opportunity to work with scholars, research institutions, libraries, and archives in Ukraine and other independent states that emerged from the former Soviet Union. That collaboration over the last thirty years has immensely enriched the field and given CIUS the opportunity to assist in Ukraine joining the community of international scholarship. Through the generosity of many donors, CIUS enabled innovative research and freedom of enquiry that had been banned in the Soviet Union. The benefits of this interrelationship were immense for the institute, which could draw on the talents and inspiration of so many colleagues in Ukraine. Indeed, the opening of CIUS-associated institutions and projects in Ukraine made the institute a world leading focal point for research and publishing on Ukraine. The institute could take pride in the revival of the Ukrainian language and culture in Ukraine and at the same time it could initiate ever more ambitious programs.

 Most important for CIUS was the formation of links with literally hundreds of scholars and civic activists in Ukraine. At this present time when Ukraine is under attack from the Russian Federation and the very existence of independent Ukraine is endangered, we think of all the members of this wider CIUS family. We remain dedicated to the preservation of democracy and freedom of intellectual life in Ukraine. We have been saddened to see how our Belarusian and Russian colleagues have lost these fruits of the fall of the Soviet Union. Our collective at CIUS will do all in our powers to safeguard the tremendous achievements of Ukrainian academic and cultural life. Above all, we assure our dear colleagues and friends that we will assist them and Ukraine to maintain their freedom in every way possible. We take our obligation to support the universal values of academia and the rights of all citizens of Ukraine as sacred. We hope that they will also someday be shared with Russia and Belarus and all lands under dictatorial and authoritarian regimes. In this way, we will be fulfilling the founding mission of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies.


 2 March 2022

on Fake News and Disinformation about the War on Ukraine

The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta has been closely following developments in Ukraine. We are aware of the increase in disinformation being disseminated on the internet. Fake news items have increased dramatically since the escalation of the war against Ukraine. CIUS advises the general public to exercise extreme caution, and to rely solely on verified sources of information. Use information from authoritative news outlets that have been around for a long period of time. Avoid sharing articles or videos from platforms that have appeared only recently or which you have not encountered before, unless you are able to reliably cross-verify. 
Be vigilant on social media: remain mindful about whom you engage and what narratives you choose to amplify. If you see something that calls for violence or justifies it, report it immediately using available tools on the social platform you are using.