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There are 5 comments on Ukraine Town Hall Draws Large, Engaged Audience

  1. I would like to hear some Ukrainian voices in the discussion; were any refugees or Ukrainian and Russian academics invited?

    Also, I am perplexed that one of the BU academics attempts to draw a relational comparison between Ukrainian mothers and their children fleeing Russian assault and the Belarusian regime orchestrated assault on Lithuanian and Polish borders last fall. For those who do not remember or did not pay attention, thousands of mostly prime-age males were lured and transported from far away countries by the Lukashenko regime into Belarus, and then led to the Polish borders, where they were encouraged and then forced by the local KGB to attempt to enter Poland violently.

    The American public and BU students deserve the facts, not a politically correct interpretation. I trust that they can make up their own minds and do not need to be spoon-fed media anecdotes. The refugees fleeing the war-torn neighboring country deserve shelter and a safe haven. That is where Poland delivered regardless of what alternative reality believing experts may see from the safety and security of the Boston University office window.

  2. There was no one on this panel who was an expert on Ukraine or had any personal ties to it. I found this to be a massive overlook, because the majority of the panel time was spent talking about everything but the actual reality of the war in Ukraine. How can you say that the enormity of the crisis was captured by how Putin was damaging Russia beyond repair, as opposed to how badly Ukrainian civilians and cities are being damaged every day? How can you say that Europe really cares, when there was no discussion about closing the skies over Ukraine? Save the lectures on long-term environmental impacts of war for when it is over — I doubt those who are fighting for their lives every day have this as the first thought on their mind. It was also glib, in my opinion, to say “don’t worry, nuclear war is not coming to your backyard anytime soon” when this is the case only because of the agreement between Russia and the US that denuclearized Ukraine in the 90s, and because people with all their family in the US have the privilege of being physically distanced from this war. Overall, I felt the panel was disorganized (each short “lecture” felt disconnected from the last, and did not cover the most significant topics pertaining to this war) and would have benefitted from question periods scattered throughout so that the audience did not have to be largely quiet, as you wrote here. Thank you.

  3. As an intellectual exercise, this was rather thin gruel. And as a “town hall,” this failed completely.

    A town hall implies some sort of back-and-forth about concrete actions that can be taken by an institution hosting the town hall. As somebody with ties to both Ukraine and Russia, I was beyond disappointed. I was offended.

    Nothing was said regarding supporting Ukrainian students currently studying at BU; nothing was said regarding supporting faculty or staff who may hail from or have relatives in Ukraine.

    Let’s try to be more thoughtful, BU.

  4. There are few points it seems that everyone is forgetting and we have to mention them when talking about Russia or Putin:

    At the end of 1990s Putin became the leader of Russia by staging his first KGB style military operation – bombing Moscow apartment buildings to gain popularity and re-start the war in Chechnya. Putin killed his own innocent civilians, hundreds of Russians in order to boost his popularity and gather more war support. The US, EU and NATO should have seen his true face then, but decided to ignore Putin’s Chechnya war crimes and welcomed Putin to red carpet meetings and Bush even declared his trust in Putin. This further emboldened Putin who had suppressed all democratic processes internally in Russia and has successfully become a dictator and tyrant.

    Putin’s first test run to settle his political goals with military adventures and military operations was in Georgia in 2008. In August 2008 Putin attacked Georgia’s Samachablo and Abkhazian regions and successfully annexed territories of a sovereign country. What did the US and EU do? Obama administration decided to do reset policy with Russia – greatest mistake of President Obama and Angela Merkel, who kept closest relations with Putin and did not want to upset Putin. Russia was not even hit with bare minimum of sanctions for conquering Georgia’s two regions.
    This further encouraged Putin to find more military solutions to his political issues and goals. As Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili said “Ukraine, Crimea will be the next!” the EU leaders laughed at him. In 2014 the new reality sets in – Putin did order and conquered Crimea and Eastern Ukrainian regions. At that time the Obama administration and Angela Merkel received first reality check from Putin, but they made the second greatest mistake with Putin: They set bare minimum of sanctions, did not punish Putin for violating the international laws and let him get away again!
    This has turned Putin into a strong dictator backed by US dollars and EU Euros for the Russian energy exports and every time barrel of oil went above $100, Putin fired rockets and ordered military adventures. In Syria Putin had committed number of atrocities against civilians and used chemical weapons. What consequences did he face? Absolutely nothing, verbal condemnation by the international community.

    And now we are in 2022. As the barrel of oil shot above $100 and Putin ordered massive invasion of Ukraine, suddenly the world woke up to new reality. However, the reality was established during the 1990s when Putin planned and executed the Moscow apartment bombings, the US/EU/NATO decided to ignore the warning signs and tried to welcome Putin into the international community.
    What is happening now in Ukraine should be the wake up call to the entire world. The post World War 2 international system & the world order has been shattered to pieces and international law had been completely ignored without any consequences by Putin again and again.
    What Ukraine needs is the world to come to terms with reality: Putin has to be defeated and the establishment/elite power structure of the Kremlin has to change. Before this happens, the Ukrainian military MUST receive all necessary lethal defensive and offensive weapons as well.
    The Ukrainians need to have anti-air capability to shoot down incoming missiles and airplanes from much higher altitudes, so the S-300/S-400 systems will be much welcome, however this is not enough. The Ukrainian army needs those MIG29s to enforce its own No Fly Zone, since the western powers are too scared to face Putin over even a limited No Fly Zone over humanitarian corridor. So lets give this power to the Ukrainians?

    What the Ukrainian side needs is Patriot missile systems as well and anti-artillery systems: radars, locators and smart artillery systems from the US.
    The above-mentioned weapons systems would have an immediate impact on the ground and will change the formula on the ground by giving Ukrainians much needed upper hand to control the air and protect the civilians from the #1 major killers: incoming artillery shells and missiles.

    Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukraine!

    David Dzidzikashvili

    BU Alum CAS, Class of 2001

    Ph.D. Candidate
    Business & Technology University – BTU
    Tbilisi, Georgia

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