- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 18 February 2015
- Written by ASHLEY BOTWINICK | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Dr. Alexander Yarym-Agayev born in Donetsk, Ukraine and a professor of economics, a businessman, and political activist, shared his personal views with the help of his brother and translator Dr. Yuri Yarmin-Agayev on the unfolding issue of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, where approximately 125 students and faculty gathered on Monday Feb. 9 at 2:30 pm in Wilson Hall Auditorium.
Students and faculty that attended the talk got to hear a very personal upfront perspective of what it’s like to live in Ukraine while Russia began its invasion. Yarym-Agayev painted an image of his experiences by thoroughly explaining an ordinary day in Ukraine. “A year before the invasion it was quite comfortable, everyone was going on with their daily routine with no expectation of a dramatic change,” explained Yarym-Agayev.
He continued, “A year later, things began to change and that was when there were busses of Russians being sent over into Ukraine. These Russians began to take over Eastern Ukraine. They did so by invading administrative buildings and taking control of how things were being run.”
Despite the Russians invasion of eastern Ukraine’s administrative buildings and day-to-day life was not really being harmed. Yarym-Agayev explained that daily routines remained in place regardless of being under the control of Russians.
“Everything was normal and daily routine continued until April 2014. In April 2014, control began to strengthen when militants arrived in the heart of the city with heavy firearms,” said Yarym-Agayev. Yarym-Agayev deemed these militants terrorists because instead of just taking control of administrative buildings, they began to instill fear into all civilians of eastern Ukraine.
The presentation continued to address Ukraine’s inability to retaliate, as the European nation lacks sophisticated armed forces. “Eastern Ukraine’s military is basically non-existent nor strong enough to fight back,” said Yarym-Agayev.
Russia will continue its efforts in order to have full control of Ukraine. If Ukraine becomes a part of Russia, Ukraine will then be referred to as “New Russia,” according to the presenter. Subsequently a Ukrainian control will help Russian President Vladimir Putin gain more power which pundit say could create a present day Cold War.
A classic statement often attribted to Mark Twain, said, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.” The events unfolding may not be identical to past incidents but they are very close in relation and can affect not just Russia but the United States and other countries.
Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, said, “I was very pleased to see a great turn out of students and faculty, especially students because it is very important for students to know about current events nationally and internationally. Every student is our future and has a voice and the chance to make a change. Therefore every student should be proactive in advocating for justice and peace.”
Dane Stephenson and Amy Maginis, two students that attended the lecture, agree with Dr. Sarsar and the importance of being informed on current events.
“Being informed from a credible source is very important. Dr. Yarym-Agayev isn’t just credible but his experiences are personal and help you really feel what these people are going through. His experiences put you in their shoes and made me want to make a difference,” said Maginis, a senior communication major.
Stephenson, a second year graduate student and Avanced Placement history teacher at Raritan High School, said, “It is about how we can learn from past mistakes. We can identify how the Cold War affected us and use what worked and learn from what didn’t. It’s important to be informed so we can all have a joint effort in order to stop things from escalating.”
The talk was organized by the Office of Global Initiatives and co-sponsored by the Department of History and Anthropology, the Department of Political Science and Sociology, The Honors School, and the Institute for Global Understanding.
IMAGE TAKEN from gadocartoons.com