Our guest this week on the podcast is Andreas Umland, a political scientist who is an expert in modern Russian and Ukrainian history and politics. He lives in Kiev and teaches at the National University of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Andreas is a senior expert at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future in Kyiv and a research fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Relations in Stockholm. He has written extensively on the development of post-Soviet countries, including on the extreme right and on nationalism.
The topics we discuss in the podcast include: the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, the situation on the borders, the threat of a Russian invasion, how decisions are made in Russia, reactions in Ukraine and the West, and what is to come.
The questions we put to Andreas Umland include:
- What is the current situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border and on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border?
- What is the motivation for the concentration of Russian troops?
- What is the purpose of the “negotiations”?
- What is the decision-making process inside Russia?
- Are there divisions within the Russian elite?
- What is Russian public opinion and does it play a role?
- What reactions are there in Ukraine to what is happening?
- How is the West reacting?
- What do you think will happen next in the short term? And what will happen in the long term?
You can listen to the podcast in full here:
For your convenience we have also divided the podcast into five parts that you can listen to separately.
Part One: The situation on the borders; current developments:
Part Two: Negotiations and the aims of both sides; decision-making in Russia; the role of elites; economic factors:
Part Three: Public opinion in Russia; public opinion in Ukraine; Ukrainian perceptions of other countries; the role of China:
Part Four: Prognosis for the future – and for the coming week(s):
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: Simon Cosgrove and I spent an hour in an interesting conversation with Andreas Umland, a political scientist who studies modern Russian and Ukrainian history and lives in Kyiv and who has a very interesting perspective on today’s situation. “I think February will be a tense month,” Andreas says. “The Olympics are coming to an end, and these exercises that Russia is holding in Belarus – by the end of February it will be clear whether there will be a military escalation or not. I hope not.” Speaking about the future, Andreas says: “Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy will remain the same in the future regardless of whether Zelensky is re-elected or not, whether Poroshenko returns, or maybe Klitschko becomes president. Personalities may change, but the direction of policy will not change. In Russia it is rather the opposite. If personalities change there, the whole regime could change. It may, by the way, change for the worse. Anything is possible there, from fascism to liberalism.”
Andreas Umland lives in Kiev and teaches at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Andreas has written extensively on the development of post-Soviet countries, including articles on the extreme right and nationalism.