Homelands: Ukraine, the Zelensky Effect and the Future of Europe w/ Olga Onuch

14 Dec 2023 – 19:00 GMT
Ukrainian Institute London
Ukrainian Religious Society of St Sophia
79 Holland Park
W11 3SW

Come to The Ukrainian Religious Society of St Sophia to hear from Timothy Garton Ash and Olga Onuch about the future of Europe and Ukraine’s role in it.

European security and the future of the continent is being decided on the battlefields of Ukraine. In the past, the country was dismissed by international observers as part of the ‘post-Soviet space’, a state in Russia’s sphere of influence. This changed in 2022, when the people of Ukraine demonstrated astonishing resistance to Russia’s full-scale invasion and stood to protect not only their own statehood but also the international democratic order.

In conversation with Anna Reid, Timothy Garton Ash and Olga Onuch will discuss Ukraine as a decisive player in the future of Europe and the influence of Russia’s war on the continent and beyond.

About the book

A compelling story of how ordinary Ukrainians saved their nation.

With Russian shells raining on Kyiv and tanks closing in, American forces prepared to evacuate Ukraine’s leader. Just three years earlier, his apparent main qualification had been playing a president on TV. But Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly retorted, ‘I need ammunition, not a ride.’ Ukrainian forces won the battle for Kyiv, ensuring their country’s independence even as a longer war began for the southeast.

You cannot understand the historic events of 2022 without understanding Zelensky. But the Zelensky effect is less about the man himself than about the civic nation he embodies: what makes Zelensky most extraordinary in war is his very ordinariness as a Ukrainian.

The Zelensky Effect explains this paradox, exploring Ukraine’s national history to show how its now-iconic president reflects the hopes and frustrations of the country’s first ‘independence generation’. Interweaving social and political background with compelling episodes from Zelensky’s life and career, this is the story of Ukraine told through the journey of one man who has come to symbolise his country.

About the speakers

Olga Onuch is Professor (Chair) in Comparative and Ukrainian Politics at the University of Manchester. She joined UoM in 2014, after holding research posts at the University of Toronto (2010-2011), the University of Oxford (2011-2014), and Harvard University (2013-2014). Onuch is the author of two books, as well as, numerous scholarly articles. Advancing findings, from her first monograph, Mapping Mass Mobilization (2014), Onuch has produced publications on the measurement and role of “civic identity,” “democratic dispositions” and “affective polarisation.” This research culminated in her second monograph, The Zelensky Effect (OUP/Hurst 2023/2022, co-authored with Henry Hale, reviewed/cited in New York Review of Books, TLS Foreign Affairs, Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times and more), analysing the rise of democratic duty and state attachment in Ukraine.

Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of eleven books of contemporary history and political writing.

Anna Reid is a journalist and historian. She worked as Kyiv correspondent for The Economist and the Daily Telegraph from 1993-5, and later covered the country for the Economist Intelligence Unit. From 2002-6 she ran the think tank Policy Exchange’s foreign affairs programme. She is the author of Borderland: a Journey through the History of Ukraine (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 4th edition 2022), The Shaman’s Coat: a Native History of Siberia (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2002), Leningrad: Tragedy of a City under Siege, 1941-44, and A Nasty Little War: the West’s Fight to Reverse the Russian Revolution (John Murray, 2023).

Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.