Ukraine after one year of Putin's full-scale war
My report & photos from Kyiv (and come join me to discuss my new book Homelands)
History of the Present (20 days to 24 February 2023)
I'm sorry to have been out of touch for some time. I spent an intense, moving, inspiring week in and around Kyiv, then a few equally intense (if not so moving and inspiring) days of sessions and meetings at the Munich Security Conference, before returning to write it all up in Oxford. I would have written here while I was on the road, but my bloody MacBook Air, which has been temperamental ever since it fell on its head some months ago, chose precisely the worst moment to pack up. So I was doing everything on my phone.
This means, however, that I can take this newsletter up to the first anniversary of Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, and include mention of President Joe Biden's excellent surprise visit to Kyiv (on an overnight train which looked a good deal more luxurious than the bone-crunching old couchette wagons I went in and out on) and Vladimir Putin's chilling, black-is-white state of the nation address.
My report, and conclusions, on that week in and around Kyiv, are given in a reportage essay here - for a change, in my old haunt, the Spectator. On the basis of a wide range of conversations with people including the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces and the foreign minister, I argue that the next few months may well be a make-or-break moment for Ukraine – and therefore also for Europe. As promised there, I'm posting some photos below.
Join me to discuss Homelands: A Personal History of Europe
Next week sees the publication of my personal summa of 50 years of travelling in, studying, breathing, worrying about Europe – and, so far as possible, working for the cause of freedom in it. Homelands is an unusual genre: history illustrated by memoir and reportage. The book comes out first in Britain next week, and you can order a copy here. Dutch, German, American and editions in some 15 other European languages will follow. I'll try to keep track of them on my website where I'll also be posting some photos and source notes as soon as I can get to it.
You can join me discussing it live on Monday 27 February with the wonderful Lea Ypi in London at the How To Academy - tickets here-, online on Tuesday 28 February with Jon Henley of the Guardian - tickets here -, and with Oxford colleagues and students (in person or online) on Friday 10 March - Zoom registration here. Do come to one of those if you can. I will also arrange a dedicated online chat around publication time for paid subscribers of this Substack newsletter. (Too many people otherwise, I'm afraid.) More on that soon.
Photos from Kyiv, Bucha, Hostomel, Irpin and Borodyanka
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Thank you, Professor Garten-Ashe. It is always good to see the faces and places most affected by this illegal, absolutely inhumane, action by the soulless dictator Putin. It is necessary for all to see beyond stories of weaponry in order to remember that war destroys lives and cultures. (e.g. the US allowing the sacking of Iraq’s museum). Putin must be stopped.