Ronald Grigor Suny, William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History, wrote an opinion piece for The Conversation about the tensions in Ukraine, and Russian President Putin's possible objectives. Drawing on decades studying Russian, Suny suggests that Russia may not want war at all, but simply to "force a dialogue with the West over what the spheres of influence and interest in Eastern Europe should be." Read the full article here.
Professor Suny is an expert on on the non-Russian nationalities of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, particularly those of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia). The “national question” was an area of study that was woefully neglected for many decades until peoples of the periphery mobilized themselves in the Gorbachev years. His aim has been to consider the history of imperial Russia and the USSR without leaving out the non-Russian half of the population, to see how multi-nationality, processes of imperialism and nation-making shaped the state and society of that vast country. This in turn has led to work on the nature of empires and nations, studies in the historiography and methodology of studying social and cultural history, and a commitment to bridging the often-unbridgeable gap between the traditional concerns of historians and the methods and models of other social scientists.