URI professor’s new book looks at internal divisions in Ukraine that contributed to current conflict with Russia, uri.edu

On a Fulbright research trip to Ukraine in 2014, Nicolai Petro had a front row seat to the eruption of the Maidan revolution, which led to the ouster of the country’s president who sought closer ties to Russia.

The revolution also exposed the deep domestic conflict over Ukraine’s national identity between those in the country’s east who honor their Russian heritage and welcome ties to their neighbor and those in the western region who reject everything Russian. Petro, a professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island, was in the southern port city of Odessa, where the division between these groups was not as sharp. But he could still see the divisive schism.

“It opened my eyes to how deep the divisions within the country were,” said Petro. “While 80% of Western Ukrainians supported the Maidan, 80% of Eastern Ukrainians opposed it.”

In his new book, “The Tragedy of Ukraine: What Classical Greek Tragedy Can Teach Us about Conflict Resolution,” Petro explores the more than 150-year history of this destabilizing struggle. He also argues that the current war between Ukraine and Russia has deep roots in that internal strife, which has led to armed clashes three other times in history. Läs artikel

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