Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University for a presentation by Mykola Riabchuk (President, Ukrainian PEN Centre).
Within the past few years, the Ukrainian authorities have been heavily critisized by international watchdogs and independent observers for some legal steps and practical policies that allegedly curtail freedom of speech and access to information in the country. The government and its supporters argue, however, that the policies are justified by the actual situation of war waged by the neigboring Russia against Ukraine and have nothing to do with a censorship in a conventional sense but, rather, represents a defensive measure against the enemy’s propaganda, subversion, and provocative disinformation. The debate represents a partiular case of a broader controversy between the demand for unrestrained freedom of speech indispensable for modern democracy and the need of those very democracies to protect themselves from the rogue individials, groups, and regimes that increasingly learned how to weaponize media and (dis)information for their malevolent goals.
Mykola Riabchuk is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies at the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He is also the president of Ukrainian PEN-center and a co-founder and member of the editorial board of the Krytyka monthly. Born in 1953 in the city of Lutsk, he spent his adolescent years in Lviv, where he graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in 1977, and eventually from the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow in 1988. He penned a few books and many articles on civil society, state/nation building, nationalism, national identity, and postcommunist transition in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine. He holds a number of national awards and international fellowships, and heads the jury of the Yuri Sheveliov national award for the best essays, endowed by the Ukrainian PEN-center.
This event is free and open to the public.