Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has been accompanied by atrocities against the civilian population, including reported mass rape, torture, and abductions of children, as well as the destruction of civil infrastructure like schools, hospitals, and residential homes. Efforts are under way by inter-state and non-state organizations, governments, and civil society to document the crimes and the material consequences and costs of the invasion.
The panel, including prominent Ukraine policy practitioners and leading academic experts on Ukraine and Russia, will discuss whether there is a legal case to be made that Russia is committing crimes of aggression and/or genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes; and what the prospects are for prosecuting the crimes in international tribunals. They will also ask what the perpetrators’ responsibility is for post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, whether through paying for damages or tackling legal issues (such as the possibility of using Russia’s frozen assets).
Meet our speakers and chair
Olga Ayvazovska is Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA NGO, an international expert in electoral matters and developing draft laws. Olga is co-founder of the International Center for Ukrainian Victory and Center for War Crimes Documentation (Warsaw). She was a director of national, nonpartisan observation missions in Ukraine with over 25,000 activists involved from 2010 to 2021 and participated in electoral observation in more than ten countries of Europe. She was included in the top 100 most influential women of Ukraine in 2014-2021 (according to political editions of Focus magazine and the Novoe Vremia).
Bill Browder (@Billbrowder) is Founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, and Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign. He campaigns for governments around the world to impose targeted visa bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers and highly corrupt officials. Bill was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, when he was denied entry to the country and declared “a threat to national security” for exposing corruption in Russian state-owned companies. Bill is author of best-sellers Red Notice and Freezing Order.
Tomila Lankina (@TomilaLankina) is Professor of International Relations in LSE’s Department of International Relations whose research focuses on comparative democracy and authoritarianism, mass protests and historical patterns of human capital and democratic reproduction in Russia and other states. Her latest book The Estate Origins of Democracy in Russia: From Imperial Bourgeoisie to Post-Communist Middle Class (Cambridge University Press 2022) is on the long-term patterns of reproduction of social structure in Russia from the Tzarist times to the present and on why these legacies matter for democracy, development and social inequalities.
Oleksandra Matviichuk is a human rights defender who works on issues in Ukraine and the OSCE region. At present she heads the human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties, and also coordinates the work of the initiative group Euromaidan SOS. The activities of the Center for Civil Liberties are aimed at protecting human rights and establishing democracy in Ukraine and the OSCE region. The organization is developing legislative changes, exercises public oversight over law enforcement agencies and judiciary, conducts educational activities for young people and implements international solidarity programs. After the beginning of new armed aggression in February 2022, Oleksandra Matviichuk together with other partners created the “Tribunal for Putin” initiative in order to document international crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in all regions of Ukraine which became the targets of attacks of the Russian Federation. In 2022 she was awarded with the Right Livelihood Award and recognized as one of the 25 most influential women in the world by the Financial Times. The same year Center for Civil Liberties received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Olga Onuch (@oonuch) is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester. She joined UoM in 2014, after holding posts at Toronto (2010-2011), Oxford (2011-2014) and Harvard (2014/2017) and is an Affiliate of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. Onuch is a leading expert in Ukrainian politics and is best known for her comparative study of formation and role of democratic duty and ethnic and civic identity as drivers of political behaviour (protest, activism, elections, and migration) and public opinion. She has published on these themes in The Journal of Democracy, Geopolitics, Post-Soviet Affairs, Nations and Nationalism, and Europe-Asia Studies among other scholarly outlets. Onuch is Lead Principal Investigator of the “MOBILSE” exploring migration and protest (ESRC) and the “Identity and Borders in Flux: Ukraine” (British Academy) projects, and she is co-PI of the Data For Ukraine and “Youth Engagement in Ukraine” (ESRC & British Council) projects. Onuch is also Chair of the Ukraine Hub UK Task Force. Her second book The Zelensky Effect, co-authored with Henry E. Hale, was recently published to rave reviews in the TLS, New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and The Diplomatic Courier (OUP 2023/Hurst 2022).
Steven Seegel (@steven_seegel) is Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Map Men: Transnational Lives and Deaths of Geographers in the Making of East Central Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2018), Ukraine under Western Eyes (Harvard University Press, 2013), and Mapping Europe's Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2012). Professor Seegel is a former director at Harvard University of the Ukrainian Research Institute's summer exchange program. He is the founder of The February 24th Archive, an ongoing community-driven digital project (with 1000s of threads, 8 GB of tweets, 15 million people in terms of audience reach) that focuses on building global solidarities during Russia's war against Ukraine.
Mariia Zolkina is the DINAM Research Fellow (2022-2023) in the Department of International Relations at LSE and Head of Regional Security and Conflict Studies at Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, a Kyiv-based think tank. Maria brings a decade of expertise in regional security in the light of Russian aggression since 2014, reintegration policies in occupied territories and wartime diplomacy along with sharp analysis of social and political implications of the war on the Ukrainian public opinion. Mariia has rich experience in designing and conducting public opinion polls regarding conflict-related issues, including in frontline areas. Author of numerous policy papers and publications that appeared in prominent Ukrainian and international mass media.
More about this event
This event is part of the LSE Festival: People and Change running from Monday 12 to Saturday 17 June 2023, with a series of events exploring how change affects people and how people effect change. Booking for all Festival events will open on Monday 15 May.
This event is sponsored by the Department of International Relations at LSE, and the PeaceRep's Ukraine programme, part of LSE IDEAS Conflict and Civicness Research Group. PeaceRep (Peace and Conflict Resolution Evidence Platform) is an international research project rethinking peace and transition processes in light of changing conflict dynamics led by the University of Edinburgh Law School.
Twitter hashtags for this event: #LSEFestival
Podcast and video
A podcast of this event is available to download from Russia's War Against Ukraine: war crimes and responsibility for post-war reconstruction.
Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.