Jacksonville professors discuss motives, economics of Ukraine crisis – The Florida Times-Union

by | Apr 13, 2022 | Financial

As experts across the world ponder how to end the Russian war in Ukraine, Oksana Spears’ friends and family in Kviv focus on a more immediate need.Staying alive.The Ukraine native, interim library and learning commons manager at Florida State College in Jacksonville, took part in a recent FSCJ virtual panel discussion on the conflict. The panel also included history, economics and political science professors who talked about the impetus and history behind the invasion and the global political and economic impacts.Spears provided a personal perspective.”At this point, the Ukrainian people are trying to survive. Hiding, running,” she said.Ukraine:Missionary, diplomat and pastor in Jacksonville advocate for the war-torn place they call home’We’re going to win’: Wounded Ukrainian soldier rehabbing in Jacksonville vows, ‘We’re going to win”Loosely organized chaos’: Founder of Jacksonville animal-rescue group joins Ukraine pet effortSpears stays in touch with her loved ones back home via social media. “Each has their own path … Their own story,” she said.Growing up in Ukraine, she said, she learned how to handle firearms and grenades, check for mines and use camouflage. Those were mandatory self-defense skills, as were learning to act quickly and not panic.They were “skills you never thought you’d have to use,” she said. But in Ukraine they have become critical to survival since the Russian invasion in February.She said the panel discussion was “interesting and powerful.” And at least one of her loved ones was listening in.”It means a lot to them because somebody cares for them,” she said.Putin acting in own self-interest, claims ideological missionEconomics professor Roman Cech grew up in what is now the Czech Republic. He was 6 when he looked out the window and saw tanks and heavy military presence in the streets. The Aug. 21, 1968, invasion led by the then Soviet Union began a 20-year occupation.”A few years before I was born the same thing happened to Hungary. Overrun by Soviets,” he said. “Continuous invasion perpetuated by the government … for a very long time.” The Russian people, Cech said, “are amazing.” But they have been “plagued by some of the worst government in history, quite horrific,” he said.Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said, is a “psychopathic brutal dictator.””Putin represents nobody and nothing,” he said. “He represents no ideology. He represents no tradition. The only thing he represents is himself.””Putin personally feels threatened by freedom,” he said.Still, history professor Andrew Holt said the invasion stems in part from religious nationalism that goes back 1,000 years. “Religion has a central role in the conflict,” he said, because religion is “often connected to nat …

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