Ukraine is the Embodiment of Hope of Human Civilization – Timothy Snyder

10 September 2023

Ukraine embodies the hope of human civilization in this war against Russian aggression, while Russia is the reflection of hopelessness, said Timothy Snyder, Yale University professor and specialist in the history of Eastern Europe at the Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting “The Future is Being Decided in Ukraine”, organized by YES in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

“If we look at the motivation, language, and rhetoric of Russian propagandists and their soldiers, we will see a kind of competition in hopelessness. That is, we are done, and the only thing that matters is force,” noted the historian.

According to Snyder, Russia is not waging this war from the standpoint of any ideology, but from a nihilistic standpoint. 

“This is not a war in which the aggressor has some vision, some outline of the future. Rather, on the contrary, for them everything is black, formless, and the only thing that matters is force. Russians cannot tolerate that there may be any alternative to their vision, that people may have a different idea of what is better,” added the Yale University professor.

Russia is trying to undermine the foundations of civilization. It is provoking a global food crisis by trying to sow chaos. “The destruction of the Kakhovska Dam, flooding of fertile territories, attacks on ports – everything is directed against the agrarian base and food security with the aim of rebuilding the world order,” said Snyder.

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Robert Gates
Robert Gates
U.S. Secretary of Defense (2006-2011), 14th YES Annual Meeting, 2017
«Putin is trying to do everything he can to delegitimize and undermine Western institutions. The weaker the West is, the stronger Russia is.»