On Monday afternoon Professor Stephen Berk, a professor from Union College’s history department and a world-renowned expert on Jewish, Russian, and Eastern European history, gave a lecture to a crowd of nearly one hundred people. People packed into the Beuth Minerva House, sitting on the floor  and standing in the doorways to hear Professor Berk speak for half an hour and to ask him questions after the lecture. The attendance for this lecture, which had been scheduled only a few days earlier, was unprecedented.

Professor Berk’s topic: Ukraine. Over the course of the hour, Professor Berk went over hundreds of years of Russian-Ukrainian relations from the advent of the Russian state of Kievan Rus’ to the period of Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union’s Eastern Bloc under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Though the lecture was dense, it was easy to follow and fun to listen to, and easily more informative than anything I had read or seen about Ukraine before.

Luckily, I recorded the whole thing. I did the best I could with my laptop and some simple software, and it may be difficult to hear some of the questions people asked Professor Berk, but his voice and his points are clear.

Everything you need to know about Russia and Ukraine is right here, in this concise forty-five minute lecture. You can download it by following that link.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what is happening between Russia and Ukraine right now, and there have been misconceptions for years. To truly understand what is happening and to understand what will happen, I highly recommend you download this audio file. Listen to it while you work out, listen to it while you’re driving, listen to it while you’re reading the news. The important thing is to stay informed.

The lecture was put on by the Russian and Eastern European Culture Club, and especially pressing for some members of the audience (such as myself) planning on traveling to Russia for a term abroad in the Spring.