“The Tragedy of Ukraine”
As the war in Ukraine enters its fifth year, the country remains mired in debt, corruption, and strife. The country seems to be caught up, again, in a vicious cycle that has been repeating itself for decades, if not centuries. Classical Greek tragedy allows us to take a deeper look the reasons behind Ukraine’s persistent failure to achieve social stability and to suggest remedies. The tragic cycle can be broken through compromise in which individual, social and divine aspirations for justice are eventually reconciled. As long as Ukrainian leaders persist in seeking justice without compromise, the nation’s self-destructive cycle is likely to persist.
A long-time resident of Odessa, Ukraine, and Kingston, RI, Nicolai Petro currently holds the Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. His books includeUkraine in Crisis (Routledge, 2017), Crafting Democracy (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy (Harvard, 1995), andRussian Foreign Policy (Longman, 1997).
A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is the recipient of Fulbright awards to Russia and to Ukraine, as well as fellowships from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington, and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. As a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State from 1989 to 1990. In addition to his scholarly publications, he has written for Asia Times, American Interest, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), the New York Times, and the Wilson Quarterly. His writings have appeared frequently on the websites of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, The National Interest, and The Nation.