Dr. Michael Grossman Discusses Crisis in Ukraine

March 31, 2014

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Dr. Michael Grossman, chair and associate professor of political science and international studies, gave a lecture at the University of Mount Union, “The Crisis in Ukraine: WWIII?” on Thursday, March 20.

“Spoiler Alert,” began Grossman, “World War III is not coming.”

In light of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Grossman discussed the history of the region and the conflict, how it has reached this point and the future of the region. He explained that the reason for this conflict is the differences between Eastern and Western Ukraine. In a recent poll, the majority of eastern Ukraine established that they are in favor of increasing cooperation with Russia and the western portion is not. Grossman then discussed the reasons for this as they related to Ukraine’s history with Russia.

The eastern side, being much more cooperative, is constantly at conflict with the western side.

“When one side gets a little bit of control,” explained Grossman, “they try to impose their will on the other side. There has been very little effort from the Ukrainian government to try to create a common sense of Ukrainian identity.”

Grossman went on to discuss the issues related to the upset in Ukraine and Russia.

“The uprising, which began four months ago, was essentially an uprising of Western Ukraine,” he said. “What we saw was an overthrow of an elected president.”

Because European countries have much closer ties with Russia, their sanctions are, in the words of Grossman, “much more wishy-washy.” The United States is heavily invested in Russia’s oil fields, however the U.S. is able to be much more outright with the sanctions it imposes on the country because of the United States’ lower level of involvement.

To watch Grossman's entire talk, click here.

Grossman, who was born in the Soviet Union and previously lived in Israel, has always been interested in international relations. His recent sabbatical work examined the role of national identity in the foreign policy of post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine. Grossman earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in international relations from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Arts degree in political science from Northeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.

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