Leading Ukrainian Historian presents captivating talk on Dnipropetrovsk at Cambridge University

One of Ukraine’s most celebrated historians, Andrii Portnov, presented a workshop at Cambridge University on February 24th entitled ‘Lieu de non-mémoire: A Ukrainian City and Its Russian, Jewish and Soviet Traces’.

The talk focused on the paradoxes of post-Soviet pluralism highlighting the City of Dnipropetrovsk (imperial Yekaterinoslav) as a laboratory in which to study the coexistence of, and conflicts between, different ethnic and religious groups in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Dr Portnov’s presentation was delivered at the Tenth Annual Stasiuk Lecture in Contemporary Ukrainian Studies. The event, held at Robinson College, Cambridge, was organised by Cambridge Ukrainian Studies and presented by its Head, Dr Rory Finnin.

‘This was an enchanting presentation by Dr Portnov about this truly unique city, a mosaic of different peoples and rich history over the centuries. Dnipropetrovsk is a city of visible contrasts:  one example, highlighted by Dr Portnov, is the Holodomor cross in the city, commemorating the millions of victims of Stalin’s genocide, standing next to the Hryhoriy Petrovsky monument, who together with Lazar Kaganovich, were the main executors of Stalin’s fatal policies in Ukraine. Sincere gratitude to Dr Portnov and Dr Finnin for organising an excellent event,’ commented Andy Hunder, Director of the Ukrainian Institute in London.

Descendants who were born or lived in Dnipropetrovsk include, inter alia, Leonid Brezhnev, Volodymyr Shcherbytsky, Leonid Kuchma and Yulia Tymoshenko.

Dr Andrii Portnov graduated from Dnipropetrovsk and Warsaw Universities. He is the author of, most recently, The Histories of Historians (Kyiv 2011) and Editor-in-Chief of the groundbreaking new Internet journal and network historians.in.ua.

Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, a programme of the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge, aims to promote and contribute to the study of Ukraine in the United Kingdom and beyond. It is committed to deepening public understanding of Ukraine and to advancing fresh, innovative approaches to research on the largest country within Europe, a critical crossroads between ‘East’ and ‘West’ with a rich historical, linguistic, and cultural inheritance. Cambridge Ukrainian Studies was made a permanent programme in 2010.

Initiated in 2003, the annual Stasiuk Lecture in Contemporary Ukrainian Studies explores the internal dynamics and international implications of events in today’s Ukraine and features the foremost experts in the fields of Ukrainian politics, history, and society.