'Empire, Integration and Ukraine' provides alternative historical trajectory of European Union, reveals stakes of war in Ukraine

April 19, 2023

On Thursday, Apr. 6, Timothy Snyder, the Levin Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, provided an alternative historical trajectory of the European Union (EU) and revealed the stakes of the war in Ukraine for Europeans beyond Ukraine.

His lecture, "Empire, Integration and Ukraine," a Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society (EPS) event, made claim that the history of the EU is not so much much "post-war" as is it is "post-imperial." The EU project is not one founded by a logic of peace after the Second World War, but rather a logic of exhaustion after defeat in imperial wars generally, he argued. While within the EU a familiar story of peace through economics continues to dominate, the error of the historical narrative has now revealed itself in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Moscow and Kyiv, the stakes are clearer: from outside, it's understood that empire and integration are mutually exclusive alternatives. One will win, and the other will lose.

Snyder was introduced by Sophie Meunier, senior research scholar at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and director of EPS. A Q&A followed Snyder's lecture; the conversation was moderated by Iryna Vushko, assistant professor of history

"Empire, Integration and Ukraine" was co-sponsored by the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the EU Program at Princeton, the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, and the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice