Prof. Van Voren Discussed Maidan Events

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On 15 May, Robert van Voren, Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Vytautas Magnus University, held a lecture entitled Maidan – a Turning Point in History at the lobby of VMU Great Hall (28 S. Daukanto Str., Kaunas).

Professor Van Voren has traveled frequently to Kyiv and was at Maidan during many of the tumultuous events, including the bloodbath on 18-20 February. He is now actively engaged in helping the country to deal with the subsequent trauma, and in setting up an oral history program at Maidan.

Maidan, the symbol and heartbeat of the popular revolution of late 2013-early 2014, is probably one of the most momentous events in Ukrainian history. What started as a student demonstration in favour of the signing of an agreement with the European Union, developed into a national uprising against a corrupt government. In the end it resulted in the death of at least a hundred of demonstrators and “Maidanovtsy”, the disappearance of more than 140 others, an undeclared war with Russia, the occupation of the Crimea and a possible Russian invasion into the South-East of the country. In Russia it resulted in a nationalistic national hysteria and a clamp-down on “national-traitors”.

Maidan and its aftermath are a unique chance for Ukraine to shed the Soviet past, develop and maintain a national unity and choose once and for all the path to a democratic future. Maidan was the rebirth of a nation that lacked a clear identity.

Whatever the future holds, what happened in Ukraine is probably one of the greatest political events in the region in decades. It will in all probability change the political constellation in Europe forever. It is bound to be an event that for many generations will be marked as a turning point.

Video by Lukas Motiejūnas (l.motiejunas@vkt.vdu.lt), photo report by Jonas Petronis (j.petronis@vkt.vdu.lt).

About Prof. Robert van Voren

Robert van Voren is Chief Executive of the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) and Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Ilia State University in Tbilisi (Georgia) and at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania). He is a Sovietologist by education who graduated from Amsterdam University (modern and theoretical history and Russian language) in 1986 and defended his doctoral dissertation at VMU (Lithuania) in October 2010.

Prof. Van Voren has published over a dozen books. He has written extensively on Soviet issues, the Second World War, and mental health and human rights. Notable publications include On Dissidents and Madness (2009), Cold War in Psychiatry (2010), and Undigested Past – the Holocaust in Lithuania (2011), which was presented at VMU: a 200-page study comparing the exterminations of Lithuanian and Dutch Jews.

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