Re-Building: Russia’s War on Ukraine, Part VI
‘Re-Building’ is Part VI in a special series of online events, Russia’s War on Ukraine, co-hosted by:
- the Research Initiative for Post-Soviet Space (previously Melbourne Eurasianist Seminar Series) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne;
- the Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia;
- and the Ukrainian Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand.
This fifth seminar in the series features:
- Professor Torbjörn Becker (Stockholm School of Economics)
- Slava Balbek, architect, founder and CEO of balbek bureau (Kyiv)
- Professor Natalia Kudriavtseva (Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University)
- Emeritus Professor Marko Pavlyshyn (Monash University) (Chair)
- His Excellency Bruce Edwards, Ambassador of Australia to Ukraine
- Jurij Suchowerskij, Chair of Board of Directors, Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia
Abstracts and Speaker Bios
Torbjörn Becker, ‘A Blueprint for the Reconstruction of Ukraine’
The war in Ukraine will one day be over, and then Europe must be ready to help it build new and better for a future in the EU. With each day that the war goes on, the cost of reconstruction increases. Already today, the costs are enormous, and Ukraine will need extensive support that should be managed within a framework of an independent and EU-linked authority that coordinates donors and has a close dialogue with the Government of Ukraine on goals and processes. Ukraine’s entry into the EU will be an important factor in prioritising institutional reforms that strengthen the reconstruction of all sections of Ukrainian society. Dealing with donor concerns about corruption will be closely connected to this new institution and the application of Ukraine’s own digital procurement procedures. A successful Ukraine as a future EU member will strengthen not only Ukraine’s but also the economic prosperity and security of Europe.
Torbjörn Becker has been the Director of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden since 2006 and is a board member of several economics research institutes in Eastern Europe, including the Kyiv School of Economics. Prior to this, he worked for nine years at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where his work focused on international macro, economic crises and issues related to the international financial system. He holds a PhD from the Stockholm School of Economics and has been published in top academic journals and has contributed to several books and policy reports focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe.
Slava Balbek, ‘(Re)building in Wartime: How Local Architects Shape Ukraine’s Future while also Preserving its Past’
Building the future while the war still lasts requires unprecedented courage – and meticulous planning. Slava Balbek will share his vision of how Ukrainian architects balance between emergency, temporary, and long-term solutions to help their country deal with the devastating effects of the Russian aggression. Slava will also give a brief overview of the balbek bureau’s wartime projects, including a temporary housing system for displaced people and an online builder for village housing restoration.
Slava Balbek is a Ukrainian architect, founder and CEO of a Kyiv-based architecture and interior design studio balbek bureau. Slava’s portfolio includes the Kyiv Food Market located in a repurposed military arsenal, San Francisco 906 World Cultural Center in a century-old church, and scenography for the Chornobyl.Journey multimedia exhibition. balbek bureau, led by Slava, has won multiple international accolades such as Architecture MasterPrize and Hospitality Design Awards. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine, Slava’s team has been crafting social projects in response to war-inflicted challenges. The initiatives, including a dignified temporary housing solution for internally displaced persons and a monument protection system, have been united under the RE:Ukraine System title.
Natalia Kudriavtseva, ‘Rebuilding the Linguistic Landscape: A New Approach to Ukrainianization in Ukraine’
Since independence, the hegemonic ideologies for the Ukrainian language have centred around concerns for its purity and correctness seeking to derive its prestige from the value of language as an identity marker. The established pattern of socialisation into Ukrainian language literacy has been defined by error-correction routines and discourses of an imagined community of ‘the Ukrainian nation’, whereby bilingual practices are unacceptable and non-standard usage is stigmatised. In my research, I draw on a 12-month ethnographic study of the Free Ukrainian Language Courses (FULC) – a network of volunteer instructors who have been teaching Ukrainian to adult speakers of Russian since the Euromaidan. I focus on how, via their language socialisation patterns, the instructors challenge the hegemonic ideologies. I look at notions such as ridna mova (native language), correctness and bilingual practice. I find that the FULC instructors recognise their students’ first language (Russian) and teach Ukrainian as a second/foreign language to them. In their approach, the view of Ukrainian as an identity marker is still important, however, it is its communicative function that is emphasised. This helps them minimise concerns over purism and develop an inclusion strategy effective in extending Ukrainian to Russian speakers in Ukraine.
Natalia Kudriavtseva is Professor of Translation and Slavic Studies at Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University, Ukraine. Her research focuses on language policies, identities and Ukrainian language education. Her recent work explores how Ukrainian can be extended to speakers of Russian, and how common perceptions of the language, i.e., language ideologies, affect Russian speakers’ willingness to learn and use Ukrainian in Ukraine. Natalia has published in international journals and written for the US Kennan Institute’s Focus Ukraine blog. She held a Fulbright scholarship at Kennan in 2009. She has also held fellowships at the University of Cambridge (2013) and the Alfried Krupp Institute for Advanced Study, Greifswald (2022).
Recordings of previous sessions in the series can also be accessed online: