The Seagull Project’ turns heads in Tashkent

By Mark Jenkins

On April 23, 2014 a Seat­tle based troupe of self-producing actors their direc­tor and a pro­duc­tion man­ager flew to Tashkent, Uzbek­istan to present their pro­duc­tion of Chekhov’s The Seag­ull at the renowned Ilkhom The­atre of Mark Weil. The per­for­mances we gave con­sti­tuted the cen­ter­piece of a two week long “Fes­ti­val of Amer­i­can Cul­ture: East/West” hosted by Ilkhom and was sig­nif­i­cantly sup­ported by the US Embassy in 3As a mem­ber of the act­ing com­pany of The Seag­ull Project and also a pro­fes­sor in the UW School of Drama hav­ing, pre­vi­ously vis­ited and pre­sented mas­ter classes at Ilkhom in 2005, 07 and 09, I an eager to share a bit of our expe­ri­ence with the School of Drama and REECAS family.

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More to do’: Grigas speaks on European energy security

By Indra Ekmanis

This arti­cle is a sum­mary of Agnia Gri­gas’ lec­tures at UW on May 6 and 7. To learn more about Gri­gas’ research on energy secu­rity, read her 2013 book, The Pol­i­tics of Energy and Mem­ory between the Baltic States and Rus­sia.

Agnia Gri­gas is a risk ana­lyst and energy secu­rity expert with a PhD Inter­na­tional Rela­tions from the Uni­ver­sity of Oxford.

[Energy] mat­ters for econ­o­mists, it mat­ters from a secu­rity per­spec­tive, it mat­ters for well-being,” said Agnia Gri­gas in one of three Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton lec­tures May 6 and 7. Gri­gas, who served as an adviser to the Lithuan­ian gov­ern­ment, dis­cussed the impact of Russ­ian energy monop­o­lies in Europe dur­ing her visit to Seattle.

Gri­gas, an energy secu­rity spe­cial­ists, focused on the insti­tu­tional and infra­struc­tural weak­nesses of Euro­pean states when it comes to estab­lish­ing sus­tain­able and reli­able energy sources. The pro­por­tion of energy a coun­try imports con­sti­tutes its energy depen­dence; in some cases, high energy depen­dence can lead to sig­nif­i­cant secu­rity con­cerns. “[Energy depen­dence] only threat­ens the secu­rity of a coun­try when there are three fac­tors at play,” Gri­gas said. That is, when energy sources are not diver­si­fied, when coun­tries are deal­ing with weak insti­tu­tions and economies, and when the export­ing state is seen as a threat.

While the Baltic States import vary­ing lev­els of their energy, all are 100 per­cent depen­dent on gas from Rus­sia, where the gas indus­try leader, Gazprom, is largely tied up with Krem­lin con­nec­tions. Accord­ing to Gri­gas, Esto­nia, Latvia and Lithua­nia meet the three risk fac­tors of energy depen­dence and are energy inse­cure. The Baltic States depend solely on Soviet-era pipelines for their gas. Though now national gas com­pa­nies own the pipelines, Russ­ian com­pany Gazprom still owns sig­nif­i­cant shares in these domes­tic indus­tries. Con­tinue read­ing

Europe at war’: Nato specialist disscusses military preparedness in the Baltic Sea Region

By Indra Ekmanis

This arti­cle is a sum­mary of Glen Grant’s lec­tures on Euro­pean secu­rity dur­ing his April visit to UW. For a sum­mary of his talk on Ukraine and Crimea, click here

Europe is at war.” This is the seri­ous­ness with which NATO mil­i­tary spe­cial­ist Glen Grant described the sit­u­a­tion on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent in mul­ti­ple lec­tures at UW this week. As NATO’s “only guar­an­tor of sta­bil­ity and secu­rity,” whether or not the U.S. takes heed of the sever­ity of the sit­u­a­tion will be of extreme con­se­quence for future of Europe, he said.

US troops wel­comed at Lat­vian base in Ādaži. |

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Understanding Ukraine: A Workshop for Educators

Ukraine Flag

The World Affairs Coun­cil Global Class­room; Elli­son Cen­ter for Russ­ian, East Euro­pean, & Cen­tral Asian Stud­ies; and the Cen­ter for Global Stud­ies hosted a spe­cial event on April 22, 2014 for edu­ca­tors inter­ested in under­stand­ing the cur­rent cri­sis in Ukraine and adapt­ing exist­ing mate­r­ial in the media for use in the classroom.

Our keynote speaker, Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton Pro­fes­sor of His­tory and Inter­na­tional Stud­ies Glen­nys Young gave an over of the his­tory of Ukraine with empha­sis on their con­nec­tion to today’s cri­sis in Ukraine. She dis­cussed not only impor­tant devel­op­ments in Ukraine’s past, but also how Ukraine is eco­nom­i­cally and strate­gi­cally impor­tant to Rus­sia today. Fol­low­ing Pro­fes­sor Young’s pre­sen­ta­tion, Christi Anne Hofland helped us “chart the cri­sis” that began with the emer­gence of protests against the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment in Novem­ber 2013. Hofland, who is cur­rently a grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Washington’s Elli­son Cen­ter for Russ­ian, East Euro­pean, and Cen­tral Asian Stud­ies, worked as an instruc­tor at the Ukrain­ian Catholic Uni­ver­sity and, prior to that, received a year-long Ful­bright Fel­low­ship to work in Odessa, Ukraine.

The 57-page resource packet includes recent arti­cles & analy­ses from lead­ing for­eign pol­icy experts on var­i­ous aspects of the Ukraine cri­sis includ­ing under­stand­ing the his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tions between Ukraine and Rus­sia, ana­lyz­ing the com­mit­ments of var­i­ous inter­ested “actors” in the cri­sis, and inter­pret­ing how media, both domes­tic and abroad, por­trays the unfold­ing events.

Down­load the resource packet here.
Com­piled by: Steven Tran, Jamie Mar­tin, Christi Anne Hofland, Tese Wintz Neighbor

NATO specialist discusses military state of Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe

By Indra Ekmanis

This piece is a sum­mary of Glen Grant’s April 22 talk. Grant will be speak­ing April 23, 7–9 p.m. in Sav­ery Hall, 264, on the mil­i­tary secu­rity of the Baltic States and Poland. This event is free and open to the public.

[Crimea] is a mess now,” said Ret. Lt. Col. Glen Grant in a talk Tues­day on the cur­rent mil­i­tary devel­op­ments in Ukraine. Grant, retired from the British Armed Forces, is a vis­it­ing lec­turer at Riga Busi­ness School, and has a var­ied back­ground as a diplo­mat, defense attaché, NATO branch chief and sports trainer. Grant said his exten­sive and diverse cur­ricu­lum vitae has given him a unique per­spec­tive on the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, which he dis­cussed at length in his hour-long lecture.

Accord­ing to Grant, the annex­a­tion of Crimea has firmly placed the ter­ri­tory in Russia’s hands – only if Rus­sia itself col­lapses does Grant envi­sion the penin­sula return­ing to Ukraine. On the ground, the sit­u­a­tion in Crimea is wors­en­ing; shops are empty, busi­nesses are fold­ing and imports from Rus­sia are too expen­sive for the local population.

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VIDEO | Ukraine and Russia: Regional and Global Implications

On Thurs­day, April 10, 2014, the Elli­son Cen­ter pro­duced a panel dis­cus­sion on Ukraine and Rus­sia in light of events in Crimea and East­ern Ukraine.

In case you missed the event, or if you want to refer back to some of the points, the indi­vid­ual pan­elists’ dis­cus­sions are below.


Reshaping the sea: Ukraine’s dismal future in Black Sea Basin

By Wlodz­imierz Kaczynski

Fig. 1. Up-to-date configuration of the border lines between EEZ of adjacent coastal states to the Black Sea. |

Fig. 1. Up-to-date con­fig­u­ra­tion of the bor­der lines between EEZ of adja­cent coastal states to the Black Sea. |

Fig. 2. Likely shape of the 200-mile EEZ after annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. |

Fig. 2. Likely shape of the 200-mile EEZ after annex­a­tion of Crimea by the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion. |

The con­se­quences of Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea extend beyond con­cerns of land sov­er­eignty and far into the waters of the Black Sea basin. Rus­sia has started to re-shape its ter­ri­to­r­ial sea and the 200-mile Exclu­sive Eco­nomic Zone (EEZ) in the north­ern Black Sea, putting Ukraine in an even more vul­ner­a­ble state eco­nom­i­cally, mil­i­tar­ily and politically.

Accord­ing to the United Nations Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), “the coastal state has the exclu­sive right to explore, exploit, pro­tect and man­age the liv­ing and non-living resources, the sea bot­tom and the water col­umn as well as to build and use arti­fi­cial islands, instal­la­tions and other con­struc­tions”[1]. These pro­vi­sions will cer­tainly be used by Rus­sia to estab­lish new rules of the game in the Black Sea uses once coastal waters and con­ti­nen­tal shelf are par­ti­tioned around the Crimea Peninsula.

If Crimea had a straight coastal line, the deter­mi­na­tion of the sea bor­der lines would not be com­pli­cated. Because it is a penin­sula with a very com­plex coastal shape and  is adja­cent to a closed sea area (the Azov Sea), the prob­lem is more com­plex. Reshap­ing the national ter­ri­to­r­ial sea juris­dic­tion could have dra­matic out­comes[2]. Con­tinue read­ing

Ethnicity does not determine political allegiance: Breaking through the stereotypes about Ukraine

By Laada Bilaniuk

Signs in Lviv, reading: "Ambivalence is a crime" and "Let's build a new Ukraine together." Photo | Jennifer Carroll

Signs in Lviv, read­ing: “Ambiva­lence is a crime” and “Let’s build a new Ukraine together.” Photo | Jen­nifer Carroll

Rus­sians don’t sur­ren­der.” These were the words of Ukrain­ian Navy Cap­tain Maxim Emelia­nenko, in response to the demands for sur­ren­der made by Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Alexan­der Vitko. Vitko then asked Emelia­nenko if he is Russ­ian. Emelia­nenko con­firmed that he is, even though his last name sounds typ­i­cally Ukrain­ian. He added that many of his crewmem­bers are also eth­nic Rus­sians. Emelia­nenko explained that he has sworn alle­giance to the peo­ple of Ukraine, and he has no inten­tion of break­ing his oath. Report­edly the Russ­ian vice-admiral told his own crew to take this as an exam­ple and “learn — that is how one should serve with honor and con­science.” Con­tinue read­ing

Video | Global Gypsy: Balkan Romani music, representation & appropriation

Dr. Carol Sil­ver­man (pro­fes­sor of anthro­pol­ogy and folk­lore, Uni­ver­sity of Ore­gon) pre­sented the 2014 Elli­son Cen­ter Tread­gold Talk cov­er­ing the cul­ture and stereo­types of the largest eth­nic minor­ity pop­u­la­tion in Europe, the Roma. Watch a video sum­mary of her talk below.