David R. Marples' new book Understanding Ukraine and Belarus: A Memoir
(E-International Relations, 2020) describes the author's academic journey from an undergraduate in London to his current research on Ukraine and Belarus as a History professor in Alberta, Canada. It highlights the dramatic changes of the late Soviet and post-Soviet periods, his travel stories, experiences, and the Stalinist legacy in both countries. It includes extended focus on his visits to Chernobyl and the contaminated zone in the late 1980s and 1990s, as well as a summer working with indigenous groups in eastern Siberia. Visiting Belarus more than 25 times since the 1990s, he was banned for seven years before the visa rules were relaxed in 2017. In the case of Ukraine, it chronicles a transition from a total outsider to one of the best-known scholars in Ukrainian studies, commenting on aspects of the coalescence of scholarship and politics, and the increasing role of social media and the Diaspora in the analysis of crucial events such as the Euromaidan uprising and its aftermath in Kyiv.
David R. Marples is a Distinguished University Professor of Russian and East European History, University of Alberta.
Steven Seegel is Professor of History at the University of Northern Colorado.