Reflections on the War in Ukraine

From the Faith Angle Europe 2023 Forum in Côte d’Azur, France

Anne Applebaum,

Radek Sikorski,

This session will reflect on the state of Russia’s war in Ukraine, including its far-reaching military and economic impact across Europe and the West. Why did Putin invade, and how did he draw upon the corruption and views of Russian Orthodox Church to help make his case? Moreover, why have so many liberal democracies abandoned their historic ideals in favor of strongman cults, nationalist movements, and one-party states? In an age of rabbit holes and identity traps, radically simple beliefs can and do appeal to opportunists—even if minority communities, including religious communities, can be ostracized to the benefit of “the loyal.” But how will the EU’s and America’s policy and military response to Ukraine play out? How will human rights observers’, and journalists’, assessment of mass graves and other horrific atrocities impact the outcome? This closing session will consider the ideals of liberal democracy against the reality of war in Ukraine and the “pull” of authoritarianism, nationalism, and order of a certain kind—in the UK, the US, Spain, Poland, Hungary, and beyond.


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