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Russian Native / LSUS Professor Weighs In On Putin's Flawed Reason To Invade Ukraine

PBS Newshour

REASONS FOR INVASION? - The massive Russian Military Invasion of Ukraine is in its ninth day now and it shows no signs of slowing. You’ve probably heard news programs with guests ranging from military analysts to experts on Russia, Ukraine and so on. Well, Louisiana State University in Shreveport has its own expert when it comes to Russian and Ukrainian history and politics. Professor of History and Social Sciences - Alexander Mikabridze is a native of Georgia which was once part of the former Soviet Union. Prior to coming to Shreveport, he earned a degree in international law and worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, where he handled human rights issues and relations with the Council of Europe. One of the narratives that Russian President Vladimir Putin is pushing as a reason for invading Ukraine is that Russian citizens and others living in Ukraine were being persecuted by Ukrainian Neo-Nazi groups. I spoke to Professor Mikabridze earlier this week and he offered this analysis.

"Russia's economy is much larger than most of its neighbors," Mikabridze said. "Therefore there's much great opportunity in Russia."

Greater economic opportunities mean more jobs, and so Ukrainian citizens seeking those job opportunities in Russia had to get Russian passports so they could come and go between Ukraine and Russian territories.

1-Dr. Alexander Mikaberidze.jpg
Alexander Mikabridze is a professor of history and social sciences at Louisiana State University in Shreveport and is a native of the Republic of Georgia.

"Many of the residents in the eastern enclaves find it more useful to take Russian passports. That allows Russia to claim that they are the citizens of the Russian Federation and hence mistreated by Ukrainian authorities," Mikabridze said. "So in 2014, we see the intervention by the Russian government and the creation of these self-proclaimed republics. The recent conflict is an escalation of the war therefore that has been waging for 8 years."

Professor Mikabridze says Putin’s claim of people being mistreated in Ukraine is a false narrative similar to what Putin has used in the past as reasons for invading other neighboring countries such as Moldova and his native Georgia.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.