This new feature of the Holodomor Resource Library is intended to give a brief overview of resources that 1) provide an easily digestable historical background of Ukraine; 2) provide links to resources specifically designed for instructional use in the classroom, 3) provide links to material that specifically address the actions of the ongoing war with a reference to the Holodomor and genocide, supplementing what is already available from the other sections of this website. We will continue to update this page as new resources and recommendations are reviewed and evaluated. This page is NOT intended to be comprehensive – but a selection of what we consider well researched resources designed for students and non-specialists.
War in Ukraine: Russia’s invasion 2022: Selected resources introduction
The unthinkable happened on February 24, 2022. A sovereign country in Europe was invaded, without cause or provocation: Russia invaded it’s neighbor to the West, Ukraine. Except – it was not quite a new aggression. It was a massive escalation of war from Russia’s first invasions of Ukrainian sovereign territory in 2014. It was not covert and persistently denied, as in 2014, but an openly declared act of war. Shortly after President Putin of Russia announced that he would launch a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine, missiles targeted several central and eastern locations in Ukraine, and Russian troops entered the country from the east and south. As of March 26, 2022, the UN’s officially confirmed data on civilian deaths in Ukraine was 1,104, ( 96 were children) with 1,754 injured, though it believes the actual figures are “considerably higher.” Residential areas, schools, hospitals, and places where civilians have taken shelter are brutally targeted; several towns and cities, as well as large segments of larger urban centers have been demolished. The war has led to a quarter of Ukraine’s population, more than 10 million residents hastily leaving behind their homes and belongings, 3.7 million fleeing the country, and 6.5 million relocating elsewhere, while many more are stranded in very dangerous circumstances. The war has created a humanitarian and economic crisis of unimaginable consequences worldwide.
The brutality of the Russian invaders as well as the strong and courageous resistance of Ukraine’s military and civilian population has captured the attention of the world. Many nations have supplied defensive weapons to Ukraine and placed harsh sanctions on Russia. People throughout the world’s democracies have responded with an outpouring of moral and financial support. Many European countries have generously opened their borders to the rapid influx of refugees. Legal experts and scholars are paying close attention to the criminality and genocidal actions of Russia for future prosecution.
As we watch this tragic episode of history unfold, it is important to have access to authoritative information and expert opinions that can help explain why and how certain events have happened. We need some help in sorting out propaganda and outright lies from the barrage of words and images that can overwhelm us from so many media sources. Hopefully the frequently updated resources below will help.
1) Ukraine: some historical background
Here we list mostly easily digestable overviews.
~ “A historical timeline of post-independence Ukraine” , by the Council on Foreign Relations., Feb, 22, 2022.
~ “Ukraine and Russia’s History Wars,” by Charles Emmerson , History Today, Mar 4, 2014. Note that this informative article was written at the start of the “first” Russian invasion in 2014.
~ “Ukrainian Tales,” by Uilleam Blacker, History Today Volume 72 Issue 4 April 2022 Short, fascinating look at Ukraine’s relationship with imperialist Russia since the 18th c, with particular attention to the work of 2 of Ukraine’s most famous authors. Top pick.
2) Instructional resources for teachers related to Russia’s war on Ukraine
~ NYT Learning Network resources on the Invasion of Ukraine. It is built primarily on New York Times linked articles and uses a question and answer format with prompts. It does not require a subscription to use. It is dynamic in content, so you may find additional content available over the course of the war.
- The invasion of Ukraine: how Russia attacked and what happens next. Lesson of the Day, Feb 24, 2022.
- Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: A Forum for Young People to React Feb 27, 2022.
- Teaching Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the War in Ukraine March 21, 2022 – An updating feature including articles, maps, photos, videos, podcasts and more, with suggestions for using them in your classroom.
~ Teaching about the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis, created by Facing History and Ourselves. The FHAO resources require registration to access. last updated: Mar 11,2022. The FHAO has selected the aspect of migration and refugess in its instruction relative to Russia’s War on Ukraine. The above link provides an introduction and “teacher-facing instructions for the activities.” The instruction is structured within FHAO’s “Head, Heart, Conscience strategy” framework.
The instructional materials include:
- Ukraine: discussing the war and refugee crisis with students. An introductory guide.
- “Discussing the war and refugee crisis with students” : link to a 28 slide PowerPoint.
- “Student Activities”downloadable pdf
~ “Teaching About the War in Ukraine,” by Cindy Long, neaToday, Mar 14, 2022.
~ “8 Resources Teachers Are Using to Discuss Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine,” by Sarah Schwartz & Marina Whiteleather, EducationWeek, February 28, 2022. Plenty of links in text and in embedded tweets.
~ “Conflict between Ukraine and Russia in 2022,” a “Sample Social Studies Learning Plan” developed by the Georgia Department of Education for the high school level. [Feb 24, 2022]. provides a good lesson plan structure, but needs updating in light of current status. Negatives:
- The recommended source on p. 4: ““The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Explained” by Nightly News: Kids Edition distorts in its oversimplification, and has the historian offering such false information as that Russia = the Soviet Union.
- “conflict” is not applicable to describe this war on Ukraine as it stands.
3) videos and articles that reflect on the Holodomor and genocide in the context of the current war on Ukraine
~ How Stalin Starved Ukraine, a Vox video production. March 25, 2022. 15min.
Sources are listed in the “details” section of the youTube page. top pick.
~ “Stalin’s famine: a brief history of the Holodomor in Soviet Ukraine,” by Serhy Yekelchyk. History Extra March 9, 2022. Concise, authoritative, interspersed with several links to articles relating to the current War on Ukraine. [first view free] Top pick.
~ “What Vladimir Putin has proposed for Ukraine is nothing short of genocide,” by Olga Andriewsky, The Star (Toronto), Feb 25, 2022. Top pick. (note: also available here: https://education.holodomor.ca/what-vladimir-putin-has-proposed-for-ukraine-is-nothing-short-of-genocide/
~ Moscow’s genocidal war and new strategy of information warfare CDI Dispatch No. 2. Video by Anton Shekhovtsov. Centre for Democratic Integrity Mar 12, 2022. 7 min. clearly outlines the characteristics of genocide and discusses the role of disinformation.
~ The Holodomor: Ukraine’s Soviet Terror-Famine, by Simon Whistler, from the series, “Into the Shadows.” Video. Mar 26, 2022. 22:41 min. (minus: sources not identified).