Ukraine-Russian conflict fires community interest in global politics

Ukraine – Russian military weapons destroyed and seized by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, near Bucha on March 1, 2022 – Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine via Wikimedia Commons

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” led to a million refugees fleeing Ukraine in just seven days. Ukrainian citizens have evacuated their homes, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called upon men between the ages of 18 and 60 years old to fight for their country. 

The event, which history classes will discuss decades down the line, has buzzed around the school. But how much does the  Haverford community actually know about the invasion? The majority of students agree that the conflict is unprovoked and unnecessary, but as to why Russia invaded, opinions in the community are mixed. 

“It seems like the invasion is a result of Russia attempting to be dominant in Europe again after being dormant for so long,” Fourth Former Luke Fesnak said. 

Fourth Former Noah Trexler said, “I think that with Putin being an ex-KGB agent he wants to see the old glory the USSR once had.” 

The invasion has understandably led to conversations in history classrooms, but as for classes other than that, the subject remains undiscussed.

“In my classes, I have talked about it [the conflict] almost zero,” Trexler said.  “All my talking has either been with my friends outside of class.”

 Some students kept up with the conflict, even before the initial invasion on February 24th, and have been knowledgeable  since then. 

Fourth Form Model UN club member Ethan Lee has paid much attention to the subject.

“I knew something was going to happen… I have been paying attention to it ever since that [a Model UN conference discussing the issue],” Lee said. 

History teacher Mr. Jeremy Hart said, “Last quarter, my CIR [Contemporary International Relations] class actually used Ukraine-Russia as a case study in examining how to analyze conflicts from the international, state, and individual levels. We missed the actual start of the conflict by a few months, but I have really enjoyed seeing those CIR students in the hallways to analyze the day-to-day of the invasion.” 

Haverford students have a wide variety of sources of information, which can lead to different perspectives.

“Other than my Model UN conferences and meetings, my main source of information is usually The New York Times,” Lee said.

Mr. Hart is confident in the sensitivity and awareness of his students. 

“Call me overconfident, but I have faith that my CIR and MWH guys have a grasp on what’s going on. I have been impressed by the amount of information many have heard outside of class and their abilities to connect to larger concepts from class,” Mr. Hart said.