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The Cultural Genocide Behind Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Omar (Bradley) Bartos, Andrew Fedynsky, James A R Nafziger, Valerie Ann Johnson, and Daniel John Homick

Sponsored by the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division Real Estate Committee and International Law Committee with the generous support of Shaw University

This program will explore the destruction of thousands of libraries and schools, the looting of museums, and most importantly the cultural genocide taking place for the future of an entire European nation comparable to the size of France.

After Russia invaded Ukraine over a year ago, the western news media focused on the numerous battles, destruction of Ukrainian buildings and its infrastructure, and the thousands of tragic deaths on both sides; but there is also a cultural battle taking place beyond the lives and property lost. This battle is rarely reported by the media but is at the heart of what Ukrainians are fighting to protect: the future of their nation as Ukrainians. For more information, see the Guardian article that inspired this program at: ‘Our mission is crucial’: meet the warrior librarians of Ukraine.

Our first speaker, Omar (Bradley) Bartos, will set the stage. Omar, an attorney and former Peace Corp volunteer in Ukraine, most recently, served as a U.S. Department of State international election observer in Ukraine. Omar will share his personal observations and introduce us to Ukrainians who live only a few miles from the Russian border and whose lives have so dramatically been changed during this war.

Our second speaker, Andrew Fedynsky, is the Director of the Ukrainian Museum and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio. Andy is working not only with members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of State, but also directly with Ukrainian libraries and schools that have been destroyed as part of Russia’s cultural war to destroy Ukraine’s heritage as a distinct ethnic group and country.

Our third speaker, Thomas B. Stoel Professor of Law, James A. R. Nafziger of Willamette College of Law in Salem, Oregon, will focus on the international legal consequences of the looting and destruction of cultural resources in Ukraine. Jim will go beyond the treaties to consider international custom, cultural genocide, and eventual international criminal prosecution for war crimes after a war such as this is concluded.