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NMSU professor to provide different perspective on Russia invasion of Ukraine

In the summer of 2013 New Mexico State University Regents Professor John ?Jack? Wright and his family ventured to Ukraine to learn more about his wife?s ancestry. At the time, the country was in political and social turmoil ? on the brink of being invaded by Russia.

Ukrainians hold signs protesting Putin?s invasion of their country. (Courtesy Photo)

Wright will talk about the geographic and historic roots of this invasion and discuss the current war as part of the continuing College of Arts and Sciences? ?Global Connections? lecture series. His talk, ?Ukraine and Russia at War: A Geographic Perspective,? will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in the Gerald Thomas Hall Auditorium, Room 194.

?The country is really divided between those who oppose Russia and those who support it,? said Wright, a geography professor. ?Eastern Ukraine is predominantly Russian. In Western Ukraine, the people speak Ukrainian and they look toward the European Union. Eastern Ukraine looks to Moscow. It?s really two countries.?

The family trip to the village of Galicia turned into a learning experience when their guide predicted that Russia would invade the Ukraine.

In his presentation, Wright will discuss possible reasons behind the invasion. He said he hopes the audience will understand its significance and realize the value of knowing the history of the countries.

?That area has been controlled by Russia for centuries. The United Kingdom is a new idea in a way,? Wright said. ?I?m not excusing what Putin did ? my job is just to analyze it. It isn?t as simple as ?Putin?s crazy.? I don?t agree with his actions but he?s making an argument that the European Union is a threat. Russia lost between 25 to 30 million people during World War II when it was invaded by Nazis. They see themselves as defending their country. That?s what I?ll try to get across in this lecture.?

The ?Global Connections? series features faculty members? trips around the world. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for members of the campus and surrounding community to listen and ask questions of NMSU professors about the kind of global first-hand experience they might otherwise never encounter.

Over the last two years, lectures have explored places such as Australia, Germany, Belize, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Eastern Europe, the Falkland Islands, Ireland, Italy and Thailand. All lectures are free and open to the public.