While the actions and policies of external actors such as Russia, the United States, and the European Union have contributed to the international dimensions of the crisis, the conflict’s origins can be found in the deeper historical legacies of Soviet and pre-Soviet nationalism in the Ukrainian lands. Just as Ukraine's past is marked by a deep cultural divide, so too is its future likely to be divided. A more complete understanding of the roots of Ukraine's internal divisions throws into sharp relief the extraordinarily steep challenges that the Ukrainian government will face as it seeks to rebuild and reunify a country divided by the violent conflict in the East.
Dr. Person is an Assistant Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics at the United States Military Academy (West Point). His research and teaching interests include post-Soviet politics, democratization, authoritarianism, nationalism, mass political participation, and public opinion in nondemocratic states. His current book project (in progress) explores the deep and durable impact that economic crises play in shaping citizens' long-term beliefs about democracy and dictatorship in new democracies. It is based on extensive research carried out across former Soviet states including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Estonia. Dr. Person earned his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. He also holds a master's degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University, as well as a B.A. in international relations and Slavic Languages & Literature from Stanford.