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Petition by historians in response to detention of their colleague Ruslan Zabilyi

September 15, 2010

On 9 September 2010 SBU agents detained the historian Ruslan Zabilyi and confiscated his research material. Now the SBU is seeking to launch a criminal case against him. Whether we share Ruslan Zabilyi’s views or not, we consider it absolutely impermissible for a security service to harass researchers and obstruct intellectual activities.

Many of us are signing this petition in spite of the fact that we seriously disagree with Ruslan Zabily’s politics and his views of Ukrainian history. Even while we abhor the politicization of history that has become so evident in the recent years of Orange versus anti-Orange debates, we believe that the resolution of scholarly disputes depends upon the free flow of ideas, and free access to historical sources no matter how controversial they may be.

We believe that a truly democratic and independent Ukraine needs and facilitates full and free inquiry into its history. Such an enquiry can only take place with the broadest access to Ukrainian archives.

Given the record of denial of access to archives and libraries, suppression of dissenting views, denial of academic freedom, and isolation of Ukrainefrom the international scholarly community in the past, any Ukrainian government must be especially vigiliant not to revive such practices.

Against this background, the treatment of Ruslan Zabilyi points to a reversion to regrettable and dangerous practices of the totalitarian past. We find this incident extremely worrying, especially in view of earlier illegitimate uses made of the SBU in the realm of academia and civil society under the new Ukrainian government.

Even strong disagreements about Ukraine’s past and its politics of memory and history cannot be solved by methods that amount to harassment and intimidation. Ukraine’s reputation is also bound to suffer very severely from such methods.

We call on the SBU and the Ukrainian government to show responsibility.

We call on Ukraine’s public and its scholarly community not to tolerate the intrusion of blatant police methods where research, scholarly dispute, and public debate should be the means of resolving – or living with – differences.

We urge the Ukrainian public and the Ukrainian and international scholarly community to join us in supporting Ruslan Zabilyi and in censuring the use of police methods to try to quash scholarly discussion.

Signed by:

Felix Ackermann, European University Viadrina Geschichtswerkstatt Europa

Tarik Cyril Amar, Assistant Professor, Columbia University

Melanie Arndt, Dr., Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung, Potsdam

Jars Balan, Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta

Omer Bartov John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History, Brandeis University

Jan Behrends, Research Fellow, Social Science Research Center Berlin

Karel Berkhoff, Associate Professor, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam

Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak, Professor Emeritus, Manhattanville College and Johns Hopkins University

Tim Buchen, Center for the Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin Jeffrey Burds, Associate Professor of Russian & Soviet History, Northeastern University

Tetyana Bureychak, Associate Professor, Department of History and Theory of Sociology, I. Franko National University, Lviv

Marco Carynnyk, Writer, Toronto

Istvan Déak, Seth Low Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

Roman Dubasevych, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

Oles Fedoruk, Research Fellow, Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Rory Finnin, Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies, University of Cambridge

Michael S. Flier, Director,Oleksandr Potebnja Professor of Ukrainian Philology, Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University

Elena Gapova,Associate Professor, Western Michigan University/European Humanities University

Alexandr Gogun, PhD student, Humboldt University, Berlin

Semion Goldin, The Chais Center for Jewish Studies in Russian, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel

George G. Grabowicz, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University

Sofia Grachova, PhD Candidate in History, Harvard University

Andrea Graziosi, Professor, University of Naples

Borys Gudziak, Rector, Ukrainian Catholic University

Mark von Hagen, Professor, Director, SHPRS, Arizona State University, President of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Lubomyr Hajda, Associate Director, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

Elizabeth V. Haigh,.Professor Emeritus, Saint Mary’s University Halifax, Canada

Karl Hall, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Programs, Central European University, Budapest

Patricia Herlihy, Professor Emerita, Brown University; Louise Wyant Professor Emerita, Emmanuel College, Boston; Adjunct Professor, Watson Institute for International Studies,Associate, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

John-Paul Himka, Professor, University of Alberta

Alexandra Hrycak, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology Reed College, Portland, Oregon

Halyna Hryn, Editor, Harvard Ukrainian Studies

Dr Liudmyla Hrynevych, Institute of History,National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Dr Vladyslav Hrynevych, Professor, Senior Researcher, Institute of Political and Ethno-National Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Yaroslav Hrytsak, Professor, Ukrainian Catholic University, Director, Institute for Historical Research, Lviv University

Maciej Janowski, Professor, Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw/Central European University, Budapest

Oksana Kis, Historian, Senior Reserach Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Bohdan Klid, Assistant Director, Canadian institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta

Zenon E. Kohut, Professor, Department of History and Classics, Director, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies

Boris Kolonitskii, Professor, European University, St. Peterburg; Institute of History, St. Peterburg Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences

Ihor Kosyk, PhD student, Vienna University

Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Program, Harvard University

Alexander Kratochvil, PhD, Exzellenzcluster "Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration", Universität Konstanz, Konstanz

Kravchenko, Volodymyr, Professor, President of the International Association for the Humanities

Sergei Kravtsov, Senior Researcher, Center for Jewish Art, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Serhiy Kudelia, Assistant Professor, National Univeristy "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy"

Serhij Kvit, Rector, National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”

Maria Lewicka, Professor, University of Warsaw

André Liebich, Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Torsten Lorenz, Institute of History, Humboldt University, Berlin

Paul Robert Magocsi, Professor, University of Toronto

Еmil Majuk, Stowarzyszenie “Panorama Kultur”, Poland

Liudmyla Males, Associate Professor, Sciology, Taras Shevchenko University, Kyiv

Ihor Markov, Political Scientist, Director of the Department for Ethno-National Studies, Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

David R. Marples, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta

Terry Martin, George F. Baker III Professor of Russian Studies, Department of History, Harvard University

Igor Martynyuk, Ph.D. Ab Imperio Quarterly

Jarred McBride, PhD Candidate (UCLA)

Askold Melnyczuk, Associate Professor,University of Massachusetts, Boston

Oleksandr Melnyk, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto

Joanna B. Michlic, Ph.D.,Director Project on Families, Children and the Holocaust, Brandeis University

Marina Mogilner, PhD, Editor for Russian and NIS, Ab Imperio, Kazan

Alexander Motyl, Associate Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, Deputy Director of the Center for Global Change and Governance Co-Director of the Central and East European Studies Program

Iryna Musiienko, Associate Professor, National Technical University "Kharkiv Polytechnical Institute"

Krzysztof Michalski, Professor, Director of the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna

Eleonora Narvselius, Centre for European Studies, Lund University

Larissa Onyshkevych, Ph.D.,Princeton Research Forum

Vitalii Perkun, Research Fellow, Insitute of History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern,Associate Professor, Director, the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies,Northwestern University

Dieter Pohl , Professor, Institut für Geschichte, University of Klagenfurt, Austria

Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Andriy Portnov, Ukraina Moderna Journal, Kyiv

Anna Procyk, Professor, City University of New York

Roman Procyk, Ukrainian Studies Fund, New York

Wojciech Przybylski, Res Publica Nowa, Chief Editor

Robert Pyrah, CEELBAS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

Vasyl Rasevych, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Ukrainian Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Shimon Redlich, Prof. Emeritus of History, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva

Inna Reut, PhD student, Graduate School for Social Research, Warsaw

Bohdan Rubchak, Professor Emeritus, Unversity of Illinois at Chicago

William Risch, Associate Professor, Georgia College and State University

Malte Rolf, Osteuropäische Zeitgeschichte, Leibniz Universität Hanover

Per Anders Rudling, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

Natalka Rymska, Essayist, Translator, Lviv

Roman Senkus, Director, CIUS Publications Program,Toronto Office, University of Toronto

Ostap Sereda, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Lviv, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Viktoria Sereda, Assistant Professor, Ivan Franko University

Oxana Shevel Assistant Professor Tufts University, Department of Political Science

Christopher Stroop, Ph.D. Candidate,Stanford University

Andrzej Szeptycki, Dr., University of Warsaw

Volodymyr Sklokin, kandydat istorychnykh nauk, International Solomon University, Kharkiv

Iryna Sklokina, Ph.D. student, V.N.Karazyn Kharkiv National University

Ihor Skochylias, Dean, Ukrainian Catholic University

Regina Smyth, Associate Professor of Political Science, Indiana University

Timothy Snyder, Professor, Department of History, Yale University

Mykola Soroka, PhD, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta

Myron Stachiw, Historian, Director, Fulbright Program in Ukraine

Lidia Stefanowska, Assistant Professor, Warsaw University

Jan Surman, MMag., PhD Student, Institute of History, University of Vienna

Frank Sysyn, Director, Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Research, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta

Roman Szporluk, Professor emeritus, Harvard University and University of Michigan

Philipp Ther, Professor, European University Institute, Florence

Iryna Vushko PhD, Yale University

Anna Wylega, PhD student, Graduate School for Social Research, Warsaw

Theodore Weeks, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Amir Weiner, Associate Professor of Soviet History, Stanford University

Andrew Wilson, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London/European Council for Foreign Relations

Dr. Sergei Zhuk, Associate Professor, Ball State University,

Muncie Arsen Zinchenko, Insitute of History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine


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