Friday, September 20th, 2019 War in the Backyard: What Everyday Life in Eastern Ukraine Looks Like

Friday, September 20, 20193:00PM - 5:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place


For nearly five years, the Minsk Agreements have been successful in sustaining violence in Ukraine at a low level. The public awareness of the conflict in which nothing really happens has also been steadily going down. And, when invoked, the war in Ukraine is usually discussed solely in geopolitical or military terms.

Missing from this picture are six million people who live in the war zone in eastern Ukraine. Still dealing with the trauma of direct violence in 2014-2015, they are currently exposed to indirect consequences of war. Disrupted infrastructure, restrictions on movement, diseases, lack of access to basic services, unemployment, and shadow economy – these are the everyday realities of life in the vicinity of the war in Ukraine. At the same time, these factors shape a unique local culture of resilience. People come up with creative strategies of traveling, safety, parenting, entrepreneurship, and mutual assistance.

Alisa Sopova is a journalist from Donetsk and currently an MA candidate in Regional Studies (Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia) program at Harvard University. Previously news editor for Donbass, the biggest newspaper in Donetsk Region of Ukraine, since 2014 she has been extensively covering the military conflict in the area for a number of media including the New York Times, Time magazine, and the Guardian. Alisa has joined Harvard as a first Nieman fellow from Ukraine and stayed to continue her research of everyday coping strategies employed by residents in the frontline communities.


Alisa Sopova
MA candidate in Regional Studies (Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia) program, Harvard University

Lucan Way
Petro Jacyk Program Co-Director, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine


Centre for Euopean, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

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