Open Letter in Support of Per Anders Rudling



Recently, Dr. Per Anders Rudling of Lund University in Sweden has articulated his criticism of a highly problematic lecture tour in North America, which features Ruslan Zabily, the director of the Lontsky Street Prison Memorial Museum in Lviv, Ukraine. Mr. Zabily, whose academic credentials are slim, is given a forum as a speaker at several prestigious universities. His role in nationalist history activism in Ukraine and his links and contributions to organizations that diminish the violence, ethnic and political, of Ukrainian World War Two nationalism are not problematized.

This is not the place to reiterate Dr. Rudling’s precise and fair criticism in detail. Full documentation can be found at: 

In response to Dr. Rudling’s protest, several organizations that claim to represent Ukrainians in Canada have officially complained about him to the vice-chancellor of his university and to the Swedish Embassy in Ottawa. For details: 

They have accused Dr. Rudling of lacking “common sense and courtesy,” of trying to suppress free speech, bullying, and defamation, even alleging that Dr. Rudling’s protest borders on what they call “hate speech.”

We, the undersigned, declare our solidarity with Dr. Rudling. We find his criticism plausible and extremely valuable. We also endorse his call for rethinking some aspects of the field of Ukrainian studies. We reject entirely any attempt to denounce Dr. Rudling, to exert pressure on him, and to obfuscate the issue by presenting Mr. Zabily and the organizers of his tour as victims.

Mr. Zabily has every right to free speech, but we, like Dr. Rudling, are deeply worried by a lecture tour that, willingly or not, can only end up conferring academic legitimacy on him and his history activism. This is especially disturbing as it is very likely that this added credibility will be instrumentalized in Ukraine’s public sphere.

Signatories (in alphabetical order):

Ab Imperio Quarterly (Ilya Gerasimov, Serguei Glebov, Alexander Kaplunivski, Marina Mogilner, Alexander Semyonov)

Tarik Cyril Amar, Department of History, Columbia University

Ian D. Armour, PhD, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Arts & Science, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta

Karyn Ball, Professor, University of Alberta

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

Ernst Berger, Univ. Prof. Dr. med., MUW, Klinik f. Kinder- u. Jugendpsychiatrie

Aleksandr Burakovskiy, PhD, writer and independent scholar, New York

Jeffrey Burds, Northeastern University

Johan Dietsch, Postdoctoral fellow, East European Studies, Lund University

Roman Dubasevych, PhD Candidate, University of Vienna

Evgeny Finkel, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, The George Washington University

Mayhill Fowler, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto

Svitlana Frunchak, PhD candidate, University of Toronto

Kristian Gerner, Pofessor of History (emeritus), Lund Univesity

Andrew Gow, Professor of History, Director of Religious Studies, University of Alberta

Jan Grabowski, Professor/professeur titulaire, Department of History/Département d’histoire, University of Ottawa/Université d’Ottawa

Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Cooper Union

John-Paul Himka, Professor of History, University of Alberta

Anna Holian, Arizona State University

Dovid Katz, PhD, editor,

Emilian Kavalski, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney

Jeffrey Kopstein, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

Emil Langermann, Vienna

Olga Linkiewicz, Polish Academy of Science, New York University

Jared McBride, PhD Candidate, UCLA

Joanna Michlic, PhD, The HBI Director, Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust, Brandeis University

Alexey Miller, Professor, Department of History, CEU, Leading Research Fellow, Russian Academy of Sciences

Srdja Pavlovic, University of Alberta, Edmonton

John E. Richardson, PhD, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University

Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, Free University of Berlin

Clemens Ruthner, Assistant Professor (German & European Studies), Director of Research, School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultural Studies, Trinity College, Dublin

Alan Rutkowski, Emeritus Librarian, Victoria, BC, Canada

Steven Seegel, Associate Professor of History, University of Northern Colorado

Anton Shekhovtsov, PhD, Junior Visiting Fellow, Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna

Heidemarie Uhl, PhD, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institut für Kulturwissenschaften und Theatergeschichte

Stephanie Weismann, Doktoratskolleg Galizien, University of Vienna

Ruth Wodak, Distinguished Professor, Chair in Discourse Studies, Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University

Magdalena Zolkos, Senior Research Fellow, University of Western Sydney

Efraim Zuroff, PhD, director, Simon Wiesenthal Center Israel Office

Note: The list of signatories was last updated on 23 October 2012.
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