By JAYCIE DOERR, NEWS3 Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — A panel of three Western Illinois University professors spoke Thursday in the Sandburg Theater about the Russian-Ukraine war and the political, religious and historical events that led up to the invasion.
Professor Gregory Baldi started the panel by speaking about the political events that lead up to the invasion. The fighting started back in 2013 when a Russian military action annexed a Ukrainian peninsula, which started the fighting in the region eight years ago.
Professor Betsy Perabo, a religious studies expert, explained how the ideas of the Russian World and a Christ-loving army influenced the invasion. She sais the Russian Orthodox Church works as an extension of the Kremlin in terms of control over the Russian people.
“The Russian World civilizational mythology holds that there exists a grand Russian civilization based on a spiritual unity between Belerutions, Ukranians, and Russians,” Professor Perabo said. “This Russian World … is a society of traditional values cast in opposition to a perceived decadent West.”
Then Richard Filipink, a professor of history, gave a short summary of the history of this region. Soviet Russian beliefs set in place by Josef Stalin have influenced President Valdimir Putin in his distaste for Ukraine. He compares Putin to the “dollar store version” of Stalin.
After each had a chance to speak, moderator Tim Roberts opened the panel to questions from the live and online audiences. Also announced was the Pray for Peace Vigil to be held at Chandler Park on Wednesday, April 6.