Professor of political science. continues to teach amid conflict near his family’s home in Ukraine


(Photo above: example of a shelter in Ukraine where people are seeking safety.)

In recent days, Nataliia Kasianenko watched on TV and in social networks Russian forces have bombed residential areas of Ukraine’s second largest cityKharkiv — his hometown.

Kasianenko has been in constant communication with his family and friends while his parents are hiding in an underground shelter, next to their apartment complex.

“My hometown is now at the forefront of the fighting,” said Kasianenko, assistant professor of political science at Fresno State. “The Russian tanks are on the outskirts of the city. People have been told to take shelter underground but it is nighttime in February. Many underground shelters are cold and dirty, with no running water or electricity, and only standing room. My parents stay at home for this reason. Everyone is scared and we don’t know what the future holds.

Through the chaos, Kasianenko, an expert on Eastern Europe, continued to lecture in international politics and global political economy.

Natalia Kasianenko

Kasianenko will host a seminar on the situation in Ukraine, open to the campus community, noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, in room 2206 of the library. The event will also be available on Zoom and a recording of the event will be available afterwards. The seminar is sponsored by the College of Social Sciences at Fresno State.

Kasianenko discussed the conflict between Russia and Ukraine with his students throughout the semester. Some assignments in his international politics courses have focused on issues of sovereignty and the application of sovereignty in the case of Ukraine, as well as possible explanations for strained relations between the United States and Russia.

She grew up in the Ukrainian cities of Odessa and Kharkiv and never imagined that such attacks and explosions would invade her home. “We knew about the troop buildup, but no one really believed it was going to happen,” Kasianenko said. “No one in their wildest worst nightmares thought that Russia would actually engage in an all-out invasion.”

As she hopes and prays for an end to the attacks, Kasianenko continues to update her Facebook page. On Monday, February 28, she wrote, in part:

“Another war update. The most intense shelling in my hometown of Kharkiv. All parts of the city, residential buildings, schools, hospitals are bombarded from the ground and from the sky. My parents spent the last eight hours in the basement. I don’t know if they still have a house outside. Mom comes out of the shelter every few hours to message “we’re fine, don’t worry. There’s shelling everywhere so I’m glad we’re underground. I keep telling him to stay in the basement and not come out. I do not know what to do. I don’t know when and how I will be able to get them out.

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