The use and abuse of history in conflicts: The war against Ukraine in focus

Historians without Borders and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation welcome you to a discussion with Erkki Tuomioja, Katja Makhotina,Viktor Jerofejew and Jan  C. Behrends.

Panel discussion | 9th of December | 2 pm | Berlin

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the use of history as a justification for war and as part of enemy images and war propaganda is once again a European reality. Putin's Russia justifies its actions with symbols and narratives anchored in history, as well as demonizing Ukrainians with strongly loaded accusations. Ukraine and the Western countries that support it also make use of historical concepts, images of enemies and symbolism.

Our Panel Discussion reflects on how historical knowledge, symbols and narratives have been used in the ongoing war in Europe. It will be discussed how historians could better identify and prevent the deliberate misrepresentation of historical information and the use of distorted information in the context of conflicts. How and when can we hope to have Russia conducting a critical review of its history? What can historians do to promote such a process?

The discussion will be held in English.


Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Berlin
Konferenzsaal 1
Hiroshimastraße 17
10785 Berlin

Bus 100, 187 to the stop Lützowplatz,
Bus M29 to the stop Hiroshimasteg,
Bus 200 to the stop Tiergartenstraße
Unfortunately, parking is not available.


If you have any questions regarding the accessibility of the event, please contact us in advance.

By registering, the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation is granted permission to take photos and film recordings during the event and to use these for public relations and for documentation purposes in analogue and digital form. Please contact us if you do not agree to this.

Bitte beachten Sie: Sobald Sie sich die Karte laden, werden Informationen darüber an Google übermittelt.


Begin 2pm

Welcome remarks: FES and Erkki Tuomioja, Chairman of Historians without Borders

Keynote speakers:

  • Katja Makhotina, Professor for Eastern European History (Bonn University)
  • Viktor Jerofejew, writer

Panel discussion and questions from the audience:

  • Erkki Tuomioja, Chairman of Historians without Borders
  • Katja Makhotina, Professor for Eastern European History (Bonn University)
  • Viktor Jerofejew, writer

Moderation by Jan C. Behrends, Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam.

End 4pm

Afterwards coffee and snacks


Dr. Anja Kruke
Dr. Peter Beule

If you have any questions, please contact

Karin Paffenholz
0228 883 8230


To participate in the event, please register by December 7th at: public.history(at)

Jan C. Behrends

Jan C. Behrends is historian at Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam. From 2019 to 2022 he was lecturer for Eastern European History at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, holding a professorship „Diktatur und Demokratie. Deutschland und Osteuropa von 1914 bis zur Gegenwart“ there since March 2022.

Prof. Dr. Katja Makhotina

Prof. Dr. Katja Makhotina, is historian and currently filling the professorship for Eastern European history in Bonn. She has held visiting professorships in St. Petersburg and Paris. Her research focuses on cultures of memory in Russia and East Central Europe, 20th century Lithuanian history, and social history and the history of penal practice in early modern Russia.

Erkki Tuomioja

Erkki Tuomioja, born 1946, is a Finnish historian and Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki. He is an MP who has also been Minister for Foreign Affairs 2000-2007 and 2011-2015. He is the founding chair of Historians without Borders.

Viktor Jerofejew

Viktor Jerofejew, born in Moscow in 1947, became known worldwide for his novel "The Moscow Beauty" (1989), which has been translated into 27 languages. He writes regularly for the New York Review of Books and the New Yorker as well as for DIE ZEIT and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. His latest novel "The Great Gopnik" is about Russian President Putin. Viktor Erofeyev, who repeatedly criticizes Putin and Russian politics, currently lives in exile with his family.

Panel discussion in full length

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