Loras College professor with strong ties to Ukraine maintains contact with friends in the country amid Russian invasion
DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - A professor of Politics at Loras College in Dubuque with strong ties to Ukraine says he is in constant contact with friends in that country as they try to stay safe during the Russian invasion.
Chris Budzisz served as a U.S. Fulbright scholar in Ukraine for six years. He told TV9 his job entailed teaching Ukrainian college students about American politics and international relations. After that, he has visited the country several times to tour and visit friends.
“What I learned and what I saw was a people that, through great trial and tribulation, large difficulties that they faced through time, have managed to keep pursuing dreams of independence and of self-determination,” he mentioned.
He says this picture of the Ukrainian people contrasts what he believes to be Russian president Vladimir Putin’s vision of Ukraine.
“What I was seeing and what I have seen through this is that the Ukrainian people have a sense for self-determination to make up their own mind and their own path and Mister Putin disagrees with that and sees that, I think, Ukrainians making a decision for themselves as a potential threat to Russia,” he explained.
Budzisz has been in constant communication with his Ukrainian friends during the Russian invasion. He said he taught in the western part of the country, near the Romanian border, so most of his friends have not seen the missile strikes yet. He added, though, that they are preparing for the worst.
“There is anger, there is fear for what may happen, but there is also a strong sense of resolve and so, when I look at it, it is very difficult to watch because these are cities, places that are important, not just to me, but to Ukrainians and, frankly, to the world,” he said.
As a Politics professor, Budzisz is now spending time answering his students’ questions and concerns, giving them the context of how the conflict in Ukraine started.
“It is through those kinds of efforts, raising awareness that I think people can also support Ukraine,” he added.
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