Wed, 20 July 2022

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST


Viv Groskop Meets Serhii Plokhy, Harvard’s Professor of Ukrainian History

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The world’s leading expert on Ukrainian history, Harvard’s Serhii Plohky joins us both to share his insights into the current conflict and the frightening parallels with the history of nuclear disasters. 

The plant meltdown in Chernobyl was one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century – and the culture of secrecy and fear that led to the disaster still echoes in post-Soviet Russian politics, manifested in the authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin’s government and his futile, destructive, and horrifying invasion of Ukraine.

Born in Russia, raised in Ukraine, and now a Professor at Harvard, Serhii Plohky is both the preeminent scholar of Eastern Europe and Ukraine and an authority on the history of nuclear disasters. 

In conversation with writer and broadcaster Viv Groskop, Serhii will explore what the disasters at Kysthym and Chernobyl can tell us about the politics of Eastern Europe and Russia today, and consider the similarities and profound differences between such disasters in democracies – such as Fukushima and Three Mile Island – and authoritarian regimes. And he will share his wider insights into the ongoing war as both a leading historian and a Ukrainian.

Don’t miss this chance to hear from an renowned authority on two of the most important global issues of our time.


Praise for Serhii Plokhy’s Atoms and Ashes:

‘Absolutely stunning. A formidable achievement. Plokhy has written a six-part historical thriller that is essential reading for both our politicians and the ordinary citizen. We have survived the Nuclear Age for three-quarters of a century, but this book calmly reminds us that accidents happen and will surely happen again. His stories of nuclear accidents are riveting and frightening’ Kai Bird, co-author of American Prometheus

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Serhii Plokhy

Professor of History, Harvard University

Serhii Plokhy is Professor of History at Harvard University and a leading authority on Eastern Europe. His books include the Baillie Gifford award-winner Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, Lost Kingdom, The Gates of Europe, The Last Empire and Nuclear Folly.

Viv Groskop

Journalist and radio presenter who regularly appears on BBC1’s This Week.