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Ukraine: Gateway to Europe


An online discussion with former Ukraine resident and New York Times journalist James Brooke

While Vladimir Putin seeks to drag Ukraine back into the Russian empire, Ukrainians have moved on. Turning their back on Russia, they overwhelmingly vacation, study and work in the EU, helped in part by visa-free travel. Thanks to eight years of Russian military attacks on Ukraine, Ukrainian national identity is at record highs. Ukraine has Europe’s second largest army. Ukrainian is the language for all kindergarten to university instruction. For the first time since 1685, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is no longer controlled by Moscow. As Putin approaches his 70th birthday this October, he is tormented by the fear that his legacy will be: the first Czar in three centuries to lose Ukraine.

JAMES BROOKE, a Lenox native, is a lifelong foreign correspondent. For 24 years he reported for The New York Times — from West Africa, Brazil, Canada, and Japan/Korea. After the Times, he was the Moscow bureau chief for Bloomberg and then the Moscow-based correspondent for Voice of America. After eight years in Russia, he moved to Ukraine. For six years in Kyiv, he founded and edited internet-based newsletters on Ukraine’s business and investment opportunities and conditions. Last fall, after reporting from 80 countries, he moved from Kyiv to Lenox with his family.

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