The Best Sources to Help You Understand the Situation in Russia and Ukraine

By Sophie Bucknall

2 years ago

How did we get here?

The situation in Ukraine and Russia is unspeakably awful. Many of us are looking for ways to help – whether that’s by volunteering, donating or simply spreading awareness and showing support. But it’s also important to spend some time understanding the long, complicated and precarious path that has led us to this point. We’ve picked out some of the best sources to help comprehend the complex historic relationship between Ukraine and Russia, both countries’ own histories, Putin’s path to power and recent events that led to the situation today.

The Best Sources to Help you Understand the Situation in Russia and Ukraine

The Long-term History

The Rest is History

In light of the situation in Ukraine and Russia, historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook have recorded some special episodes to help explain the context. The first gives a very good overview on the historic relationship between Ukraine and Russia, while the next four focus on the last forty years in Soviet/Russian history. These are great for getting a basic understanding of the complex situation today.

Russia and Ukraine: the tangled history that connects—and divides—them, Eve Conant

Conant explores the important role that geography plays in nations’ history and gives a good outline as to how this has shaped Ukraine and Russia’s relationship.

9 Milestone Moments in History that Explain Today’s Invasion, Serhy Yekelchyk

Yekelchyk picks out the key moments in history which lead to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Ukraine as a ‘borderland’: a brief history of Ukraine’s place between Europe and Russia, Sheila Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick is a highly renowned historian, specialising in Russian and Soviet history. Here, she explains Ukraine’s place between Europe and Russia.

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine, Serhii Plokhy

Plokhy gives an overview on the Ukraine’s history and current crisis.

The Penguin History of Russia, Robert Service

One of the leading experts on Russian history, Robert Service guides the reader through Russia’s complex history and its leaders.

The Situation Today

Why has Russia invaded Ukraine and what does Putin want?, Paul Kirby

The LRB Podcast: Putin’s Mistake

James Meek talks to Thomas Jones about the short term events preceding Russia’s invasion.


An independent news site in Russia, updated daily.


To keep you up to date with Ukraine news.

The Role of Putin

Putin: Prisoner of Power

A podcast giving a good overview of the rise of Putin, the political system in Russia and key political players.

The Rest is History

Two of their special episodes focus on the rise of Putin and Russia under his leadership.

Vladamir Putin: Russia’s Action Man President

A BBC overview in 2021 on Putin.

Featured image: Getty Images

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