University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings’ Office of International Studies Director and Slavic cultures scholar and educator presents community lecture

March 17, 2014



Dr. Paul Foster, Office of International Studies, 247-5785 
Carmen Price, University Relations, 657-2269


“Roots of the Current Ukraine-Russia Crisis,” Monday, March 24, 6:30 p.m., LA 205


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES —  MSU Billings International Studies Director Dr. Paul Foster will deliver a community lecture about Russia and Ukraine’s historical and contemporary issues on March 24.


Dr. Paul Foster

The lecture, “Roots of the Current Ukraine-Russia Crisis” will explore the complicated issues facing the people of Ukraine, the international community and the United States. Is this the beginning of a new Cold War? Or is this the final battle of the Cold War—a war that dominated geo-political relations in the second half of the twentieth century?


“Russia and Ukraine have lived as brothers for centuries, sometimes in the same empire, and now as independent countries,” Foster said. “They share a common ancestry and many cultural, religious, linguistic and economic features. Yet today, geo-political forces are threatening to destabilize this relationship.”   


The lecture, presented by the Office of International Studies and Outreach and the Department of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, will address the central facts surrounding the crisis—the formation of the Ukrainian nation and its relationship to the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation and its neighbors; the cultural, geographic, economic and social forces that underlie the rising tensions in Ukraine; and a discussion of the fascinating cultures of modern Ukraine.


A Slavic Cultures doctoral graduate of Columbia University, Foster has developed a deep knowledge of the history, politics, culture and social transformation of Russia and Ukraine.


Foster has been a scholar and educator of Slavic cultures for much of his career. Born and raised in Billings, he has travelled and worked extensively in the countries that made up the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Foster has taught and researched Slavic studies in several United States and European universities. He returned to the United States in 2013 to join MSU Billings’ Office of International Studies and Outreach as its director.


Joining Foster in the discussion, Dr. Susan Gilbertz, associate professor of geography, and Kenneth Kuhn, adjunct professor for the public administration graduate program, will speak about their impressions of the Ukraine and the situation based on their visits to Ukraine.


Free and open to the public, the lecture presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Language Arts building, room 205, on the university’s four-year campus, 1500 University Drive. A question and answer session will follow the lecture.


For more information, contact Foster at 247-5785 or


PHOTO ABOVE: Dr. Paul Foster