Visiting Fulbright scholar discussed post Soviet government policies in Eastern Asia last Monday, while stressing that social factors deeply affect political activity.
Volodymyr Chumak, a specialist in Ukrainian government policy, currently at UC Berkley briefed students in the government department on the current struggles between Ukraine and Russia in the post-soviet era, in an introductory government class.
In an audience of 23 students, Chumak inspired some to ask questions about U.S. portrayal of Ukraine in the mass media, and the availability of information to the Ukrainian public.
“He had some great information about global affairs,” said sophomore Tyliah Hoa.
Chumak said that the conflicts in the 15 post soviet republics surprised many in the western states because of various social factors.
“There was a lack of knowledge about the history of the dozens of nations in the USSR, and a big difference in the psychology of western nations and the Soviet people,” he said.
According to Chumak the many things, which weren’t available to the Soviet people, such as jazz, the Beatles, and blue jeans, were all signs of the iron curtain under which they were living.
However, he said that not all western influences were good for the republics.
“A lot of officials who represent our culture, are quite upset about American movies,” he said.
Chumak said that movies, such as the Magnificent Seven, riled many people and caused their reaction to be “one of the hits to the [cold] war.”
“After all of these turbulences in our society, all of the old heroes disappeared,” said Chumak.
Hoa agreed with Chumacks views on the role of cultural and social factors in international affairs.
“There is a level of dependency and what one does will always have some global affect, either positive or negative, when we deal with social change,” she said.
Fred Lawson, government professor agreed with Chumak and added, “it’s wrong to think about power as having to do only with armies and violence. In fact it’s cultural factors which will assure dominance.”
“Now we are in a transformation, we’ve been in a transition for 10 years,” said Chumak. “It’s a fascinating [place] for researchers, each day something happens,” he said.