The third stop in the Neighbourhood in Europe – Perspectives for a Common Future debate series – offering a platform for cross-country discussions about relevant questions concerning the shape and perspectives of community in Europe, takes us to Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. The Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan claims that “geography is vulnerable. World wars teach us little, and state borders even today — in the beginning of the third millennium — turn out to be fiction. They can be ignored, violated, changed. Politics make all of us hostages. Borders in this case are not an obstacle but an irritant. Borders are something which bothers. They are in everybody’s way. The difference is that some people try to get rid of borders while other people try to violate them.

The people living in the east of the Ukraine today are very much aware of this. And now, that the border has become visible again, attitudes between neighbours have become more pronounced. Speakers and participants joining the discussion on the changing attitudes and new (or nursed) frictions – inside the country and at its borders – include Yuri Durkot, Yaroslav Hrytsak, Ivanna Skyba-Yakubova, Volker Weichsel, and Tatiana Zhurzhenko.

Initiators: German Academy for Language and Literature, S. Fischer Foundation, Allianz Cultural Foundation
Partners: Bagels & Letters, Goethe-Institut Kiev, Austrian Cultural Forum Kiev, Eurozine, OSTEUROPA, DAAD – German Academic Exchange Service, VladOpera e.V. – internationale Kulturprojekte, MediaPort,,, 057ua, Kharkiv Going Global,, Korydor
Supported by the German Federal Foreign Office



Audience at the Kharkiv Debate

Serhiy Zhadan

Per Øhrgaard

Jane Lezina

Carl Henrik Fredriksson, Michael Stolleis, Volker Weichsel and Anna Schor-Tschudnowskaja

Panel discussion with Serhiy Zhadan

Protesters among the audience

Remarks from the audience


Audience in upheaval

Yaroslav Hrytsak

Sergey Lebedev

Michael Stolleis

Yelena Fanailova

Anna Schor-Tschudnowskaja