Former Ukrainian Press Secretary to President Zelensky headlines UM's Mansfield Center Dialogue

MISSOULA, Mont. -- On Tuesday, the country of Ukraine will enter its 8th month of war against Russia. February 20, 2022 seems like a lifetime ago for the Ukrainian people, while the government is fighting to keep the country a democracy.

Iullia Mendel served as the press secretary for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from 2019-2021. She was there, in the room where is happens, as the country slowly slipped into war with their neighbors to the north. 

Mendel is releasing a new book, called the "Fight of our Lives", which chronicles the build up to the conflict, and how the President handled certain situations and conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mendel says that the light of democracy continues to burn brightly, and she is putting her hope in the next generation of Ukrainian people.

"We needed to learn democracy, democracy is not given by default." Mendel says. "It has a lot of rules, it's not anarchy. Freedom has a lot of rules, and we are learning now. But the Ukraine of now is absolutely different than the Ukraine of the 1990s, when we were experiencing huge economic defaults. Ukraine has great generations who do not what it is to struggle, who are not traumatized, who share the world view of the West, who share the Western values, and that is why we are not able to return to the past that Putin tries to drag us in."

Mendel says that Ukraine and the United States have a lot more in common than someone might think, and she is looking forward to highlighting those shared experiences Tuesday with the University of Montana and the Mansfield Center

If you would like to tune into that zoom meeting with Mendel, you can do so for free. It will begin at 7:00 PM, and pre-registration will be required. You can click here to sign up for the dialogue series tomorrow. 

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