Infrastructures of (De)Occupation

Panel talk organised by ICKPA and RSO.Berlin

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Since the invasions of 2014/2022, the built environments, infrastructures, ecosystems and socio-cultural fabrics of Ukraine have been systematically laid to waste by russia’s revanchist (re)colonial war machine. Building on a long historical record of appropriating, subjugating and disfiguring the
lands of others, the russian state has to attempted to entrench its re-occupation of Ukraine through multiple infrastructures: martial, architectural, technological, ecological, aesthetic, socio-cultural, demographic, eugenic, legal, fiscal, cadastral.

This roundtable brings together a group of scholars, writers and practitioners in order to shed light on various ways in which russian coloniality – in Ukraine and beyond – is infrastructurally entrenched, but also resisted; on how infrastructure is used to enact processes of subjugation and occupation, as well as of liberation and de-occupation. What impacts do (specifically russian) colonial infrastructures exert on territories, populations and environments subjected to them (laid to waste, terraformed, de/re-populated, socially engineered, disfigured, “reconstructed”)? What is the specificity of russian infrastructures of occupation and subjugation (and resistance to them) when juxtaposed with contemporary comparators from Gaza to Artsakh and East Turkestan? Conversely, how can infrastructures of russian coloniality be resisted, dismantled and unsettled; and what can we learn from (contemporary and historical) processes of resistance, from Ukraine to the Caucasus, Central Asia and beyond? What infrastructural strategies might be concocted towards the longue-duree reconstruction (and de-colonisation) of territories, in and beyond Ukraine, occupied and laid to waste by russia? What can decolonial actors throughout the world learn from Ukraine’s layered, lived experience of self- and collective organisation in the realms of humanitarian work, defence, re-adaptation and reconstruction? How can wartime infrastructures of liberation animate the endurance and reconstitution of a de-occupied commons, in Ukraine and beyond?

Note: russia is written with a small “r” above to signal an activist stance towards the illegitimacy of the present-day russian federation as a political entity; and to mark the commitment of participants to the dismantlement of its infrastructures of violence and subjugation.

Papers by: Asia Bazdyrieva, Olexii Kuchanskyi, Michał Murawski, Evelina Gambino, David Chikhladze

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