Langues et discours face à la guerre russe en Ukraine
  • Research

Languages of War under the Russian war in Ukraine

The workshop will be dedicated to the new and old languages, forms of talk and discursive patterns that have become clear markers of the public and private lives, of the intellectual and artistic debate since the military invasion in Ukraine, and of the regime transformation in Russia.

  • From June 26th to June 27th

  • 09:00 - 18:30
  • Colloque
  • Institut d’études slaves, Salle des conférences. To register, send an email.

A year has passed since the Russian War in Ukraine broke out. It has brought violence to the Ukrainian people and sociopolitical divisions to Russian society. Neighboring countries such as Belarus have been affected by the conflict, and the relationships between the people living in these countries have greatly suffered from it, causing deep rifts within these societies and leading to a massive exodus. The Ukrainians are fleeing the threat of fightings and bombings and the Russians are fleeing political repression and mobilization. The Belarusian exodus, which originated from the protests against the 2020 regime, has been on the increase since the beginning of the war. The war and its recent and future effects are perceived by many as a deep historic shift and a catastrophe.  

The language used by politicians, refracted and disseminated by the media, reveals the ideological processes at work. Some of them originated in the past and have been reinforced over the past years, while others have emerged thick and fast since 24 February 2022.

This workshop is an attempt to trace the ways in which war and its realities are described on the local and international levels, and to understand the role language plays in the ideological apparatus. The way in which the international community, the citizens and the institutions take up these words and discourses, load them with their own meaning, spread and misuse as well as oppose them, is an additional focus of our reflection. 

This workshop invites research on a wide scope of linguistic and discursive phenomena of political and civil life of state violence, invasion and occupation, political oppression and repression. It includes an experience of "cultural dumbness" as well as emotional social media battles, the particular tendencies of language use - emotional talk, language of obscenities (especially "mat"), professional legal language, professional psychological language, as well as the discourse of military expertise.

These new languages and silences are reflected in the literature and arts, and in the media communication of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. They either inspire or support the patriotic impulse, or articulate criticism and protest, while they put thoughts, images, and feelings experienced in extreme crisis, into words.

The full programme can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

Organizing committee

  • Bella Ostromooukhova, lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sorbonne University, department of Applied Languages, member of the research unit Eur’Orbem
  • Sarah Gruszka, researcher at the research unit Eur’Orbem and at the Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (CERCEC) (Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS))

Guest speakers

  • Alexandra Yatsyk (Université de Lille, University of Tartu, Estonia)
  • Sergei Fediunin (École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Centre d’études sociologiques et politiques Raymond Aron)
  • Gasan Gusejnov (Free University / Brīvā Universitāte, Lettonie)
  • Alexei Lalo (North Carolina State University)
  • Thierry Ruchot (Université de Caen)
  • Olga Tarabanova (Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3)
  • Julia Lerner (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israël)
  • Anna Novikova (independent researcher) 
  • Salomé Peigney (Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas)
  • Peter Chekin (Université Gustave Eiffel)
  • Elena Rodina (independent researcher) 
  • Ekaterina Rozova (Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sorbonne University, visiting researcher)
  • Tanya Voinova (Bar Ilan University, Israël, Institute for Immigration and Social Integration, Ruppin Academic Center)
  • Nadija Korytnikova (V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University)
  • Zhanna Kormina (École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE))
  • Lioudmila Harmash (Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sorbonne University, visiting researcher)
  • Antoine Nicolle (Inalco) 


This workshop is organized in collaboration with the research project RUS-OP 2022 ("Russian citizens facing the war in Ukraine: dynamics of commitments, identities and emotions"), the Maison des sciences de l’Homme (MSH), the Institut des hautes études du ministère de l'Intérieur (IHEMI),  the Centre nationale de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Centre d’études franco-russes (CEFR)

Location of the event

Institut d’études slaves
Salle des conférences

9 rue Michelet - 75006 Paris

Institut d’études slaves
6, rue Michelet 75006 Paris

Eur'Orbem (UMR 8224)

L’unité mixte de recherche Eur'Orbem, placée sous la double tutelle de la Faculté des Lettres de Sorbonne Université et du CNRS, se consacre aux cultures et sociétés d’Europe orientale, balkanique et médiane.

Elle se définit comme un centre de recherche fondamentale et d’information à diffusion large sur les cultures et expressions des pays d’Europe centrale, orientale et balkanique (histoire, histoire culturelle, littératures, arts et civilisations), et dans le champ des études aréales.

Ses quatre axes de recherche sont :

  • Modernisations, normes, quêtes identitaires,
  • Arts, images, transculturalité, intermédialitées,
  • Histoire, mémoire, conflits,
  • La slavistique dans l’histoire des études aréales.