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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Prof Rory Finnin

Rory Finnin
Professor of Ukrainian Studies
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Rory Finnin is Professor of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Cambridge. He launched Cambridge Ukrainian Studies in 2008. He is former Head of the Department of Slavonic Studies (2014-18) and former Chair of the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES) (2011-18). 

Finnin received his PhD (with distinction) in Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He also holds Certificates from the Harriman Institute and from the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ukraine 1995-97) and a native of Cleveland, Ohio.

Finnin is also convener (with Sander van der Linden in Social Psychology) of the University's Disinformation and Media Literacy Special Interest Group, a community of scholars and practitioners committed to advancing creative interventions against disinformation and ‘fake news’. The DML SIG is part of Cambridge's Trust and Technology Strategic Research Initiative

In 2015 Finnin won a Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecturer from the Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU), the representative body for all students at the University.

Research interests: 

Rory Finnin's primary research interest is the interplay of literature and national identity in Ukraine. He also studies Soviet Russian dissident literature, Turkish nationalist literature, and Crimean Tatar literature. His broader interests include solidarity studies, nationalism theory, human rights discourse, and problems of cultural memory in the region of the Black Sea. 

Prof Finnin has supervised an award-winning cohort of postgraduate students. He welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests in the culture and society of Ukraine.

Published works: 

Selected publications:

  • Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity, University of Toronto Press (April 2022)
    • 2023 Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies
    • 2023 Omeljan Pritsak Book Prize in Ukrainian Studies
    • 2023 University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies
    • 2023 American Association for Ukrainian Studies Best Book Prize
    • 2023 Raphael Lemkin Book Award Finalist
  • 'Beyond "Narrating the Nation": Cultural Producers and Multilingualism in Wartime Ukraine', with Ivan Kozachenko, Multilingualism and Identity: Interdisciplinary Approaches, ed. Wendy Ayres-Bennett and Linda Fisher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022)
  • 'Introduction: Ukraine's Multilingualism', with Ivan Kozachenko, Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society 6:1 (2020)
  • '"A Bridge Between Us": Literature in the Ukrainian - Crimean Tatar Encounter', Comparative Literature Studies 56.2 (July 2019) 
  • 'Captive Turks: Crimean Tatars in Pan-Turkist Literature', Middle Eastern Studies 50.2 (Spring 2014)
  • Remembering Katyn, co-authored with Alexander Etkind, Uillieam Blacker, Julie Fedor, Simon Lewis, Maria Mälksoo and Matilda Mroz, Polity Press (2012)
  • 'The Poetics of Home: Crimean Tatars in Nineteenth-Century Russian and Turkish Literatures', Comparative Literature Studies 49.1 (January 2012)
  • 'Forgetting Nothing, Forgetting No One: Boris Chichibabin, Viktor Nekipelov, and the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars', Modern Language Review 106.4 (September 2011)
  • 'Nationalism and the Lyric; or, How Taras Shevchenko Speaks to Compatriots Dead, Living, and Unborn', Slavonic and East European Review 89: 1 (January 2011)
  • 'Silence and Extinction in Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors', Slavic and East European Performance 28.1 (Winter 2008) 

  • 'Attendants to the Duel: Classical Intertexts in Desportes's "Adieu a la Pologne" and Kochanowski's "Gallo Crocitanti"', Comparative Literature Studies 44.4 (Winter 2007)
  • 'Mountains, Masks, Metre, Meaning: Taras Shevchenko's Kavkaz,' Slavonic and East European Review 83:3 (July 2005) 

  • 'Prelude to a Revolution: Reflections on Observing the 2004 Presidential Elections in Ukraine', with Adriana Helbig, Harriman Review 15:2-3 (May 2005). Reprinted in Aspects of the Orange Revolution, ed. Ingmar Bredies et al., vol. 4 (Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2007)

Selected commentary:

  • 'Why Crimea Is the Key to Peace in Ukraine', Politico (January 2023). Story about the op-ed in BBC Ukrainian.
  • 'Ukraine Is a Homeland of Homelands', The Atlantic (May 2022)
  • 'We Need to Stop Appeasing Putin -- with Our Words', with Thomas D. Grant, The Conversation (April 2022). In Dutch translation: 'Het Westen moet zeggen waar het op staat: Rusland is de agressor', MO*
  • 'Don't Look Away', with Jon Roozenbeek, Politico (March 2022). In Polish translation: 'Prawdziwy cel kremlowskiej dezinformacji nie jest taki, jak myślisz,'
  • 'How the West Gets Ukraine Wrong', Politico (February 2022). In Ukrainian translation: 'Захід хибно розуміє Україну і цим допомагає Путіну', In Russian translation, 'Запад неправильно понимает Украину и этим помогает Путину', In Turkish translation: 'Batı'nın Ukrayna'ya dair yanlış algıları ve yakın tarih', Mepa News
  • 'Handmaidens of Disinformation', Technology, Humanity, Society, Democracy (2020)
  • 'Krimnesia', Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Magazin #2020 (2020)
  • 'A Revolution of Languages, One Hundred Years On', Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (March 2018)
  • 'Reality Check: Ukraine's Multilingualism', Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (January 2017)
  • 'Don't Call It a Civil War: Ukraine's Conflict Is an Act of Russian Aggression', with Thomas D. Grant, The Conversation (August 2015). In Russian translation: 'Не называйте конфликт в Украине гражданской войной', Новое время (26 August 2015)
  • 'Fighting "Crimnesia": The Question of Crimea in the Russia-Ukraine War', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (April 2015). In Ukrainian translation: 'Поборюючи “кримнезію”: постійне питання Криму в російсько-українській війні', (April 2015). Also in Ukrainian as 'Не про Україну...', Всесвіт 5-6 (2015), pp. 225-27
  • 'Ukrainian Studies in Europe: New Possibilities', Journal of Ukrainian Politics and Society (April 2015)
  • 'Navigating the "Arm Ukraine" Debate', Huffington Post (February 2015)
  • 'After Russia's Annexation of Crimea, a Nation under Siege', Huffington Post (September 2014)
  • 'The Crimean Tatar Sürgün: Past and Present', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (May 2014). In Turkish translation: 'Kırım Tatar Sürgünu: Geçmis ve Bügün', Emel 246 (December 2014)
  • 'A Divided Ukraine: Europe's Most Dangerous Idea', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (March 2014)
  • 'Ukrainians: Expect-the-Unexpected Nation', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (December 2013). In Ukrainian translation: 'Українці: сподівано-несподівана нація', (December 2013). In Russian translation: 'Украинцы: ожидаемо-неожиданная нация', (January 2014)
  • 'The Rebels and Risk-Takers of Ukrainian Literature', Huffington Post (November 2012)
  • 'Understanding Katyn', Huffington Post (September 2012)
  • 'Ukraine: Europe's Terra Malecognita', Huffington Post (July 2012)