Special Session of the Commonwealth of Independent States

Dear Delegates,

I am extremely excited to welcome you to the Special Session of the Commonwealth of Independent States. My name is Nataliya Palinchak, and I am a sophomore at Harvard College. I will be studying Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Slavic Literatures and Language, and History throughout my time here. I was born in a small village in the outskirts of far western Ukraine and moved to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of five. Most of my interest in Eastern Europe comes from a complicated relationship with vacillating feelings of solidarity with the Ukrainian state and those of disheartenment with a country that refuses to acknowledge my ethnicity, Ruthenian. During the formative years of my adolescent life, the current crisis, in which Russia has annexed parts of Ukraine and is supporting rebels in the east, extremely influenced my interest in international relations. Because of this fascination with the post-Soviet space I have not only taken several courses on the historical and current interplay
between different groups in the region, but I am also a research volunteer for the Harvard Ukrainian Research
Institute as well as an independent researcher on the Russian Empire for one of my professors.

In high school, I studied Law and Society, which influenced my decision to pursue Model UN at Harvard. I was an Assistant Director for Substantive Support for HNMUN 2017, and it was one of the best experiences that I have had and influenced my decision to continue my involvement in MUN. In addition to directing at HNMUN, I will also be a Director for Innovations and Technology at HMUN 2018.

In this committee, we will explore the current Russo-Ukrainian conflict and plausible solutions to this nuanced issue. We will also explore different identities that have been systematically discriminated against and excluded from discourse.

I cannot wait to meet all of you and for you to share my passion for the politics of the post-Soviet sphere!

Nataliya Palinchak
Director, Special Session of the Commonwealth of Independent States
Harvard National Model United Nations 2018

Topic Area A: The Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

With new developments occurring on an hourly basis, the Russo-Ukrainian conflict is at an extremely volatile stage. This topic will reflect the current situation in Crimea and the Donbas region. Currently, Russia has annexed the Crimea, and there is overwhelming evidence that it has abetted the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine. Furthermore, there are rising suspicions of Russian attempts to invade other nations.

Our committee will explore this historically sensitive issue and how war may be avoided. We will explore power dynamics within the post-Soviet space and how they may be reversed or challenged. Our focus will expand beyond Russia and Ukraine to give voice to nations that are often excluded from or forgotten in discourse.

Topic Area B: Peripheral Identities

In light of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, another problem has arisen: the justification of marginalization of minorities for the purpose of bolstering nationalism within the newly formed post-Soviet nations. Minorities are only considered significant by governments when they can be used for politically strategic purposes to leverage larger political goals, which does not result in any real or substantial improvements.

We will discuss the marginalization of numerous minorities, including transgender people, the Roma, migrant workers, and Afro-Slavs. I hope to see cooperation to create realistic policy. A large range of solutions are needed to protect minorities, to suppress the recent upsurge of hate groups, and to create an inclusive environment for all groups.