Universities often act as legacy institutions, cherishing their achievements and impacts. However, universities are also institutions that shape the future. Their professors, students, and alumni construct national identities and cultures, as well as spearhead and lead societal
transformations. In times of conflicts and wars, these contributions are of the greatest consequence. In the battle with the Russian fascism over the last eight years, and with the Russian imperialism over the last few centuries, the Ukrainian universities have developed a paradigm of unprecedented resilience and resistance. These qualities, and the universities’ transformational strategies, are now being put to the ultimate test, as Russia conducts a brutal war, killing thousands of civilians and demolishing cities – levelling university campuses, schools, museums and hospitals. In this presentation, two scholars from Ukraine, Serhiy Kvit and Anatoly Oleksiyenko, share findings from their recent research, which indicate that universities still build a hopeful future, notwithstanding ongoing devastation, atrocities, and genocidal hatred being inflicted on Ukraine by the Russian subaltern empire. The study also examines how the totalitarian legacy in Ukraine has been undergoing deconstruction over the previous decades, and how this contributes to the academic transformations that have been paving the way for a democratic future underpinned by a vital civil society.