Russian Colonialism 101


Ianthe Mosselman
Ianthe Mosselman
Yoeri Albrecht
Yoeri Albrecht

Ukraine-born journalist and author Maksym Eristavi has been raising global awareness about the legacy of Russian colonialism for over a decade. His main message: most Russian invasions throughout history are not isolated events but follow a pattern of serial colonial behavior.

Together with Ukrainian wartime artists, Eristavi has recently published Russian Colonialism 101, an illustrated guide to Russian colonial invasions. During this Freedom Lecture, De Balie director Yoeri Albrecht will talk with Maksym Eristavi and Nikita Kravtsov, one of the contributing artists to the guidebook, about the nature and patterns of Russian imperial culture.

Images by Nikita Kravtsov and Sergiy Maidukov

About Maksym Eristavi

Maksym Eristavi is a Ukrainian journalist, writer, and author of Russian Colonialism 101, an illustrated guide to Russian colonial crimes. Eristavi has a two-decade journalism career behind his back that included championing mainstream English-language coverage of Eastern Europe by indigenous voices. He went from covering both Ukrainian pro-democratic revolutions, being the country’s youngest news anchor and newsroom manager to founding international operations at the leading news startup covering Eastern Europe, and becoming a contributor to leading global outlets, such as RFERL, BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Politico and the Washington Post. He is the founder of Volya Hub, the first storytelling hub expanding public awareness about Russian colonialism, and a co-founder of Ukrainian Spaces, a multimedia hub that amplifies Ukrainian voices and decolonizes global Ukraine conversations. Eristavi is an advocate for queer representation and queer rights in Eastern Europe.

About Nikita Kravtsov

Nikita Kravtsov is a Ukrainian artist born in Yalta in 1988. He graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture of Kyiv in 2010. Lives and works in Paris. Since 2015, he collaborates with his partner Camille Sagnes under the name TheTooth&TheRoot. The duo has conceived numerous exhibitions in France and abroad. Their videos, installations, paintings and embroideries constantly underline the fateful nonsense that our society seems to be heading towards. Very active since the beginning of the russian war against Ukraine, Nikita Kravtsov regularly intervenes in the street to raise public opinion through frescoes, stencils, wild posting and other creative means.

The Freedom Lecture

Freedom is something that we in the Netherlands often take for granted. Four times a year, De Balie invites someone who knows from personal experience what it means not to be free. We want to share their stories, spread their message, and learn from their struggle. In the series, De Balie has welcomed freedom fighters like Egyptian writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi, Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha, and Hungarian journalist Veronika Munk. The Freedom Lecture is made possible by vfonds.

About the publication

Russian Colonialism 101 was published by the Ukrainian publisher ist publishing, which specializes in books on art and contemporary cultural practices. The first publication was supported by MOCA NGO and the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund in collaboration with the Sigrid Rausing Trust. Some illustrations created during the illustrative workshop in Kyiv in 2022 for the Russian Colonialism 101 book have been donated to the Ukrainian Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA).


Maksym Eristavi journalist, writer, and author
Nikita Kravtsovjournalist, writer, and author