News Flash

Town News and Updates

Posted on: March 11, 2022

Former Ambassador, Russia Expert Enlightens Middletown High Students About Ukraine, War

Retired US Ambassador and Middletown resident George Krol gives students and staff at Middletown High a close look at the war in Ukraine Friday.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 842-6543 or msheley@middletownri.com

 


DSC03419

 

FORMER AMBASSADOR, RUSSIA EXPERT ENLIGHTENS 

MIDDLETOWN HIGH STUDENTS ABOUT UKRAINE, WAR

 

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (MARCH 11, 2022) – Middletown High students got a behind-the-scenes look Friday morning into the Ukraine war.


Retired U.S. Ambassador and Middletown resident George Krol took the crowd of more than 200 people on a ride through the history and latest developments in the battle-torn nation during a presentation from the school’s cafeteria.


Krol said unfortunately, what was happening in Ukraine shouldn’t come as a major surprise, especially in light of the country’s background as the center of so much strife in the past. During World War II, the Napoleonic Wars and even further back, Krol said the Ukraine region has seen it all.


But despite those conflicts, Krol said the 40 million people of Ukraine are an exceedingly strong, proud group that would resist Russian advances down to their last person.


“Ukrainians, they have developed this sense of unity that ‘We have a right to live and exist,’” Krol told the audience. “‘As long as we are alive, as long as there’s breath in our body and there are people who can speak Ukrainian, we will always live, no matter what happens politically and the like.’ There is a sense of great strength. When I was in the Ukraine, I would see this and it was something to behold, how people who have lived through all of this still have this hope in themselves despite when it seems all the odds against them.”


And despite the near constant global media attention on the invasion of Ukraine since Feb. 24, Krol said Russia is limiting the access of information to their own people. For example, Krol said in Russia, if the media describes the invasion as a “war,” journalists and even those with personal social media accounts risk jail time and a heavy fine.


“They don’t have a free press and journalism where people can listen to all different views and they’re respected,” Krol said. “It shows you how important it is to have a free press and the freedom to express yourself because unfortunately, including these recent days, the government of Russia has basically driven out independent media and simply provides what its story is to the people.”


Krol retired from the U.S. State Department in 2018 after 36 years as a decorated senior career Foreign Service Officer.


In that time, Krol served as the United States ambassador to Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan as well as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asian Affairs.


According to his resume, Krol spent most of his professional career working in and dealing with countries of the former Soviet Union. That included time in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia; Kyiv, Ukraine; Belarus and the Central Asian republics. He also served in Poland and India. 


Krol was the Director of the State Department’s Office of Russian Affairs and Special Assistant to the Ambassador-at-large for the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union as well as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.


Today, Krol teaches as an Adjunct Professor at the U.S. Naval War College, lectures at Salve Regina’s Circle of Scholars and is an Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and is a member of the Smithsonian Institute’s Wilson Center for Public Policy. He is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities.


High School Principal Jeff Heath said Krol’s presentation was a sought after ticket among students and staff at the school. Almost from the moment the date was announced, Heath said students were emailing and asking for permission to attend, even if it meant missing their regularly scheduled class during B period.


“This is an amazing opportunity for our students — and our staff,” Heath said. “Where else but Middletown could we be exposed to something like this, where a former ambassador comes to speak directly to us about what’s happening in the Ukraine and answers our  questions? It’s just another example of all the outstanding work that happens right here in our Town.”


English teacher Chris Richards agreed. Richards helped to bring Krol to the school and line up the presentation.


“Look at this, it’s incredible,” Richards said as Krol spoke to the crowd without notes, using a computer slideshow. “Unless you’re someone who is high ranking in our government or walking in those circles, you’d never hear the candor and analysis we’re getting here today.”


Seniors Callie Brown and Andrea Halpin said they were amazed to hear Krol lived in Middletown, especially with such a distinguished and varied career. Each said when they heard about the presentation, they knew they wanted to be in attendance.


“I really like the way he’s explaining everything to us in an easy to understand manner,” said Callie, who’s looking at the medical field after college. “There are so many different people in this area and what’s happening makes a lot more sense now."


“In today’s world, it’s really important to stay current,” said Andrea, who’s considering a career in finance after college. “If you look at what’s happening around the world, it’s changing on a daily basis and to hear what (Krol) has to say is so informative.”


DSC03456


At the end of his presentation, Krol opened the floor for questions. The first from a student was likely what everyone in attendance was wondering — What would it take for the United States to enter the war with boots on the ground?


“This isn’t World War II anymore because we have nuclear weapons, very, very disruptive weapons that were created the end of World War II, that have only been used once, against Japan by the United States with horrific results,” Krol said. “Those weapons have only gotten more deadly. This is one of the true dilemmas. The feeling is ‘Why don’t we just go in and fight the Russians and stand up for the Ukrainians?’ But, with the Russian leadership, they’ve already threatened if that were to happen, they would look at using nuclear weapons and nobody wins in a nuclear attack.”


As for why more Russians haven’t stood up to challenge Putin and his regime’s pursuit of a clearly unjust war, Krol said there were a couple reasons.  One was because the country is so brutal and resistant to anything but the party line, it’s extremely difficult for such resistance to take hold.


Also, he said based on what he and others know about Russians society, media and schools, many might not know any better.


“Facts and history are used to try to change people’s minds and force them into thinking in ways about their neighbors that don’t really have a basis in fact because nobody is really looking for facts when it’s being shaded,” Krol said. “If you look at the history books of what they’re taught in Russian schools now, it’s pretty horrific. The way it interprets these things and this effort to try to inculcate that in the minds of people is extremely dangerous. It’s the why having an open and free education like you have to get different points of view and to be taught tolerance of other points of view is so important.”


####


Document Link: https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/4110/nycu-krol


DSC03191

Additional Info...
Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Town News and Updates

VIN-2

VIN Checks Update

Posted on: May 13, 2022
Dog Walking-2

Beach Dog Walking Reminder

Posted on: May 13, 2022
2022 host family

Host Families Needed

Posted on: May 13, 2022
Hallway-2

Visit The Hallway Of History

Posted on: May 17, 2022
DSC09431

Ready For The "Real World"

Posted on: May 16, 2022
DSC03360

Beach Parking Stickers Available

Posted on: May 10, 2022
Middletown Helps-5

Middletown Is Here To Help

Posted on: May 11, 2022
Get Boosted-7

Boost Up Against COVID-19

Posted on: May 11, 2022
On WINDY DAYS-2

Help Limit Messes On Trash Day

Posted on: May 9, 2022
DSC08416

"Where Am I?" Answer -- May 2022

Posted on: May 6, 2022
DSC09164

Financials Pointing Up

Posted on: May 9, 2022
When Driving Around Town-2

Slow Down Stay Safe

Posted on: May 10, 2022
DSC08989

Revised Budget Schedule Released

Posted on: May 3, 2022
Recycle Right-12

Recycle Right!

Posted on: May 5, 2022
DSC08416

Where Am I? -- May 2022

Posted on: May 4, 2022
Screen Shot 2022-05-02 at 11.46.12 AM

Fire Is Dark!

Posted on: May 9, 2022
Screen Shot 2022-05-02 at 11.43.17 AM

Fire Is Hot!

Posted on: May 4, 2022
IMG_0635

College Fair A Huge Success

Posted on: May 2, 2022
Scam-2

Scam Alert From Middletown Police

Posted on: April 29, 2022
Help-4

You're Never Alone

Posted on: May 3, 2022
STR Solutions-2

Short-Term Rental Solutions

Posted on: May 2, 2022
Town Council-6

Town Council Regular Meeting, May 2

Posted on: April 28, 2022
Get Boosted-5

Get Boosted

Posted on: April 28, 2022
May 2-2

May 2 Is Right Around The Corner

Posted on: April 27, 2022
Screen Shot 2022-04-26 at 10.08.55 AM

Have A Safety Plan

Posted on: April 27, 2022
IMG_7973

Live Fire Training

Posted on: April 26, 2022
keep-rhody-litter-free-2022

Litter-Free Rhody

Posted on: April 26, 2022
Making Middletown Look Good-3

"Making Middletown Marvelous"

Posted on: April 25, 2022
Dog License-7

Remember Your Dog's License

Posted on: April 25, 2022
Help-2

Help Is Here

Posted on: April 21, 2022
Mosquitos-2

Clean Up Dead Leaves

Posted on: April 20, 2022
Recycle Right-10

Recycle Right

Posted on: April 19, 2022
Jobs-2

Summer Beach Jobs Available

Posted on: April 18, 2022
DSC08078

Conflict Solved

Posted on: April 19, 2022
Aquidneck Island Earth Week Activities-2

Aquidneck Island Earth Week

Posted on: April 15, 2022
Looking For A Fun Summer Job Helping People-4

Public Safety Interns Sought

Posted on: April 14, 2022
Town Council-4

Town Council Meeting On April 18

Posted on: April 15, 2022
Image 4-12-22 at 1.32 PM

Senior Center Helps Out Again

Posted on: April 12, 2022
IMG_6994

Accident Takes Out Pole, Wires

Posted on: April 12, 2022

Have Your Say

Posted on: April 14, 2022
DSC06847

Unified Basketball Makes Memories

Posted on: April 11, 2022
Time Is Running Out-2

May 2 Is Almost Here

Posted on: April 8, 2022
Dog On The Beach-3

Dogs On The Beach?

Posted on: April 5, 2022
Dont Speed-3

Slow & Steady Wins The Race

Posted on: April 7, 2022
Screen Shot 2022-04-04 at 11.30.55 AM

Reduce Your Chances Of An Accident

Posted on: April 5, 2022

Social Media Policy

Posted on: April 4, 2022
DSC05214

"Where Am I?" Answer -- April 2022

Posted on: April 4, 2022
Town Council-3

Town Council Regular Meeting April 4

Posted on: April 1, 2022
STR-3

Register Your Short-Term Rental

Posted on: March 31, 2022
Recycle Right-8

"Recycle Right"

Posted on: March 31, 2022
DSC05214

Where Am I? -- April 2022

Posted on: April 1, 2022
safety_tips_dryer_fire_safety_spanish.506x253

Seguridad primero

Posted on: March 28, 2022
northernleopardfrog2

Northern Leopard Frog Survey Planned

Posted on: March 24, 2022
safety_tips_interconnected_smoke_alarms_spanish.506x253

Seguridad de alarmas de humo

Posted on: March 25, 2022
Screen Shot 2022-03-23 at 11.24.27 AM

Smoke Alarm Safety

Posted on: March 25, 2022
Rain-3

Keep Storm Drains Clear

Posted on: March 23, 2022
2022 Rain Barrel Graphics-02

Make Your Own Rain Barrel

Posted on: March 23, 2022
Dog License-3

Don't Forget To License Your Dog

Posted on: March 22, 2022
New RIPTA Bus Route-2

RIPTA New Route Meeting Tonight At 6

Posted on: March 16, 2022
card-electricity-in-your-home1.1200x600 2

Never Mess With Electricity

Posted on: March 16, 2022
Recycle Right-3

Recycle Right

Posted on: March 15, 2022
ROAD-2

Pay Attention To The Road

Posted on: March 14, 2022
Screen Shot 2022-03-09 at 1.19.53 PM

Your Kids Are Paying Attention

Posted on: March 11, 2022
COVID-2

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Posted on: March 9, 2022
Beach-2

Beach Jobs Available

Posted on: March 8, 2022
DSC03144

"Where Am I?" Answer - March 2022

Posted on: March 7, 2022
Unknown

Painting Middletown Purple

Posted on: March 3, 2022
safety_tips_smoke_alarm_each_floor_spanish.506x253

Los detectores de humo salvan vidas

Posted on: March 3, 2022
safety_tips_smoke_alarm_each_floor.506x253

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Posted on: March 3, 2022
DSC02967

Where Am I? -- March 2022

Posted on: March 3, 2022
Recycle Right-2

Recycle Right

Posted on: March 3, 2022
GEA

NOTICE - Green End Avenue Road Work

Posted on: February 28, 2022
Library Closed

Library Closed

Posted on: February 25, 2022
DSC01646

Potential Flood Insurance Savings

Posted on: February 28, 2022
Hydrant

Don't Forget The Hydrant

Posted on: February 24, 2022
Free COVID-19-2

Free COVID-19 Tests

Posted on: February 24, 2022
CodeRED

Stay Up To Day With Middletown Emergencies

Posted on: February 24, 2022
Shovel

Remember To Shovel

Posted on: February 24, 2022
Carry Out What You Carry In

Carry Out What You Carry In

Posted on: March 2, 2022
COVID-19 Testing Here

COVID-19 Testing Here

Posted on: February 25, 2022
Storm Weather Updates

Local Storm & Weather Updates Here

Posted on: February 24, 2022
Problem Pothole-2

Pothole Problem?

Posted on: February 28, 2022
Looking To Turn Things Around

Solutions Here

Posted on: February 24, 2022
Clean Up

Clean Up After Your Pet

Posted on: February 24, 2022
Tiered Tax

Tiered Residential Tax Program Now Live

Posted on: February 22, 2022
SD

Storm Drains 101

Posted on: February 23, 2022
Looking For A Change

Middletown Is Hiring

Posted on: February 22, 2022
Downed Limb Flooding-2

Get Assistance At Middletown Helps

Posted on: February 18, 2022
ri-rebound-1080X1080_3

Rhode Island Is On The Rebound

Posted on: February 21, 2022
Get Vaccinated-2

Never Too Late To Vaccinate

Posted on: October 12, 2021
Windmill in Field

Create an Account

Posted on: November 22, 2016

Stay connected!

Posted on: November 22, 2016

Keep in Touch

Posted on: November 22, 2016

Website Personalization Now Available!

Posted on: November 22, 2016
File Town Work Requests

Town Work Request Done Easy

Posted on: February 24, 2022