Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


SAVA: From Energetic Colonialism to Nuclear Terrorism

14 March 2024, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Image of landscape of nuclear plants.

Svitlana Matviyenko (Simon Fraser University) and Oleksiy Radynski (SAVA UCL) in conversation on the militarization of nuclear infrastructures.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Reuben Fowkes


IAS Forum
G17, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower St, London
United Kingdom

In the early stages of Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Russian troops had occupied the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (Europe's largest), which remains Russia-occupied to this day. This marks a new development not only in terms of ways of war (never had a nuclear facility of this kind been occupied by an invading army before), but also in decades-long colonial tactic of weaponising energy resources - first by the USSR, then by the Russian Federation. This development also posits nuclear terror as an element of information warfare, with radiation as a global mass medium (Svitlana Matviyenko). This talk is based on our joint experience of travelling to and researching the Chornobyl Zone of Exclusion both before the Russian occupation and in its aftermath, and will include evidence collected during the documentation of this war crime (Chornobyl 22 documentary by Oleksiy Radynski).

The Socialist Anthropocene in the Visual Arts (SAVA) is a visual arts led interdisciplinary research project that challenges the West-centric discourses of the Anthropocene by asserting the constitutive role of the environmental histories of Socialism in the formation of the new geological age. Led by Dr. Maja Fowkes at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, the project was selected for a Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) and is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). www.sava.earth

About the Speakers

Oleksiy Radynski

Creative Fellow at SAVA UCL

Oleksiy Radynski is a filmmaker based in Kyiv and SAVA Creative Fellow at the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies. His films have been screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, DOK Leipzig, Kurzfilmtage Winterthur and other festivals, and received awards at Docudays UA, Molodist IFF, and the Kyiv International Short Film Festival. Selected Filmography: Infinity According to Florian (2022), Circulation (2020), Facade Colour: Blue (2019), The Film of Kyiv. Episode One (2017), Landslide (2016), People Who Came to Power (2015), Integration (2014), Incident at the Museum (2013).

Svitlana Matviyenko

Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University

Svitlana Matviyenko is an Associate Professor of Critical Media Analysis in the School of Communication and Associate Director of the Digital Democracies Institute at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Her research and teaching, informed by science & technology studies and history of science, are focused on information and cyberwar, media and environment, critical infrastructure studies and postcolonial theory. Matviyenko’s current work on nuclear cultures & heritage investigates the practices of nuclear terror, weaponization of pollution and technogenic catastrophes during the Russian war in Ukraine. Matviyenko is a co-editor of two collections, The Imaginary App (MIT Press, 2014) and Lacan and the Posthuman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She is a co-author of Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2019), a winner of the 2019 book award of the Science Technology and Art in International Relations (STAIR) section of the International Studies Association and of the Canadian Communication Association 2020 Gertrude J. Robinson book prize.