By showing how a number of temporal assumptions shape three mutually exclusive narratives, the article argues for a mediated and reflexive understanding of events, one that is more open and less likely to fall into the pitfalls of a confrontation between different versions of retrospective responsibility. The article begins by looking beyond the agency and structure debate and into the temporal dimension of narrative, mainly for the sake of understanding the relationship between continuity and change. The article covers three potential narratives, focusing on their influence on the study of events, policy, and retrospective responsibility. It then illustrates their impact on mainstream understandings of the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. Upon describing the problems of positing strict continuity and change, both of which impact accounts of retrospective responsibility, the outline of a more reflexive, mediated approach to events and temporality is introduced, based on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics. In doing so, the article demonstrates the disadvantages of Erlebnis, an approach that unreflexively applies a limited set of temporal assumptions, highlighting instead the advantages of Erfahrung, an approach that strives for a mediated understanding of events.