5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

What Russia Really Wants

June 02, 2015 // 4:00pm — 5:00pm
Over the past 18 months, Russia’s relations with the EU and US have deteriorated under the cloud of Western Sanctions and Russian propaganda. Dmitry Polikanov will examine developments from Moscow’s perspective and to what extent Russia differentiates between the EU and US in its policy-making decisions. Polikanov will also identify possible areas of opportunity for improving relations.

The Second Baptism of Rus'?: The Return of Religion and the (Soviet) Origins of Russian Patriotism

June 01, 2015 // 3:30pm — 4:30pm
Despite the Soviet Union's commitment to atheism and secularization, religion remained a problem without a solution for most of the Soviet period--until, in 1988, it paradoxically returned to public life by invitation of the state itself. How did the regime's engagement with religion and atheism transform the Soviet Union's understanding of spiritual life? Dr. Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock will discuss how this Soviet legacy illuminates the ideological landscape of contemporary Russia.

Governing the Ungovernable: Frontier Rule along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border and Beyond

June 03, 2015 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
The Afghanistan-Pakistan border region is a large, ungoverned space and a constant source of instability. Both countries have long grappled with the question of how to rule this rugged frontier, which many regard as ungovernable. This talk examines the evolution of frontier rule in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, and how similar models of governance have been applied as far afield as Kenya, Nigeria, Argentina, and even the United States.

The Economic Significance of the Nuclear Deal for Iran

June 02, 2015 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
Experts agree that the signing of a comprehensive nuclear agreement and the consequent lifting of external sanctions will have a positive impact on the Iranian economy. However, the pace of sanctions relief as well as actual policies of the Iranian government will produce different results for the economic development in the country. In his presentation, Khajehpour will look at various scenarios to discuss the potential economic impact of a comprehensive nuclear deal on the Iranian economy as well as the medium-term impact of a growing Iranian economy on oil and gas markets as well as regional trade and investment.

Russia and the Middle East after Crimea

May 12, 2015 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
During Vladimir Putin's presidency, the Middle East has been a major zone of Russian foreign engagement. As tensions between the West and Russia have grown due to the conflict in Ukraine, the Middle East has emerged once again as a potential playing field for geopolitical competition. Paul du Quenoy discussed how Russia interacts with the people and nations of the Middle East, illuminating Vladimir Putin’s complex and often paradoxical approach to the region since his seizure of Crimea in 2014.

Russia's Thorn in Europe’s Side: Kaliningrad, NATO, and the EU

May 11, 2015 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
After Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the West’s introduction of economic sanctions, the Kaliningrad region has become a source of tension between Russia, NATO, and the EU. The region has staged tit-for-tat military displays by both Russia and neighboring EU and NATO members Poland and Lithuania. But while Russia is eager to project the image of Kaliningrad as a military stronghold and buffer against NATO expansionism, Kaliningrad’s real threat to European stability stems from its vulnerable exclave status and unclear economic relationship with the EU. This talk outlined the region's curious history, focusing on recent years when Kaliningrad has served both as a military outpost and a cultural bridge between Russia and Europe.

Developing Private Philanthropy in Russia

May 08, 2015 // 10:30am — 12:00pm
Private philanthropy is a relatively new area of activity in Russia. Russian corporate giving has grown since the early 1990s, with companies beginning to adopt charitable giving and social investment standards from their Western counterparts. More recently, private and family foundations have begun to appear, and middle class giving is also on the rise. Ruben Vardanyan discussed the trends and challenges of philanthropy in Russia; the role of private philanthropy; and infrastructure for the development of private philanthropy.

Public Opinion and the Peace Process in Colombia

May 04, 2015 // 12:30pm — 2:30pm
Researchers from Georgia State University have conducted an experimental national survey to measure public opinion regarding transitional justice and the legitimacy of a negotiated peace.

The British General Election – Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next Government

May 12, 2015 // 2:00pm — 3:00pm
It had been billed as one of the closest election races in modern British politics. What does the result mean for the United Kingdom? And for its relations with Europe and the wider world? Our experts examine the results and assess the domestic and foreign policy challenges facing the Tory government.

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