Events

Finding Its Way to the West? Ukraine and Its Challenges

June 30, 2015 // 11:00am12:00pm
The Maidan revolution was launched to ensure that Ukraine could make its European choice. Political rhetoric aside, what are Ukraine’s true prospects for success and how much assistance is the West really prepared to offer? In discussing these issues, the panelists offered their impressions from recent visits to Ukraine and on-going discussions with leading European policymakers.
Webcast

Can Russian-Western Cooperation in the Arctic Survive the Current Conflict?

June 29, 2015 // 10:00am11:30am
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine affects the prospects for peace and general cooperation in the region and far beyond. One such area to consider is what impact the conflict will have on the future of the Arctic. Is there an agenda and, if so, the necessary political will for continued Russia-West cooperation in this theatre? What would such cooperation look like and what are the consequences if it fails to materialize?

Book Talk: Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical Futures

June 24, 2015 // 10:00am11:00am
In their new book, Stacy Closson and Evan Hillebrand forecast the most significant drivers of global economic growth over the next forty years. The authors discuss eight scenarios they have modeled of possible global futures, emphasizing the interconnectedness of energy prices, economic growth, and geopolitics.

Russia's Monotowns and the Politics of Labor in a Challenging Economic Climate

June 18, 2015 // 3:30pm4:30pm
During the 2008-2009 economic crisis, Russia’s monotowns — one-industry towns left from the Soviet era — gained widespread attention as potential sources of social protest and unrest. Will such worries resurface under the current economic conditions?

Book Talk: Alexis in America: A Russian Grand Duke’s Tour, 1871-72

June 15, 2015 // 11:00am12:00pm
Dr. Lee A. Farrow gave an overview of her book, Alexis in America: A Russian Grand Duke’s Tour, 1871-72, which recounts the duke’s progress through the major American cities of the period, detailing his meetings with public figures and describing the national self-reflection that his presence spurred in the American people.
Webcast

Leitmotiv in Russian Novels of the 19th and 20th Centuries

June 11, 2015 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Very few readers notice that the general plot structure of three of the greatest Russian novels of the 20th century – Doctor Zhivago, And Quiet Flows the Don, and Lolita – is the same, because the authors have unwittingly described the same situation. Each story features main heroines, symbolizing Russia, who are defiled by their fathers (or step-fathers) and then run away with lovers and bear dead children. Incest becomes a metaphor of power that depraves the country through criminal methods of governing. In Nabokov's case, the topic of defilement and forbidden passion is always connected with the threat of prison (Invitation to a Beheading, Bend Sinister, preface to Lolita, and Lolita itself: in attempting to become free from obsessive desire, the hero falls deeper and deeper into an abyss of dependence and fear. It is the best metaphor for the 1917 revolution which only deteriorated the conditions of Russian life). Meanwhile, the main hero hopes that the fulfillment of sinful wish would cure him, but it is a great delusion both in moral and social terms. This plot line first appeared in Tolstoy's novel, The Resurrection, which in essence predicted Russian history for more than 100 years.

What Russia Really Wants

June 02, 2015 // 4:00pm5:00pm
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 examined developments from Moscow’s perspective and to what extent Russia differentiates between the EU and US in its policy-making decisions. Polikanov also identified possible areas of opportunity for improving relations.
Webcast

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

June 01, 2015 // 3:30pm4:30pm
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.

Russia and the Middle East after Crimea

May 12, 2015 // 11:00am12:00pm
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.
Webcast

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

May 11, 2015 // 11:00am12:00pm
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.

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