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.

Turkey: Parliamentary Elections and their Aftermath

June 09, 2015 // 9:30am — 11:00am
The June 7 Turkish elections are shaping up to be one of the most contested, if not critical, of recent times. At stake is whether the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will succeed in achieving the majority it needs to initiate a process to change the constitution and transform the country into a presidential system. Participants will discuss the election results and consider how these will affect Turkish domestic and foreign policy in the months to come.

Sarajevo Roses, Tahrir Protests & Djerbahood: Injustice, Youth & Resilience

June 03, 2015 // 10:00am — 11:00am
In the Balkans, local youth, unsatisfied by attempts to deal with post-conflict and post-authoritarian injustice, launched their own forms of activism. Arnaud Kurze will discuss why and how, despite repressive politics, youth were able to create alternative spaces to express their political voice.

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

June 29, 2015 // 10:00am — 11:30am
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?

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.

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