Dr. Robert Hamilton, a retired U.S. Army colonel who’s spent much of his 30-plus-year career studying the former Soviet Union, has come back from a recent research trip to Ukraine more optimistic about possible ways to end the devastating war in the country’s east than before. Speaking last week at a Harvard Kennedy School event ahead of the release of his new report, “Five Years of War in the Donbas: Causes, Consequences and Conclusions,” Hamilton said he saw three reasons for optimism: (1) The exhaustion and frustration of people in the Donbas mean there’s a chance Kyiv could win them over by showing that it can give them a better life than the separatists; (2) Russian public opinion has shifted over the past few years, with growing dissatisfaction over the Kremlin’s engagement in expensive foreign adventures; and (3) Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has the makings of a bridge figure, dispensing with the nationalist rhetoric of his predecessor and instead offering Ukraine hope for a civic identity that transcends the country’s east-west divide. But this window of opportunity “won’t stay open forever,” Hamilton warned, and the delay of the Normandy-format summit scheduled for September was “not a good sign.”
Join the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School at Tufts University for a talk with Ambassador John Herbst and Dr. Sergei Erofeev about their new report, "The Putin Exodus: The New Russian Brain Drain."
Join Columbia's Harriman Institute for a talk with Alexey Trepykhalin, a former legal and political specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Mr. Trepykhalin will discuss U.S.-Russian cooperation in law enforcement projects in transnational organized crime and rule of law, and the changing work environment for Foreign Service Nationals accompanying the recent deterioration in bilateral relations.
Join Columbia's Harriman Institute for a talk with Nikolay Sarkisyan about the results of his PhD project on the formation, implementation and decline of the politics of tolerance in Russia in the 2000s and 2010s. In his research, he argues that the politics of tolerance became possible because the Kremlin, seeking legitimacy in the eyes of the international community, adopted the ideology of tolerance to handle societal diversity.
Join Columbia's Harriman Institute for a talk with Jennie L. Schulze on her book, "Strategic Frames: Europe, Russia, and Minority Inclusion in Estonia and Latvia." The book analyzes minority policies in Estonia and Latvia following their independence from the Soviet Union. It weighs the powerful influence of both Europe and Russia on their policy choices, and how this intersected with the costs and benefits of policy changes for the politicians in each state.