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Understanding Russia: The Challenges of Transformation
An Elliott School Book Launch Series and IERES book event featuring authors:

Marlene Laruelle, Research Professor of International Affairs and Associate Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Jean Radvanyi, Professor of Russian Studies and Geography, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations

With discussant:

Gerard Toal, Professor of Government and International Affairs, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

Thursday, November 1, 2018
1957 E St. NW
Washington DC 20052
Voesar Conference Room, Fourth Floor, Suite 412

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

This event is on the record and open to the public.

About the Book
This timely book provides a balanced and comprehensive overview of the geographical, historical, political, cultural, and geostrategic factors that drive Russia today. Russia has long inspired fear in the West, but as the authors argue, Russia is fearful as well. Three decades after the transformations launched by perestroika, multiple ghosts haunt both Russian elites and ordinary citizens, ranging from concerns about territorial challenges, societal transformations, and economic decline to worries about the country’s vulnerability to external intervention. Faced with a West that emerged victorious from the Cold War, a shockingly dynamic China, and former Soviet republics claiming their right to emancipate themselves from Moscow’s stranglehold, Russia is constantly questioning its identity, its development path, and its role on the international scene. The country hesitates between two strategies: take refuge in a new isolation and revive the old notion of being a “besieged fortress,” or replay the messianic myth of a Third Rome, the last bastion of Christian values in the face of a decadent West. Explaining Russia’s perspective, Marlene Laruelle and Jean Radvanyi offer a much-needed analysis that helps readers understand how the country deals with its domestic issues and how these influence Russian foreign policy.
About the Authors
Marlene Laruelle is Research Professor of International Affairs and Associate Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. She is Co-director of PONARS-Eurasia and Director of the Central Asia Program at GW.

Jean Radvanyi is Professor of Russian Studies and Geography at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Cultures in Paris. He directed the French-Russian Center for Social Sciences and Humanities in Moscow from 2008 to 2012.

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