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2 talks via Zoom: Thursday June 11 – Catherine Belton and Wednesday June 24 – Dr Sergei Guriev

6th June 2020

Dear All,


Please see details for the next two talks which will again take place via Zoom:


Thursday June 11 – Catherine Belton: “Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the West”

Catherine Belton is a special correspondent for Reuters, and served as the Financial Times’ Moscow Correspondent from 2007-13, and has contributed to the Moscow Times and Business Week. Her book Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the West was published in April 2020 and is a Sunday Times best-seller.

As the Soviet Union crumbled and Russia transitioned to a market economy, most observers assumed that the massive security apparatus of the KGB had followed the Communist Party on to the “ash-heap of history”. The rise of a relatively obscure former KGB agent who spent the Cold War in a provincial East German backwater to the height of power was regarded as the result of a series of turns of fate during the chaotic last days of the Yeltsin presidency. However, in her new book Catherine Belton demonstrates that, far from being blindsided by the fall of the USSR, parts of the KGB had been preparing to go into the shadows before the Soviet collapse, and remained a force to be reckoned with.Eventually, under Putin’s rule, they could continue the struggle with the West in a ‘new form’.


Wednesday June 24 –
Dr Sergei Guriev – The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Russian Economy”.

Above and beyond its public health impact, the coronavirus is ravaging economies across the globe. In Russia the impact is likely to be more pronounced, since the pandemic has also accelerated a substantial drop in the price of oil. Sergei Guriev, one of the most celebrated Russian economists of his generation and a highly-respected commentator on current events in Russia, joins us at the GB-Russia Society to discuss the prospects for the Russian economy in the light of the pandemic and evaluate the government’s policy response thus far.

Dr Sergei Guriev was the chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 2016-2019 and is currently a professor of economics at Sciences Po in Paris. Prior to leaving Russia in 2013 Dr Guriev was the rector of the New Economic School as well as serving on a number of corporate boards (including Sberbank) and government advisory committees. “

As usual for our Zoom talks, those who have booked will receive an email from our Hon Secretary, Henry Pares, with a link to the event, the evening before the talk, inviting them to take part by clicking on the link. If anyone doesn’t receive the link, please let me know and I will forward it on to you.

The Zoom talks all cost £5 per household booking. If you would like to use a credit, please let me know and I will add you to the list so you can be sent the on-line invitation. The timings and format are similar to our physical talks; the speaker will address the Society for around 45 minutes, and this will be followed by a half-hour question and answer session. When participants join, we request that they mute their microphones for the whole talk. During the question and answer session, anyone wishing to ask a question, should click on the ‘Raise hand’ icon that will be visible on the screen and wait to be invited by the chairman to speak. They would at that point, unmute their microphone.

We look forward to seeing many of you at one or both of the next talks.

Best wishes


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