Great Britain-Russia Society
Talks Programme: Autumn 2019
All talks this session are at 6.30pm for 7.00pm
Thursday 19th September at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2TA
The State Duma’s Role in Russian Politics
Often caricatured as a rubber stamp legislature, the Duma plays an important role in Russian politics and policy. In an informal system, where political power depends on catching the Kremlin’s notice, the Duma is a key venue for both political theatre as well as policy development. This talk aims to shine more light on one of the most underappreciated elements of the Russian government.
Dr Ben Noble (BA MPhil DPhil Oxon) is lecturer in Russian politics at University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies (UCL SSEES), where he has taught since 2017. He is also a senior research fellow at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, the recipient of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, and the author of a forthcoming title on Russia’s parliament.
Thursday 3rd October at Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2TA
Ukrainian Politics after the 2019 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections
Andrew Wilson, Sarah Whitmore & Orysia Lutsevych
2019 was a monumental year for Ukrainian politics with Volodymyr Zelenskiy comfortably capturing the presidency, and his Servant of the People party achieving the first overall Rada majority in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history. While the course of the Zelenskiy administration is difficult to project, given the ongoing conflict in the Donbass, Crimea, and his own lack of political background, the elections themselves are a milestone in Ukraine’s democratic transition. This roundtable will explore the implications more deeply.
Professor Andrew Wilson is professor of Ukrainian studies at University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies (UCL SSEES), which he joined in 1996. His books on Ukrainian politics include Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2005) and Ukraine Crisis: What it means for the West (2014). He is also the author of Belarus: The last European dictatorship (2011) and senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
Dr Sarah Whitmore (BA MSocSc PhD Birmingham) is senior lecturer in politics at Oxford Brookes University, which she joined in 2003. She has published widely on Ukrainian politics, authoring State-Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian parliament, 1990–2003 (2004) as well as articles in journals such as Democratization, Europe-Asia Studies, and Problems of Post-Communism.
Orysia Lutsevych is research fellow at Chatham House and manager of the think tank’s Ukraine Forum. A former deputy director of Poland’s PAUCI Foundation and executive director of the Open Ukraine Foundation, she has contributed to numerous Chatham House reports, most recently, Civil Society under Russia’s Threat: Building resilience in Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova (2018).
Wednesday 16th October at Open Russia Club, 67 Wimpole Street, W1G 8AP
Russia’s Relations with the West: Is the West’s strategy for dealing with Russia fit for purpose?
Ruth Deyermond and Malcolm Chalmers
The advent of the Ukraine crisis in 2014 began a period of more open confrontation and conflict between Russia and the West. Outside of the Donbass the conflict has deepened and resulted in more ‘incidents’, from the Skripal poisoning to military confrontation between US and Russian forces in Syria. The sanctions regime constructed in 2014 has clearly failed to change Russia’s behaviour, but does the West have other, better options? And what is the current course actually accomplishing?
Dr Ruth Deyermond (BA Oxon, MA Warwick, MA PhD Essex) is senior lecturer in post-Soviet security at King’s College London, where she co-convenes the War Studies Department’s Russian and Eurasian Security Research Group. Before joining academia, she worked in HM Treasury. She is the author of Security and Sovereignty in the Former Soviet Union (2008) and the forthcoming title The US and Russia after the Cold War: Diplomacy and power in a post-Soviet world.
Professor Malcolm Chalmers (BA Cambridge, MA East Anglia, PhD Bradford) is deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI). Before joining RUSI as research director in 2011, he taught at the University of Bradford and King’s College London and served as senior special adviser to foreign secretaries Jack Straw and Margaret Beckett. He has been actively involved in the UK–Russia Security Dialogue, a project RUSI has co-hosted with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) since 2016, travelling to Moscow on several occasions.
Wednesday 13th November at Open Russia Club, 67 Wimpole Street, W1G 8AP
Politics beyond the Kremlin: Developments in Russia’s regions
Coverage of Russia, both academically and in the mainstream press is overwhelmingly focused on the Kremlin and the capital. However, Russia’s regions play an important role in the country’s national political development, and one that is only growing as more and more Russians outside of Moscow become willing to take to the streets on issues from pension reform to waste management. With Kremlin politics in a state of uncertainty over Putin’s intentions for 2024, the regions are set to play a greater role in the nation’s future.
Dr Gulnaz Sharafutdinova (BA Florida International University, MA PhD George Washington University) is reader at King’s College London and the author of Political Consequences of Crony Capitalism Inside Russia (2010). Before joining the King’s Russia Institute, she taught at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Comparative Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, and Problems of Post-Communism.