Russia's relationship with its neighbors and with the West has worsened dramatically in recent years. Under Putin's leadership, the country has annexed Crimea, begun a war in Eastern Ukraine, used chemical weapons on the streets of the UK and created an army of Internet trolls to meddle in the US presidential elections. How should we understand this apparent relapse into aggressive imperialism and militarism?
Sergei Medvedev will discuss this new wave of Russian nationalism which he feels is the result of mentalities that have long been embedded within the Russian psyche. Whereas in the West, the turbulent social changes of the 1960s and a rising awareness of the legacy of colonialism have modernized attitudes, Russia has been stymied by an enduring sense of superiority over its neighbors alongside a painful nostalgia for empire. It is this irrational worldview that Putin and others have exploited, as seen most clearly in Russia's recent foreign policy decisions, including the annexation of Crimea.
Sergei Medvedev is Professor, Moscow Free University; Affiliate Professor, Charles University, Prague; and Fellow, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Previously he was a professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He has worked at the Marshall Center for Security Studies in Germany, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (Helsinki), the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Ebenhausen), the Istituto Affari Internazionali (Rome) and the Institute of Europe (Moscow).
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