Free or low cost Community Events and college courses are intended to provide background on the yearly topic and to touch on areas related to the February Conference that may not be covered in its three-day format. The views of our presenters are their own and may not represent those of the Camden Conference.
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RESET PО-RUSSKI, “RUSSIAN STYLE” (Course @ Senior College at Belfast)
September 18, 2014 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am EDT
An event every week that begins at 9:30 am on Tuesday and Friday, repeating until October 23, 2014
RESET “PО-RUSSKI” (RUSSIAN STYLE)
RESTORATION, REFORMS AND REVANCHE (REVENGE)
Dick Topping, Instructor
Senior College at Belfast ~ Thursdays, 9:30 – 11:30 am, September 18 until October 23. For more information or to register, please contact Senior College at Belfast: [email protected] or 207-338-8033.
Today, fifteen years after Vladimir Putin emerged from near obscurity to become heir-designate to Russian President Boris Yel’tsin, Winston Churchill’s description of Russia remains apt – “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” As Putin approaches the mid-point of his third term as president, Russia remains a giant puzzle – a great power with only three major attributes: its geography, nuclear arsenal, and its hydrocarbons. And most Western observers still wonder: who exactly is Vladimir Putin, what does he want from us, and how should we deal with him? This course will review the progress that Russia has made over the past few years in regaining respect both at home and abroad, instituting a new system of government, putting its economic house on a more solid footing, and recovering what many Russians regard as their proper place in the world. But first, inasmuch as all major decisions in Moscow flow down from the top, we need a clearer picture of Mr. Putin, in all his many guises: for example, a prototypical “Soviet man” who has become the ruthless CEO of “Russia Inc.” And a Russian nationalist – riding a tiger that he cannot control as ultranationalism sweeps across his beloved “Rossiya” (Russia).
- Which of the many Vladimir Putins will come to the forefront in the next few years, and why does it matter?
- How do Putin and company see the world today, and what are their top priorities at home and abroad?
- Will Russia face yet another “Time of Troubles” during his remaining years in office?
- A new revolt from the growing urban middle class or other key “stakeholders” in the system that Putin has set up over the past fifteen years?
- Or will “Team Putin” use the situation in Ukraine, or other challenges abroad, to divert domestic attention from the shortcomings that Russians face at home?
- In either case, what are the consequences for Russia, the United States and the West?
- And why do so many “Russia Hands” find it nearly impossible to predict how Moscow will behave in critical situations today?
About the Instructor: Dick Topping has been a student of Soviet and Russian affairs for over fifty years. After having been stationed in West Berlin at the height of the Berlin Crisis, he spent thirty years at the CIA, serving as a senior analyst for both Soviet domestic politics and Soviet Russian foreign affairs. He retired from the CIA in June 1995 and has lived in Belfast for more than fifteen years, during which he has served on several civic boards as well as the board of the Camden Conference. Conference. He holds degrees from Lehigh University, the U.S. Army Language School, and Columbia University, and has taught several earlier courses at Senior College.