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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Russia’s Politics – November (Discussion Series @ Belfast Free Library)
November 5, 2014 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EST
Russia is a new democracy with strong authoritarian elements. Our discussion will consider these two aspects of contemporary Russian politics. Sympathetic observers point out that Vladimir Putin remains immensely popular and that a strong leader was needed to bring order out of the chaos of the 1990s. Russian citizens currently enjoy greater levels of personal freedom and aspiration than they have ever known despite corruption and authoritarianism. They also point out that Russian nationalism is genuine and broad-based and stems from the long-standing dualism of Russian fears and aspirations concerning its relationship with the West.
Critical observers stress that under Putin, Russia has become increasingly authoritarian. Although not ideological in the old Soviet sense, Putin clearly has a vision for his own rule and for Russia that that does not respect democratic norms. Media freedom has been curtailed, corruption is unchecked and public cynicism has been growing. From this viewpoint, Putin’s background as a KGB operative, his tight circle of favored oligarchs and the suppression of opposition movements and parties presage more authoritarianism and less democracy in Russia’s future.
- Tuesday, November 4 at the Camden Public Library, 7-8:30PM
- Wednesday, November 5 at the Belfast Free Library, 6:30-8PM
- Thursday, November 6 at the Rockland Public Library, 6-7:30PM
A Short Guide to the Russian Political System
Explains the basic structure of the Russian political system under the 1993 constitution
The Making of Vladimir Putin
Strobe Talbott, Politico
Argues that Putin’s presidency is turning back the clock to the Soviet system
Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault: The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin
John Mearsheimer, Foreign Affairs
Register (free) to read the article
Articulates the realist position in foreign policy arguing that Putin credibly believes that NATO and EU are threatening Russia’s vital interests
How Nationalism Came to Dominate Russia’s Political Mainstream
Ivan Nechepurenko, Moscow Times
The Crimea and Ukraine crises have brought formerly marginalized nationalists to the fore and have overshadowed Russia’s liberal opposition politicians