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Tony Wood: Russia Without Putin

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In Conversation with Marlene Laruelle of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at The George Washington University

It is impossible to think of Russia today without thinking of Vladimir Putin. More than any other major national leader, he personifies his country in the eyes of the outside world, and dominates Western media coverage of it to an extraordinary extent. But as Tony Wood argues in this timely and provocative analysis, the overwhelming focus on the president and his personality means that we understand Russia less than we ever did before. Too much attention is paid to the man, and not enough to the country outside the Kremlin’s walls.

He is joined by Marlene Laruelle, a noted expert on the former USSR, for a conversation about the profound changes Russia has undergone since 1991, and about how best to understand the society that has emerged from this turbulent period. How do we explain Putin’s long dominance, and how has the regime over which he presides evolved over time? What factors underpin the dramatic shifts in Russian foreign policy under his rule? And what might the future hold, both for Russia itself and for the West?

Tony Wood lives in New York and writes on Russia and Latin America. A member of the editorial board of New Left Review, he is previously the author of Chechnya: The Case for Independence (2007), and his writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, the Guardian, n+1 and The Nation, among other places.

Marlene Laruelle is Associate Director and Research Professor at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. She is the author of several books on Russia and the former Soviet Union, including, most recently, Russian Nationalism: Imaginaries, Doctrines and Political Battlefields (2018) and Understanding Russia: The Challenges of Transformation (2018, co-authored with Jean Radvanyi.)

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