Vladimir Putin’s third term as Russia’s president was defined by a return to aggressive foreign policy, including military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, interference in elections in the United States and Europe, and a crackdown on domestic dissent. But as Russia’s economic model and political system seems increasingly stagnant, it is unclear how Putin will define his next term and his legacy. What might Putin’s fourth term hold in store for Russia and its neighbors? How should the United States and its trans-Atlantic allies handle the evolving Putin challenge? What is the state of opposition to Putin’s regime in Russia? How can Washington manage a coherent Russia policy amidst the unfolding and politically explosive investigations into Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 election?
To address these issues and the takeaways from the Russian presidential elections on March 18, the Center on the United States and Europe, in partnership with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The program included Julia Ioffe, contributing writer for The Atlantic; Vladimir Kara-Murza, chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation; Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University; and Strobe Talbott, distinguished fellow-in-residence at Brookings, and was moderated by Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein Fellow at Brookings. Following the discussion, the panelists took questions from the audience.
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At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?