Join us for our upcoming events and webinars, and watch recordings of past events. 

The Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia is in session. Please visit our YouTube page for daily video uploads and our page for podcasts. Please find the schedule here and our fellows’ bios here

Serhii Plokhii medium.jpg
Professor Serhii Plokhii

Understanding Ukrainian History

Lecture Series by Professor Serhii Plokhii

Online Event

The Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia is delighted to announce the lectures of Professor Serhii Plokhii, Harvard-based historian and leading authority on Ukraine in the United States, as part of this year’s program. The series of three lectures, respectively titled “The Rise of Modern Ukraine,” “The Making of the Soviet People,” and “The Fall of the USSR,” sheds light on the formation of modern Ukrainian identity through competing imperial and national projects from the Napoleonic Wars to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The lectures were delivered in webinar format on June 22, 24, and 27. Watch the recordings here.

Postponed Poster.JPG

Debating the War in Ukraine: A Conversation with Daniel Kurtz-Phelan [POSTPONED]

This conversation with Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, the editor of Foreign Affairs, will focus on the policy questions that have followed from the war in Ukraine. It will look at how Foreign Affairs has tried to cover the war, to keep its readers informed about key developments and to ensure that the war gets thoroughly and rigorously debated.

Zoom link to follow.


The Trouble with the “Free World”

June 30, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Eastern Time 

This is a conversation about the notion of the free world, stemming from a May 6, 2022 Foreign Affairs article published by Peter Slezkine (East China Normal University). In this article, Slezkine argues that the Cold War idea of the free world maps only inaccurately onto the current war in Ukraine. Joining him to debate this idea are Anatol Lieven (Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft) and Jeffrey Gedmin (American Purpose), who offer their perspectives on the proper connections between the Cold War past and the 21st-century present, asking not just about the trouble with the “free world” but whether the free world is itself in trouble or whether it is once again salient and ascendant.

Sign up here: 


Reporting on the War in Ukraine

June 28, 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM Eastern Time 

This conversation takes up the work of two leading English-language journalists, Joshua Yaffa (The New Yorker) and Anton Troianovski (The New York Times), both of whom are covering the war in Ukraine. At issue are the challenges of covering this war, the difficulties of writing about Russia when so many non-Russian journalists have either left the country or been expelled and the uses and abuses of information in this first major twenty-first century war.

Sign up here:

Recordings of Past Events

The Ukraine Scenarios

Since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, many predictions about the course of the war have been put into question. In this Monterey Conversation, Michael Kimmage and Liana Fix discuss with Justin Vogt the multiple pathways of this war - and the consequences for U.S. and European security if the war doesn’t end. Watch the recording of this Monterey Conversation.

The Wild 1990s: (Mis)remembering the Yeltsin Era in Today’s Russia

In this Monterey Conversation, Michael Kimmage, Olga Malinova, Will Pyle and Jade McGlynn examine the politicized memory of the 1990s and its role in shaping Russian society, attitudes towards the West, and a sense of national humiliation. They contrast this with the economic reality of that era, outlining how the turbulence was used to fuel a sense of grievance and consider where memory and history diverge and how political uses of the 1990s are changing against the backdrop of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Watch the recording of this Monterey Conversation.

The War in Ukraine: What It Means for NATO and the EU

For this Monterey Conversation, Michael Kimmage, Max Bergmann, Hans Kundnani, Jade McGlynn and Rachel Rizzo explore the many European reverberations of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This panel assesses the war itself as a threat to European security and the challenge the war presents to NATO and the EU as well as the long-term opportunities that may result from this terrible war. Watch the recording of this Monterey Conversation.

Prisoners of History? Memory, Myth-Making, and Russia’s War on Ukraine

In this panel discussion, Ivan Krastev, Jade McGlynn, and Michael Kimmage discuss the role of historical myths in justifying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as how the systemic flaws of the authoritarian power vertical in Russia contributed to masking reality and the extent to which analysts overlooked the role of emotion and messianism in Russian decision-making. Watch the recording of this Monterey Conversation.

The Return of the Taliban: What Does it Mean for the Region, Russia, and the West?

In this discussion, Elena ChernenkoAnatol Lieven, Rakesh Sood, and Clarissa Ward discuss the far-reaching consequences of the Afghanistan crisis. Watch the recording of this Monterey Conversation.

Ambassadorial Series

The Ambassadorial Series is a one-of-a-kind docuseries featuring in-depth interviews with eight of the living former U.S. ambassadors to Russia and the Soviet Union. Watch the recordings.

Past In-Person Events

Where Something is Thin, That’s Where it Breaks: How the War in Ukraine Affects Conflicts in the South Caucasus

On May 5, Olesya Vartanyan, senior analyst for International Crisis Group, spoke at McGowan Hall on the MIIS campus about whether the war in Ukraine might provoke new wars in the South Caucasus. Read the MIR News piece here

A Conversation with Elena Kostyuchenko (in English and Russian)

On May 3, Elena Kostyuchenko, special correspondent for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, met with MIIS students in Morse Hall to discuss her work as a frontline journalist. Ms. Kostyuchenko also met with MSSR alumni over Zoom on May 5 to answer questions about her career and the war in Ukraine. Read the MIR News piece here.

The Informational Dictator’s Dilemma: Citizen Responses to Media Censorship, Cooptation and Marginalization in Russia and Belarus

On April 26, Sam Greene, professor of Russian politics and director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London, discussed how citizens of authoritarian regimes respond to the restrictions placed by leaders on their ability to consume news. Watch the recording.

Exiting Communism’s Enduring Effect on Russian Public Opinion

On April 21, 2022, Frederick C. Dirks Professor of International Economics at Middlebury College Will Pyle examined the shock of economic transition that occurred in Russia thirty years ago and how it affects Russians’ worldview today. Watch the recording.