On October 20, 2022, the historian Stephen Kotkin was joined by Michael Kimmage to discuss the long arc of Russian and Soviet foreign policy. He traced several key patterns back to the pre-revolutionary period, consistently exploring the paradoxes of modernization in Russia, which have connected Russia to Europe and brought Russia into conflict with Europe.
Professor Kotkin outlined the shifting geopolitical landscape around Russia over the past 120 years. What started with rivalries with Germany and Japan altered over time to a rivalry with the United States and a complicated relationship with China.
When taking audience questions, Professor Kotkin revisited his book Armageddon Averted, which documents the collapse of the Soviet Union and its myriad aftereffects in the 1990s. He contrasted the “peaceful” collapse of the Soviet Union to the tensions that have more recently arisen between Putin’s Russia and the West. This conversation is an indispensable guide to those seeking historical context for the many crises of 2022.