Thursday, March 12, 2020 Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6 p.m.
Donovan Pavilion | Vail
Ukraine has been an independent country since 1991. However, this status is not entirely accepted by Russia, which views Ukraine as part of its sphere of influence. Initially cordial, relations between Ukraine and Russia unraveled as Ukraine sought closer military and economic ties with the West. Russian military intervention in Ukraine began in 2014 with Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. Then, demonstrations by pro-Russian groups in the Donbass-area of Ukraine escalated into an armed conflict between the Ukrainian government and the Russia-backed separatist forces. Shortly thereafter, Russian military vehicles crossed the border in several locations of Donetsk Oblast. The incursion by the Russian military was seen as responsible for the defeat of Ukrainian forces in late 2014; this low-intensity conflict continues to the present.
Ukraine has become a key concern for U.S. policymakers, sometimes in unexpected ways. Why does Ukraine keep coming back to the forefront of the U.S. debate? What are Russian intentions toward the country and why should the U.S. be concerned? Join Ukraine – Russia specialist Alina Polyakova as she makes sense of this thorny issue which now figures prominently not just in foreign policy, but domestic politics as well.
Alina Polyakova is the founding director of the Project on Global Democracy and Emerging Technology and a fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, where she leads the Foreign Policy program’s Democracy Working Group. Polyakova was part of the inaugural class of David M. Rubenstein fellows at Brookings. She is also adjunct professor of European studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Her work examines Russian political warfare, European populism, digital authoritarianism, and the implications of emerging technologies to democracies. Polyakova’s book, “The Dark Side of European Integration” (ibidem-Verlag and Columbia University Press, 2015) analyzed the rise of far-right political parties in Europe. She is a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy and commentator in major media outlets including Fox News, CNN, BBC, and Bloomberg, among others.
Previously, she served as director of research and senior fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council, professor of sociology at the University of Bern, and Fulbright Fellow. She serves on the board of the Free Russia Foundation and has held numerous fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Science Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation, among others.
Polyakova holds a master’s and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in economics and sociology with highest honors from Emory University.
This program is underwritten by Pat Montgomery and Laura Tumperi The Geopolitics Series is graciously underwritten by Cindy Engles