Please join us in Washington on May 9 for a discussion by leading experts about Russian meddling and its effects on US politics and society. 

The Kremlin’s actions following the nerve agent poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Britain show Russia is intent on boosting its obstruction of the liberal world order following its invasion of Ukraine, bombing in Syria and interference in Western elections. With Vladimir Putin’s recent re-anointment as Russian president and US midterm elections approaching, how vulnerable is American democracy and what should we expect from the Kremlin as talk in Moscow turns to the main political question: What comes after Putin?

The talk will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Carnegie Endowment Building, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Doors open at 5 p.m., light refreshments will be served.

Our panel includes:

Marvin Kalb, Senior Adviser, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Marvin Kalb is senior adviser at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. He focuses on the impact of media on public policy and politics. He is also an expert in national security, with a focus on US relations with Russia, Europe, and the Middle East. His most recent book The Year I Was Peter the Great: 1956—Khrushchev, Stalin’s Ghost, and a Young American in Russia was published in October 2017. Other books include Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine and the New Cold War (Brookings Institution Press, 2015), The Road to War: Presidential Commitments Honored and Betrayed (Brookings Institution Press, 2013), wherein he looks at how presidential commitments can lead to the use of American military force, and Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama (Brookings Institution Press, 2011), co-written with Deborah Kalb, which examines the Vietnam War’s extraordinary impact on presidential decision making over the past four decades.

Kalb’s distinguished journalism career spans more than 30 years and includes award-winning reporting for both CBS and NBC News as chief diplomatic correspondent, Moscow bureau chief, and anchor of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Kalb went on to become founding director of Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. He is the Murrow professor emeritus at Harvard and hosts The Kalb Report at the National Press Club.

Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Brookings Institution

Alina Polyakova is the David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Foreign Policy program’s Center on the United States and Europe and adjunct professor of European studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in European politics, far-right populism and nationalism, and Russian foreign policy. Polyakova’s recent book, The Dark Side of European Integration (ibidem-Verlag and Columbia University Press, 2015) examines the rise of far-right political parties in Western and Eastern Europe. She has also written extensively about Russian political warfare, Ukraine, and trans-Atlantic relations.

Prior to joining Brookings, she served as director of research and senior fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Swiss National Science Foundation senior research fellow. Polyakova’s writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The American Interest as well as a number of academic journals and media outlets. She has also been a fellow at the Fulbright Foundation, Eurasia Foundation, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and a Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Bern.

Polyakova holds a doctorate and Masters degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelors in economics and sociology with highest honors from Emory University. She speaks Russian and German.

Allan Lichtman, Distinguished Professor, American University

Allan J. Lichtman received his PhD from Harvard University in 1973 with a specialty in modern American history and quantitative methods. He became an Assistant Professor of History at American University in 1973 and a Full Professor in 1980. He was the recipient of the Scholar/Teacher of the year award for 1992-93. He has published seven books and several hundred popular and scholarly articles. He has lectured in the United States and internationally and provided commentary for major US and foreign networks and leading newspapers and magazines across the world. He has been an expert witness in more than 75 civil and voting rights cases. His book White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. His prediction system, the Keys to the White House, has correctly predicted the outcomes of all US presidential elections since 1984.

Gregory Feifer (moderator), Executive Director, ICWA

Gregory Feifer is the executive director of the Institute of Current World Affairs. A journalist and author, he has observed Russia for many years. He was NPR’s Moscow correspondent who reported on Russia’s resurgence under Vladimir Putin, observing the effects of the country’s vast new oil wealth on an increasingly nationalistic society as well as the Kremlin’s rekindling of a new Cold War-style opposition to the West. He has also reported from Ukraine and many other former Soviet republics. Later, as senior correspondent at Radio Free Europe in Prague, Feifer investigated Russian influence in Europe, including the Kremlin’s use of energy as an instrument of foreign policy.

Feifer’s book Russians: The Power behind the People (Twelve, 2014) explores the seeming paradoxes of life in Russia by unraveling the nature of its people and what it is in their history, desires and conception of themselves that makes them baffling to the West. His other books include The Great Gamble (HarperCollins, 2009), a history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and Spy Handler (Basic Books, 2005) co-written with former KGB colonel Victor Cherkashin. He has written for numerous other outlets, including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs and The Washington Post.

Educated at Harvard University, he is an associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies.