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Back in the U.S.S.R. - What Does Putin Want and How Should the West Respond?

| 12:00 PM - 01:30 PM

Program Overview

More than twenty years ago, a largely unknown former KGB officer became President of Russia, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. At the time, Russia was in shambles. After the disintegration of its empire of around 70 years, the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), Russia saw the collapse of its economic and social system. The erstwhile superpower had turned into a basket case. Putin was determined to reverse Russia’s decline. By concentrating economic and political power in his hands, the President largely succeeded. As Russia regained its strength at home, it started to flex its muscles abroad. In 2008, Russian troops invaded Georgia and helped separatists to break away from this country once and for all. In 2014, it did the same in Crimea. And a few days ago, it returned to wrest away even more territory from Ukraine. The playbook is almost always identical. It is much less clear though what Putin really wants – forcing the West to renegotiate a new security structure for Europe, resuscitating the Soviet Union, building himself a legacy comparable to Alexander, the Great? In his lecture, Prof. Stefes will try to answer this question. He will also assess how the West should respond to Russia’s aggressive foreign and security policy.

Dr. Christoph Stefes

Prof. Stefes was born and raised in West Germany. He received his BA in History and German Literature at the University of Tübingen, Germany, studied European Integration and International Relations in Groningen, The Netherlands, and received his MA and PhD from the Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. In his dissertation, he analyzed structures of corruption in post-Soviet Georgia where he taught and researched in 1998/99. Since 2002, he has been a professor for Comparative European & Post-Soviet Studies at the Political Science Department of the University of Colorado Denver. In his research and teaching, he focuses on democracy and democratization, stability of dictatorships, corruption, and (more recently) on the politics of energy transitions and environmental crime. He has published numerous books and articles on these issues. He taught in Denver, Sarajevo, Beijing, and Berlin and conducted research in Norway, Germany, Georgia, Armenia, and Uzbekistan. He is the director of “Berlin: Bridging Global Divides”, a study-abroad program that brings about a dozen students each year from Denver to Berlin to attend lectures and conduct internships.

International Executive Roundtables

International Executive Roundtables are hosted by CU Denver’s Institute for International Business (IIB) and Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) with support from the Carole Ann Jemal-Gibson and Greg Gibson Fund. 


International Executive Roundtables are free to attend. We expect that this timely lecture will fill quickly so be sure to register as soon as possible to secure your spot.


Your unique link to join the event will be sent to you upon registration.


Email Karen Freidhof at karen.freidhof@ucdenver.edu with any questions.

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Institute for International Business

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