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Stephen Sestanovich

George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Expertise

Russia and the former Soviet Union; Caucasus and Central Asia; U.S. foreign policy.

Programs

Europe Program

Featured Publications

All Publications

Current Projects

George F. Kennan Roundtable on Russia and Eurasia

Director: Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies
October 1, 2001—Present

The Kennan Roundtable is an ongoing series of meetings that focus on the major policy questions posed by changing U.S. relationships with Russia and the former Soviet states of Eurasia. Meetings examine areas of expanding cooperation and emerging areas of discord, with topics including governance and the rule of law, social and economic issues, and nuclear weapons and nonproliferation.

Past Projects

Roundtable on Russian Politics and Foreign Policy

Directors: Robert H. Legvold, and Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies
October 1, 2001—June 30, 2006

The war on terrorism opened a huge opportunity to put Russian-American relations on a different and more constructive long-term footing. This was the subject of the Council on Foreign Relations-Harriman Institute Roundtable in 2001-2002.

In 2002-2003, the project directors focused the group more closely on an area that seemed poised for new progress under President Putin: Russia's integration into the international economy. Sessions have addressed the question of a Russian-American energy "alliance"; Russian accession to the WTO and relations with the European Union; and the domestic political backdrop of Putin's strategy. A session held in early May assessed the impact of Iraq on Russian-American relations and Russian foreign policy more broadly.

In 2003-2004, sessions focused on the coming Russian election cycle (Putin faced re-election in March), while using the occasion to examine how Russian developments have and have not met expectations since 1991.

In 2004-2006, the roundtable also focused on the evolution of Russian domestic politics in the wake of President Putin's reelection, the YUKOS affair, and the higher priority assigned to democratization by the United States.

CFR Events

General Meeting ⁄ New York

U.S.-Russia Relations on the Eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics

Panelists:

John Beyrle, Director, U.S. Russia Foundation; Former U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2008-12), Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the former Soviet Union (1997-2001); Author, Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama, Angela E. Stent, Professor and Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies, Georgetown University; Former National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia, National Intelligence Council; Author, The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century

Presider:

Andrew J. Guff, Managing Director, Siguler Guff & Company L.P.
January 27, 2014 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-7:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Roundtable Meeting

The Iron Curtain and Beyond: Eastern Europe in the Cold War and Today

Speaker:

Anne Applebaum, Columnist, Washington Post and Slate

Presider:

Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
November 27, 2012

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Russia Update

Panelists:

Masha Gessen, Author, The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin , Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Drew J. Guff, Managing Director, Siguler Guff & Company L.P.
March 2, 2012 1:00-1:30 p.m. - Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Russia: Politics, Protests, and the Presidential Election

Speakers:

Leon Aron, Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies, American Enterprise Institute, Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., Member, Federal Council, Solidarity Democratic Movement (Russia); Former Duma Candidate, Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Fred Hiatt, Editorial Page Editor, Washington Post
February 29, 2012 12:00-12:30 p.m. - Lunch Reception
12:30-1:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Academic Conference Call

Russia's Upcoming Election

Speaker:

Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
February 22, 2012 12:00-1:00 p.m. - (ET)

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

Corporate Meeting

Why the Russian Protests Matter

Speaker:

Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Moderator:

Anya Schmemann, Director, Task Force Program, Council on Foreign Relations
December 14, 2011 10:30-11:30 a.m. - Conference Call

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Conference Panel Session

CFR Symposium on NATO at 60, Panel Two: NATO, Russia, and the Near Abroad

Speakers:

Victoria Nuland, National Defense University, Ivan Krastev, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, Konstantin Remchukov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta Newspaper

Moderator:

Stephen Sestanovich, Council on Foreign Relations
February 26, 2009 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

This meeting is not for attribution.

ListenWatch

Symposium

Symposium on Russian-American Relations, Session Two: Russian Foreign Policy

Speakers:

Fedor Lukyanov, Editor in Chief, Russia in Global Affairs, Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Celeste A. Wallander, Professor, School of International Service, American University
January 22, 2009

This meeting is not for attribution.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Negotiating Iran from the European and Russian Perspectives

Speakers:

Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow and Director for Europe Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
May 25, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ New York

U.S. Policy Toward Russia

Speakers:

John Edwards, Former U.S. Senator, Vice Presidential Candidate and Task Force Co-Chair, Jack Kemp, Founder and Chairman, Kemp Partners and Task Force Co-Chair, Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations and Task Force Project Director

Presider:

David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker
March 7, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Press/Panels

Bio

Stephen Sestanovich is the George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University. He is the author of Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama, just published by Knopf.

From 1997 to 2001, he served as U.S. ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union. He has also served as vice president for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, director of Soviet and East European studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and senior director for policy development at the National Security Council.

Ambassador Sestanovich received his BA from Cornell University and his PhD from Harvard University. He is coauthor or editor of several volumes on international affairs and has contributed articles to the National Interest, Foreign Affairs, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, American Interest, New Republic, Politico Magazine, and other publications.

Languages:

Russian, German, and Spanish (familiar).