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Snowden, Syria, and Sochi

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

Speakers: John Beyrle, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2008-2012); Director, U.S. Russia Foundation
Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Professor of International Diplomacy, Columbia University; Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the former Soviet Union (1997-2001)
Angela E. Stent, 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
Presider: Andrew J. Guff, Managing Director, Siguler Guff & Company L.P.
January 27, 2014

Event Description

With the Winter Olympics at Sochi set to begin in a matter of days, former ambassador John Beyrle, Angela Stent of Georgetown University, and CFR's Stephen Sestanovich discuss the current state and recent history of U.S.-Russia relations with Andrew Guff. The post-Soviet U.S.-Russia relationship has been marked by a periodic boom-bust cycle of closer cooperation followed by a mutual drifting apart. While Edward Snowden and the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine are significant irritants to the current relationship, the joint effort to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian civil war demonstrates the ability of the two governments to constructively work together.

Event Highlights

John Beyrle on how the mid-2000s oil boom affected U.S.-Russia relations:

"I think mostly for economic reasons, as a consequence of the economic boom that Russia enjoyed between about 2003 and 2008, the Russian elite, the Kremlin had convinced itself, really, that it didn't need the West anymore. And it had even kind of conceived a narrative that the West was responsible for some of the problems that Russia had encountered."

Angela Stent on Russia's relations with its ex-Soviet neighbors:

"So I don't think there will be the creation of another Eurasian union, but I think Putin will do all he can to make sure that a country like Ukraine doesn't have closer association with the European Union and that there will be—that this will be still a different bloc and it will look towards Russia."

Stephen Sestanovich on the role of Russian diplomacy in the search for a negotiated settlement to the Syrian civil war:

"[American military intervention is] what the Russians most want to avoid, because it indicates their inability to prevent outcomes that they—that they don't approve of. It shows the meaninglessness of a U.N. veto and so forth. So there's a—there's a real interest on the part of the Russians to actually make this work, and I think it's—I mean, most American officials believe that the Russians have played a pretty constructive role."


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Video

Snowden, Syria, and Sochi

Speakers: John Beyrle, Stephen Sestanovich, and Angela E. Stent
Presider: Andrew J. Guff

With the Winter Olympics at Sochi set to begin in a matter of days, former ambassador John Beyrle, Angela Stent of Georgetown University, and...

Transcript

Snowden, Syria, and Sochi

Speakers: John Beyrle, Stephen Sestanovich, and Angela E. Stent
Presider: Andrew J. Guff

With the Winter Olympics at Sochi set to begin in a matter of days, former ambassador John Beyrle, Angela Stent of Georgetown University, and...