Universiteit Leiden

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Why the Old Cold War Ended, a New Russia-West Cold War Developed, and the Russia-Ukraine Hot War began

Tuesday 26 September 2023
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

In the context of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the West has been asking what it got wrong in relations with Russia after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. To help us understand where we are today, Professor Archie Brown will look back at the Cold War and the role of leadership in bringing about its end.

In the first half of the talk, Professor Brown will outline some of the main points in his prize-winning book, The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War. Fiona Hill, a practitioner who has held senior positions in the National Security Council of three US presidential administrations, was Chair of the judges for the 2021 Pushkin House (London) Book Prize, awarded annually for the best book relating in some way to Russia. She described the book as representing “the very best in western scholarship on Russia and comparative politics” and as “the culmination of Archie Brown’s long and distinguished career as a scholar and writer”. Professor Christopher Hill, best known for his scholarship on Foreign Policy, described it as “a magisterial work … as much a fine work of foreign policy analysis as it is Cold War history”.

This early part of the talk will set the scene for conversation about the role of leaders after 1991, about the paths taken and not taken and why the early hopes of the post-Cold War period were dashed. Professor Brown will end with his thoughts on the failures on both sides of the new Cold War divide that culminated in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

About the Speaker

Archie Brown is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford and an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. His most recent books are The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War (Oxford University Press paperback, 2022); The Myth of the Strong Leader: Political Leadership in the Modern Age (Bodley Head, 2014, Vintage paperback with updating Foreword, 2018); and The Rise and Fall of Communism (Bodley Head, 2009; Vintage paperback, 2010). He has been Visiting Professor of Political Science at Yale, the University of Connecticut, Columbia University (New York), the University of Texas at Austin, INSEAD (Fontainebleau) and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana). Professor Brown was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991 and an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003

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