It should come as no surprise that history is at the heart of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladmir Putin in July of last year argued as much in his essay, “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” But few if any Ukrainian or Western historians regard Putin’s argument as anything other than propaganda. Join us for a Historical Conversation with two distinguished scholars as we explore the end of the Cold War, NATO expansion, the rise of Vladmir Putin, and the events leading to today’s conflict.

Mary Sarotte is the Kravis Distinguished Professor at Hopkins-SAIS, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a visiting faculty fellow at Harvard’s Center for European Studies. She is the author of Not One Inch, which uses new evidence and interviews to show how, in the decade that culminated in Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, the United States and Russia undermined a potentially lasting partnership.

Chris Miller is Assistant Professor of international history at The Fletcher School at Tufts University and co-director of the school's Russia and Eurasia Program. His upcoming book, Chip War, explores how Soviet shortcomings in microchip production helped usher the end of the Cold War. He is author of We Shall Be Masters: Russia's Pivots to East Asia from Peter the Great to Putin (2021), Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia(2018) and The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy (2016).

Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. He is the author of sixteen books, including Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. He is a renowned historian of finance, war, and international relations, having written The Pity of War, The House of Rothschild, Empire, Civilization, and Kissinger, 1923–1968: The Idealist, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize.

This talk is part of the History Working Group Seminar Series. A central piece of the History Working Group is the seminar series, which is hosted in partnership with the Hoover Library & Archives. The seminar series was launched in the fall of 2019, and thus far has included six talks from Hoover research fellows, visiting scholars, and Stanford faculty. The seminars provide outside experts with an opportunity to present their research and receive feedback on their work. While the lunch seminars have grown in reputation, they have been purposefully kept small in order to ensure that the discussion retains a good seminar atmosphere.

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