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Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies pres.

WCED Book Discussion. Putin v. the People: The Perilous Politics of a Divided Russia

Samuel A. Greene, Graeme B. Robertson, Natalia Forrat, and Ronald G. Suny

Putin v. the People Putin v. the People
Putin v. the People
Authors: Samuel A. Greene, reader of Russian politics, King’s College London; Graeme B. Robertson, professor of political science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Discussants: Natalia Forrat, WCED Postdoctoral Fellow, U-M; Ronald G. Suny, William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History, U-M.

What do ordinary Russians think of Putin? Who are his supporters? And why might their support now be faltering? Alive with the voices and experiences of ordinary Russians and elites alike, Sam Greene and Graeme Robertson craft a compellingly original account of contemporary Russian politics. Telling the story of Putin’s rule through pivotal episodes such as the aftermath of the "For Fair Elections" protests, the annexation of Crimea, and the War in Eastern Ukraine, Greene and Robertson draw on interviews, surveys, social media data, and leaked documents to reveal how hard Putin has to work to maintain broad popular support, while exposing the changing tactics that the Kremlin has used to bolster his popularity. Unearthing the ambitions, emotions, and divisions that fuel Russian politics, this book illuminates the crossroads to which Putin has led his country and shows why his rule is more fragile than it appears.

Sam Greene is reader in Russian politics and director of the Russia Institute at King's College London. His research focuses on the relationships between citizens and the state in Russia, and in societies experiencing social, economic and political transformation more broadly. His first book, "Moscow in Movement: Power and Opposition in Putin's Russia," was published by Stanford University Press in 2014. Sam also serves as associate fellow in the Russian and Eurasian Programme of the International Institute for Security Studies and a visiting professor at the UK Defence Academy.

Graeme Robertson is professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies. His work focuses on political protest and regime support in authoritarian regimes. Graeme is the author of "Revolution and Reform in Ukraine," published by PONARS Eurasia (with Silviya Nitsova and Grigore Pop-Eleches) and "The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia," published by Cambridge University Press. He has published articles in many academic journals including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics and the British Journal of Political Science, as well as contributing regularly to the media on Russia and Ukraine. Graeme currently serves as the Associate Editor for Comparative Politics for the American Journal of Political Science.

Natalia Forrat is a WCED Postdoctoral Fellow who studies state-society relations and authoritarianism. Her book project "Solidarity Authoritarianism: State-Society Relations and the Political Regime in Russia" develops a theory of an authoritarian regime based on the blend of group solidarity and the state. Her earlier research on the role of schoolteachers in falsifying Russian elections and the political economy of higher education in Putin's Russia has been published in Comparative Politics and Post-Soviet Affairs. Natalia received her PhD in sociology from Northwestern University in 2017. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame and a pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.

Ronald Grigor Suny is the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, emeritus professor of political science and history at the University of Chicago, and senior researcher at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The grandson of the composer and ethnomusicologist Grikor Mirzaian Suni and a graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University, he taught at Oberlin College (1968-1981); as visiting professor of history at the University of California, Irvine (1987); and Stanford University (1995-1996). He was the first holder of the Alex Manoogian Chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of Michigan (1981-1995), where he founded and directed the Armenian Studies Program. He was Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History at the University of Michigan from 2005 to 2015 and director of the Eisenberg Institute of Historical Studies from 2009 to 2012.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to attend this event, please reach out to weisercenter@umich.edu at least 2 weeks in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
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