Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




The Biden Administration’s Policy Toward Russia

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join us for a panel discussion on the Biden Administration and Russia with four of the Harriman Institute’s most distinguished experts: Timothy Frye, Elise Giuliano, Robert Legvold, and Kimberly Marten. Moderated by Alexander Cooley.

After a tumultuous period under the Trump Administration that saw US-Russia relations deteriorate and Russia become a controversial domestic political issue in American politics, the Biden Administration will confront a range of challenges in dealing with Moscow. How does Russia fit into President Biden’s plans to reinvigorate diplomacy and US global engagement? What are the most pressing issues that the two countries face, and what are the best mechanisms available to foster meaningful engagement? Is any substantive cooperation possible or are we resigned to another period of a new “Cold War”? And how will domestic politics in both countries impact the next four years? Our panelists will offer their thoughts and analysis on what is to come.


Timothy Frye (Ph.D., Columbia, 1997) is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University and Director of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He is the author of Brokers and Bureaucrats: Building Markets in Russia, which won the 2001 Hewett Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and Building States and Markets after Communism: The Perils of Polarized Democracy, which won a Best Book Prize from the APSA Comparative Democratization section in 2010; and Property Rights and Property Wrongs: How Power, Institutions, and Norms Shape Economic Conflict in Russia, which was published in 2017. His most recent book, Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia, will be published by Princeton University Press in April 2021.

Elise Giuliano is a Lecturer in the Political Science Department at Columbia University and Director of Graduate Studies at The Harriman Institute. Her research focuses on the intersection of politics and identity and the determinants of popular opinion. Her award-winning book, Constructing Grievance: Ethnic Nationalism in Russia’s Republics (Cornell University Press, 2011), examines minority support for nationalist separatism in Russia’s ethnic republics. Currently, Giuliano is researching various aspects of the conflict in Donbas, including why popular opinion about the war and Ukrainian foreign policy varies across Ukraine’s regions. She has done field research in Kharkiv, Ukraine and published on the origins of support for separatism in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Robert Legvold is Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, where he specialized in the international relations of the post-Soviet states. He was Director of The Harriman Institute, Columbia University, from 1986 to 1992. Prior to coming to Columbia in 1984, he served for six years as Senior Fellow and Director of the Soviet Studies Project at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Dr. Legvold’s areas of particular interest are the foreign policies of Russia, Ukraine, and the other new states of the former Soviet Union, U.S. relations with the post-Soviet states, and the impact of the post-Soviet region on the international politics of Asia and Europe. His most recent books are collaborative volumes, The Policy World Meets Academia: Designing U.S. Policy toward Russia (The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2010) and Russian Foreign Policy in the Twenty-first Century and the Shadow of the Past (Columbia University Press, 2007).

Kimberly Marten is a professor of political science (and the department chair) at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is a faculty member of Columbia’s Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies. She has written four books, including Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States (Cornell, 2012) and Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation (Princeton, 1993), which received the Marshall Shulman Prize. The Council on Foreign Relations published her special report, Reducing Tensions between Russia and NATO (2017). In addition to her numerous academic journal articles, her policy pieces have appeared in the Washington Quarterly,, War on the Rocks, Lawfare, the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and the New Republic, and she was honored to testify before Congress about Russia’s Wagner Group in July 2020. She is a frequent media commentator, and appeared on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. She earned her A.B. at Harvard and Ph.D. at Stanford. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and is a founding member of PONARS-Eurasia.

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