Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




U.S. and Russian Security Issues

Please join us for a conference held by the Harriman Institute’s Program on U.S.-Russia Relations. This event is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is part of our Russian Studies & Policy event series.

The security relationship between Russia and the U.S. is fraught. This conference brings together experts from both sides to analyze the current situation, and to try to make sense of its implications for the future. The first panel focuses on private military companies, including the continuing deployment of U.S. contractors throughout the world, proposals to privatize the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, and the purported activities of Russia’s Wagner Group in Africa and its firefight with U.S. forces in eastern Syria last February. The second panel will step back to take a broader look at strategic issues affecting the US-Russia relationship today.


1:00PM Welcome and opening remarks

Kimberly Marten, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Barnard College, and Director of the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at the Harriman Institute

Alexandra Borisova, Research Fellow, Center for North American Studies, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO)


1:15PM-2:45PM Panel: Private military companies in comparative perspective

Chair: Elise Giuliano, Lecturer in Discipline in the Political Science Department, Columbia University, and Director of Graduate Studies, Harriman Institute

Molly Dunigan, Senior Political Scientist and Associate Director, Defense and Political Sciences Department, RAND Corporation

Ivan Safrunchuk, Senior Fellow, Institute of International Research, MGIMO University, Moscow; and Associate Professor, National Research University–Higher School of Economics

Kimberly Marten, Barnard College and Harriman Institute


3:00PM-4:30PM Panel: Perspectives on US-Russia relations and strategic issues

Chair: Kimberly Marten, Barnard College and Harriman Institute

Alexandra Borisova, IMEMO

Sarah Bidgood, Senior Research Associate and Project Manager, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Mikhail Troitskiy, Dean and Associate Professor, School of Government and International Affairs, MGIMO University, Moscow

Event Video