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  • Writer's pictureProfessor Floros

2023.09: How Did the West Get Russia So Wrong?

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In the Classroom:

Professor Floros' Introduction

  • Casualties

    • Ukrainian civilian Casualties (Statistia, c/o the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights)

    • Ukrainian military casualties, one year in (Bradley Devlin for The American Conservative, Feb. 10, 2023)

      • Killed + injured: ~100,000

    • Russian troop casualties, one year in (Julia Mueller in The Hill, c/o the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Feb. 28, 2023)

      • Killed: 60,000-70,000

      • Killed + injured: 180,000-250,000

  • "Western Aid to Ukraine is Still Not Enough" (Eliot A. Cohen in The Atlantic, Jan. 17, 2023)

  • Russian War Crimes

    • "Evidence of Russia’s War Crimes and Other Atrocities in Ukraine: Recent Reporting on Child Relocations" (US State Department, Feb. 14, 2023)

    • "Russia has committed more than 65,000 war crimes in Ukraine, prosecutor general says" (Amanda Macias at CNBC, Feb. 1, 2023)

      • Charlie Savage in the New York Times (March 8, 2023) reports that the Defense Department refuses to provide evidence of Russian war crimes to the International Criminal Court in the Hague because they don't want to set a precedent that may lead to criminal prosecutions of US military personnel.

  • "House Republicans tout Ukraine oversight, brace for funding fight" (Bryant Harris in Defense News, Feb. 28, 2023)

Ambassador Kelly's Introduction

Russian men in suits and ties stand on a tank while a crowd cheers around them. In the background is the Russian Parliament building, a huge white building with many windows, some open.
Boris Yeltsin stands on a tank during a coup attempt by Soviet hardliners, August 19, 1991. (Photo by Reuters/Newscom)

Old, balding, white-haired, white Russian man with large eyeglasses stares stonily at the camera off-center in the picture. His white shirt and dark suit jacket are barely seen. He has a red line on his forehead, a birthmark.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (© Pascal Le Segretain/Sygma via Getty Images)

Ukraine (1994)

Map of the former Soviet Republics. Russia is in light blue, and Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan are in green.
Soviet Republics with nuclear missiles: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan
  • Writings by Steven Pifer for Brookings (A retired Foreign Service officer, he served more than 25 years with the Department of State, including as deputy assistant secretary of state with responsibility for Russia and Ukraine, ambassador to Ukraine, and special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. He also served at the U.S. embassies in London, Moscow and Warsaw, in addition to assignments in Washington and in Geneva with the U.S. delegation to the negotiation on intermediate range nuclear forces. He was a part of the U.S. team that negotiated the Trilateral Statement.)

  • "Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons." Budapest, 5 December 1994

Georgia (2008)

  • NATO's 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration (April 3, 2008)

    • #23: "NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO. Both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations. We welcome the democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia and look forward to free and fair parliamentary elections in Georgia in May. MAP [Membership Action Plan] is the next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership. Today we make clear that we support these countries’ applications for MAP. Therefore we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP applications. We have asked Foreign Ministers to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting. Foreign Ministers have the authority to decide on the MAP applications of Ukraine and Georgia."

Smug Frenchman in dark suit with white striped shirt and dark tie shakes hand with beaming Russian president in a dark suit with white shirt and dark tie. In the background is a fancy gold-colored candelabra and a gold-framed mirror.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, agreed to end the fighting between Russia and Georgia. (Misha Japaridze/Pool/Associated Press)
  • "If Past Is Prologue, EU Needs To Up Its Game With Russia" (Robert Coalson for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, July 17, 2014)

    • Article written in 2014 about 2008 French negotiations between Russia and Georgia.

Crimea (2014)

Crowd of soldiers in green fatigues with no identifying insignia. Most wear masks over their mouths and noses. All wear hard helmets. The soldier in the center carries a khaki bag with a red cross on it. The man behind him has an assault rifle strapped across his chest.
Russia's "little green men" in Crimea in 2014 (Vasily Fedosenko (Reuters))
  • "From 'Not Us' To 'Why Hide It?': How Russia Denied Its Crimea Invasion, Then Admitted It" (Carl Schreck for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Feb. 26, 2019)


White-haired Russian man on left in a dark suit, white shirt, and dotted tie stands in front of a podium with two microphones and grins with his eyes squinted. The salt-and-pepper-haired white man on the right holds his left hand (with gold wedding band) over his face while laughing. He is using his right arm to prop up his left arm as if his arms had been previously folded in front of him. He is also wearing a dark suit and  a gold watch.
Bill & Boris Show, October 1995 (Jim McKnight/AP Photo)

Tall Russian man on the left (with a Russian flag behind him) in a dark suit, looks forward and laughs while pushing a red button. The white woman on the right (with the American flag behind her) looks at the man while she laughs and also pushes the red button. Both hold the button between them.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushing the "Reset" button in the US/Russia relationship, March 2009 (Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AP)

Executive Agreements v. Treaties

  • "International Law and Agreements: Their Effect upon U.S. Law" (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 19, 2018)

    • Discusses the difference between executive agreements and treaties, among other related topics

  • "What happens now after Russia suspends the last nuclear arms treaty with the U.S.?" (Bill Chappell for NPR, Feb. 22, 2023)

Russian Public Opinion

Russia's International Reputation

  • "United West, divided from the rest: Global public opinion one year into Russia’s war on Ukraine" (Timothy Garton Ash, Ivan Krastev, and Mark Leonard for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Feb. 22, 2023)

Threat of NATO?

  • NATO's response to Russian claims of NATO being a threat (Last updated July 22, 2022)

Putin's Endgame

Democracy Building

Sanctions Evasion

Ambassador until 2018

  • "In Break With Precedent, Obama Envoys Are Denied Extensions Past Inauguration Day" (Julie Hirschfeld Davis for the New York Times, Jan. 5, 2017)

    • Article notes that career Foreign Service Officers who serve as Ambassadors typically stay in their posts while political appointees leave at the beginning of a new administration.

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