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'Resurgent Russia' to be focus of May 2-3 Symposium on East Europe

April 22, 2014
Paulis Lazda and Stephen Hill
UW-Eau Claire professors Paulis Lazda, history (foreground), and Stephen Hill, political science, are co-chairs of the 14th Symposium on East Europe to be held May 2-3 at UW-Eau Claire.

EAU CLAIRE — "Resurgent Russia and the Response of East Europe" will be the topic of the 14th Symposium on East Europe, to be held May 2-3 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 1 p.m. May 2 with a welcome by UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. All symposium events will be held in Room 1614 of Centennial Hall.

During the two-day event, visiting diplomats and experts from Europe and the U.S. — all of whom are shapers of policy and academic specialists on East Europe — will present analyses of the challenges to peace and freedom affecting Europe and ultimately the U.S.

"In 1991, history appeared to change its course; the 50 years of despotic rule by the Soviet Union over East Europe gave way to a new age of freedom and independence," said Dr. Paulis Lazda, UW-Eau Claire professor of history and co-chair of the symposium. "However, the imperial impulses have reappeared, and the nations of East Europe, having enjoyed a quarter century of freedom, are challenged to protect their independence."

The symposium's presentation times, topics and speakers will be as follows:

  • 1:15 p.m. May 2: "Putin and the Most Dangerous Time Since Stalin," presented by Paul Goble, diplomat, analyst, writer and columnist with expertise on Russia, Eurasia, public diplomacy and international broadcasting.
  • 2 p.m. May 2: "Bordering Russia Today," presented by Tanel Sepp, Estonian chief of mission to Washington, D.C.
  • 3 p.m. May 2: "Sanctions — The Best Way to Help Russia," presented by Maciej Kozlowski, writer, journalist, prominent dissident in 1980s Poland and former chargé d'affaires of Poland to Washington, D.C.
  • 3:45 p.m. May 2:  "Europe at a Crossroads: A Replay of the Munich Capitulation?" presented by Valdis Krastiņš, former chair of the Council of Baltic Sea States and former Latvian ambassador to Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo.
  • Keynote address, 7 p.m. May 2: "Perspective on the Crises in Ukraine," presented by Valerii Kuchynskyi, former ambassador of Ukraine to the United Nations and visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.
  • 10 a.m. May 3: "Ukraine: Struggle for the Future," presented by Peter Fedynsky, former Moscow bureau chief for Voice of America.
  • 11 a.m. May 3: "East-Central Europe Between the European Union and Russia: Lessons from the Ukrainian Debacle," presented by Andrzej Bryk, professor of political history at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. 

A panel discussion including all of the speakers will conclude the symposium from 2-4 p.m. May 3. The panel will respond to questions from the audience; Dr. Stephen Hill, UW-Eau Claire professor of political science and co-chair of the symposium, will facilitate the discussion.

The event is funded by UW-Eau Claire's Council for Internationalization and Global Engagement, departments of history and political science, Russian and East European area studies program, and Baltic Student Organization, and the Latvian Organization Association of Minnesota, with generous support from the Friends of the Symposium.

For more information, contact Dr. Paulis Lazda, UW-Eau Claire professor of history and co-chair of the symposium, at or 715-834-1874.



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