Film and Discussion: "Putin and the Presidents" (Virtual)

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Registration for this event will close on April 20, 2023 @ 6:30pm.
There are 500 seats remaining.

Program Description


Join us for a film and discussion with Professor Olena Lennon. 

FRONTLINE investigates Russian President Vladimir Putin’s clashes with five American presidents as he’s tried to rebuild the Russian empire.

Drawing on in-depth conversations with insiders from five U.S. presidential administrations, former U.S. intelligence leaders, diplomats, Russian politicians, authors and journalists, “Putin and the Presidents” reveals how the miscalculations and missteps of multiple American presidents over two decades paved the way for Putin’s attack on Ukraine — as seen through the eyes of people who were in the room.

The documentary traces how, prior to launching the war on Ukraine, Putin tested the waters by defying American presidents for 20 years — including by invading Georgia, seizing Crimea, and interfering in a U.S. presidential election. The documentary provides unique insight into the icy relationship between Putin and current U.S. President Joe Biden, both of whom were shaped by the Cold War, and into the evolution of Putin’s grievances with the U.S. and the West.

As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, “Putin and the Presidents” gives essential context for this historic moment.

“Putin and the Presidents” is a FRONTLINE production with the Kirk Documentary Group. The director is Michael Kirk. The producers are Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser and Vanessa Fica. The writers are Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser. The reporter is Vanessa Fica. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

Olena Lennon, Ph.D. is a Practitioner in Residence in the National Security Department at the University of New Haven, where she teaches such courses as the U.S. Foreign & Defense Policy and International Relations. Formerly a Fulbright scholar from Ukraine, and most recently a scholar at Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., she has dedicated her research to the study of conflict management and identity politics in eastern Europe, focused on domestic and foreign policy of Ukraine. An eastern Ukraine native, Dr. Lennon has been a regular participant in scholarly and media forums related to issues in Ukraine, facilitating a more informed and objective analysis of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. She also serves as an election observer with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and has completed several election observation missions in the region. Her work appeared in Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Demokratizatsiya, Eurasian Geography and Economics, and other outlets. 


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