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Profs and Pints DC presents: “Regime Change in Russia?” a look at Vladimir Putin’s prospects of being removed from power, with Brian K. Grodsky, professor of political science at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, scholar of democratization, and author of The Democratization Disconnect.
When President Joseph Biden warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” he expressed out loud what Putin has long believed to be standing US policy. In the more than two decades since he took power, Putin has repeatedly watched friendly non-democrats in Russia’s neighborhood fall to democratic revolutions that he accused the West of orchestrating. And although Biden quickly walked back his remarks, Putin is likely to remain unconvinced that the West is not out to get him. After all, it has accused him of war crimes and hit him with a slew of hard-hitting economic sanctions designed to loosen his grip on power.
All of which raises a key question: What are the chances that Putin actually could be overthrown?
Come hear that question tackled by Dr. Brian Grodsky, a scholar of movements for regime change, of efforts to hold overthrown autocrats accountable for human-rights abuses, and of other aspects of democratization.
Professor Grodsky will give us a firm grounding in what’s known about the feasibility of democratization in various non-democratic regime types, from competitive authoritarian regimes to single party and personalistic ones. He’ll look at the various revolutions that have long caused Putin so much worry, including those in Ukraine, Georgia and the former Yugoslavia, discussing what drove them and their essential ingredients.
Focusing on Russia, he’ll examine whether similar movements have ever gained steam there, and how Putin has dealt with various challenges to his own power over the past two decades.
Could deteriorating political and economic conditions in Russia fuel a successful new popular uprising? He’ll look at whether the ingredients necessary for a people’s revolution exist, and at Russia’s evolution from a highly illiberal democracy to an increasingly personalistic regime in which power is highly centralized and opportunities for activism continue to dwindle. He’ll discuss Putin’s latest clampdown, which came partly in response to Western economic sanctions, and its impact on the opposition. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in. Please bring proof of vaccination as it may be required in response to local infection rates.)