Events

Celebrating Recent Work by Timothy Frye

April 13, 2021
12:00 PM

Location: 

Virtual Event

Event Type: 

New Books in the Arts and Sciences Presents:

Celebrating Recent Work by Timothy Frye

Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia

April 13, 12:00pm ET

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Use code FRYE for a 30% discount on purchases of the book from Princeton UP. Add Weak Strongman to your cart, and enter code FRYE at checkout. This code is valid through May 31, 2021.

Media and public discussion tends to understand Russian politics as a direct reflection of Vladimir Putin’s seeming omnipotence or Russia’s unique history and culture. Yet Russia is remarkably similar to other autocracies—and recognizing this illuminates the inherent limits to Putin’s power. Weak Strongman challenges the conventional wisdom about Putin’s Russia, highlighting the difficult trade-offs that confront the Kremlin on issues ranging from election fraud and repression to propaganda and foreign policy.

Drawing on three decades of his own on-the-ground experience and research as well as insights from a new generation of social scientists that have received little attention outside academia, Timothy Frye reveals how much we overlook about today’s Russia when we focus solely on Putin or Russian exceptionalism. Frye brings a new understanding to a host of crucial questions: How popular is Putin? Is Russian propaganda effective? Why are relations with the West so fraught? Can Russian cyber warriors really swing foreign elections? In answering these and other questions, Frye offers a highly accessible reassessment of Russian politics that highlights the challenges of governing Russia and the nature of modern autocracy.

Rich in personal anecdotes and cutting-edge social science, Weak Strongman offers the best evidence available about how Russia actually works.


About the Author:

Timothy Frye (Ph.D., Columbia, 1997) is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy and Chair of the Department of Political Science. Professor Frye received a B.A. in Russian language and literature from Middlebury College in 1986, an M.I.A. from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs in 1992, and a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1997. His research and teaching interests are in comparative politics and political economy with a focus on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He is the author of Brokers and Bureaucrats: Building Markets in Russia, which won the 2001 Hewett Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and Building States and Markets after Communism: The Perils of Polarized Democracy, which won a Best Book Prize from the APSA Comparative Democratization section in 2010; and Property Rights and Property Wrongs: How Power, Institutions, and Norms Shape Economic Conflict in Russia, which was published in 2017. He has worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the U.S. Agency for International Development among others. He is also Director of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at State Research University-Higher Economics School, Moscow.

Speakers:

Stephen Kotkin has been teaching in the department since 1989. He holds a joint appointment in the Princeton School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton. He is also a Research Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Professor Kotkin established the Princeton department's Global History initiative and workshop, and teaches the graduate seminar on global history since the 1850s. He served on the core editorial committee of the World Politics, flagship journal in comparative politics. He founded and co-edited a book series on Northeast Asia that published six volumes. From 2003 until 2007, he was a member and then chair of the editorial board at Princeton University Press. From 1996 until 2009 he directed Princeton's Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies. He has been the vice dean of the Princeton School for Public and International Affairs (formerly Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs) and acting director of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS). In 2014-15 he is serving as acting director of what is now Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. Outside Princeton, from 2006 (until taking a break in February 2009) he was the regular book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business section. His latest book is Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 (Penguin, 2017). His research interests include authoritarianism, geopolitics, global political economy, empire, and modernism in the arts and politics.

Maria Victoria Murillo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1997) holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs and is currently the Director of the Institute for Latin American Studies (ILAS). Murillo's research on distributive politics in Latin America has covered labor politics and labor regulations, public utility reform, education reform, agricultural policies, and economic policy more generally. Her more recent work focuses on electoral behavior, contentious dynamics, and the analysis of institutional weakness. Her empirical work is based on a variety of methods ranging from quantitative analysis of datasets built for all Latin American countries to qualitative field work in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela and survey and experiments in Argentina and Chile. Murillo received her B.A. from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Murillo has taught at Yale University, was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University (Harvard Academy for Area Studies & David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies), and at the Russell Sage Foundation, as well as a Fulbright fellow.

Keith Gessen is a founding editor of n+1 and a contributor to The New Yorker and The London Review of Books. He is the editor of three nonfiction books and the translator or co-translator, from Russian, of a collection of short stories, a book of poems, and a work of oral history. He is also the author of a novel, “All the Sad Young Literary Men.” Most of Gessen's journalistic work has focused on the effects of the collapse of communism on the countries of what used to be the Soviet Union. His New Yorker article on the insoluble problem of Moscow traffic -- a legacy of militant Soviet urban design combined with the anti-planning ethos of hypercapitalism — was included in Best American Travel Essays in 2011. His New Yorker story on the opening to shipping of the Northern Sea Route above the Russian Arctic as a result of global warming was included in Best American Science and Nature Writing in 2013. Most recently he has been writing on the post-revolutionary crisis in Ukraine, both from the perspective of the hopeful (pro-European) western and central portions of the country, and its traumatized (pro-Russian) east.

Moderated by: Gregory Wawro (Ph.D., Cornell, 1997) specializes in American politics (including Congress, elections, campaign finance, judicial politics, and political economy) and political methodology. He is the author of Legislative Entrepreneurship in the U.S. House of Representatives and co-author (with Eric Schickler) of Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the United States Senate, which is an historical analysis of the causes and consequences of filibusters. He has published articles in The American Journal of Political Science, The Annual Review of Political Science, Critical Review, Legislative Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Law Economics and Organization, and Political Analysis. His academic awards include the Richard J. Fenno Prize for best book in legislative studies in 2006, the E.E. Schattschneider Award, the Milton J. Esman Award, the CQ Prize for best paper presented in the Legislative Studies section at the 2002 APSA meeting, a Mellon Foundation Graduate Fellowship, and a John M. Olin Faculty Fellowship. He has been a visiting scholar at the Center for Basic Research in the Social Sciences at Harvard University.


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This event is sponsored by ISERP, the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Dean of the Division of Social Science, and the Political Science Department.

The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) is closed in accordance with the University’s COVID-19 policy.  Please click here for additional information and guidance for students, affiliates, and employees.

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