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"Rare elements, untraceable toxins": Where is today's Russian foreign policy?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact D. A. Floudas.

A wine reception will follow the lecture

Monday 11 June 2018, 5:30 for 5:45 pm

Pavillion Room, Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge

Russia and its foreign policy have dominated headlines over the previous year, though not necessarily for what the West would perceive as noble reasons. In spite of a widely predicted thaw to have followed the US elections, the relationship between the Kremlin and the West has arguably reached a post-Soviet nadir, with no immediate sign of improvement in sight.

Through judicious planning, audacious prosecution and substantial fortuity, Russia has managed to carve out an important niche for itself as an indispensible player in a number of priority global flashpoints: North Korea, Iran, Ukraine, the Arctic, the Balkans etc. At the same time, Moscow has shrewdly outmanoeuvred every other power to enthrone itself as the incontestable kingmaker of the Syrian conflict. In this way, the Russian Federation has significantly expanded its international relations arsenal, but a sharp contrast remains between the country’s foreign policy ambitions and the attitudes of the western world towards these.

Deconstructing some of the facts behind the headlines, Demetrius A. Floudas, Senior Associate of Hughes Hall, furnishes a fascinating insight into this topical issue and attempts to present an analysis of the following parameters:

• Moscow apparently militates against the existing global order, but what are the alternatives it seeks?

• Does Russian foreign policy exhibit clear lines of coherent strategy or it simply operates on a spoiler basis by craftily exploiting circumstances as they arise?

• To what extent is a covert cyber-war being fought, from the US election interference allegations and beyond?

• Has Great Britain served as a proving ground for clandestine black-ops against renegade operatives, utilising signature radiological and biochemical agents?

• How did the Kremlin manage to become the key-holder of the crisis in Syria and what does this portent for the potential outcomes of the civil war?

• Can the UK afford to maintain an open front with Russia in the post-Brexit era?

• What are the options of the West to respond? Would de-escalation work as appeasement or a robust response is the optimal way to redress the balance?

• Will Russia prove a bona-fide geopolitical adversary, a paper tiger or a latent partner?

• What are the chances that the current stand-off over Ukraine may escalate into a military conflict?

Doors open at 5.30 pm Talk at 5.45 pm, followed by a drinks reception at 7.00 pm. A drinks reception shall follow the seminar.

About the speaker:

Demetrius A. Floudas is a Senior Associate of Hughes Hall, a Fellow of the Hellenic Institute of Foreign and International Law and an Adjunct Professor at the Law Faculty of Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Russia. He worked for a number of years in Moscow, serving inter alia as Head of the EU project for the Russian Accession to WTO .

In addition, Demetrius has provided commentary on matters of Foreign Affairs & International Relations to a number of international think-tanks, with his views frequently appearing on the media worldwide (BBC, Voice of America, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Washington Post, Vedomosti, RIA -Novosti, Russia Today, RBK TV and others).

He is the author of a policy paper “Russian International Affairs and Athens’ rational choices” published as part of a foreign policy compendium by one of Greece’s main opposition parties (forthcoming).

The lecture will be followed by refreshments

This talk is open to all members of the University, upon prior registration:


D. A. Floudas: Russian Foreign Policy, Hughes Hall, Registration module

Additional Information may be obtained by writing to:

The  Programmes Manager, Hughes Hall

University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB1 2EW


Tel: +44 (0) 1223 746367


This talk is part of the Centre for Research in Contemporary Problems series.

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