U.S. Presidents Confront the Russians: A Century of Challenge, 1917-2017 (Day 1)

Battle Conference

U.S. Presidents Confront the Russians: A Century of Challenge, 1917-2017 (Day 1)

William J. Antholis, Strobe Talbott, Odd Arne Westad, Vladislav Zubok

Event Details

Since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the United States and Russia have been geopolitical and ideological rivals. In aftermath of the First World War, the Bolshevik challenge to American ideals of democratic capitalism set the tone for the rest of the century. Despite a period of partnership during the great war against Hitler, the USA and the USSR viewed one another with deep suspicion and eventually came to see the other as an existential threat. Even with the collapse of the Cold War order, America and Russia could not develop a stable, mutually beneficial relationship, and since the advent of Vladimir Putin to power in 2000, the relationship has reached a level of mutual enmity not seen since the depths of the Cold War. 

This conference aims to place the current US-Russia relationship into broad historical context by returning to key historical moments of crisis and controversy as well as restraint and compromise. By exploring U.S. presidents and their ties to Russian and Soviet leaders, and by analyzing the perceptions of the latter, we hope to illuminate the real nature of the bilateral relationship: the underlying forces, ideological, geopolitical, strategic, historic—that have placed the United States and Russia at cross-purposes for the past century.



3:30 – 5:00pm Opening Remarks by Miller Center Director Bill Antholis

“The Crisis of U.S.-Russia Relations: How Did We Get Here and How Can We Move Forward?”

• Strobe Talbott  

• Odd Arne Westad

• Vladislav Zubok

Jump to day 2


Wednesday, November 08, 2017
3:30PM - 5:00PM (EST)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22903

William J. Antholis

William J. Antholis is Director and CEO of the Miller Center

Strobe Talbott

Strobe Talbott

Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, previously served as ambassador-at-large and special adviser to the secretary of state for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, then as deputy secretary of state from 1994 - 2001 

Odd Arne Westad

Odd Arne Westad

Odd Arne Westad is a Norwegian historian and the S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government 

Vlad Zubok

Vladislav Zubok

Vlad Zubok is a professor of international history at the London School of Economics, where he specializes in the Cold War and Soviet-Russian history