It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. Just over thirty years ago, the Cold War came to an improbably abrupt and peaceful end. After nearly half a century of multi-dimensional rivalry with the U.S., Russia appeared poised to become a free-market democracy and a strategic partner to Washington. Instead, over the coming decades, Moscow would revert to authoritarian rule and today once again menaces the West—posing one of the most consequential tests of American power and leadership in the modern world. What went wrong?

The purpose of this seminar is to study the trajectory of U.S. policy towards Russia during this consequential period—from the Soviet collapse in 1991 to the invasion of Ukraine in 2022—an arc of history that encompasses six American presidents, three Kremlin leaders, and (along the way) the social, economic, technological, and geopolitical transformation of much of the planet. Our goal will be to understand both how we got to where we are now and where we are going—and what that journey reveals about the character of two of the world’s most consequential countries, the United States and the Russian Federation.

Vance Serchuk & Gen David Petraeus on leadership


Vance Serchuk

Vance Serchuk is Executive Director of the KKR Global Institute and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Serchuk served for six years as the senior national security advisor to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut).

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session

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