Putin’s Next Move -

A Conversation with Dr. Michael Carpenter, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia


Please join the Atlantic Council, Dr. Michael Carpenter, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, and Dr. Alina Polyakova, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and author of ‘The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses’, for a conversation on the gravity of Russia’s purported influence within the Trump team, how Eastern Europe should cope with an increasingly aggressive Moscow, and what Russia’s end-goals are.

As President Trump settles into the West Wing, perhaps the most looming question over the new administration is in what direction will US-Russia relations proceed over the next four years. Entering the White House with an eagerness to engage Moscow that is starkly different from the mainstream foreign policy establishment, and with Russian ties throughout the President’s broader circle of advisers, the Administration seems ready to begin a new chapter—if not totally reset—bilateral relations with Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin begins 2017 after arguably one of the most successful years among his global peers. Following a successful interference operation in US elections, a quickly-normalizing military presence in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, his key role in supporting Assad’s regime in the Syrian civil war, and growing influence in the populist tides rolling throughout Europe, the Kremlin seems poised to only continue its resurgence in Eastern Europe and beyond. But for how long, and to what purpose?

Dr. Michael Carpenter
A former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, with additional responsibilities for the Western Balkans and Conventional Arms Control. Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Dr. Carpenter served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Biden and as Director for Russia at the National Security Council. During a 12-year career as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, Dr. Carpenter served in various positions, including Deputy Director of the Office of Russian Affairs, Speechwriter for the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Advisor on the South Caucasus. While at the State Department, Dr. Carpenter received four Superior Honor Awards and three Meritorious Honor Awards. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University. Dr. Carpenter was a Fulbright Scholar at the Polish Academy of Sciences and has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, MacArthur Foundation, and IREX Foundation for his academic research.

Alina Polyakova, PhD
The Deputy Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Senior Fellow for the Future Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council. She is the author of The Dark Side of European Integration (2015), a monograph that examines the rise of far-right populism in Europe. Dr. Polyakova is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a frequent media commentator on developments in Ukraine, Russia, and Europe. Dr. Polyakova has served as an adviser to non-governmental organizations in Europe and the United States working to promote democratic transparency, accountability, and governance reform in Eastern Europe generally and in Ukraine particularly, including most recently the Open Government Partnership. She has worked with civil society in Ukraine and has taught courses on European politics and societies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Bern, Switzerland. Dr. Polyakova holds a PhD and MA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Economics and Sociology with highest honors from Emory University. Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, she speaks Russian and German.