As Russian president or prime minister, for the last 18 years Vladimir Putin has been one of the most prominent but enigmatic figures on the global stage. He has led Russia’s evolution from a deep post-Soviet torpor to an authoritarian power which asserts itself abroad, is a key player in the Syria conflict, and faces allegations of interfering in the US presidential elections. But in the West, Russia remains shrouded in myths and stereotypes, its behaviour often misdiagnosed. In this Lowy Institute address, one of Russia’s finest political commentators, Igor Yurgens, examined the West’s misunderstanding of Russia.
Igor Yurgens is Chairman of the Institute for Contemporary Development, a Moscow-based think tank dedicated to a modern Russia. He was one of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s closest economic-policy advisers. He graduated from Moscow State University with a PhD in Economics, worked in the trade union movement in the USSR for more than two decades, and served five years in UNESCO.