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Author of controversial 'Putin's Kleptocracy' to speak Nov. 5

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

LAWRENCE – Karen Dawisha, author of the acclaimed New York Times best-seller “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?,” will deliver a public lecture at the University of Kansas. The lecture, titled “What’s the Problem With Russia? Or Is There a Problem?” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union.

Dawisha will also give a lecture at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, in the Hall Center Seminar Room as a part of the Conflict & International Change Seminar sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities. The seminar is open to all KU graduate students, faculty and staff and their guests.

Dawisha is the Walter E. Havighurst Professor of Political Science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and the director of its Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Her newest book, which describes how Putin rose to power and the origins of his regime, has earned an honorable mention for the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize from the Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies, and has been featured prominently in The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Affairs.

“Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” details the rise of Vladimir Putin in the context of linkages among the KGB, business and organized crime, and it caused a major stir even before its publication. The original publisher, Cambridge University Press, declined to publish the manuscript, arguing that its subject was too controversial and would leave the company open to charges of libel. While Simon and Schuster did agree to publish the book, fear of lawsuits still prevent it from being sold in the United Kingdom. 

“We are honored to bring Karen Dawisha, one of the world’s leading political scientists working on contemporary Russia, to KU,” said Vitaly Chernetsky, acting director of KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. “The lecture by this bold and insightful scholar is sure to be of great interest to the wider community both at KU and the region.”

Dawisha graduated with honors in Russian and political science from the University of Lancaster in England and received her doctorate from the London School of Economics. Before teaching at Miami University, she taught at a number of other universities and served as a special adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons. She later served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff for the U.S. Department of State. She has written numerous books and articles on the political and social transformation of countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and she continues to do research and teach on post-communist transitions and Russian politics.

The lecture is sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Center for Global & International Studies, and the Hall Center for the Humanities.

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