Reconsidering Russia 2: Russia's Interest & What to Expect with Prof. Mitchell Orenstein

Mitchell Orenstein is a professor of Central and East European Politics in the Slavic department at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian studies at Harvard. His research focuses on the political economy and international affairs of Central and Eastern Europe.

This episode is the latest installment to the four-part series on Reconsidering Russia, where we try to dig into Russia's historical and geopolitical context to help you better understand some of their moves today and what's going on in their country today.

Tune in to hear Eric, Xander, and Professor Orenstein dive deep into Russia's real objective in Ukraine, Eastern Vs. Western-leaning periods of Russian leadership, why Russia really needs to diversify its economy, and so much more.

00:00 Introduction

01:35 Why Geopolitics is not about reforms or democracy

03:49 What does Russia really want?

05:49 Understanding Russia's national interests and foreign policy preferences

12:59 Eastern Vs. Western-leaning periods of Russian leadership

16:33 Comparing Russian perceptions to the American interpretation

20:10 What does the 'Near Abroad' mean?

20:54 The democratization of Russia's 'Near Abroad'

24:12 Consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union

28:10 The strategic and fundamental importance of Ukraine

32:14 Russian interests in Finland

34:57 The Nature of Germany's relationship with Russia

39:01 Caucasus as a region of strategic importance to Russia

44:15 Chinese and Russian interests in South-East Asia

47:15 China-Russia relations: Eternal rivals or emerging alliance 

50:41 Russia's views on China's growth in power and influence 

52:38 Russia-Japan dispute over Kuril Islands 

54:50 Thoughts on Russia's domestic politics and foreign policy

58:35 Why Russia really needs to diversify its economy

01:01:58 What to expect from Russia in the next 5 to 10 years

01:05:18 Russia - a gas station with nuclear weapons

01:08:03 Parting thoughts 

Links and Resources:

Mitchel's website -

Mitchel's profile on the Foreign Affairs Magazine -

Reconsider Media on Twitter -

Reconsider Media on Facebook -

Support this show

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.