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LC/ King's Students and Staff only

On 21 September 1993 Boris Yeltsin issued a Presidential decree dissolving the Congress of People’s Deputies and Supreme Soviet. This news was welcomed by many in Russia and the West, as the Congress was viewed as a bastion of communist hardliners and proto-fascists and it appeared that Yeltsin was sweeping away the last vestiges of the Soviet Union. However, the Congress refused to obey the order to dissolve. After a standoff and bloodshed on both sides, the Russian Army finally forced the Congress to disperse with tank fire, leaving an estimated 147 dead and over 400 wounded (though the number might well have been higher). Yeltsin was congratulated for crushing the 'rebellion'. Yet was this event really the end of the last vestiges of the USSR or did it rather represent the extinction of Russian democracy, which was still in its cradle?

In his talk, Jeff Hawn will show that, even though the system was flawed and still evolving, Russia was moving towards a democratic system governed by the rule of law. This had been an ongoing process since 1990 and had been led in part by Boris Yeltsin - until he found it to be a challenge to his personal authority. The dissolution of the Congress represented not the end of the USSR but the paving of the way for a new post-Soviet Russia that would become first a “managed democratic” regime - and then an authoritarian one.

Jeff Hawn holds bachelor's and master's degrees in international relations from American University, Washington DC and a certificate in Russian studies from St. Petersburg State University in Russia. He is a doctoral candidate in International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He previously lived and worked in Washington DC first as a Policy Correspondent for RCR Wireless and later as a global intelligence analyst for the private intelligence company, Stratfor. Jeff also serves as a guest lecturer for undergraduate and graduate-level classes at American University and LSE on U.S.-Russian relations, Soviet

history, war and peace since 1914, intellectual history, international terrorism, and open-source intelligence. Jeff has had numerous articles published on a wide range of topics. In 2022, he became a Non-Resident Fellow at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy based in Washington D.C. He has done extensive research on the constitutional crisis of 1993, and his PhD dissertation From Collapse to Crisis: The Fall of the Russian Parliament and the Constitutional Crisis of 1993 will be submitted to LSE in September 2024.

Please, register by 6pm, 12th January, indicating your preferred option – on campus or online.

Please, note, the number of places is limited and will be offered on the first come first served basis.

At this event

Tanya Linaker

Team Leader for Slavic and Middle Eastern Languages

Event details

S0.12 Strand Building, Strand Campus
Strand Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS