Skip to main content

28 September 2016

From its inception, the King’s Russia Institute has sought to understand the ways in which Russia shapes the modern world.

From its inception, the King’s Russia Institute has sought to understand the ways in which Russia shapes the modern world.

“When we launched the Russia Institute in 2012, with a mission of supporting new, fact-based conversations on Russia in London, we could not have known how pointed and how important those conversations would become.” 

Dr Sam Greene

What could not have been known when the Institute was launched, however, was that within two years Russia would emerge as the crux of the largest challenge faced by the post-World War II European political and security order.

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine – including Russia’s annexation of Crimea and intervention in Donbas – has sparked a near catastrophic breakdown in Russia’s relations with Europe and the United States. The resulting policy questions – about how Western governments can and should respond to these challenges, and where Russian and Ukrainian foreign policy and domestic politics are likely to go from here – could not have provided a more pertinent field for the Institute and its staff.

The Director of the King’s Russia Institute, Dr Sam Greene, acted as Specialist Advisor on a thorough Parliamentary inquiry into the crisis, which culminated in a hard-hitting  report on European Union-Russia relations.

The report by the House of Lords sub-committee found, among other things, that nations on both sides of the conflict had ‘sleep-walked into the crisis by failing to understand the emerging political, economic and ideological fault lines in the eastern part of the continent. It warned the EU to ‘stand firm’; recommending tougher sanctions against Russia amid a backdrop of stuttering peace talks, a shaky ceasefire and escalating violence and tension in the region. Since its publication in February 2015, the report has been a touchstone for policy discussions in the UK Government, the European Commission and a range of EU member state governments and continues to be widely cited on all sides of the policy debate.

Dr Greene said of his appointment: “It was an honour and, I believe, a recognition of what we have been able to achieve here at King’s to be invited by the House of Lords to advise the Sub-Committee in its inquiry and the drafting of this report.”

He added: “The road ahead for Europe and Russia will be difficult, and there may be much more conflict to come, but I do think this report helps bring some much needed clarity of purpose and vision to the debate.”

The Russia Institute, one of a number of Global Institutes at King’s that are central to the university’s strategy of studying and engaging with a rapidly changing world, is a constituent member of the School of Politics & Economics in the  Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy.