Abstract: What is Putin up to? In this lecture, Taylor argues that Russian foreign policy is best understood as a product of both Russian power and purpose. Purpose is understood as the worldview and mentality of Team Putin, which Taylor has defined as “The Code of Putinism” (as elaborated in his 2018 book of that name). Power and purpose combined produce a foreign policy strategy driven by Russia’s consistent attempts to “punch above its weight.” The disjuncture between this Russian mentality and foreign policy strategy and traditional US approaches to world politics explain the current low point in US-Russian relations.
Brian Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Taylor is the author of three books on Russian politics: The Code of Putinism (Oxford University Press, 2018); State Building in Putin’s Russia: Policing and Coercion after Communism (Cambridge University Press, 2011); and Politics and the Russian Army: Civil-Military Relations, 1689-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He received his B.A. from the University of Iowa, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.