Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia



Timothy Frye, Columbia University

Date and Time

May 11, 2021 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


RSVP Required.


Virtual Seminar

* Please note all CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.


This event is co-sponsored by the Project on Russian Power and Purpose in the 21st Century and the Center for International Security and Cooperation.


Seminar Recording:  https://youtu.be/gDD68gqClt8


About the Event: Media and public discussions tend to understand Russian politics as a direct reflection of Vladimir Putin’s seeming omnipotence or Russia’s unique history and culture. Yet Russia is similar to other autocracies—and recognizing this illuminates the inherent limits to Putin’s power. Weak Strongman challenges the conventional wisdom about Putin’s Russia, highlighting the difficult trade-offs that confront the Kremlin on issues ranging from election fraud and repression to propaganda and foreign policy.

Drawing on three decades of his own on-the-ground experience and research as well as insights from a new generation of social scientists that have received little attention outside academia, Timothy Frye reveals how much we overlook about today’s Russia when we focus solely on Putin or Russian exceptionalism. Frye brings a new understanding to a host of crucial questions: How popular is Putin? Is Russian propaganda effective? Why are relations with the West so fraught? Can Russian cyber warriors really swing foreign elections? In answering these and other questions, Frye offers a highly accessible reassessment of Russian politics that highlights the challenges of governing Russia and the nature of modern autocracy.

Rich in personal anecdotes and cutting-edge social science, Weak Strongman offers the best evidence available about how Russia actually works.


Book Purchase: https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691212463/weak-strongman

Discount Code: FRYE 30%


About the Speaker: Timothy Frye is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University and Co-Director of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow. He is also the Editor of Post-Soviet Affairs.

Professor Frye received a B.A. in Russian language and literature from Middlebury College in 1986, an M.I.A. from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs in 1992, and a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1997. He served as the Director of the Harriman Institute from 2009-2015 and as Chair of the Political Science Department from 2016-18.