Book Presentation: The Moscow Factor

Author Eugene Fishel presents his book The Moscow Factor: U.S. Policy toward Sovereign Ukraine and the Kremlin

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Book Presentation: The Moscow Factor

In 2014, Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine, bolstered a separatist conflict in the Donbas region, and attacked Ukraine with units of its regular army and special forces. In each instance of Russian aggression, the U.S. response has often been criticized as inadequate, insufficient, or hesitant.

The Moscow Factor: U.S. Policy toward Sovereign Ukraine and the Kremlin is a unique study that examines four key Ukraine-related policy decisions across two Republican and two Democratic U.S. administrations. Author Eugene M. Fishel asks whether, how, and under what circumstances Washington has considered Ukraine’s status as a sovereign nation in its decision-making regarding relations with Moscow.

This study situates the stance of the United States toward Ukraine in the broader context of international relations. It fills an important lacuna in existing scholarship and policy discourse by focusing on the complex trilateral—rather than simply bilateral—dynamics among the U.S., Ukraine, and Russia, in 1991–2016. This book brings together for the first time documentary evidence and declassified materials dealing with policy deliberation, retrospective articles authored by former policymakers, and formal memoirs by erstwhile senior officials. The study is also supplemented by open-ended interviews with former and returning officials.

Eugene M. Fishel is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Security Policy Studies of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is a 30-year veteran of the Department of State, where he has focused on the post-Soviet region. He has also served as Director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council, as Special Advisor to the Vice President (National Security Affairs), and Assistant National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council.

Moderator Henry E. Hale is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, and Co-Director of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia). He has spent extensive time conducting field research in post-Soviet Eurasia and is currently working on identity politics and political system change, with a special focus now on public opinion dynamics in Russia and Ukraine. His work has won two prizes from the American Political Science Association and he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for his research in Russia in 2007-2008.