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Breakfast will be served from 08:30.

Putin has been in power for twenty years, but how much have we really learned about him? Why has such a mythology built around him, and why do so many in the West seem so much to want to believe so much of it?

Veteran Russia-watcher Mark Galeotti, London-based author of the recent and much-praised book 'We Need To Talk About Putin' will be in conversation with NUPI's Julie Wilhelmsen about Putin the man, Putin the myth, how observers can try to tell the two apart, and why it matters for policy towards Russia.

In the first chapter of the book, Galeotti writes:

“We need to talk about Putin. We really do. Not just because he is, like it or not, one of the most important people on the planet, and nor because of the impact of the geopolitical struggle he is waging with the West, with bluster and bluff, memes and money. It is also because he has become a global symbol, which everyone defines in their own way. […] he is like a Rorschach inkblot test used by psychologists: the splash of pigment is deliberately ambiguous; what we read into it says more about what is going on in our heads than what is on the paper.”

Professor Mark Galeotti is a lecturer and writer on transnational crime and Russian security affairs. He is an Honorary Professor at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, as well as a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and previously head of its Centre for European Security. Galeotti specialises in modern Russian history and security affairs and transnational and organised crime of both past and present.

Julie Wilhelmsen is a Senior Research Fellow at NUPI. She holds a PhD in political science and conducts research in the fields of critical security studies, Russian foreign and security policies and the radicalization of Islam in Eurasia.

The seminar will be live streamed on NUPI’s YouTube channel: