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“Double-Headed Eagle: Russia between East and West” with Sir Tony Brenton

Monday 29 November, 2021, 19:00 - 20:30

There will be a wine reception after the talk.

Russia, the Two-Headed Eagle, has throughout its history had to look both East and West. For much of the time her political, economic and cultural links have been predominantly bound up with the West; Peter the Great through Pushkin to BP. But Europeans have never really accepted Russians as like themselves, and have regularly presented them as alien, and often dangerous, outsiders. Meanwhile there has been a much less visible (at least from the West) Asian dimension to Russian history ranging through the Mongol Yoke, the assimilation of large Muslim populations, the striking prominence of the Caucasus in Russia’s culture and politics, and Russia’s often tempestuous relations with key Asian powers such as China and Japan. We look at this East/West dissonance in Russia’s place in the world, and ask where, at a time when China is in the ascendant and Europe in decline, things may go.

WHEN: Monday 29 November, 19:00 (doors open at 18:30)

WHERE: Lecture Theatre, Trinity Hall, Cambridge CB2 1TJ

See (A) on the map available here.

Please note that no Zoom joining option is planned for this event.


FEE: CamRuSS members – Free; Non-members – £5; Children under 16 – Free.

Please REGISTER no later than 19:00 on Sunday 28 November (24 hours prior to the event).

Non members £5

About the speaker

Sir Tony Brenton

Sir Tony Brenton

Sir Tony Brenton KCMG is a distinguished British diplomat and writer on international issues. He served in the Foreign Office for more than 30 years.

Tony first learnt Arabic and spent three years in Cairo working on the Middle East Dispute. From 1980-1989 he handled European matters in London and in Brussels, working on energy issues and the birth of European environmental policy. Back in London, he ran UN issues in the Foreign Office and took charge of the preparation for the 1992 ‘Earth Summit’, which achieved the first global agreement on Climate Change.

After a year at Harvard he published a book about international environmental policy, The Greening of Machiavelli (Royal Institute of International Affairs, Energy and Environmental Programme, 1994), learnt Russian and spent 1994-1998 in Moscow dealing with Russian economic reform.

After a further period in London on UN matters (including the establishment of the International Criminal Court), he was posted in 2001 to Washington, dealing with the consequences of 9/11, the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war.

In 2004-2008 he was posted to Moscow as Ambassador where he managed Britain’s relations with Russia during a turbulent period.

He edited the publication Historically Inevitable?: Turning Points of the Russian Revolution (Profile Books, 2016) and is a regular commentator in The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent and other British publications. Tony is also a Director of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Sir Tony Brenton has been a Patron of the Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society since May 2018.


Monday 29 November, 2021
19:00 - 20:30




Lecture Theatre, Trinity Hall, Cambridge CB2 1TJ
Trinity Hall
Cambridge, CB2 1TJ United Kingdom
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