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The Australian National University

Public seminar

Bringing the Bear Back In: Why Russia matters for Australian security’

Speakers: Dr Matthew Sussex
Date: Monday 21 May 2015
Time: 10:30am - 12 noon
Venue: Brindabella Theatre, Crawford Building #132, 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU

Matthew SussexRussia’s recent occupation of Crimea and its support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine has led to a resurgence of interest in its foreign and security policy agenda. Yet Russia is returning to international prominence at a time when the attention of security scholars and policy professionals, both in Australia and the broader West, has been largely focused elsewhere. This is unsurprising. A host of challenges – including changing power configurations in Australia’s area of geostrategic interest; combatting transnational terrorism; and building resilience in cyberspace (to name but a few) – all seem more pressing than what might be a futile attempt by far-away Russia to recapture past imperial glories. However, understanding Russia’s strategic trajectory is more than an intellectual exercise: it has both broad and specific implications for Australian security.

In this seminar, Dr Matthew Sussex will examine some of the key geopolitical, institutional and normative impacts that a resurgent Russia is beginning to have in the new ‘Asian Century’. In doing so, he will evaluate the repercussions for Australia of Russia’s energy and resource diplomacy; of its efforts to retain primacy in the post-Soviet Eurasian space; and of its methods of territorial expansion (often referred to as maskirovka) that challenge conventional responses to security threats. He argues that Moscow’s ambitions are sufficiently concerning that obtaining insights into its strategic agenda will be of increasing importance to Australian policymakers. 

Dr Matthew Sussex is Head of Politics and International Relations at the University of Tasmania. His research specialisations are centred around security studies with a particular focus on Russia and Eurasia. They incorporate Australian foreign and security policy and great power competition in Asia and Europe. His recently completed solo and collaborative book projects include Conflict in the Former USSR (Cambridge University Press, 2012); Violence and the State (Manchester University Press, 2015); Power, Politics and Confrontation in Eurasia (Palgrave, 2015); and Russia, Eurasia and the New Geopolitics of Energy (Palgrave, 2015).

Dr Sussex has been awarded grants from the Australian Research Council (Discovery Projects), the Fulbright Commission, and the International Studies Association, among others. He has been a National Executive member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), President of the Tasmanian branch of the AIIA, Associate Editor of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, and he has recently been appointed a Non-Resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. His current public engagement agenda includes regular analyses of issues in his area of expertise for local, national and international media and think tanks, including the Lowy Institute, the ABC, Fairfax and News Limited, Bloomberg and others.


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