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Type: School event

The road ahead for U.S.-Russia relations


This is an in-person event for U-M students, faculty, and staff only. This event will not be livestreamed.


Stephen Biegun, former Deputy Secretary of State, and Alina Polyakova, President of the Center for European Policy Analysis

Date & time

Sep 20, 2021, 4:00-5:20 pm EDT


1120 Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium
735 S. State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Relations between the U.S. and Russia are at possibly their lowest point since the Cold War. A year into the Biden administration, where does this relationship stand now? What are U.S. options moving forward, and what is the status of Putin's rule in Russia? Join us for a conversation with former Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun and Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis, for a discussion on the current state of U.S.-Russia relations. 

From the speakers' bios 

Stephen E. Biegun has more than three decades of international affairs experience in government and the private sector, including high-level government service with the Department of State, the White House, and the United States Congress.

In 2021, Mr. Biegun concluded his most recent government service as the Deputy Secretary of State, to which he was confirmed by by the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 90-3. Prior to that role, he served as U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, directing all U.S. policy on North Korea, leading negotiations, and spearheading U.S. diplomatic efforts on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Biegun has three decades of experience in the Executive and Legislative Branches in government and in the private sector. As national security advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, he provided analysis and strategic planning for the U.S. Senate’s consideration of foreign policy, defense and intelligence matters, and international trade agreements. Prior to that, Biegun worked in the White House from 2001-2003 as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council.

Before joining the White House staff, Biegun served for fourteen years as a foreign policy advisor to members of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (1999-2000) and as a senior staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. From 1992 to 1994, he served in Moscow, Russia as the Resident Director in the Russian Federation for the International Republican Institute, a democracy-building organization established under the National Endowment for Democracy.

Prior to his most recent government service, Biegun was vice president of International Governmental Relations for Ford Motor Company, where—as a third generation Ford employee—he oversaw all aspects of Ford’s international governmental interactions including throughout the Indo-Pacific Region. He graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian language and political science.

Dr. Alina Polyakova is President and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis. Dr. Polyakova is a recognized expert on transatlantic relations with over a decade of leadership experience and deep expertise on European politics, Russian foreign policy, and digital technologies. Before joining CEPA, she was the Founding Director for Global Democracy and Emerging Technology at the Brookings Institution. Previously, she served as Director of Research for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council, where she developed and led the institute’s work on disinformation and Russia.

Dr. Polyakova writes extensively on Russian political warfare, European security, digital authoritarianism, and the implications of emerging technologies to democracies. She is the author of the book, The Dark Side of European Integration, and of a large number of major reports on disinformation and democracy in Europe. She is a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and The Atlantic, and commentator in major media outlets, including Fox News, CNN, and BBC.

Dr. Polyakova holds a PhD and MA in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in economics and sociology from Emory University. She is fluent in Russian and German.