Stephen Kotkin: Six Futures of Russia—Why We Need History (and Libraries)

Wed. Apr 24, 2024 7:00pm - 8:00pm EDT
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To honor the 125th anniversary of the Library’s Slavic and East European collections, the award-winning expert on Russian history Stephen Kotkin delivers an original lecture on Russia’s possible futures.

In-person registration for this event has sold out, but livestream tickets are still available. A limited number of standby tickets will be available on the night of the event.

Vladimir Putin turned 71 on the same day that Hamas attacked Israel. Several weeks later, the Russian Federation president announced his intention to stand for a fifth term in elections that took place in March of this year. Putin’s predetermined victory will keep him in office until 2030, when he will be 78. But “self-styled tsars,” as historian Stephen Kotkin writes, face an acute succession crisis. Unable to rely on heirs through blood and compelled to simulate elections, Putin’s personalistic autocracy and, more broadly, Russia, face serious questions about the future.

Stephen Kotkin examines the uncertain times ahead, and the ways in which our understandings of the past can help us see potential paths forward. The program will open with a short talk by Bogdan Horbal, the curator for Slavic and East European collections.

To join the event in person | Doors will open 30 minutes before the program begins. For LIVE from NYPL events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment; we will do our best to accommodate everyone. Booked seats that have not been claimed will be released shortly before start time, and seats may become available then. A standby line will form 30 minutes before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register! If you encounter any issues, please join us on NYPL's YouTube channel.


Stephen Kotkin headshotStephen Kotkin is the Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, where he teaches grand strategy and directs the Hoover History Lab. He is also the Birkelund Professor of History and International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University. He is the author of Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 and Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941. He is working on Stalin: Totalitarian Superpower, 1941-1990s. He has held a fellowship at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at NYPL.

Bogdan Horbal headshotBogdan Horbal is the curator for Slavic and East European collections. In this capacity he oversees the development of collections in vernacular languages, provides reference assistance to researchers and does outreach to the scholarly world. Horbal has written many works on Lemkos, a small ethnic group in Poland. His PhD in history is from the University of Wrocław in Poland and his MLS is from Queens College, CUNY.


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In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs. 

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template.



For questions and inquiries, please email or use this Gmail template.

Please submit press inquiries at least 48 hours before the event: email or use this Gmail template.

The New York Public Library's free services and resources are made possible thanks to the support of the Friends of the Library. Join this group of Library lovers and take advantage of special membership benefits, like invitations to members-only virtual events, discounts at the Library Shop, and more. Join now.

LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.

Courtesy Stephen Kotkin
Courtesy Bogdan Horbal

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Venue Details
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Celeste Auditorium (Lower Level) The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street & 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018