Leonid Volkov, who was detained in Russia for more than 90 days in 2017 for organizing opposition rallies, will be speaking at Cornell.

October 30, 2018

Leader in Russian Opposition Movement to Discuss His Country’s Political Climate at Cornell

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Less than a year after Alexei Navalny, a leader in the Russian opposition movement, was denied the right to run for President in the 2018 Russian election, his chief of staff Leonid Volkov will speak to members of the Cornell community on Nov. 13.

Volkov will discuss the current political climate in Russia and his involvement in the Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin. In late 2017, Navalny was disqualified from the Presidential election on corruption charges, but members of the Russian opposition believe his disqualification was due to the fact that he was Putin’s biggest threat in the election, according to The Guardian.

“Americans know what is going on in Russia with America, but that’s not really the whole story,”  said Anna Evtushenko grad, who is hosting the event. “I think it is important to know our domestic politics and [Volkov] is just a great person to speak on that.”

Volkov, who is a currently a Greenberg World Fellow at Yale University, will also be speaking at several other American schools, including Princeton and Columbia, later this year. Evtushenko said speaking at colleges is a way for him to “get some rest” from the stress of Russian life after being detained for more than 90 days in 2017 for organizing opposition rallies.

Evtushenko also said that Volkov is trying to inform people about the “real Russia,” especially to people in the government department who may work with Russia in the future. He wants to give these students a “deeper understanding” of the country.

Volkov also has a background in technology, which he hopes to one day incorporate into Russian politics, according to Evtushenko. Volkov has worked with several Russian software firms, written a book about the influence of modern technology on democratic elections and is currently the founder of the Internet Protection Society, which advocates for internet freedom in Russia.

Because of his diverse background in politics and technology, Evtushenko thinks all Cornell students can learn from this lecture.

“Hopefully we can bring people from all over campus… It’s kind of interdisciplinary,” she said. “Everybody’s welcome.”

The talk, which starts at 4:30 p.m., will take place in 255 Olin Hall and is co-sponsored by the government department, the information science department and Russian Language Club.