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Fri, Nov 03

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Patton Hall

From Grozny to Mariupol: The Chechen Wars & the Future of the North Caucasus (Experts speaker series)

Dr. Michael Dennis, Strauss Center Faculty Fellow and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Affairs, lays the historical groundwork for geo-political tensions in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, with a specific focus on the North Caucasus region.

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From Grozny to Mariupol: The Chechen Wars & the Future of the North Caucasus (Experts speaker series)
From Grozny to Mariupol: The Chechen Wars & the Future of the North Caucasus (Experts speaker series)

Time & Location

Nov 03, 2023, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Patton Hall, 2515 Speedway, Austin, TX 78712, USA

About the event

#Connexions in collaboration with the Strauss Center for International Security and Law will be hosting Dr. Michael Dennis, Strauss Center Faculty Fellow and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Affairs, as he lays the historical groundwork for geo-political tensions in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, with a specific focus on the North Caucasus. Other co-sponsors include: the Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies, the College of Liberal Arts, the Global Disinformation Lab, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and the Department of International Relations and Global Studies.

This discussion will be centered around Dr. Dennis’s experiences with Chechnya, helping to lay some historical groundwork. Then some of the consequences of the Chechen Wars will be broached: the rise of the Kadyrov family, lessons learned by the Russian Army, impacts on the Putin regime’s decision-making in crises, and Chechnya’s role in Ukraine. Finally, Dr. Dennis will answer questions about the future of the North Caucasus and the different actors’ stakes in the region.

The #Connexions Experts speaker series is dedicated to presenting conversational and accessible format discussions for a general audience on critical issues and dynamics in Eurasia, drawing connections between states rather than focusing only on one country’s importance. The event will be moderated by Nicholas Pierce, Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies graduate student.

Biography

Dr. Michael Dennis is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a leading expert on Chechnya, the North Caucasus insurgency, and the Russo-Chechen Wars. In addition to over twenty years of research in the region, Dr. Dennis spent over five years living with Chechen rebels and refugees in the Pankisi Gorge along the Chechen border with the Republic of Georgia, and displaced Chechen communities in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Poland, and Turkey, exploring the conditions under which displaced populations attitudinally support political violence. His post-doctoral research focused on Chechen attitudes towards foreign fighters in Ukraine and Syria. During the Second Russo-Chechen War (1999 to 2009), he served as a volunteer aid-worker the International Rescue Committee (IRC) tasked with leading a team to help re-build water, sanitation, and education infrastructure in war-torn Chechnya and provide subsistence support to tens of thousands of Chechen refugees living in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia. From 2004 to 2011, he co-directed the Chechnya Advocacy Network, an international humanitarian non-government organization created to improve human rights and security in Chechnya, provide legal and asylum procedure assistance for Chechen refugees, conduct research on issues related to the Russo-Chechen Wars, and raise awareness and funds to improve infrastructure, physical and psychological rehabilitation, and education in the Republic of Chechnya.

Dr. Dennis’s research has been published in Security Studies and referenced in Foreign Affairs, and he recently completed an academic book manuscript based on his decades-long work with Chechen refugees. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in Political Science from Miami University (Ohio), and studied at Novgorod State University in Russia, and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and speaks Chechen and Russian.

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