July 10, 2023 | Foreign Podicy

Russia’s Lost Empire

July 10, 2023 Foreign Podicy

Russia’s Lost Empire



Host Cliff May recently wrote a column for the Washington Times guessing what Vladimir Putin might do next if he should succeed in Ukraine.

He suggested Putin would take over Moldova, formalize his control over Belarus, and then turn his hungry eyes toward the Baltic states — with the primary goal of establishing a land bridge to Kaliningrad, a Russian territory 400 miles west of the Russian mainland.

Parenthetically: Kaliningrad was called Königsberg before the Soviet army captured it from the Germans in 1945. It’s where the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet is now headquartered.

In response, Cliff received a note from a brilliant scholar, S. Frederick Starr, among whose many books is Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane. It’s a fascinating book that Cliff says changed his understanding of Central Asia and the Islamic world.

In his note to Cliff, Fred asked why he didn’t think about Putin sending his tanks in another direction: Central Asia and the Caucuses.

That seemed like a good question. So, Fred — the founding chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program — sat down with Cliff to answer it.


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