Russia and the West

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Futuring the Liberal Script: Russia and the West Image Credit: Contestations of
Futuring the Liberal Script: Russia and the West Image Credit: Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)

Event in "Futuring the Liberal Script" series to be held by SCRIPTS Cluster of Excellence on November 15, 2023 / Discussion with Katharina Bluhm and Sabine Fischer, moderated by Volker Wieprecht

The panel discussion titled "Russia and the West" is the eighth in the "Futuring the Liberal Script" event series. It is organized by the Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script" (SCRIPTS) in cooperation with Matthes & Seitz and silent green. The event starts at 7:00 p.m. and will be open to the public, with a livestream via the SCRIPTS YouTube channel. Admission is free and the event will be held in German.

The SCRIPTS Cluster of Excellence, which is based at Freie Universitšt Berlin, is hosting a discussion about the tense relationship between Russia and the "West" on November 15, 2023. Experts on eastern Europe and political scientists Katharina Bluhm (professor at the Institute for East European Studies at Freie Universitšt Berlin) and Sabine Fischer (German Institute for International and Security Affairs) will discuss the foreign and domestic political causes of this relationship and draw attention to the broader social counter movements to Western (market) liberalism, including those that formed in the 1990s before Putin rose to power. They will illustrate how the interplay of attraction and rejection has characterized the tense relationship between Russia and the "West," while also shining a light on the recent history of alienation, up to the open war of aggression against Ukraine, which they claim was by no means inevitable. The discussion will address key topics from Katharina Bluhm’s recently published book Russland und der Westen. Ideologie, ÷konomie und Politik seit dem Ende der Sowjetunion (Matthes & Seitz, 2023) and will be moderated by the journalist and television presenter Volker Wieprecht.


Katharina Bluhm is a professor of sociology with a focus on eastern Europe. From 2015 to 2023 she was director of the Institute for East European Studies at Freie Universitšt Berlin. She is principal investigator in the Cluster of Excellence "Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)." As an expert on eastern Europe, she has worked intensively for many years on transformation processes in eastern Germany, central eastern Europe, and Russia. Her current research topics include illiberal conservatism, economic and social policy, and the role of elites in Russia.

Sabine Fischer is a political scientist. She currently works at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin as a specialist in the fields of Russian foreign and security policy, EU-Russia relations, unresolved conflicts in the EU’s "Eastern Neighborhood," and regional relations in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. In this capacity, she advises the German federal government.

Volker Wieprecht is a journalist, author, and radio and TV presenter. In 2013 he received the German Radio Award for Best Moderator. Since February 2019, Wieprecht has moderated the news program RBB-Abendschau, alternating with other presenters.

About the Series

Since 2021, the SCRIPTS discussion series "Futuring the Liberal Script" has brought together researchers from the Cluster of Excellence and guests for live events at silent green in Wedding, Berlin, where they address current crises impacting liberal societies and democracies. Recordings of all previous episodes can be found here.


The Cluster of Excellence " Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) " is a research network that investigates the current debates surrounding the model of liberal democracy and market economy. The main goal of SCRIPTS is to understand why the liberal order model has fallen into crisis despite its political, economic, and social achievements. SCRIPTS was established in 2019 and will be funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Excellence Initiative until the end of 2025. The cluster is located at Freie Universitšt Berlin and connects a total of eight Berlin-based research institutions.

The Latin words veritas, justitia, and libertas, which frame the seal of Freie Universitšt Berlin, stand for the values that have defined the academic ethos of Freie Universitšt since its founding in December 1948.