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Center for Civic Engagement Presents

Friday, November 30, 2018
U.S.-Russian Relations:
From Tehran to Yalta and Beyond
Olin Hall
9:00 am – 6:00 pm
A Symposium Marking the 75th Anniversary of the Tehran Conference
Organized by the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement, in association with the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny) of St. Petersburg State University, Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, the Roosevelt Institute, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

For most Americans, the most controversial—and famous—summit meeting of the Second World War remains the Yalta Conference, where, in the minds of many conservative critics, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt essentially handed over control of Poland and much of Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union. What is often overlooked, however, is that most of the agreements achieved at Yalta were first discussed over a year earlier at the Tehran Conference. Viewed from this perspective, the Yalta Conference represents the moment at which “the Big Three” put the finishing touches on what was already agreed at the Tehran gathering.

The aim of this joint U.S.-Russian symposium is to gain a deeper understanding of the Tehran Conference and what impact the decisions taken at this first, all-important summit meeting had on U.S.-Russian relations, not only during the Yalta Conference but also in the years that followed. The event will include presentations from leading historians and political scientists from the United States, Russia, and Great Britain, touching on historical topics such as Poland, the Second Front, future of Germany, postwar planning, shifting balance of power, Soviet entry into the war against Japan, as well as the current state of Russian-American relations.

The symposium will be accompanied by an exhibition of key documents and photographs from the FDR Presidential Library and the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library at the Stevenson Library at Bard College from November 26 to December 24, 2018.

The symposium is free and open to the public. No registration is required.
We will be webcasting via Facebook Live on the Bard Center for Civic Engagement Facebook page, beginning at 9:00 am on November 30.

You can download the symposium program via the link at the bottom of this page.

Symposium Schedule

9:00-10:00 a.m. Conference Opening: Understanding Tehran and Yalta
  • A Moment in U.S.–Russian Relations - Jonathan Becker, Bard College
  • What Tehran 1943 and Tehran 2018 Tell Us about Russian-American Relations - Darya Pushkina, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation [via video-feed]
  • New Documentary Evidence Regarding the Organization of the Tehran and Yalta Conferences – Olga Golovina, Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, Russian Federation [via video-feed]
10:00–11:00 a.m. Keynote Address
  • The Soviet Union in U.S. Strategic Planning during World War II – Mark Stoler, University of Vermont
11:00–11:15 a.m. Coffee Break

11:15–12:45 p.m. Tehran in Retrospect: The Turning Point of the Second World War?
  • Chair and Discussant – Yana Skorobogatov, Williams College
  • Tehran and Stalin’s Grand Strategy - Sean McMeekin, Bard College
  • At the Peak of Friendship: Soviet-American Perceptions from Tehran to Yalta – Ivan Kurilla, European University at St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • Tehran as the Foundation of the Postwar World – Andrew Buchanan, University of Vermont
12:45–2:00 p.m. Lunch Break

2:00–3:30 p.m. Yalta in Retrospect: Start of the Cold War?
  • Chair - Richard Aldous, Bard College
  • Looking Beyond Victory: FDR and the Russians at Yalta – David Woolner, Roosevelt Institute/Marist College/Bard College
  • “I don’t think I’m Wrong about Stalin:” Churchill’s Strategic and Diplomatic Assumptions at Yalta - Richard Toye, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  • Stalin’s Victory at Yalta – Harold Goldberg, Sewanee–The University of the South
  • Discussant – Yuri Rogoulev, Moscow State University, Russian Federation
3:30–4:00 p.m. The Student Perspective
  • Presentation of the Bard College Student-Curated Digital Exhibition on the Tehran and Yalta Conferences
4:00–4:15 p.m. Coffee Break

4:15–5:45 p.m. The State of U.S.-Russian Relations Today
  • Chair and Discussant – Robert Person, United States Military Academy, West Point
  • The Puffer Fish and the Eagle: Russia and the United States since the End of World War II – Timothy Naftali, New York University
  • A New Yalta? Is There an Affirmative Project in Russian Foreign Policy and Are We to Take It Seriously? – Artemy Magun, European University at St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • Putin and America: U.S.-Russian Relations Today - Nina Khrushcheva, The New School
5:45 p.m. Closing Remarks – David Woolner


For more information, call 845-752-4857, or e-mail

Time: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Location: Olin Hall