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Founded in 1951, The Charlottesville Committee on Foreign Relations (CCFR) is a civic, non-partisan organization dedicated to the promotion of informed discussion of American foreign policy and international affairs.

It has achieved a distinguished record of bringing together concerned citizens in our area with leading authorities on world developments. The hallmark of CCFR is the creation of opportunities for in-depth exchanges on major international issues that increasingly affect our lives.

Will Englund - Assignment Editor, Washington Post

"Russia, the Vote, and Fake News"

Thursday November 08,2018

In recent years Russia has become an increasingly more aggressive actor on the world stage. Whether it has been in the Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, or the Baltic states, Vladimir Putin openly has tried to reestablish Russia as a world power. Less openly, Russia has been intrusive in democratic elections in the US and Europe, including the Brexit referendum in Britain, and in ongoing efforts to undermine the expansion of Nato.
 
Many argue that these actions are simply motivated by a desire to stimulate nationalistic emotions among the Russian populace as the Russian economy and power have faltered. Others, on the other hand, take the view that Russia is simply taking advantage of an historic instability in Western democracies, where political parties are fracturing and loyalty to a leader takes precedence over competence and facts.
 
Under Putin’s leadership, Russia is attempting to systematically subvert western institutions and to drive a wedge between traditional allies within the transatlantic alliance. Russia uses proxies to push out multiple and barely plausible versions of events, i.e. fake news, in order to obscure and distract from what would have been considered unarguable reality. Some have even argued that, while not in a traditional sense, Russia is at war with the West. Whether and how the West can withstand a newly aggressive Russia is a major issue of our time.
 
As Russia has increased their aggressive behavior, the Trump administration appears to be of two minds. President Trump professes great admiration for Mr. Putin while the State Department and the Congress express great concern. In response to the Russian annexation of Crimea, a former Ukrainian state, and Russian incursions into eastern Ukraine, the US and western allies have imposed economic sanctions on Russia. At the same time the Justice Department has a special counsel investigating the extent of involvement by Russia in the 2016 US elections.
 
Few individuals are better qualified to address the issue of Russian activism at our November joint CCFR - Fulbright Association dinner than our speaker, Will Englund. Mr. Englund is now a senior editor for the Washington Post, based in DC. He is a long time reporter on Russian politics and behavior, having spent twelve years in Moscow. He won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the ship breaking industry. His recent book “March 1917 - On the Brink of War and Revolution” focuses on that critical month in both Russia and the US.
 
A native of Pleasantville, NY, Mr. Englund joined The Sun, of Baltimore, in 1977. He and his wife, Kathy Lally, worked for the Glasgow Herald as part of a Fulbright scholarship in 1988, and were foreign correspondents in Moscow for The Sun from 1991–1995 and from 1997-2001. They were Moscow correspondents for the Washington Post in from 2010 to 2014. Mr. Englund has also worked as White House correspondent for National Journal.
 
Mr. Englund earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
 
6:00 Cocktails 6:45 Dinner 7:45 Address and Discussion

Meal A: Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop
Meal B: Herb Roasted Mahi Mahi
Meal C: Roasted Cauliflower Steak