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CREES Noon Lecture | From Bad to Worse: U.S.-Russian Relations against the Backdrop of the Ukraine Crisis

Stepan Goncharov, Head of Applied Research Department, Levada Center; Dina Smeltz (MA REES ’92), Senior Fellow for Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Denis Volkov, Director, Levada Center
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
12:00-1:20 PM
Room 555 Weiser Hall Map
Besides upending international norms and causing immense suffering, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has also heightened the communication freeze between Russian and American diplomats. In fact, all levels of communication between Moscow and Washington – official, professional, and people-to-people – have stalled at this point. Public opinion surveys represent one of the few remaining ways for policymakers, journalists, experts, and the interested public to stay informed about attitudes in Russia today. The joint public opinion research project started by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Center in 2017 provides critical information about public perceptions of central elements of the bilateral relationship and global affairs more broadly. The two most recent rounds of the survey, conducted in the United States and Russia in March and November 2022, focus on the war in Ukraine. This presentation will unpack the results of these surveys, with a specific focus on which narratives about the conflict are having the most influence on public perception, what paths to a resolution of the conflict each public might see as acceptable, and how opinion has evolved over the past year. The talk will also look to the future, touching on the threats that both publics sense going forward, and the views of younger generations of Russians and Americans.

For this hybrid lecture, Dina Smeltz will be on campus with Denis Volkov and Stepan Goncharov participating remotely. Attendees can join us in person in 555 Weiser Hall or on Zoom at

Stepan Goncharov is a senior research fellow at the Levada Center. Goncharov’s field of expertise and research interests include public opinion on international relations, use of media, and modern social processes in Russia. Author of releases on socio-economic behavior on Levada-Center’s website. Stepan Goncharov holds a Specialist degree in Political Science from Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) and has broad experience in qualitative and quantitative studies in Russia.

With 30 years of experience designing and fielding international social and political surveys, Dina Smeltz joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2012. She oversees the Council's annual survey of American attitudes toward foreign policy and has authored many analyses based on that work. During her 15-year career as an opinion analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department's Office of Research, Smeltz conducted over a hundred surveys in these regions and regularly briefed senior government officials on key research findings. She has published in The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Politico, Newsweek, War on the Rocks, The National Interest, among other sources.

Denis Volkov is a Russian sociologist, in 2021 he was appointed as a new director of the Levada Center, a Moscow based independent sociological research organization. Over fifteen years with the Center he was involved in more than a hundred quantitative and qualitative research projects on different aspects of Russian society. Volkov has authored works on sources of political regime’s support, political attitudes of the Russian youth, protest activities and civil society, business leader and elite opinion in Russia. He was a columnist for Vedomosti, RBC, Nezavisimaya, the Moscow Times newspapers and He now writes for Forbes Russia. His articles also appeared in Osteuropa, Journal of Democracy and Foreign Policy magazines.

This lecture will be presented in person in 555 Weiser Hall and on Zoom. Webinar registration required at

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: international relations, russia, Ukraine
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, Department of Sociology

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