At a time when the world is coming to grips with tragic fate of MH17, and looking for answers, it is more important than ever to discuss how to deal with Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime.

It’s been 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 23 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 15 years since Putin came to power. During that time, Russia has gone from financial shock therapy to oligarchy to authoritarian energy superpower via the Chechen wars and the annexation of Crimea. Squarely in command, Putin appears to have seen off all challenges with an utter disregard for internal opposition and external western pressure. From the inside, fighting Putin is the only option for Russian activists. From the outside, what are the strategic options for western countries? Will military action or economic sanctions work? Or do we need to consider less orthodox approaches?

This session was a broad discussion with Russian journalist and activist Masha Gessen and foreign policy analyst Tom Switzer. A variety of different views were presented that tested different ideas about how to approach Vladimir Putin and his regime.