The Slavic Connexion

A fresh international chat show on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia from The University of Texas at Austin

About the show

A fresh international chat show on the Slavic world from the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the William P. Clements, Jr. Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin. "It's not typical Texas."

The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies condemns the Russian Federation’s military invasion of Ukraine. We stand in support of the people of Ukraine who are fighting for their lives and sovereignty in the face of the unjustified invasion by Russian military forces.

TPN 2021
Texas Podcast Network is brought to you by The University of Texas at Austin. Podcasts are produced by faculty members and staffers at UT Austin who work with University Communications to craft content that adheres to journalistic best practices. The University of Texas at Austin offers these podcasts at no charge. Podcasts appearing on the network and this webpage represent the views of the hosts, not of The University of Texas at Austin.

The Slavic Connexion on social media


  • From Empires and Kings to Hitler and Co.: Democracy and Dictatorship in Central and Eastern Europe

    February 17th, 2024  |  Season 6  |  43 mins 41 secs
    czechoslovakia, germany, history, nationalism, politics, romania, russia, world wars

    On this episode, renowned historian John Connelly from the University of California, Berkeley, talks with us about the growth of fascism from democracy, the roots and justification narratives of anti-semitism in Germany and elsewhere, and the development of nationalism and the role of the "leader" in modern history across Europe. Thanks for listening!

  • Resiliency, Corruption, and Uncertainty: Assessing Ukraine's Politics and Long-Term Prospects

    February 3rd, 2024  |  Season 6  |  31 mins 32 secs
    economics, politics, russia, ukraine, war

    On this episode, political scientist Serhiy Kudelia of Baylor University speaks with us about multiple topics pertaining to Ukraine from the prospects for Ukraine in the long-term, depending on continued western support, to the political effects of the war on Ukrainian leadership. Dr. Kudelia discusses the likelihood of Ukraine gaining any security guarantees from the West and under what conditions Putin might deploy strategic nuclear weapons. Thanks for listening!

  • Demystifying Cyber: Building Resiliency in the Modern Technology Landscape

    January 21st, 2024  |  Season 6  |  48 mins 2 secs
    civil society, counterterrorism, intelligence, national security, technology

    On this episode, Francesca Lockhart, cybersecurity professor at The University of Texas at Austin, talks about her unique and forward-looking cybersecurity clinic that she developed on the Forty Acres after leading the Homeland Security Unit at the Texas Department of Public Safety. Thanks for listening!

  • "Atomic Steppe": The Soviet Nuclear Legacy and the Global Arms Race

    January 14th, 2024  |  Season 6  |  36 mins 19 secs
    culture, history, kazakhstan, race, soviet union, ukraine, war

    On this episode, Dr. Togzhan Kassenova joined Taylor and Nick for a conversation about the destructive impact of Soviet nuclear testing in Kazakhstan and the figurative fallout of the dissolution of the USSR which resulted in Russia providing security guarantees to "divorced" states in exchange for the surrender of Soviet weapons of mass destruction. Thanks for listening!

  • Ballistics and Ballots: The Ukraine War in 2024 and Beyond with Michael Kofman

    January 4th, 2024  |  Season 6  |  34 mins 27 secs
    conflict, politics, strategy, ukraine russia war

    On this first episode of 2024, we reflect on the War in Ukraine and Ukraine's prospects for continued political and military support in 2024 and beyond with Carnegie Endowment's senior fellow and renowned military analyst Michael Kofman.

  • Mordor to Moscow, Potter to Putin: Into the Slavic Multiverse with Eliot Borenstein

    December 23rd, 2023  |  Season 6  |  42 mins 3 secs
    history, literature, politics, pop culture, religion

    On this episode, Eliot Borenstein returns for a fun conversation about the political and historical themes in pop culture and the abundance of Marvel, Harry Potter, LOTR, etc. fan fiction that emerged post-socialism. We hope you enjoy!

  • Battle Without Borders: Cyberwarfare and the Russian (Dis)advantage

    December 17th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  35 mins 21 secs
    cyber, geopolitics, media, national security, propaganda, technology, war

    On this episode, cyber expert Gavin Wilde joined us to talk all things cyberwarfare. He defined the term and its distinction from information warfare; shared the reasons why he believes studying Russia is important for this complex, actively developing, and hard-to-measure battlefront; and touched on the differences between the US and Russian military cyber and information operations and structures. Thanks for listening!

  • Gravedigger of the Present: Memory Politics and the Weaponization of History

    December 9th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  45 mins 9 secs
    conflict, history, politics, putin, stalin, ukraine russia war

    In this episode, Bartek Gajos discusses his in-depth research into memory politics during the Soviet period and today, specifically the weaponization of history by the Russian regime, the past's influence on present actions taken by great powers, NATO expansion and EU enlargement, and the questions surrounding Polish-Ukrainian relations. Bartek appropriately quotes Nietzsche: "... the past must be forgotten if it is not to become the gravedigger of the present." Thanks for listening!

  • The State of Investigative Journalism in Russia Today with Mikhail Rubin

    December 2nd, 2023  |  Season 6  |  37 mins 46 secs
    journalism, politics, ukraine russia war

    On this episode, Taylor and Misha speak with Mikhail Rubin, journalist and co-founder of Proekt Media, the lead investigative media outlet in Russia. Thanks for listening!

  • The (Grass)roots of Illiberalism: Contemporary Authoritarianism, Identity Projects, & Culture Wars in Europe

    November 25th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  46 mins 24 secs
    culture, dictators, france, gender politics, history, language, poland, race, russia

    In this episode, Nick and Eliza talk with widely respected historian and sociologist Marlène Laruelle about the concept of illiberalism and its spread across Eastern and Central Europe. Dr. Laruelle explains how she frames the relatively new term as a cluster of ideologies that is challenging liberalism in its various forms. Thanks for listening!

  • Surveillance, Liberty, & Privacy: A Conversation on National Security & Emerging Technologies with Adam Klein

    November 20th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  43 mins 21 secs
    free speech, global affairs, national security, surveillance, technology

    On this episode, Adam Klein, director of the Strauss Center for International Security & Law, shares his insights on the concerns around security versus freedom of speech; his work covering the confluence of law, surveillance, and emerging technologies; and his perspectives on intelligence agencies and their role in global affairs.

  • Bravehearts: The Real Story of the Chechens' Unending Fight for Independence (#Connexions speaker series)

    November 15th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  55 mins 26 secs

    On this episode, Dr. Michael Dennis, a leading expert on the Chechen Republic, tells the multifaceted story of the Chechen fight for independence, including the consequences of the Chechen Wars, the rise of the Kadyrov family, lessons learned by the Russian Army, impacts on the Putin regime's decision-making in crises, and Chechnya's role in Ukraine. Dr. Dennis also talks about the future of the North Caucasus and the different actors' stakes in this fraught region. Thanks for listening!

  • Yellowing Paper: Russian Journalism, the New Proletarian Elite, and an Economy of Smugglers

    November 4th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  29 mins 13 secs
    business, international relations, journalism, politics, russia, war

    On this episode, we talk with Financial Times' Moscow bureau chief Max Seddon who speaks about his personal path to journalism in Putin's Russia, the state of the country's economic system, the political ineffectiveness of Russian oligarchs, and much more. Thanks for listening!

  • On the Wings of Russian Propaganda: Slovakia and the Decline of Democracy in Central Europe

    October 19th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  34 mins 28 secs

    On this episode, Slovakian politician and academic Martin Klus talks with us during a trip to Texas about the state of the Slovak Republic following the recent elections favoring a more Russia-friendly government, which will have negative implications for the EU, NATO, and especially its neighbor to the east, Ukraine.

  • A Matter of Defense: Russia's Arms Industry, Post-Soviet Wars, and American Pragmatism

    October 14th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  48 mins 25 secs
    defense, military, politics, ukraine russia war

    On this episode, Misha talks with Ruslan Pukhov, a Russian defense analyst and the director of the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST). Mr. Pukhov shares about the activities of CAST, the current state of Russia's defense industry, and his views on the war in Ukraine. Thanks for listening!

  • From Fallujah to the Forty Acres: History, Strategy, and Statecraft with Paul Edgar

    September 30th, 2023  |  Season 6  |  40 mins 45 secs
    academia, international relations, national security, strategy, ukraine russia war

    On this episode, we had an amazing conversation with Dr. Paul Edgar, the interim executive director of the Clements Center for National Security at UT Austin. Paul spoke about how he went from the military to academia, the Russo-Ukrainian War, and his goals for the Clements Center as a leading educational institution for discourse around history, strategy, and statecraft. Thanks for listening!