Hauenstein Center hosting panel discussion on Ukraine-Russia conflict

GVSU experts Paul Isely, Scott Lingenfelter and Heather Tafel
GVSU experts Paul Isely, left, Scott Lingenfelter, center, and Heather Tafel will discuss the ramifications of the Ukraine-Russia conflict at Loosemore Auditorium on April 13.
Image credit - Courtesy

Update on April 12, 2022: The Hauenstein Center's panel discussion for April 13 on the Ukraine-Russia conflict has been postponed until further notice.

Grand Valley's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will host a panel discussion at 7 p.m. on April 13 at Loosemore Auditorium on the Pew Grand Rapids campus, featuring three GVSU lecturers analyzing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its political and economic ramifications for the two nations, Europe and the world. 

The public is invited to a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by the discussion at 7 p.m., which will also be livestreamed via Zoom.

John Beyrle, a 1975 graduate of Grand Valley and former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration from 2008-12, will provide recorded remarks to open the discussion. 

Polly Diven, director of the International Relations program, will lead the conversation with panelists Heather Tafel, professor of political science; Paul Isely, professor of economics and associate dean in the Seidman College of Business; and Scott Lingenfelter, adjunct professor of history.

Tafel researches and teaches comparative politics, specifically Russian and post-Communist European politics. Her current research involves the American media’s portrayal of post-Soviet Russian leaders, and she said Putin faces isolation from the international community for the invasion.

“Internationally, Putin is likely to become a pariah,” said Tafel. “He knows this, and also realizes that such a status has not hurt other dictators like Kim Jong Un. Plus, Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which means that the U.N. is likely to be paralyzed here.”

Isely is the associate dean for Undergraduate Programs at Seidman College and will address the economic consequences that have affected global markets and commodities since the invasion. 

"There will likely be increases in commodity prices: oil, plus corn and wheat because of the amount generated in Ukraine and Russia," Isely said. “As this drags on, the bigger the impact will be.”

Lingenfelter is a Russian history expert, specializing in early 20th century Russian history. He said since the fall of the Soviet Union, Putin still sees the former Soviet republics like Ukraine, as part of Russia’s geopolitical influence. 

"The former republics and Warsaw Pact countries have been in Russia’s geopolitical orbit for centuries, they argue, and the collapse of the Soviet Union did nothing to change this legitimate sphere of influence, which Putin equates with its security sphere," Lingenfelter said.


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.