Day: August 21, 2022

Background Briefing: August 21, 2022


Amid Fears Over Ukraine’s Nuclear Plant, Putin Appears Poised to Steal 20% of the Country’s Electricity

We begin with the growing alarm over whether Putin will create a “false flag” incident at Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant in Europe which would be blamed on the Ukrainians when it looks like his real intention is to steal 20% of Ukraine’s electricity and divert it to Crimea. Joining us is Jeffrey Lewis, a professor of international studies at the Middlebury Institute. He is a regular columnist for Foreign Policy, and has published articles in Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, and The New York Times. He is the founder of, the leading blog and podcast on disarmament, arms control and nuclear nonproliferation and we discuss whether interventions by the presidents of France and Turkey along with the heads of the UN and the IAEA will sway Putin who is using energy supplies as a weapon and is now poised to leave Ukrainians out in the cold in the winter ahead.


Fears of Revenge For the Assassination Attempt on the Russian Nationalist Called “Putin’s Brain

Then we look into the assassination attempt on the Russian nationalist Alexander Dugin who is often referred to as “Putin’s brain”. A car bomb meant for him instead killed his daughter and we will assess what kind of backlash might result from the martyrdom of a prominent Russian nationalist since already Russian media is blaming the bombing on Ukraine. Joining us is Cristina Florea, a professor of history at Cornell University who teaches courses on East European and Soviet history, World War II and interwar Europe. Her work examines the relationship between nationalism and empire, the importance of imperial legacies in modern European history, and the centrality of imperial competition to East European politics and societies. She is the author of Crossroads of Empire: Revolutions and Encounters at the Frontiers of Europe and she has an article at Foreign Affairs, “Putin’s Perilous Imperial Dream.”


The Arrest of Mexico’s Former Attorney General In Charge of the Investigation Into the Disappearance of 43 Students

Then finally we investigate the story shaking up the political establishment in Mexico with Friday’s arrest of the former Attorney General who was in charge of the investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in 2014. Joining us is John Gibler, the author of I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico, Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt, and To Die in Mexico: Dispatches From Inside the Drug War. His work on the 43 missing students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College has been published in California Sunday Magazine, featured on “All Things Considered,” and praised by The New Yorker and his latest book is Torn from the World: A Story of Forced Disappearance in Mexico.