Our Events


Maximilian Hess, Economic War: Ukraine and the Global Conflict between Russia and the West

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - 6:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | $15 per person | registration required

Vladimir Putin's first invasion of Ukraine, in 2014, set off a global economic clash, as the West used its clout with international markets to deter and penalize the Kremlin. The battlelines of this 'war by other means' traversed a series of deep economic connections, built up during Russia's oil, gas and commodities boom: global equity and capital markets, and transnational kleptocracy.

Maximilian Hess's startling book lifts the lid on Russia's response to Western sanctions, and the ensuing skirmishes in London's courts, on Swiss trading desks, and in boardrooms in New Delhi. He explores how pipelines, mines, loans, and crypto-markets were weaponized. This narrative sets the stage for Putin's all-out assault on Kyiv in February 2022, which turned financial, food, and fuel markets into bona fide battlefields, bringing the fight into everyone's home, from Pennsylvania to Pakistan.

Rather than a 'new Cold War', we are witnessing a conflict over finance, energy, and capital markets. How such economic warfare turns out will determine the future of liberalism and democracy; it will also set a precedent for economic relations between the West and China, as the two diverge into rival spheres of influence and power.

Maximilian Hess is a political risk analyst and consultant, as well as a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Max speaks German, Russian, Georgian and Spanish, and has written for the Financial Times, the New Statesman, and Foreign Policy, alongside a regular column for Al Jazeera.