December 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of 15 independent post‐Soviet states, including Russia. The political elite of the new Russia was to play a key role in a peaceful end of the communist empire that threatened nuclear Armageddon for almost half of a century. The world greeted the entry of an independent democratic Russia onto the international stage with genuine enthusiasm and great hope. Some even believed that the world was entering a promising new era. Twenty‐five years later, Russia’s autocratic regime has effectively destroyed the domestic political opposition, media freedom, and independent courts. In foreign affairs, Russia has engaged in military aggressions in neighboring Georgia and Ukraine, and is actively involved in the civil war in Syria. It is meddling in the internal affairs of European countries and, some suspect, even the United States. Join us to hear our panelists discuss what went wrong and where Russia is likely headed.