On March 23, 2023, the Temple Law Office of Graduate and International Studies and the International Law Society hosted a talk by Professor Ivars Indāns titled Russia’s threat perception and its current political implications. Professor Indāns joined us from from the Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL). RGSL, a leading law school in the Baltic region offering interdisciplinary Bachelor and Masters studies in law combined with business, international relations, finance, and policy, recently signed an agreement with Temple Law, creating opportunities for student and faculty mobility.

During the talk, attended virtually by Temple Law, RGSL students, and faculty, Professor Indāns focused largely on the Russian aggression into Ukraine, and discussed Russia’s perception of itself in history, the inner workings of the Russian government, the psyche of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and how Russia views itself against the United States. For many at Temple Law, this was a rare opportunity to hear from an expert whose own country shares a border with the Russian Federation.

Professor Indāns discussed how history is perceived much differently in the West than in Russia. He said in the West, history serves as both a profession and a social science. In Russia, however, history is viewed through the lens of being anxious about neighboring states, thus prompting Russia’s desire to exert influence over its neighbors. He explained how Russia has been invaded multiple times throughout its history, and even though such invasions occurred long ago, they may still seem very present in the mindset of many Russians.

Professor Indāns, who previously worked for Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as the First Secretary of Latvia to the United Nations, is well qualified to discuss these matters. He also works as an adviser for European Union External Action Service in Brussels, and as a researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Centre for East European Policy Studies, and Strategic Analysis Commission under the Auspices of the President of Latvia.

These important conversations, with Professor Indāns and our colleagues across the Atlantic, fortify Temple Law’s commitment to strengthening ties in our global community and expanding opportunities for international law education.