The grounds at the Chautauqua Institution are known for encouraging purposeful debate and highlighting issues on a national and international scale. Now visitors are diving into the complicated relationship between the United States and Russia.
Delaware Senator Chris Coons addressed a full crowd at the Chautauqua Institution with a firm warning.
“The current Russian government under Vladimir Putin is a persistent danger to our democracy, to our European allies, to democracy globally and to the rule of law,” said Senator Coons, (D-DE).
His timely lecture is a part of a week long series called ‘Russia and the West.’
Coons told the audience the meeting could have been constructive, but only if it began with Trump holding Putin accountable for interfering with the 2016 election.
The senator described the president as naive to the situation at hand.
“Only a clear eyed and truly bi-partisan strategy to confront Putin’s Russia and contain it will prevent him from further damaging our society and our interests,” said Coons.
But, some guests like Kayley Wolf Raskin said there’s more to the story.
She’s told us this hot-button topic hits close to home, because her husband was born in Moscow.
“Hopefully we can you know have people learn and use that knowledge to spread outside of the gates of Chautauqua,” said Wolf Raskin, a Massachusetts resident.
One take away many visitors shared was the theme of ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’
“There’s so much historical precedent about what happens when people are divided and I think right now the Russian government is … trying to divide this country and they’re being very effective at doing it,” said Larry Hanks, a Florida resident.