EPIIC 2015 Overview

RUSSIA: In the XXI Century

"Russia will decide for itself how to ensure that the principles of freedom and democracy are implemented, taking into account its historical, geographical and other characteristics." – Vladimir Putin

What is Russia’s future, from its domestic challenges to its role on the global stage?

For more than 500 years, Russia has been a formidable power, waxing and waning in its projection of influence, but never taken lightly. At its greatest, it has covered one sixth of the globe, from the northern Barents Sea to the southern Central Asian steppe, from St. Petersburg and the Carpathians in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east.

It has been invaded, conquered, buffeted by revolutions and rebellions, suffered human and natural catastrophes, and inflicted the same on its near abroad. Its people have survived under the rule of tsars, communism, authoritarian governments and oligarchies.

This two-semester effort will attempt to carefully understand Russian society, its culture, its sense of national identity, its economic and political structure, and its strategic imperatives, outlook and foreign policy, as well as the future of its relationship with the U.S.

In Russia, the U.S. finds its former enemy and ally a crucial, yet complex partner. With 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons between them, and shared concerns about international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the Arctic, South and Central Asia, the Middle East, and a rising China, Washington and Moscow are still unable to reset their relationship more than two decades after the end of the Cold War. This has only been exacerbated by recent events, from Ukraine to Syria.

Can the US build a constructive relationship with Russia to address mutual concerns or is the world in the beginning stages of a “New Cold War?”

Sovereignty, irredentism, revanchism, and self-determination have renewed salience and global implications with Russia’s seizure of Crimea and the threatening expansion of civil war in Ukraine. How are Russia’s movements viewed by its former republics and its near abroad? Will long-simmering conflicts, from Nagorno-Karabakh to South Ossetia to the Transdneister, erupt?

Other issues the course will consider are: Will Russia’s dependence on oil and natural gas revenue stall its economy, increasing internal demands for a new political system and exacerbating domestic cleavages? What are the challenges to establishing the rule of law in Russia? What impact will corruption ultimately have on Russia’s modernization? As both the US and Russia pivot toward Asia, what role will China play?

Throughout, it will be critical to examine all issues through a Russian lens, gaining insight into the perspectives of Russia’s leaders and people. Special attention will be paid to the sources and imperatives of Russian power, including its energy, nuclear arms, cyber capabilities, presidential authority, and Security Council veto; to its geopolitical insecurities, goals, and national self-concept; and to its looming demographic crisis.

In pursuing our inquiry, we will engage experts from such organizations as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the International Crisis Group, Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), the National Security Archive, the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the Wilson Center for Cold War History, the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State, and the United States Institute for Peace.

This year’s effort is supported with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Colloquium Lecturers and Advisers include:

  • Greg Austin, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, War Studies, King’s College; Professorial Fellow and former Vice President for global security issues, EastWest Institute
  • Thomas S. Blanton, Director, National Security Archive
  • Gregory Carleton, Associate Professor of Russian, Tufts University; Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
  • Timothy Colton, Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies and Chair, Department of Government, Harvard University; he is currently writing a book on the statecraft of Boris Yeltsin and coordinating a joint project on the post-Communist state
  • Bruce Everett, Adjunct Associate Professor of International Business, The Fletcher School, Tufts University; formerly with the Office of International Affairs, US Federal Energy Administration and US Department of Energy
  • Julie Fisher, Director, Operations Center, US Department of State, prior service includes Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, and as a special advisor to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
  • Vida Johnson, Director, Russian Program, Tufts University, specializing in Russian film, literature, culture, and language in the 20th century
  • James Hershberg, Former Director, Cold War International History Project; Co-founder, The George Washington University Cold War Group
  • Elena Naumova, Director, Tufts Initiative for Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases, Tufts University
  • Nikos Passas, Professor of Criminal Justice, Northeastern University
  • Serhii Plokhy, Mykhailo S. Hrushevs’kyi Professor of Ukrainian History, Department of History, Harvard University; Director, Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University
  • Simon Saradzhyan, Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism and Research Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School, Harvard University
  • Oxana Shevel, Associate Professor of Political Science, Tufts University; Author, Migration, Refugee Policy, and State Building in Postcommunist Europe
  • Richard Shultz, Professor of International Politics and Director, International Security Studies Program, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Alexandra Vacroux (EPIIC’86), Executive Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

EPIIC Weekend Immersion
“Human Rights: Reporting and Reality in the Soviet Union and Russia Today”
September 19-21, 2014
Outward Bound at Appalachian Mountain Club,
Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire

Resource Scholar: Joshua Rubenstein was on the staff of Amnesty International USA from 1975 to 2012 as New England Coordinator and Northeast Regional Director. He was also Scholar-in-Residence at Facing History and Ourselves in 2012 and 2013. He is a long-time Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Working as an independent scholar, Rubenstein is the author of Soviet Dissidents, Their Struggle for Human Rights and Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary’s Life. Mr. Rubenstein is the co-editor of Stalin’s Secret Pogrom: The Postwar Inquisition of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and of The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov.

Institute Scholars/Practitioners in Residence (INSPIRE)

Robert Legvold is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, where he specialized in the international relations of the post-Soviet states. He was Director of The Harriman Institute, Columbia University, from 1986 to 1992. He also served for six years as Director of the Soviet Studies Project at the Council on Foreign Relations. His most recent books include: Russian Foreign Policy in the Twenty-first Century and the Shadow of the Past and Thinking Strategically: The Major Powers, Kazakhstan and the Central Asian Nexus.

Carol R. Saivetz is a research associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and a research affiliate at the Security Studies Program at MIT. Saivetz has consulted for the US Government on topics ranging from energy politics in the Caspian Sea region to Russian policy toward Iran. From 1995-2005, she was the Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. She is the author of In Search of Pluralism: Soviet and post-Soviet Politics.

Investigative Projects

EPIIC provides unusual opportunities for students to conduct research and investogative journalism projects related to its annual theme, both at home and abroad. (To be eligible, there are ethics, methodology and security preparations that all students must complete before embarking on an investigative trip.)

Students are able to take advantage of connections forged during the colloquium and symposium to pursue their interests and to create meaningful long term projects. Last year, when the focus was the Middle East and North Africa, students traveled to Egypt, France, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and within the US. The Institute for Global Leadership has supported more than 1,300 students traveling to more than 95 countries since 1986.

Students are encouraged to develop their own topics, such as media presentations of Russia; political engagement and Russia’s youth; Islam in Russia today; environmental security and degradation in the former USSR; the role of art and literature in Russia’s politics and national identity; the future of NATO; and historical memory in Russia. There will also be possibilities for internships with organizations such as the East-West Institute and the National Security Archive, among others.
International Students and EPIIC

Each year, EPIIC invites student delegations from international universities to the symposium week to expand the dialogue for them and for Tufts students. Last year, EPIIC brought more than 45 students from Brazil, China, Israel, Palestine, Russia, Singapore, and South Korea. The Institute encourages Tufts students to develop research ideas with international students.

In addition to periodicals and papers, texts being considered for the two-semester course include:

  • The Rise and Fall of Communism, Archie Brown
  • Misunderstanding Russia: Russian Foreign Policy and the West, Magda Leichtova
  • Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, Stephen F. Cohen
  • Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, Fiona Hill
  • Ruling Russia: Authoritarianism from the Revolution to Putin, William Zimmerman
  • The Caucasus: An Introduction, Thomas De Waal
  • The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union, Serhii Plokhy, Basic Books
  • Vodka Shot, Pickle Chaser: A True Story of Risk, Corruption, and Self-Discovery Amid the Collapse of the Soviet Union, David Kalis
  • State Building in Russia: Policing and Coercion after Communism, Brian D. Taylor
  • Russia and the Russians: A History, Geoffrey Hosking
  • Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary Life, Joshua Rubenstein
  • Russian Politics: The Paradox of the Weak State, Marie Mendras
  • Russia: A1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East, Martin Sixsmith
  • Democracy Derailed in Russia: the Failure of Open Politics, M. Stephen Fish
  • Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell in and out of Love with Vladimir Putin, Ben Judah

Special Opportunities and Projects

Corruption in Russia
Work with anti-corruption experts Jack Blum and Nikos Passas to assist in investigations into organized crime and corruption in Russia. Jack Blum is a Washington lawyer who is an expert on white-collar financial crime, international tax evasion and one of this country’s premier advocates for victims of financial fraud. Nikos Passas specializes in the study of corruption, illicit financial/trade flows, sanctions, informal fund transfers, remittances, white-collar crime, terrorism, financial regulation, organized crime and international crimes.

Cyber Conflict and Cooperation: The Role of Russia
Russia plays a formidable role in the cyber domain. It possesses a potent arsenal of cyberweapons, is a major presence in regional and international efforts to codify norms of cyber conduct, and is at the center of contemporary debates about internet freedom and governance. How does Russia conceive of “cybersecurity” and how does this conception differ from the perception and interests of the United States and its partner nations? This will be a professional workshop convened by Lucas Kello (EPIIC’96), a post-doctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard University.

Minorities at Risk Project
Work with Professor Victor Asal (EPIIC’87), Director of the Center for Policy Research at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy (SUNY Albany), to develop quantitative, detail-orientated research skills and conduct open source research on Russian minority groups, looking at organizational structure, violent and non-violent actions, relationships with domestic and international governments, political activism, goals, ideology, and levels of success.

Cultural Evening
Collaborate with the University’s Russian Circle on its annual Russian Music Festival. The goal of the festival is to expose the Tufts community to the incredibly rich and diverse music that comes from Russia and the former Soviet Republics.

Voices from the Field
Help organize these Carnegie Corporation-supported, best practice discussions with Tufts alumni working in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Participants will include Sarah Lange (EPIIC’04), Executive Director, Arzuw Foundation (formerly Turkmenistan Youth and Civic Values Foundation), and Mark Rozanski (EPIIC’87 and ’89), Regional Head, Trade Finance, Europe/CIS at IFC - International Finance Corporation.

Oslo Freedom Forum
Attend the annual Oslo Freedom Forum, October 20-22, hosted by the Human Rights Foundation, to interact with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian entrepreneur and former political prisoner of Vladimir Putin’s regime, and Yulia Marushevska, a Ukrainian graduate student who was featured anonymously in the short but powerful viral video “I Am A Ukrainian”on the Euromaidan protests.

The Norris and Margery Bendetson EPIIC International Symposium
February 26-March 1, 2015

The international symposium is an annual public forum designed and enacted by the EPIIC students. It features scores of international practitioners, academics, public intellectuals, activists and journalists in panel discussions and workshops.

This year’s Advisers and Panelists include:

  • Deana Arsenian, Vice President, International Program and Program Director, Russia and Eurasia, Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Kennedy School, Harvard University; Former Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs, National Security Council; former Director for Soviet Affairs, Administration of President George H.W. Bush
  • Stephen F. Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies and History, New York University (ret.); Author, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War
  • Guan Guihai, Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Peking University; Co-Author, Yeltsin’s Years in Power
  • Mark N. Katz, Professor of Government and Politics, George Mason University; Author, “The Big Winner from the Ukraine Crisis? China” and “Why Russia Hasn’t Played Spolier to the Iran Nuclear Talks”
  • Brigadier General Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired), Director, Defense and Intelligence Projects, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School, Harvard University
  • Shorena Shaverdashvili (EPIIC’99), Journalist; Partner and Editor, Georgian Weekly Liberali
  • Svetlana Savranskaya, Director, Cooperative Projects with Russia and Editor, Russian and East Bloc Archival Documents Database, National Security Archive
  • Admiral James Stavridis (U.S. Navy, retired), Dean The Fletcher School, Tufts University; former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO (2009-13)
  • Stephan Vitvitsky (EPIIC’06), International Economist, Office of Europe and Eurasia, U.S. Department of Treasury
  • Cory Welt, Associate Director, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Elliott School, The George Washington University; Co-Director, Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS)
  • Sergey Zuev, Rector, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences