News Archive

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dmitry Dubrovsky on RTVI

Dmitry Dubrovsky, Associate Research Scholar, Harriman Institute; Fellow, Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund, appeared on RTVI to discuss the 23-year-old Russian blogger, Ruslan Sokolovsky, who may face 3.5 years in prison for playing Pokémon Go in church. Watch the interview in Russian.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Student Spotlight: Maria Snegovaya

When Maria Snegovaya, a doctoral candidate in Columbia’s Department of Political Science, started researching the rise of the radical and populist right in Eastern and Central Europe back in 2013, she had no idea just how globally relevant the topic would become. Then, three years later, radical and populist right movements gained unexpected prominence in both Western Europe and the United States. “On a personal level I’m horrified by the developments, but on a scholarly level I’m happy because there will be more opportunities,” she says.

Snegovaya, who is originally from St. Petersburg, had planned to go into finance. She was also in the middle of pursuing a candidate of science degree in economics at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Russia when she won a visiting fellowship from Harvard’s Davis Center for the 2009-10 academic year. That is when her career changed course. “I was so amazed by the intellectual dynamics at Harvard,” she says, “that sometimes I felt like my brain was overflowing with ideas just sitting in the lecture hall.” The environment stimulated her to such an extent that she decided “to pursue academia in a serious way.” Snegovaya returned to Russia, and, while completing the last year of her program at HSE, applied to U.S. doctoral programs in political science. She enrolled at Columbia in the fall of 2011, flying back to Russia a month later to successfully defend her HSE dissertation on religion in Ukraine and its impact on market labor attitudes.

After two years at Columbia, Snegovaya, by this point a regular columnist for the Russian business daily Vedomosti,* wanted to broaden the scope of her expertise beyond Russia. She and her adviser, former Harriman Director Timothy Frye, decided that for her dissertation she would investigate the political success of radical and populist right movements in Eastern and Central Europe. “Ironically enough, I discovered that the success of the radical and populist right was made possible by the earlier choices of left parties,” says Snegovaya.

After the collapse of the Communist bloc in 1989, many radical left and post-Communist parties decided to shift to the center of the political spectrum. “They became typical social democratic parties in the Western sense,” says Snegovaya, explaining that many such parties tended to weaken their ties to labor unions. They also often implemented unpopular market and austerity reforms, leaving traditional leftwing constituents to feel abandoned. “The policies ended up alienating the weaker and poorer population segments; those who were losing from globalization,” says Snegovaya.

The right-leaning parties noticed the shift, and came in to fill the void. In turn, as the economic situation for these alienated voters declined, they were more likely to adopt rightwing attitudes. “Radical right parties such as Jobbik in Hungary, played into these sentiments,” says Snegovaya. They promised to protect workers from the detrimental impacts of globalization, to create jobs, and to kick out immigrants and Western multinational companies.

In the summer of 2016, thanks to the support of the Harriman Institute’s Padma Desai Summer Fellowship, Snegovaya was able to test out her theory by running experimental surveys in Hungary and the Czech Republic. “The advantage of experimental surveys over traditional ones is that they allow you to approach the causality of an issue in a more rigorous fashion,” she explains. In an attempt to gauge whether or not frustrations with the left actually radicalized people, Snegovaya spent the summer running experiments in both countries. The results demonstrated just what she had suspected—in Hungary, where there was no radical left party, people with extreme views tended to drift to the right, while in the Czech Republic, where the radical left remained strong, extreme voters tended to drift to the left.

“I think my research has very important policy implications,” says Snegovaya. “The ability of left parties to reestablish their credibility in the face of their constituencies may substantially weaken the radicalization of these systems.”

Masha Udensiva-Brenner

* Since then, Snegovaya has become a frequent TV and radio political commentator and a contributor to news outlets such as New Republic and the Washington Post. You can listen to her discuss the recent protests in Russia in the inaugural episode of Expert Opinions, the Harriman Institute’s new podcast on EurasiaNet



Monday, May 15, 2017

Małgorzata Mazurek Awarded Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Grant

Małgorzata Mazurek (Associate Professor of Polish Studies, Dept. of History) was awarded a Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Grant for a workshop for her book manuscript, "Reconfiguring Backwardness: Polish Social Scientists and the Making of the Non-Western World." The Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Grants were established in 2015 to provide additional financial support to junior faculty to help complete projects to meet the expectations for tenure. 
Friday, May 12, 2017

Timothy Frye on NY1 Discussing Firing of James Comey

Timothy M. Frye, Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy,  Chair of Columbia's Department of Political Science, and former Director of the Harriman Institute, discusses on NY1 the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to the White House.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mark Andryczyk Interviewed About His Book, The Intellectual Hero in 1990s Ukrainian Fiction

Mark Andryczyk, Staff Associate, Ukrainian Studies Program, was interviewed by UkeTube Ukrainian video about his book, The Intellectual Hero in 1990s Ukrainian Fiction. Listen to it here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Anna Frajlich to Receive Wybitny Polak Award in Recognition of Her Contributions to Polish Culture

It has been announced that Anna Frajlich (Senior Lecturer Emerita, Slavic Languages) has been named the recipient of the Wybitny Polak (Distinguished Pole) award in recognition of her many contributions to Polish culture. She will be presented a statuette at a ceremony to be hosted by the Consul General at the Consulate General of Poland in New York, on May 10, 2017, Poland's Constitution Day.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Harriman Institute Launches Expert Opinions, a New Podcast on EurasiaNet

In the inaugural episode, Masha Udensiva-Brenner sits down with three experts and a novelist to discuss the public protests that erupted all over Russia in late March, the aftermath, and the evolving state of U.S.-Russia relations.

Maria Snegovaya, a doctoral candidate in Columbia’s Department of Political Science and a columnist for the Russian business daily Vedomosti, is a frequent political commentator on TV and radio, and a contributor to media outlets such as the New Republic and the Washington Post.
Yana Gorokhovskaia is a postdoctoral research scholar in Russian Politics at the Harriman Institute. Her scholarship has appeared in Post-Soviet Affairs, among others. She recently published a piece on the Russian protests at IPI’s Global Observatory.
Maria Lipman, a Russian political analyst and commentator, currently Visiting Distinguished Fellow of Russian Studies at Indiana University, is the founding editor of the Counterpoint journal published by the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (George Washington University). She was the editor-in-chief of the Pro et Contra journal published by the Carnegie Moscow Center, and an expert of the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Society and Regions Program. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the New Yorker, among others.
Sana Krasikov is the award-winning author of the novel The Patriots (2017) and the short story collection One More Year (2008). In April 2017, she was one of the twenty-one U.S. novelists included in Granta’s decennial Best of Young American Novelists list.

*Photograph by Evgeny Feldman, “This is Navalny” Project

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Stephen Sestanovich on "The Brilliant Incoherence of Trump's Foreign Policy" in The Atlantic

Stephen Sestanovich, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor for the Practice of International Diplomacy, writes on "The Brilliant Incoherence of Trump's Foreign Policy" in the May 2017 issue of The Atlantic. According to Sestanovich, every 20 years or so the U.S. "debates whether to do more or less abroad. Trump won by promising both. But he can't possible deliver."




Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rebecca Kobrin, "How Will the White House Remember the Holocaust?"

Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History, contributed an opinion piece to CNN (April 23, 2017), titled "How Will the White House Remember the Holocaust?":

"Monday is Yom Hashoah, the day designated in 1953 by the State of Israel to commemorate the murder of millions of Jews during the Second World War. Selected to mark the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, this day is meant to impart a lesson: Jews should be remembered not only for dying in the Holocaust, but for fighting for their lives as well. But perhaps the most important lesson of the Holocaust for Americans is the role that open borders for refugees can play in saving victims from unspeakable violence.
Since January 20, I have often pondered: What does our current administration see as the lessons for Americans to learn from the Holocaust? Especially on the occasion of Yom Hashoah, I cannot stop thinking that a deeper knowledge of the the world's role in the Holocaust is needed in America."
You can read the full piece here.
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mark Mazower Reviews Books on War and Peace for Financial Times

 Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach Professor of History, reviewed books on war and peace by Azar Gat, Martin van Creveld, AC Grayling, and David Armitage in the Financial Times (April 13, 2017).

From the review's opening paragraph:

"This turbulent international scene of ours is starting to resemble one we thought we’d left behind a long time ago. President Donald Trump once professed to be against foreign entanglements. Now he fires Tomahawks into Syria and sends an aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula. In the South China Sea the arms race is accelerating. The air is thick with jets over the east Aegean. With American hegemony challenged by the rise of China, some talk about a return to the late 19th century. We know where that world of jostling great powers ended up: it is not surprising if people have war on their minds."