News Archive

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Alexander Cooley Weighs in on Trump and Central Asia

Alexander Cooley (Director, Harriman Institute; Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College) weighs in on President Trump's business connections to Central Asia in McClatchyDC. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tanya Domi Quoted in Balkan Insight on Stigmatization of Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

In a feature published in Balkan Insight (June 30, 2017), Tanya Domi (SIPA) is quoted in a story on the signing of a declaration by  leaders of the Orthodox, Islamic, Jewish and Catholic communities denouncing the stigmatization of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence  as Bosnia’s Inter-religious Council continues efforts to promote reconciliation:
“I think it's a major step forward to actually come together across religion to advance respect and dignity for people who have suffered torture. Specifically the issue of sexual violence is an issue and an egregious crime that the war in Bosnia is well known for,” Domi told BIRN.
“Many women suffered, and now we know, many men have also suffered from this crime. Many of those victims have been isolated and shunned by their own families and communities,” she said. Domi said she believes that if religious leaders speak out and embrace the victims, it could promote reconciliation.
“We would have to look at how they plan to follow up from this agreement. What are they going to do, and how are they going to meet with victims and their families and communities,” she said.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stephen Sestanovich: Vladimir Putin Is Suddenly on the Defensive against Corruption

Stephen Sestanovich, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor for the Practice of International Diplomacy, writes in the Washington Post that "dismissing the very idea of corruption has in fact become the default position of the Putin regime." 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Expert Opinions, Episode 2: What’s the Matter with Chechnya?

All eyes turned to Chechnya in early April, after the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta exposed the kidnapping, unlawful detention, and torture of more than 100 gay men by the Chechen authorities. How did these purges start? What is missing from the prevailing media narrative? And how has Russia’s relationship with the republic affected what is going on there now?

In the second episode of our new podcast with EurasiaNet, Masha Udensiva-Brenner sits down with two experts to discuss the gay purges in Chechnya and the political context in which they occurred. 

Guests: Rachel Denber, Deputy Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, Human Rights Watch; Thomas de Waal, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Europe

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Play the episode on SoundCloud:



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tanya Domi Co-Authors Opinion Piece on "Aleksandar Vucic’s Broken Promises to America"

Tanya Domi (International and Public Affairs) co-authored an opinion piece, with Praveen Madhiraju, on "Aleksandar Vucic’s Broken Promises to America" in Balkan Insight (19 June 2017): "President Vucic has repeatedly promised to resolve the murders of the Albanian-American Bytyqi brothers in Serbia in 1999, so when he visits Washington, the US must pressure him to finally deliver." 

You can read the entire piece here.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Timothy Frye Comments on Kushner-Gorkov Meeting on CBS News with Scott Pelley

In a CBS Evening News broadcast concerning former FBI Director James Comey's upcoming testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week, Timothy Frye, Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy, stated that "The appearances here look really not very good for Mr. Kushner," adding that Putin likely knew about the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov.

You can read and view the episode here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, and Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia, Dies at 89

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at SIPA (1960-1989), Columbia University, and former Russian Institute faculty member, is dead at the age of 89. Brzezinski was honored this past spring at SIPA's Global Leadership Awards Gala, as part of the institute's 70th anniversary celebrations.

In 1961, Brzezinski was made director of the newly established Research Institute on Communist Affairs, which published his Between Two Ages: America's Role in the Technetronic Era (1970). Publications of Brzezinski's work sponsored by the Russian Institute include Political Power: USA/USSR (1964).

You can read the New York Times obituary here.


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.