News Archive

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Why Did Russian Jews Support the Bolshevik Revolution?" by Michael Stanislawski in the Tablet

Michael Stanislawski (Nathan J. Miller Professor of Jewish History) publishes "Why Did Russian Jews Support the Revolution?" in Tablet (Oct. 24), part of a week-long series on the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

Stanislawski concludes:
Certainly, there were many Jews who, in their heart of hearts, still maintained their fealty to their old political parties, their old way of life, their Zionism, their Bundism, their liberalism, their religious Orthodoxy. Many would fight as best they could for these causes in the next two decades, largely underground. But as the new Soviet Union rose from the ashes of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Soviet-Ukrainian War, the Soviet-Polish War, and more, the Jews made their peace, or more, with the new Communist state which committed itself against the forces of reaction and anti-Semitism. Their subsequent fate under Soviet socialism—and its ultimate descent into the lunacy of the Stalinist terror—was not foreseen.
Monday, October 30, 2017

Dictators Without Borders Is Number One on the International Affairs Top 5 Book Series

Dictators Without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia, by Alexander Cooley, Director, Harriman Institute; Claire Tow Professor of Political Science, Barnard College, and John Heathershaw, is book one in the Top 5 Book Series of the September issue of International Affairs.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Harriman Alumna Ani Kokobobo Writes Op-Ed for Washington Post on Alexandra Kollontai and the Present Childcare Crisis

Ani Kokobobo, Harriman alumna (Ph.D. 2011, Slavic Lanaguages) and Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages at the University of Kansas, published an op-ed in the Washington Post on how "the solution to America’s child care problem comes from an unexpected place," namely, Alexandra Kollontai and her proposal of childcare co-ops. 

Kokobobo is the author of the forthcoming Russian Grotesque Realism: The Great Reforms and Gentry Decline (Ohio State University Press), for which she was awarded a Harriman First-Book Subvention grant, as well as the edited volume, Beyond Moscow: Reading Russia’s Regional Identities and Initiatives (Routledge). 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Christopher Caes To Deliver Lecture on Czeslaw Milosz at the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America

Christopher Caes, Lecturer in Polish, will deliver a lecture on "An Atomics of the Self: Czeslaw Milosz's The Captive Mind Re-Revisited," on Friday, October 27, 2017, at the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. 6:30-9:00; PIASA Townhouse (208 E 30 St.)
Christopher Caes completed his Ph.D. in Slavic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Film Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His area of research is 20th-century Polish literature, film, and culture, with a particular focus on artistic and cultural perspectives on human identity and behavior under extreme circumstances. His teaching interests include Polish and Russian Language, Slavic Studies, Film Studies, East European History, Science Fiction Studies, and Norse Mythology and Culture. He is also active as a literary translator from Polish to English.
Monday, October 23, 2017

Mark Mazower Publishes "What You Did Not Tell"

Mark Mazower (Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies and Director of the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination) has just published a family memoir, What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home (Other Press, 2017).

From the review in the Guardian:
There is a level of secrecy within families that is sometimes hard for outsiders to comprehend. Max Mazower, grandfather of the author, never told his much loved wife Frouma, to whom he was married for many years, the name of his mother. This was, in a way, the least of it. Nor did he talk about his long and active past as a revolutionary socialist in tsarist Russia. Memory and secrets, how they are buried and how they can be unearthed, lie at the heart of Mark Mazower’s fascinating and scholarly reconstruction of a family’s life and the myriad relations, friends, acquaintances, places, houses and adventures that spin out from it. 
Mazower is a distinguished historian of 20th-century Europe and he brings to his digging the doggedness and meticulousness of the obsessive researcher. There are few archives or collections of papers relevant to his subject that he does not appear to have consulted, whether in the US, the UK, Russia, Belgium or Israel. To these he has added a diary kept by his father between 1941 and 1996, the many letters preserved by his mother during the years when letters were the only way to keep in touch with people across the eastern bloc, and the family stories he prodded out of his father not long before his death. He was a man, Mazower writes, who “shied away from the personal like a nervous horse”. All this evidence put together offers not simply a biographical narrative, but, woven into it, a vast and rich picture of leftwing European Jewry throughout the 20th century.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Alla Smyslova and Ronald Meyer Quoted in RBC Investigative Report on a Russian Troll Factory

Alla Smyslova (Director of the Russian Language Program at Columbia) and Ronald Meyer (Harriman Institute) served as consultants for RBC in their investigative report on a Russian troll factory that tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election (published October 17, 2017). Their analysis of the English-language texts provided by RBC showed that these posts were almost certainly written by Russians:

Журнал РБК также попросил лингвистов проанализировать семь публикаций из сообществ, указанных в списке. Авторы постов во многих случаях были русскими — «достаточно доказательств» этого нашли адъюнкт-профессор Колумбийского университета Рональд Мейер и его коллега, директор программы по изучению русского языка Алла Смыслова. Они указали на прямые кальки с русского (например, sitting on welfare — «сидеть на пособии») и огрехи в пунктуации вроде запятых перед союзом that («что»), на отсутствие артиклей и в целом «странные» формулировки.

You can read the full story here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

ASEEES Announces Winner of 2017 Marshall Shulman Book Prize

ASEEES announced the winner of the 2017 Marshall Shulman Book Prize, awarded for an outstanding monograph dealing with international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. This year's prize winner is Juliet Johnson for her book, Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World (Cornell University Press). Honorable mention was given to Agnia Grigas for her Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire (Yale University Press). 

The jury this year was chaired by Alexander Cooley, Director of the Harriman Institute. The award will be presented at the ASEEES annual convention in Chicago, on November 11, 2017.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Harriman Alumni on 2017 ASEEES Prize List

Sergei Antonov, former Harriman Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-13), now Assistant Professor in the Yale University History Department, Benjamin Peters (Communications, 2010), now Associate Professor at the University of Tulsa, and David Szakonyi (Political Science, 2016), now Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University, are among the 2017 prize winners announced by ASEEES. Antonov received the Ed A. Hewitt Prize for outstanding publication on the political economy of Russia for his book Bankrupts and Usurers of Imperial Russia: Debt, Property, and the Law in the Age of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy (Harvard University Press, 2017); Peters received the Wayne S. Vucinich Prize for his How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (MIT Press, 2106); Szakonyi won the Robert C. Tucker/Stephen F. Cohen Dissertation Prize for his dissertation, “Renting Elected Office: Why Businesspeople Become Politicians in Russia." The prizes will be awarded at the annual convention in Chicago on November 11, 2017.

You will find the complete prize list here. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Expert Opinions Episode 3: Looking at Luxury Real Estate’s Money Laundering Role

In this episode of our podcast on Eurasianet, Masha Udensiva-Brenner sits down with Harriman Institute Director Alexander Cooley to discuss his recent book, Dictators Without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia, co-authored by John Heathershaw. The book challenges popular assumptions about Central Asia, and provides context on President Donald Trump’s stance toward the formerly Soviet states, highlighting how luxury real estate can enable money laundering. 

Cooley and Heathershaw published Dictators Without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia (Yale University Press) last March. The book disputes the notion that Central Asia is an isolated region with little influence over global affairs, and argues that Central Asia’s transnational presence is in fact sizable and should not be ignored. The region’s economic role, however, is shadowy — obscured by thickets of foreign bank accounts, third-party brokers, and shell companies. And these activities are facilitated by Western actors who both wittingly and unwittingly partake in money laundering schemes and bribery.
Since the book’s publication, the Trump Organization’s financial entanglements in the former Soviet space have helped draw attention to the intricate offshore networks of Central Asian elites, and characters like the dissident Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov — one of the four case studies in Cooley’s and Heathershaw’s book.
Udensiva-Brenner’s interview with Cooley is the first in a three-part series on offshore finance, money laundering, and Trump’s real estate deals in the post-Soviet region. In the second and third parts of the series, Udensiva-Brenner will speak with Columbia School of Journalism Investigative Fellows Manuela Andreoni and Inti Pacheco, and New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson.
Alexander Cooley is the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute. His recent books include Ranking the World: Grading States as a Tool of Global Governance (Cambridge University Press 2015), co-edited with Jack Snyder of Columbia University, and Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia (Oxford University Press 2012)

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Timothy Frye: "Russian Studies is Thriving, not Dying"

Timothy M. Frye, Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy, Chair of Columbia's Department of Political Science, dismisses the commonly held perception that the number of Russian experts is dwindling, pointing to the increasing number of articles about Russia published in top political science journals. Read his article in the National Interest.