News Archive

Friday, February 2, 2018

Yana Gorokhovskaia: "Russia’s Election: Assured Victory, Protests, and Apathy"

Yana Gorokhovskaia, postdoctoral fellow in Russian politics at the Harriman Institute, discusses Russia's upcoming presidential elections in the International Peace Institute's Global Observatory.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Tarik Cyril Amar Discusses Russia with Paste Magazine

Tarik Cyril Amar, Associate Professor of History, weighs in on the evolution of Russian politics, and the risks posed by Russia's "threat narratives" in a piece titled,
"The Butcher Builders: How Western Journalists Helped Create a Monster in Russia," published by Paste Magazine on February 1, 2017.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Yana Gorokhovskaia Publishes PONARS Policy Memo on Municipal Politics in Moscow

Yana Gorokhovskaia, postdoctoral fellow in Russian politics at the Harriman Institute, discusses municipal politics in Moscow, and why they are important signposts of Russia's democratic development, in a PONARS Eurasia policy memo published in January 2017.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Will Persing (MARS-REERS '18) Writes on "Uzbekistan & Tajikistan: Catalysts for a Regional Water Solution?" for Eurasianet

Will Persing (MARS-REERS '18) is the author of  "Uzbekistan & Tajikistan: Catalysts for a Regional Water Solution?" published on Eurasianet (Jan. 23, 2018).

From the introduction: 
The continuing rapprochement between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan could provide a boost to regional efforts that address one of Central Asia’s key strategic issues: the sustainable management of water resources.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has placed water management high on his reform agenda. At the United Nations General Assembly in 2017, the Uzbek leader discussed at length the importance of water in Central Asia and the need for cooperation.“
Problems of water, peace and security are inextricably linked,” Mirziyoyev stated at the UN. “There is no alternative to addressing the water problem other than equally taking into account the interests of the countries and nations of the region.”

Photo: Construction began at the Rogun Dam in southern Tajikistan on October 29, 2016. While the dam remains a top priority for Tajikistan, the Uzbek government only recently has softened its position on the issue. (Photo by Tajikistan Presidential Press Service)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT. Kimberly Marten in Profile: Deciphering Russia and the West

With recent appearances on NPR and CBS This Morning, Kimberly Marten, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, is now one of the go-to Russia experts for radio and television. Marten’s big break came on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (March 6, 2014), where she explored the reasons for Vladimir Putin deciding to risk so much on Crimea. More recent media appearances are clustered around Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow: NPR’s All Things Considered (April 11, 2017) and Charlie Rose (April 14). It’s easy to see why Marten keeps getting invited back. She’s good at taking large, complex issues, and breaking them down into bullet points.  For example, from the Charlie Rose appearance on April 14, 2017: What does Putin want? Answer: (1) to remain in power; (2) to go down in history as the man who made Russia great again; (3) to be treated as an equal. Or: Putin is a tactician; someone who’s reactive and opportunistic. Breaking down the narrative into manageable and memorable bytes, and having recourse to thumbnail psychological sketches, allows Marten to get her point across in the tight time frames of the fast-paced media. 
Follow this link to read the compete profile in Harriman Magazine.

To read more about our faculty visit Faculty Spotlight

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The New Yorker Reviews Mark Mazower's "What You Did Not Tell"

What You Did Not Tell, a family memoir by Mark Mazower (Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies; Director, Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination), is reviewed in The New Yorker's Briefly Noted (Jan. 22, 2018):
“How is it that the places we live in come to feel that they are ours?” a noted historian asks in this exacting memoir, which traces his family’s journey from tsarist Russia to postwar England. The story centers on his grandfather Max, the revolutionary leader of a Jewish labor movement. Max distributed fake passports, illegal weapons, and banned Yiddish tracts. By the time he was thirty-five, in 1907, he’d been arrested and sent to Siberia twice, and he fled to London. Max shared little about his life in Russia, but Mazower, plowing through letters, diaries, and archives, finds that his grandfather’s story encompasses many of the horrors of twentieth-century Europe.










Friday, January 19, 2018

Kimberly Marten Publishes PONARS Policy Memo on "Explaining Russia's Schizophrenic Policy toward the United States"

Kimberly Marten (Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science, Barnard College, and the Director of the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations) has authored a policy memo for PONARS Eurasia on "Explaining Russia's Schizophrenic Policy toward the United States" (no. 501, January 2018). The memo was cited by Vladimir Frolov in on January 22, 2017.

(PONARS Policy Memo) The weaknesses and inconsistencies of Russia’s recent actions toward the United States need to be explained. President Vladimir Putin is often seen as a foreign policy wizard, leading Russia to a string of successes and heightened international influence. But Moscow’s interactions with Washington are actually puzzling.

Using information drawn from press and other publicly available sources, this memo will examine four explanations for the situation: (1) Putin’s own psychological makeup and biases; (2) the unwillingness of knowledgeable advisors to stand up to Putin; (3) infighting among Putin’s advisors; and (4) the possibility that intelligence officers in Russia are acting on their own authority, without real state coordination. These explanations are not mutually exclusive, and we lack evidence to know which might be definitive. But the exercise is useful for thinking about the future trajectory of the Putin government and its foreign policy choices, suggesting that Putin may not be the only figure who matters going forward.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The White Chalk of Days: The Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series Anthology

Mark Andryczyk (Associate Research Scholar, Ukrainian Studies Program) is the editor of The White Chalk of Days: The Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series Anthology, published by Academic Studies Press. The book's publication  commemorates the tenth year of the Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series. Co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, and the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the series has  organized readings in the U.S. for Ukraine’s leading writers since 2008.  The anthology presents translations of literary works by series guests that imaginatively engage pivotal issues in today’s Ukraine and express its tribulations and jubilations. Featuring poetry, fiction, and essays by fifteen Ukrainian writers, the anthology offers English-language readers a wide array of the most beguiling literature written in Ukraine in the past fifty years.

December 2017
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Andres Fernandez Publishes "The Real Future of Green Energy in Kazakhstan" in The Diplomat

Andres Fernandez (MARS-REEERS) published an article on "The Real Future of Green Energy in Kazakhstan" in The Diplomat (Jan. 12, 2018). Fernandez conducted research in the region during summer 2017 as a Padma Desai Fellow.

From the opening of Fernandez's article: 

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed the New Year by touting key accomplishments of the past year, namely the Astana Expo 2017, which in his words granted the country more “global recognition and respect.” With its theme of “Future Energy,” the  Expo demonstrated the Kazakh government’s purported commitment to green energy solutions as part of a broader national development strategy. However, the viability of such projects is limited, indicating a more immediate motive of projecting the image of a forward-looking Kazakhstan before Western audiences.
At the onset of the Expo, the government of Kazakhstan announced an economic transformation centered on sustainable development, greater foreign investment, and a push toward renewable energy. This was a remarkable statement given the fact that since independence Kazakhstan’s economy has been driven by the extractive industry, with oil accounting for 50 percent of the country’s GDP in 2017. Sitting on the 11th-largest proven oil reserves in the world, Kazakhstan’s abundant natural resource wealth has been the key to rapid development and enrichment of the state.
As a rentier state heavily dependent on the export of oil, Kazakhstan’s energy security is vulnerable to external economic shocks, such as the 2014 drop in oil prices. The sudden and drastic decrease of revenue signaled a vulnerability of the government, undermining its legitimacy as a provider of development and prosperity for the nation. The country also suffers from issues commonly associated with rentier states, such as economic growth that is not sustainable in the long term, a high level of corruption and inefficient management of resources, plus growing social inequality, as the oil sector often fails to create many jobs and suppresses the development of other sectors.
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Harriman Awards Russian Studies Research Grants

The Harriman Institute is pleased to announce the recipients of its latest round of Russian Studies Research Grants. The Harriman Russian Studies Research Grant competition, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, supports research projects in the social sciences involving the study of Russia and spans the social sciences broadly defined.

Belinda Archibold, Assistant Professor of Economics at Barnard College, will be conducting research that tests for the existence of carbon leakage using evidence from the oil and gas industry and associated gas flaring policy. The major question of interest is whether multinational oil companies “outsource” pollution in the presence of uneven environmental, anti-gas flaring regulations across regions. An extension of the research will examine the health and human capital investment effects of contemporaneous and long-term exposure to local pollution from gas flaring, using evidence from Russia, the United States and Nigeria, three countries in the top 10 gas flaring lists by World Bank estimates.

Alexander Karp, Professor of Mathematics Education at Teacher’s College, will study the Russian national sub-commission of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction and its members and contributors (the key figures in Russian mathematics education at the beginning of the twentieth century). The goal of the project is to collect more information about these leading figures and to prepare a modern edition of the sub-commission's materials.

Anupama Rao, Associate Professor of History at Barnard College, will lead a workshop entitled, “The Minority Question in the Short Twentieth Century.” This workshop is the prelude to the publication of an edited volume on the global effects of the Russian Revolution (and the formation of the Soviet Union) and will focus on debates about minority rights.

Georgiy Syunyaev, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Columbia University, will lead a project entitled, “Controlled Confusion: Manipulation of Public Attribution of Responsibilities in Decentralized Autocracies.”