So Near, Yet So Abroad: Russia, Its Neighbors, and the Idea of the Near Abroad

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join us for a panel discussion with Serhiy Kudelia (Baylor University), author and former foreign policy analyst Constantine Pleshakov (Amherst College), and Gerard Toal (Virginia Tech). Tarik Cyril Amar (Columbia/Harriman) will moderate.

Serhiy Kudelia, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Baylor University
Constantine PleshakovVisiting Professor, Amherst College
Gerard Toal, Professor of Government and International Affairs, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, National Capital Region
Moderator: Tarik Cyril Amar, Associate Professor of Soviet, Russian, and Ukrainian History, Columbia University

This panel brings together three eminent experts to discuss the meaning, practice, and consequences of the "Near Abroad," a crucial concept that has informed Russia's approach to many of its post-Soviet neighbors. Especially in cases of violent crises, such as In Georgia or Ukraine, the "Near Abroad" has attracted Western attention and criticism. Focusing on two recent works of scholarship and analysis, this panel seeks to contribute to an informed discussion of this charged idea, its contexts, and its effects.

Tarik Cyril Amar is Associate Professor of Soviet, Russian, and Ukrainian History at the Department of History and the Harriman Institute at Columbia Institute. He comments regularly on contemporary Ukraine.

Serhiy Kudelia is assistant professor of political science at Baylor University specializing in political violence and institutional development. Earlier he held teaching and research positions at Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, University of Toronto, University of Greifswald University (Germany) and National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Ukraine). He received PhD in international relations from Johns Hopkins University/SAIS and MA in political science from Stanford. His articles appeared in various peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Democracy, Post-Soviet Affairs, Problems of Post-Communism, East European Politics and Societies and in several edited volumes.  He also co-authored a book The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin (Michigan, 2007) with Kiron Skinner, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Condoleezza Rice.

Dr. Constantine Pleshakov is a former foreign policy analyst at the Institute of U.S. and Canada Studies in Moscow, who emigrated to America in 1998. Pleshakov's books include The Tsar's Last Armada: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima, Stalin's Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of World War II on the Eastern Front, and There Is No Freedom Without Bread! 1989 and the Civil War That Brought Down Communism. His most recent book is The Crimean Nexus: Putin's War and the Clash of Civilizations. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and is currently a Visiting Professor at Amherst College.

Dr. Gerard Toal (Gearóid Ó Tuathail) is Professor of Government and International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech’s campus in the metro Washington region. He has a PhD in Geography from Syracuse University and is the author or co-author of over seventy journal articles and chapters on territorial conflicts, US foreign policy, de facto states, popular culture, media and critical geopolitics. He is the author of Critical Geopolitics (Routledge, 1996) and a co-editor of The Geopolitics Reader (two editions), Rethinking Geopolitics, and the Blackwell Companion to Political Geography. His co-authored book Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and its Reversal (Oxford University Press, 2011) traced processes of expulsion and return in three Bosnian towns from 1992 to 2004. A recipient of multiple research grants from the US National Science Foundation, his latest book is Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest for Ukraine and the Caucasus (Oxford University Press, 2017).

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