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Browse course samples and faculty profiles for Russian Studies.

Russian is integral to my job

Being able to access documents and media reports in a foreign language first hand directly from sources is something that's really important. Living in Washington DC, just walking down the street, passing an Ethiopian restaurant with Aramaic script, or hearing languages spoken outside of Embassies as you walk by.

It's really hard to forget that language is an incredibly important part of who people are. And the field that I work in, in international affairs and non-proliferation, it's taking a step back and looking at the globe and what's going on. The amount of conflict and misunderstanding that occurs, not just due to mistakes in translation but true inability of parties to communicate across cultural lines is something that I'm reminded of daily.

So while I've been at the Department of Defense, I've worked on programs that have worked with partners cooperatively to help reduce or secure or prevent the proliferation of materials that can be used by bad actors to pose weapons of mass destruction threats. Watching the news, it's hard not to hear the letters WMD or to hear about a recent terrorist group or a recent terrorist attack.

And studying those issues was something that I felt like I could make a tangible impact, certainly in my career, that would allow me to go and do something in the real world afterwards. Learning language is one step that students who want to be leaders in this field, in the future, should take if they have the opportunity.

And I definitely felt that going to the Middlebury Institute was my opportunity.

Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS)

Funded by the Carnegie Corporation, GIRS provides unique opportunities for immersive and collaborative learning as students apply their Russian language skills to high-level work with visiting Russian experts.

Sample Courses in Russian Studies

Vladimir Putin and His Russia

Explore the role and the significance of Vladimir Putin’s personality in the evolution of contemporary Russia: its domestic and foreign policy, moral choices and economic standing of the Russian population, and a variety of approaches to analyzing the development of the contemporary Russian state and society.

Traditional and Nontraditional Security Issues in Modern Russia

Explore issues related to topics of nontraditional security such as human security, illegal migration, ecological security, and international and domestic terrorism, and also topics of Russian-American relations, Russian-Chinese relations, and those regarding Russia’s defense capabilities.

Intellectual and Political Discourse in Modern Russia

The course is devoted to studying the intellectual and political discourse of contemporary Russia. Students read, listen, translate, and analyze in Russian, formulating acquired knowledge through writing, discussions, and oral group and individual presentations.

Sociological Overview of Russian Society

Explore a variety of topics concerning the current political, economic and security situation in Russia and how it affects Russia’s citizens. Students learn about Russian politics and society in the 21st century through studying the data of sociological research conducted by Russia’s leading sociological centers.

Faculty

Dmitry Buzadzhi

Visiting Professor

Email: dbuzadzhi@miis.edu
Tel: (831) 647-4196
Office: McCone Building M228

Anna Vassilieva

Professor; Director, Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies

Email: avassili@miis.edu
Tel: (831) 647-3546
Office: McGowan Building MG208