A fully funded experience, the research trip takes successful applicants to Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, and other cities in the Russian Far East.
Three MIIS students Kieran Ficken, Margo Poda, and Libiao Pan, and Middlebury College student Hayley Manges, accompanied by MIIS Professor Tsuneo Akaha, traveled to the Russian Far Eastern cities of Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, and Birobidzhan.
The local hosts at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok and the Economic Research Institute in Khabarovsk extended a warm welcome and facilitated the delegation’s meetings with faculty, students, journalist, and other local experts. The four students conducted interviews concerning their respective research topics. In preparation for this trip the students had held five seminar-format sessions with Professor Akaha to discuss Russia’s relations with China, Japan, and Korea and developments in the Russian Far East, which plays a particularly unique role in those bilateral and regional relations.
2018 Research Trip
During their stay in Vladivostok from March 25 to 27, the delegation met with Professors Artyom Lukin and Sergey Sevastyanov of the Far Eastern Federal University and discussed Russia-China relations, Russia-Korea relations, economic development initiatives in the Russian Far East, including free economic zones, Territories of Advanced Development (TORs), and the Hectare in the Far East Program.
They also enjoyed meeting several students studying international relations in the university’s School of Regional and International Affairs. They also met with Mr. Martin Tate of agribusiness enterprise Tate Agro Group, who briefed them on his agribusiness and also discussed the various government initiatives to stimulate economic development in the region, including Territories of Advanced Development (TORs) and the Hectare in the Far East Program. The delegation also visited Russian-Japanese joint venture JGC Evergreen, LLC, where representative of the agribusiness enterprise Mr. Roman Matvienko showed them a modern eco-friendly agricultural facility. In addition, the visiting group met with Mr. Oleg Zhunusov, a well-known journalist with business daily Zolotoy Rog, who told them about current economic and social developments in the Russian Far East, including the presence of North Koreans in the region. The delegation also heard about Advanced Special Economic Zones (ASEZ) and Free Port Vladivostok (FPV) from Mr. Sergei Skaliy of the Corporation of Far East Development.
The group took a night train from Vladivostok to Khabarovsk, on the last leg of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. In Khabarovsk from March 28 to April 1, the delegation held a roundtable discussion and individual consultations with senior researchers of the Economic Research Institute, including P. Goryunov, S.N. Leonov, A.G. Isaev, E. A. Zaostrovsky, Denis Suslov, and G.I. Sukhomirov, covering topics ranging from special economic zones to investment climate in the Russian Far East (RFE), Russia’s new economic programs, regional governments and North Korea’s involvement, and new agriculture policy in the RFE.
2018 Research Trip: Birobidzhan
The group also met with Natalia Pastukhova of Far Eastern Research Institute of Agricultural Production Complex (topic: Russia’s new agriculture policy, Hectare in the Far East Program), Alexander Kapishnikov and Vladimir Kucheryavenko of Representative from the Russian Foreign Ministry’s representative office in Khabarovsk (topic: Russia’s relations with North Korea and the impact of economic development in the RFE on North Korea), Sergey Baushev, Maria Grishinkova, Svetlana Naidenkina, Agency for Investment and Development, Khabarovsk Krai (topic: economic development initiatives in the RFE, including free economic zones, Territories of Advanced Development, and the Hectare in the Far East Program), and Ivan Semiletkin and Antonina Yarskaya of land development enterprise Prada Col, Ltd. (topic: economic development initiatives in the RFE). The delegation enjoyed a daylong excursion to Birobidzhan, the administrative center of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast bordering China.
Despite the deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations – or precisely because of the onerous development – it is important to keep people-to-people channels of communication between the two countries open, and this visit was an example of an important opportunity for exchanging information and views on Russia’s place in the world. The members of the delegation learned so much about the Russian Far East, which would have been impossible to do had it not been for this opportunity to visit the region and engage face-to-face with the local experts. For this, they are very grateful to the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies.