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GIRS Event 2015
From left to right, Dr. Svetlana Savranskaya and Dr. Thomas Blanton of the National Security Archive with Dr. Anna Vassilieva and Dr. Avner Cohen of the Middlebury Institute.

Russian Programs.


Dr. Blanton is a longtime proponent for increased transparency in the United States, from successfully challenging the classification of emails from the Reagan White House as “message slips” and thus not official records, to constantly pushing the envelope as a tireless advocate for declassification and openness. The National Security Archive files close to 2000 Freedom of Information Act requests every year. The documents they receive are accessible to scholars and the general public and provide all of us with a deeper understanding of how decisions are made and history shaped.

Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS). The visit by these world-renowned experts is a part of the GIRS mission to expose students to research and analysis generated by contemporary Russian and Eurasian scholars and practitioners.

Dr. Savranskaya runs the Russian Program at the National Security Archive and she gave three lectures over three days, all in Russian, on the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and Arms Control and the End of the Cold War. She filled every classroom she spoke in. Apart from MIIS students, her talks drew a large number of students from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency who are in Monterey to study intensive Russian at the Defense Language Institute, just up the road. “It is amazing to see 50-60 students engage with a high-level speaker and ask questions in such advanced Russian,” says Professor Vassilieva. “Only at MIIS!”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir