In 1985, at the young age of 29, Thom Shanker was made Moscow bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune. His editor figured if he could cover Chicago City Hall, then the Kremlin should be no problem, Shanker quipped to the audience at his March 16 talk titled “From Perestroika to Putin” in Irvine Auditorium.
Shanker said that, following his new appointment, “the first stop was here in Monterey where I got an immersion in Russian studies. I came here because, quite simply, this institute is the very best language program for private citizens and nongovernment officials.”
Shanker arrived in Moscow later that year, early in the tenure of Mikhail Gorbachev as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He stayed through a time of historic transformation, leaving in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Shanker went on to join the New York Times in 1997, where he was a correspondent covering the Pentagon, the military, and national security, then later assistant Washington editor. He is coauthor, with Eric Schmitt, of Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda, published in August 2011 by Times Books and Henry Holt & Company. The book became a New York Times best seller.
Shanker’s appearance was sponsored by the Gerry Taylor Seminars Endowed Fund.
The Ambassadorial Series, a groundbreaking docuseries produced by the Monterey Initiative in Russian Studies at the Middlebury Institute, launches “The Ambassadorial Series: Deans of U.S.-Russia Diplomacy.”
In an article for Foreign Policy, Dr. Jade McGlynn, director of the Institute’s Monterey Trialogue Initiative, writes about how Putin’s war messaging mirrors the justifications given by NATO leaders for bombing Yugoslavia.
Professor Jason Blazakis, director of the Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, wrote an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times and The Mercury News, in addition to providing an interview for MSNBC, about the option of adding Russia to the U.S. government’s state sponsors of terrorism list.