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Professor; Director, Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies

Anna Vassilieva
McGowan Building MG208
(831) 647-3546

Professor Anna Vassilieva has taught a large variety of courses dealing with Russian intellectual discourse, Siberia and the Russian Pacific, and contemporary Russian politics. Central to all of her classes is a focus on the manner in which language, literature, culture, and history impact on current Russian policies and perspectives. Professor Vassilieva has served as the Russian Studies program head and coordinator at MIIS for over 20 years. With faculty colleagues, she pioneered the development and implementation of Monterey Model courses—teaching modules taught simultaneously in a variety of languages to advanced language speakers on a wide range of current topics. Her passion is instilling in her students a better understanding of Russian politics and society and a deeper appreciation of Russian history and culture.

Professor Vassilieva is an author, translator, and editor by training, but a philosopher and poet at heart. She has written widely in English and Russian on Russian emigration in Asia, environmental politics, and the impact of culture on Soviet and Russian negotiating behavior, including two book-length volumes, several edited books, and numerous book chapters and articles for scholarly journals, as well as opinion pieces for the Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Asahi Shimbun and others. She appears frequently on national and international television and radio outlets such as PBS Newshour, CNN International, Al Jazeera America, and Radio Free Europe.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past four years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

The thematic, Russian language course, "Pozner: the Journalist and His Russia," is based on installments of Vladimir Vladimirovich Pozner's personal talkshow. Students watch interviews from the show, "Pozner," with representatives of the political and artisitic elite, as well as revered personalities of Russia. While working on each interview, students think over and develop analyses using the following categories of issues: timeless, topical, professional and personal. Students determine whether or not there is internal conflict between the interviewer and interviewee, which manifests verbally in the framework of those same categories: worldview, everyday life, personal (character) or professional (political). The political, social, cultural context of each interview is analyzed.

Students will also have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Pozner after the end of this module to ask questions and discuss his work with him in person. After Mr. Pozner's module is complete, students will have four weeks to conduct their own research projects and prepare to present them as the final deliverable for the class. Several leading Russian journalists will make presentations to class throughout the semester, in addition to Mr. Pozner himself, to present their analyses of contemporary Russian media, social networks and the relations between Russian state and the media.

Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Students will identify the topic of their in-depth research that should complement their professional concentration. After devising individual study plans, students will be working with the professor in the format of individual consultations and presentations to peers in biweekly group meetings. Students will be working on a course paper or series of smaller pieces that would be making significant contribution to their professional development.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Students will be reading articles from different Russian media sources and discussing their content and philosophy, with the goal of understanding the driving forces of Russian media discourse, its main players, the attitudes of Russian people to media and the role that media plays in politically charged atmosphere of the season of parliamentary elections. In addition to regular class work, students will participate in a number of teaching modules delivered by the leading Russian sociologist, media personality and experts in a variety of fields. All the modules will be taught in Russian. Students will present their research findings throughout the semester and will write a final paper on the topic of their choice.

Fall 2016 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Areas of Interest

Professor Vassilieva is the founding director of the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS), an innovative program funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and dedicated to enhancing the understanding of graduate students in the United States of Russia through direct interaction with leading U.S. and Russian scholars, journalists, and political figures. GIRS also provides Institute students with opportunities to pursue professional internships in Russia and to conduct field research there. In summer 2017, Professor Vassilieva launched the Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia (MSSR), a unique and highly competitive eight-week comprehensive program of study on different dimensions of Russian politics, history, economics, and culture conducted in English and Russian by leading U.S. and Russian experts.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. in history, Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation

  • B.A., Irkutsk State Linguistic University

    Professor Vassilieva has been teaching at the Institute since 1990.



  • The Russian Émigré Presson Democracy in Russia, 1980-1990s
  • Co-authored a study Influence on Russian Culture on Russian Negotiating Style
  • Co-edited Russia and East Asia: Informal and Gradual Integration
  • Co-edited Crossing National Borders: Human Migration Issues in Northeast Asia
  • Translated Dead End: the Road to Afghanistan, The Road to Home, Colors of Jazz

Articles, Book Chapters, Commentaries

  • International Herald Tribune
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Moscow Times
  • Asahi Shimbun
  • Jornal do Brazil