Michelle O’Brien | Livelihoods, Risk, and Migration to Russia

"Over 50% of the GDP of Tajikistan and 31% of Kyrgyzstan's comes from remittances, wages earned abroad that are sent back to a worker's home country. Nearly half of Tajikistan's able-bodied labor force is employed abroad, mainly in Russia. One third of the legal immigrants to Russia are from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan alone. Given such numbers, O'Brien asserted, it is in many ways impossible to speak of contemporary cultural, economic, or political issues in Central Asia without addressing the migration issue."

By |August 19th, 2015|Academic Spotlight, Community Spotlight|0 Comments

Herbert Hoover’s Archive for Peace: The Hoover Institution

...Today, nearly every historian of the Soviet twentieth century spends time at Stanford's Hoover Institution for archival research. In the shadow of the university's most distinctive landmark, the Hoover Tower, preeminent scholars scurry between buildings, chatting about projects on Civil War era Siberian despots, Boris Pasternak's poetry, 1950's Radio Free Europe, and perestroika's political advisors. The main stacks of the Russia collection are housed in the first nine floors of the Tower itself, an obelisk dedicated to inquiry.

By |July 27th, 2015|Archives and Memory Series|0 Comments

The Wende Museum: Archiving Eastern Europe’s Controversial Past

Article on the Wende Museum in Los Angeles, which collects material culture from across Eastern Bloc countries of the Soviet period. Memory and the Cold War in light of current events. Part of a series on REECAS archives.

By |July 6th, 2015|Archives and Memory Series|0 Comments

REECAS NW Redux | Religion and Identity in Soviet and Post-Soviet Europe and Central Asia

The REECAS NW panel on Religion and Identity featured contributions from Matthew Cotton (UW History PhD student) and Anatoliy Klots (UW Slavic Studies PhD Student) on Jewish studies topics Odessa through the prism of Isaac Babel's prose and the post-Soviet oeuvre of filmmakers like Dmitri Astrakhan and Aleksandr Proshkin. Jennifer Webster (UW History Lecturer) rounded out the panel with a consideration of Baqshy healer women in Kyrgyzstan as a means of exploring the relationship between Islam, ethnic and gender identity, and modernization in Central Asia.

By |June 18th, 2015|Academic Spotlight|0 Comments

CAREER | Habits of a highly effective graduate student

I was chatting with a friend recently about our after-graduation plans, and she said, “Who has a job right after graduation, anyway?” Me, actually. Every single time, and this is my second master’s degree. I’m far from perfect, but like everyone, I have my talents. Being a strategic planner is one of them, and it is a learned skill that is extremely helpful when it comes to getting through a university program (graduate or undergraduate) and finding “what comes next.” Not everyone will see things my way, but I believe I can offer some basic tips on how to successfully navigate higher education to find a safe harbor in a good first working position.

By |June 12th, 2015|Alumni Spotlight, Career Spotlight|0 Comments

REECAS NW Redux | On Ukraine

Ukraine loomed large over the 2015 Northwest Regional Conference on Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies. The plenary session focused on East-West Relations During and After the Ukraine Conflict, while the session immediately following addressed the ongoing Conflict in Ukraine.

By |May 22nd, 2015|Academic Spotlight|0 Comments

REECAS NW Redux | Art, architecture, and post-communist identities

American movies, Russian comic books, public works projects in Skopje, urban beautification in Krasnoyarsk – what are the conceptual ties that bind these distinct topics?

By |May 20th, 2015|Academic Spotlight|0 Comments

PANEL | On thin ice, no ‘good options’ in Ukraine

There was once a time when diplomats could enter smoke-filled rooms and partition half of Europe between their rulers before finishing their cigars. In the 21st century, conflict and diplomacy are far more immediate and challenging. Our campus is smoke-free, but the Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies gathered a panel of four experts in one room to discuss real-world options to resolve this conflict approximately one year following the annexation of Crimea. Moderated by Professor Scott Radnitz, the panel brought together experts on finance, culture, and politics to discuss the future, "Ukraine and Russia: Is There Any Way Out?"

By |May 18th, 2015|Academic Spotlight|Comments Off

From captive nation to EU leader: Latvian ambassador speaks at UW

Through 50 years of Soviet occupation, Latvia was effectively erased from the political map. He explained that he never aspired to become a diplomat, but following the collapse of the Soviet Union, he had the opportunity to try diplomatic work because all of the communists had been barred from political and military offices. Much like in Estonia, only young people were left to run the country. Razāns, 23 years old at the time, imagined he would find some other work after a year, at most. Now he is the Ambassador to the United States.

By |May 18th, 2015|Features|Comments Off

REECAS NW Redux | Ellison Center hosts lively discussions on East-West identity, opportunity, security

Thirty-five presenters and session chairs convened at the Simpson Center at the University of Washington on the first Saturday in May for the 21st Annual Northwest Regional Conference for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (REECAS NW). Nine panels – packed with presentations ranging from teaching Russian language to heritage speakers, to literature, politics, arts, architecture, ethnicity, religion, to gender identity and women’s role in society – sparked the interest of almost 50 Conference attendees.

By |May 15th, 2015|Academic Spotlight|0 Comments