April 17, 2014

About Us

Russia Direct features articles, white papers and monthly memos that provide the kind of nuanced understanding required by those with a deep involvement and interest in U.S. and Russian foreign policy. We approach U.S.-Russia relations with an attitude that celebrates good storytelling and strong journalism.
Russia Direct is a part of Russia Beyond The Headlines, an internationally recognized source of political, business and cultural news and analysis produced by Russian daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta. For more information, please go to http://rbth.ru/about_us/


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Ekaterina Zabrovskaya

Ekaterina Zabrovskaya is the Editor-in-Chief of Russia Direct and is an experienced journalist and editor with an extensive background covering Russian domestic politics and foreign-affairs for Russia’s leading news agency RIA Novosti, and for Russia Beyond the Headlines. Prior to her appointment as the editor-in-chief of Russia Direct, she worked as Deputy Chief Editor for Foreign Affairs at Russia Beyond the Headlines where, among other duties, she produced RBTH supplements to The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Ekaterina graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, with a BA in Journalism and earned her Master’s degree in Political Science from Miami University, U.S.A., as a Fulbright scholar. She is passionate about journalism and international relations, and is inspired to improve mutual understanding between the two countries.

Pavel Koshkin

Pavel Koshkin is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Russia Direct and a contributing writer to Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH). He is an experienced journalist in both Russian domestic and foreign policy issues. Before his appointment as the deputy editor-in-chief of Russia Direct, Koshkin served as an English-language web editor and staff writer for RBTH. He is an alumnus of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). In 2011-2012, he participated in the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum (SURF). SURF brings together leading Russian and U.S. pundits with enthusiastic students who want to improve bilateral relations between the countries. As part of the program, Koshkin and his American colleagues did research on the ways the United States and Russia respond to international money laundering. A graduate of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Koshkin has contributed to a number of Russian and foreign media outlets, including Russia Profile, Kommersant and the Moscow bureau of the BBC. In addition to his work at Russia Direct, he is currently working toward a Ph.D. in international journalism at Lomonosov Moscow State University. His dissertation will focus on the ways American columnists covered U.S-China and U.S.-Russian relations between 2008 and 2013.

Dominic Basulto

Dominic Basulto is the U.S. editor of Russia Direct. He has extensive experience in digital media including a regular blog with The Washington Post and a daily blog on Winter Olympics host city Sochi. In addition to publishing the first-ever iPad travel guide to Sochi, Dominic has lived in the House of Writers in Moscow, taught finance at Moscow's first MBA program, published a weekly column for a Russian newspaper and completed a certificate program in Russian language from Moscow State University. He has an undergraduate degree in Politics and Russian Studies from Princeton and an MBA in emerging markets from Yale.

Eugene Abov

Eugene Abov is the Deputy Director general of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta Publishing House, Publisher of the company’s international media project “Russia Beyond the Headlines” and Director of the Russia Direct project. A native of Moscow and a graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) he has spent his career in Russian media management working for such organizations as Moskovskiye Novosti, ProfMedia and NewsCorp. Since 1998, Abov has been Vice President of the Guild of Press Publishers (GIPP); and since 2001 – Vice President of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). He is a two-time winner of the Media Manager of the Year award (in 2001 and 2008).

Julia Golikova

Julia Golikova is the Deputy Publisher, Commercial and Foreign Partnership Director of Russia Beyond The Headlines and Director for Development of Russia Direct. She is responsible for business relations and strategic partnerships with major world media titles such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, Le Figaro, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Gulf News, South China Morning Post, managing the directorate budget, developing and executing revenue growth strategies, identifying new commercial activities and leaving no options for loopholes through which new business or profit could escape.
Before joining the launch of Russia Beyond the Headlines in 2007, Julia has more than 7 years of professional experience in communications and business development in oil and gaz companies and wine retail business responsible for bringing new brands to the Russian market.

Olga Ivanova

Olga Ivanova is the Deputy Publisher, Marketing Director of Russia Beyond the Headlines. She is responsible for marketing, business strategy, developing and executing paid content strategy and sales, online audience development and overall mobile and application strategy development. Olga has more than 9 years of media management, communications and marketing experience in the United States and Russia. As a journalist and editor, she wrote for The Washington Post, Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia Beyond The Headlines, "Journalist" magazine and major Siberian media. Prior to joining the Russia Direct and RBTH, Olga spent three years at The World Bank, working for the External Communications department. She also worked for various media outlets and digital agencies, serving as a consultant to a number of Russian media companies. Olga is a Muskie Scholar for Journalism and Mass Communications and has a MS in Media Arts and Technology from Duquesne University. She also holds a BA in Journalism and BA in Linguistics magna cum laude degrees from Baikal State University of Economics and Law and from Irkutsk State Linguistic University. She has a fascination with media business, all things digital, learning foreign languages and cultures, traveling the world, and is a level one yoga instructor.

Ksenia Smertina

Ksenia Smertina is Director for Russia Direct, and a PIR-Center expert on the European security issues and Russian diplomacy. She has extensive experience working for Russian think-tanks dealing with international relations, and regional and domestic politics (PIR-Center, ISEPS, CIRP). Holds MA degrees from St-Petersburg State University (School of International Relations) and Central European University (Department of International Relations and European Studies). Currently she is working toward her PhD at Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Maria Shashaeva

Maria Shashaeva is a New Products Development Director of Russia Beyond the Headlines. She has almost 10 years experience in all types of Russian media. She started working in TV production and then moved to the magazine industry. As the media environment changed, so did she, and she began working in digital publishing in various positions, supporting and developing online products. Maria has graduated Moscow Technical Communications and Informatics University to get a technical bachelor's degree with honors and also studied in NYFA for a Producer's degree.

Darya Karzanova

Darya Karzanova is Director of Promotion and Commercial projects support of Russia Beyond the Headlines. She provides web analytics and digital inventory support to the Russia Direct sales team, including compiling and analyzing traffic reports on both a weekly and monthly basis to help advertising sales. Prior to this position Darya developed and implemented the digital marketing strategy for Russia Beyond the Headlines. She managed communications with foreign partners and helped improve the RBTH’s branding programs with such media partners as the The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, El Pais, Le Figaro, South China Morning Post and others. She has the bachelors degree and about six years of professional experience as the marketing communication specialist in several fields, including education and media business.

Antonina Osipova

Antonina Osipova is a Marketing Specialist for Russia Direct and Marketing Communications Manager at Russia Beyond the Headlines. Antonina's role is developing and implementing strategic communications and media relations campaigns and overall marketing strategy for Russia Direct, media outreach management, events planning and organization. Antonina is also responsible for ad trafficking russia-direct.org, including the launch, delivery and reporting of the campaigns. Additionally, she manages print advertising creative and coordinates marketing efforts to identify potential new subscribers, both digital and in print. Antonina has experience in social entrepreneurship, media marketing and event management in international companies in Finland and Russia. Before joining Russia Direct and RBTH, Antonina worked as a Media marketing specialist, account and research manager at Sanoma Independent Media. She has also worked at the media holding company «Dojd`», where she was responsible for improving the overall brand positioning and promotion efforts of the company's products. Antonina graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, with a MA degree in Social Psychology and earned her certificate in Business Coaching from Moscow City University of Psychology and Education. She is passionate about the social psychology of international relations, and country branding and is inspired to improve how the world sees brand "Russia".

Ekaterina Olkhova

Ekaterina Olkhova is a Digital Marketing Manager for both Russia Direct and Russia Beyond the Headlines. Among Katya's responsibilities are the duties to control the dispatch of weekly newsletters, timely monthly and quarterly reports' email announcements, readers' feedback on the team's work. She has experience in mass media, her previous jobs being at Snob Project and Hello! magazine.

Dmitry Ontoev

Dmitry Ontoev is the Expert Community Outreach Coordinator for Russia Direct and an international affairs and public relations specialist with several years of experience in establishing relations with experts and decision-makers throughout the world. Currently, Dmitry manages RBTH's relations with the Russian government and experts, building up RBTH’s profile among political and business elites. Dmitry joined RBTH in 2013 after spending almost three years with the RIA Novosti news agency, where he worked on the Valdai Discussion Club, promoting key political messages to foreign and internal audiences by establishing partnerships with Russian and foreign experts and the media. Dmitry's primary areas of research are Eurasian integration and Central Asian security. He has published several articles on regional politics and security and is now studying his PhD from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAS).

Alexey Dolinskiy

Alexey Dolinskiy is a Consultant for Russia Direct project and a Partner at Capstone Connections consultancy. He combines private & public sector, communications, consulting and academic experience. He spent several years working in Russian public diplomacy and taught a class on public diplomacy at Moscow State University. His research experience includes contributing to Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society and United Nations Peacekeeping Situation Centre. Alexey has successfully completed large scale corporate diplomacy projects in the Asia Pacific region and in Europe. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School and later defended his PhD thesis in political science that received a National top international relations PhD dissertation 2011 Award. He also holds BA and MA magna cum laude degrees from the St. Petersburg State University and Moscow State University of International Relations. He is a member of the Global Shapers community of the World Economic Forum, and a member of the Expert Council with the Government of the Russian Federation and of the Russian Council for International Affairs.

Nadezhda Suetina

Nadezhda Suetina is the market research manager of Russia Beyond the Headlines and Russia Direct. As the research manager of Russia Direct, she is responsible for audience analytics and evaluating the effectiveness of the project and its marketing and communication strategy. Nadezhda has more than three years of experience in the field of market and media research specializes in analytics of advertising and corporate communications. She holds a Master’s degree in sociology from Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Maria Kleymenova

Kleymenova Maria is Director on PR and communications at RBTH. She is dealing with project promotion at Russian market, GR and corporate image of the company. Has extensive experience in PR management. Maria graduated from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and also was studding marketing at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien.

Elena Potapova

Elena Potapova is the multimedia editor of Russia Direct. She is a multimedia journalist with more than five years of experience in international media. Her reporting has appeared at L'Ouest-France (France), the Miami Herald (United States) and Russia Beyond the Headlines (Russia). Elena also created and ran a seminar called "Hypertext and Multimedia" at Lomonosov Moscow State University to teach new media skills to journalism students. Elena is also the Executive Multimedia Editor for Russia Beyond The Headlines where she creates and edits video, photo and audio content.



Russia Direct is a forum for experts and senior decision makers from both the United States and Russia to discuss, debate and understand the issues in U.S.-Russian relations from a sophisticated vantage point. Long-term, the goal of the project is to improve multilateral relations at the interpersonal, inter-agency and intergovernmental levels. At Russia Direct, we hope that with our help, monologues will convert into full-fledged dialogue between Russia and the U.S.

Read also Editor's note: What is Russia Direct all about?



Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) is a Russian non-profit organization focused on strengthening peace, friendship and solidarity between people, preventing international conflicts and promoting crisis settlement. Its mission is to facilitate a prosperous Russia through its full integration in the global community. It serves as a link between government, the expert community, business and civil society in an ongoing dialogue on foreign policy issues. RIAC was established in February 2010.

Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)

ISKRAN is one of the leading Russian academic and research institutions for North American studies. It was founded in 1967 by Dr. Georgy Arbatov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who led it until 1995. The current head of ISKRAN is Dr. Sergey Rogov, also a member of the Academy of Sciences. ISKRAN is a leading think tank that formulates recommendations for members of the Russian political elite that are engaged with decision-making on domestic, foreign and defense policy issues.

The Russian Center for Policy Studies (PIR Center)

PIR Center is an independent non-governmental organization based in Moscow, which carries out research, as well as a range of educational, public awareness, publishing and consulting activities. From its foundation in April 1994, the priority areas of research remain international security, arms control and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In its day-to-day operations, PIR Center maintains close contacts with Russian executive and legislative entities.

The Russian National Committee for BRICS Studies (BRICS/NRC)

The National Committee for BRICS Studies, founded in 2011, deals exclusively with issues related to economic and political alliances between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Out of all the Russian foreign policy think tanks that focus on international issues, BRICS/NRC is the only one that deals with a single, globally significant topic.

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