Russian studies programs in the United States have suffered from not really being about Russia. Americans first began to study Russia as their Cold War nemesis, the U.S.S.R., and after the Soviet Union’s collapse they continued to do so through the same institutions, albeit on a leaner budget. Today, we are seeing the end of major state funding for Russian studies in the U.S. At the same time, we are witnessing the ongoing confrontation between Russia and the U.S., meaning that interest in Russia is more likely to grow in coming years at the exact moment when funding is on the decline.
In order to make sense of these developments and attract more attention to Russian studies, this report presents the Russia Direct Ranking of Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Programs in the U.S. and explores the current state of the field examining various aspects of the problem: the so-called “identity crisis” for Russia scholars, funding challenges, the falling number of students and academics, the public debate on Russia’s foreign policy as it plays out in government and academia, ways of how to modernize the field, and finally, an assessment of Russia as a Master’s degree destination for U.S. students.
The contributors to this report are: Alexandra Vacroux of Harvard, Angela Stent of Georgetown, Jeffrey Mankoff of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Anna Vassilieva of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Alexander Abashkin of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, and Nicolai Petro of the University of Rhode Island.