These were the ten most popular articles published on the RD website in 2013.

RD: Best of the Web in 2013

The past year has seen a range of important events that significantly affected U.S.-Russia relations, most notably Ukraine’s unrest, the Syrian crisis, the fall out over the Snowden Affair that prompted President Barack Obama to cancel a G20 meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and continued speculation about whether or not the U.S. might boycott the Sochi Olympics. Understandably, these topics all made it into our Best of the Web in 2013.

What might surprise you are some of the other articles that made it into our Top 10: an op-ed about funding for the next generation of Russia scholars, a story about a grassroots U.S.-Russian bilateral exchange initiative that started at Stanford, a book review about Russia’s political system and an interview examining the role of myths about Russia in the U.S. identity process.

Here is the list of our most popular articles.  

1. Why America needs to fund the next generation of Russia scholars

The U.S. State Department’s recent decision to end funding for Title VIII, which supports area studies related to Russia, Eastern Europe and the states of the former Soviet Union, will weaken America’s ability to think strategically about a critical part of the world.

Nov. 5 – read more  

2. Syrian peace talks: The case for and against Iran

With Iran being among the major stakeholders in Syria, debates continue over the country's potential role in the settlement of the Syrian crisis. Russia Direct talked to a number of international experts on the politics of the Middle East to discuss the prospects of Iran's participation in the Geneva-II conference.

Oct. 15 – read more

3. Putin wants a stronger Obama

Putin’s Syria proposal for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons is actually part of a broader strategy to strengthen Barack Obama against the increasingly vocal Russia skeptics in the U.S.

Sept. 12 – read more

4. The “reset” button is broken

U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel the Moscow summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin indicates that the Cold War mentality in both countries may be harder to change than originally thought. Russia Direct talked to international experts to find out how U.S.-Russia bilateral relations will develop in the near future.

Aug. 17 – read more 

5.  Sistema: How power works in modern Russia

A new book by Alena Ledeneva explains "sistema" — Russia's complex web of informal practices, unwritten rules and personal relationships.

Sept. 17 – read more  

6. SURFing the new wave in U.S.-Russia relations

The Stanford US-Russia Forum, founded five years ago by a group of students, has emerged as a prototype for other U.S.-Russia bilateral initiatives involving students and young leaders.

Oct. 16 – read more 

7. How myths about Russia embrace U.S. identity

In an exclusive interview with Russia Direct, Victoria I. Zhuravleva, a Russian historian and author of the book “Understanding Russia in the United States: Images and Myths 1881-1914,” discusses longstanding myths that Americans have about Russia.

Aug. 23 – read more  

8. How to avoid a new stagnation in the U.S.-Russian relationship

From Afghanistan and Central Asia to the Asia-Pacific, there are a number of geopolitical flash points that could become the basis for a new, more cooperative agenda for the U.S. and Russia.

Sept. 2 – read more

9. Sochi: Seven story lines you might have missed

While the rest of the world seems to be focused on a potential boycott, there are a number of other developments in Sochi that could make the 2014 Winter Olympics one of the most memorable ever.

Aug. 24 – read more

10. Russia’s Monroe Doctrine just worked in Ukraine

As Russia looks to keep European influence out of its “Near Abroad,” the nation is following its own version of America’s Monroe Doctrine. Ukraine was just the latest test case.

Nov. 21 – read more