The Slow Death of Russian and Eurasian Studies

Considering the recent crisis in Ukraine, now is not the time to let American expertise slip in this vital area. 

Following Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, U.S.-Russian relations have entered a period of ambiguity and tension that is likely to last years, not months. In this context, no less than during the Cold War or the 1990’s, close study and deep understanding of the region’s politics, public opinion, culture and history will be critical to U.S. foreign-policy success. While there are valid arguments for reducing government spending across the board, and even for shifting new resources to focus on Asia or the Middle East, it is clear that Russia and the region will demand far more attention than they have received over the past decade. Investments to cultivate a new generation of American expertise will serve the national interest, and are well worth the modest cost.

Kenneth Yalowitz is a former U.S. Ambassador to Belarus and Georgia and current Global Fellow at the Wilson Center.

Matthew Rojansky is the director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Asguskov/CC by-sa 3.0