People always ask “Why Russia”? It’s a question that has followed me since I first declared my Russian Studies Major at the University of Michigan in 2007. My answer? Why not. Of all the countries in the world besides my own, I find The Russian Federation/ USSR/ Russian Empire the most fascinating.

It’s a country that covers 1/8 of the world’s habitable landmass, 9 time zones and contains 1/4 of the world’s fresh water supply. It’s a country that’s been ruled by Tsars, Secretary Generals and Presidents. It has produced some of the world’s greatest authors, dancers, artists and athletes and continues to do so today.

The Russian Federation is a country with a history that inspires, shocks and awes. For years, we feared the Soviet Union, seeing in them a reflection of the great power our rising hegemony could wield.  But now that we are 20 years out from the fall of the USSR with a whole generation of people who were never exposed to the Cold War, new avenues for dialogue and cooperation have emerged. My passion, as I am often surprised to find, is to explore these avenues and get to know Russia in a way my parents never could.


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