Throwback Thursday: Back in the USSR

In 1948 Carnegie Corporation provided seed money to establish the Russian Research Center at Harvard University. Its aim was to foster multidisciplinary study and understanding of post-WWII Russia and the Soviet Union. Prior to the existence of the CIA, the Center provided a way for the United States to become informed about the USSR in its role as a new world power, with large-scale research projects designed to advance academic and policy objectives carried out by scholars and graduate students. Interest in Soviet Studies grew through the 1950s and ‘60s, then declined. But with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, demand exploded.  The Corporation has maintained an active interest in Russia for over 50 years.  A 2005 Carnegie Results, “Carnegie Corporation and Russia: Grantmaking Amidst Transformation,” cites the emergence of a “new Russia,” with leadership in Washington and Moscow concentrating on new global threats, in reflecting on the Corporation’s programmatic experience with the former Soviet Union during tumultuous times. The Carnegie Review issue “Strengthening Scholarship and Research in the Former Soviet Union” describes the Corporation’s ambitious program to strengthen higher education in the former Soviet Union, concentrating on the humanities and the social sciences—fields that would be essential players in the societal transformations then underway.  The Corporation remains as concerned about relations between the U.S. and Russia today as it was more than half a century ago.  When violence erupted in Ukraine last  year, triggering a crisis in the relationship, the Corporation launched an online forum where grantees debate the best response with the goal of finding pathways to rebuild this critical relationship.