Culture Beyond Politics

One of the main reasons I chose to live in Petersburg for the summer was to learn about the Russian culture beyond what I read in our textbooks and see through media. Here, I have met new people either by shopping for groceries, trying to eat as much delicious Georgian food as possible, or simply … Continue reading Culture Beyond Politics


Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

In my orientations preparing for Georgia, gender was a major topic of discussion. I learned that while society is progressing, there are still traditional biases about women and women’s' roles in Georgia. I prepared to be treated differently as a woman in the country. Some of my expectations were met consistently: men, for example, do … Continue reading Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

Which Way Forward?

Tajikistan, a landlocked Central Asian country of 8 million people, receives few mentions in Western media outlets. Yet a cursory tour of the country makes it clear that it has become a battleground for outside powers. Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and the US have all spent millions on development projects in Tajikistan, visibly reshaping … Continue reading Which Way Forward?

Moscow Experience

Learning Russian is not the only goal that I set for myself in coming to study in Moscow. Another important goal for me was to gain “Moscow experience”. However, I set that as a goal for myself without really knowing what I meant by it. The truth is that I cobbled together this phrase as … Continue reading Moscow Experience

Democratic Process in Action

When I first started thinking about writing this blog entry, I figured I would write about the deliciousness of Georgian food, the perils of Georgian driving, or the fact that every person I meet seems to have a very strong opinion on why I’m not married and on the best way to solve that problem. … Continue reading Democratic Process in Action

On McDonald’s and Press Freedom

“Putin is so wonderful. You just never hear anything bad about him!” With the major parliamentary elections only a month away, Russia is an ever-intriguing place to stay. Between constant communist party rallies, the petitions and protests of parties failing to qualify for candidacy, and the divide of the Soviet and Federal generations, the streets … Continue reading On McDonald’s and Press Freedom


In conversation, the topic is one of the most polemic. In history, its events are the most memorable. And in life, its effects are disastrous. Of course, Edwin Star had it right all along. "War… What is it good for? Absolutely nothing." The fact of the matter is that living in Russia, the topic of … Continue reading Rebuilt