Political science scholar to discuss, “Are We Reading Russia Correctly?” February 16, 2017

Nicolai Petro, a foreign affairs expert with deep knowledge of Russian politics, will give a talk, “Are We Reading Russia Correctly?” on Thursday, February 16, 6:00pm, in Rockefeller Hall, room 300. This event is free and open to the public.

Petro posits that America’s difficulties with Russia go back decades, because they are rooted in misapprehensions that go back centuries. “Therefore, it’s not at all surprising that Cold War patterns of thinking about Russia have survived long after the end of the Cold War. To avoid repeating the past, we must learn to look at Russian society in a fundamentally different light. We must learn to appreciate it as a struggling democracy that shares key similarities, as well as differences, with the West,” he explains.

The next day, Friday, February 17, Petro will hold and question and answer session exploring “The Tragedy of Ukraine.” This event will be held at 3:30pm in Rockefeller Hall, room 300.

Currently a professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island, Petro has been an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, special assistant for policy in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, and a temporary political attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He holds a PhD in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. Petro’s work has been published in The American Interest, Asia Times, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune and the New York Times.

Both events are sponsored by the Russian Studies Department and the Office of the Dean of Faculty, with co-sponsorship from the Political Science Department.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (


Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, February 2, 2017