thumbnail_AbigailAdamsAbigail Adams is a second-year Masters of the Arts Candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where she is concentrating in Russian and Eurasian Studies. Prior to her enrollment at SAIS, Ms. Adams worked for four years on Capitol Hill. First, she served as a Staff Assistant for Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut during his time as a U.S. Representative, and later as Mr. Murphy’s Legislative Aide upon his election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Ms. Adams holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.


Hidetoshi Azuma - Official Portrait CGIHidetoshi Azuma is a professional geopolitical consultant bridging Japan with Eurasia. He is currently an APCO Institute fellow at APCO Worldwide, where he provides Japanese clients with consulting services on Eurasia’s transnational energy projects. He also leads the firm’s thought leadership and has had his articles and commentaries on Japan-Eurasia relations published on major media outlets, such as Foreign Affairs. Hidetoshi is also an adjunct fellow at American Security Project’s Energy Security Program Prior to joining APCO and ASP, he worked on Japan’s geopolitical and security issues at various Washington think tanks, including the Foreign Policy Initiative and the American Enterprise Institute. His foreign policy interests include U.S.-Russia-Japan relations in Asia, geopolitics of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and Turkmenistan’s eternal energy potentiality. Hidetoshi holds an MA in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs, the George Washington University and BA in Japanese History from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.

Twitter: @HAZUMA_JPN


Katerhine BaughmanKatherine Baughman is currently pursuing her M.A. in Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Katherine spent an academic year studying abroad in Irkutsk, Russia and graduated from Middlebury College summa cum laude with a B.A. in Russian and Eastern European Studies in May 2016. Katherine returned in March from a grant-funded research trip to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey’s Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies. This past summer, Katherine worked as a research intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Russia and Eurasia Program. Katherine’s main research interests include ethnic and linguistic divisions within the countries of the post-Soviet space as well as Russia’s foreign policy in relation to these countries.


Rachel BaumanRachel Bauman is a first-year graduate student at The Institute of World Politics, where she is studying for an MA in Statecraft and International Affairs.  In 2015, she graduated summa cum laude from Messiah College with a BA in English and a minor in politics.  In the summer of 2015, she taught English at a summer camp in Kostroma Oblast’, Russia.  From November 2015 to August 2016, Ms. Bauman was a Resident Junior Fellow at the Center for the National Interest, where she researched numerous issues relating to U.S.-Russian relations and contributed original writing to The National Interest’s website.  Her areas of particular interest are Russian political culture; post-Soviet transitions and democratization; the portrayal of Russia in Western media; and the intersection of history, literature, and politics in Russia.  She hopes to play a part in improving U.S.-Russian relations.

Twitter: @rkbauman


cory benderCory Bender is an editorial fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement, where he was also Program Officer for Eurasia. At IGE, Cory designed and implemented a series of track 1.5 dialogues on religion, security and citizenship which were held in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. He helped to develop a peacebuilding program in Ukraine which involved clergy from evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox churches, and has also focused on religion, security, and human rights issues in Burma, China, and Iraq. His writing has been published in The Diplomat, Christianity Today, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, and other outlets. He received a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He studied abroad in Bishkek and Kazan, and spent a summer working at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. He is a two-time alum of Middlebury College’s Russian School.

Twitter: @CoryMBender


Cristian boboceaCristian Bobocea is a second-year research M.A. student at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland and a visiting scholar at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He graduated with the highest honours from University College Utrecht in the Netherlands with a B.A. in History, Political Science, and Philosophy and has also attended the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and the American University in Kosovo as a visiting student.  He is also a research assistant at the Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study of International Governance where he focuses on the use of targeted sanctions by the United Nations, the European Union, and the Russian Federation. His main research interests centre on European-Russian relations, E.U. and Eurasian Economic Union regionalism and integration as well as the use of economic sanctions by the European Union as a foreign policy tool.


Connor ClearyConnor Cleary is an intern with the Open World Leadership Center, a legislative branch agency on Capitol Hill that brings delegations of professionals from Eastern Europe and Eurasia to DC and other cities across the country. He holds a Master’s degree from Indiana University, where he pursued Russian and Eastern European Area Studies and Energy Policy. His current research interests include how developments in the international natural gas industry impact Russia’s ability to use natural gas exports as a geopolitical tool.


Jaim CoddingtonJaim Coddington is an air intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps. He received his Bachelor of Arts from American University, where he studied international politics and Russian. He also studied abroad at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and the Azerbaijan University of Languages through the Symington and Critical Language Scholarships. He is especially interested in the impact of US-Russian relations on security and economic development in the former Soviet Union. 

Twitter: @Jaim_Coddington


Saule DairabayevaSaule Dairabayeva is an international relations expert specializing in Eurasian politics and international security. She has previously held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wilson Center, U.S.-Russia Business Council, U.S. Embassy Astana, and UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kazakhstan.  Saule is a recipient of multiple awards and fellowships, including recognition for an outstanding Support to the Nuclear, Chemical, Biological team and the Cooperative Threat Reduction mission of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. She received an Eagle Award for contribution to multiple projects and independent thought out action plans at the U.S. Diplomatic mission in Kazakhstan. Saule holds a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. 


avital druckerAvital Drucker currently researches security issues in Eurasia as Research Management Intern at Hudson Institute’s Center for Political-Military Analysis. She most recently served as Project Assistant at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, where she planned public and private events on Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet states, and supported the administration of the Center. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, Avital was a fundraising assistant at the American Jewish Committee. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University. Avital is interested in security and political and economic development in Russia and Eurasia and is proficient in Russian.


Molly DwyerMolly Dwyer is a regional analyst for Predata, a predictive analytics start-up that markets an intelligence monitoring platform that measures the scale and intensity of open-source digital conversations to provide early warning ahead of major geopolitical events. She previously served as an intern with the Department of State in the political section of the U.S. Consulate in Yekaterinburg, Russia. After spending a year in Kazan, Tatarstan on a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship, she subsequently returned to the region several times to study and travel throughout Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. She received her B.A. in Comparative Politics from Princeton University, where her thesis focused on the political leveraging of public opinion in the Russian Federation. Her primary research interests concern information warfare and the role of the Russian media domestically and throughout the post-Soviet region.


Daniel FreyDaniel Frey is an MSFS graduate student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. An alumnus of Tufts University, Daniel studied abroad for a year in St. Petersburg and has traveled extensively throughout Russia. After graduating from Tufts, Daniel worked in Eurasian affairs for the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute of Modern Russia. He has also published a number of analytical articles and book reviews on Russian and Eurasian affairs through outlets such as Real Clear Defense. Daniel’s foreign policy interests include US-Russian relations, Eurasian security, and democracy building in the former Soviet Union.

Twitter: @dfrey483


Ricky GandhiRicky Gandhi is an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. He previously held positions with the American Security Project, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Senate. A native of Chicago, he holds an M.A. in economics, a B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and physics, and a B.A. in political science with a minor in economics, all from DePaul University. His research interests include Russian foreign policy, and India-Russia relations.

Twitter: @RGandhi91


Benjamin HammondBenjamin Hammond is a first year graduate student at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, where he focuses on International Security in Eurasia. He holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle. His research interests include investigating the role Russian intelligence services in the Baltics, and Moscow’s potential sponsorship of political activists or militants among minority Russian populations. Additionally, he is analyzing the nexus of strategic and financial relationships Chechen militants are establishing in Syria so as to provide targeted recommendations to U.S. and Russian policymakers. Benjamin Hammond previously worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia and is currently a Graduate Fellow with the Homeland Security and Defense Business Council. He also served in two separate monitoring missions in the Georgian Presidential and Municipal elections.


Polina LevitPolina Levit is the Manager for Government and External Relations at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) where she leads the company’s international government relations efforts. Prior to joining ETS, she worked as the International Government Affairs Specialist in DuPont’s Washington, DC office where she managed a portfolio of legislative and regulatory issues with focus on international trade and investment. In this role, she also supported DuPont executives in Russia and Eastern Europe in government relations activities and represented the company on the Coalition for US-Russia Trade advocating for Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia. Her main research interests are in the area of US-Russia commercial relations and exploring the role of business ties in the current era of geo-political tensions. She holds a BA (Summa Cum Laude) in Political Science from State University of New York College at Buffalo and MA in Political Science from George Mason University in Virginia. A native of Saratov, Russia, she has been living in the United States permanently since 1998.


sam reboSamuel Rebo specializes in Russian foreign policy and relations among states of the former Soviet Union. He currently works at the Eurasia Group political risk consultancy where he supports the work of both the Eurasia and Global Macro practices. Before joining Eurasia Group, Sam worked at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Relations as a project coordinator and research assistant to former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. At Stanford, he organized the European Security Initiative, a project designed to engender new research on European security concerns stemming from Russia and develop government policies to that end. Sam coordinated with McFaul on a range of political and economic research projects, including the ambassador’s memoir. Sam has also worked for various think tanks and organizations, including the Carnegie Moscow Center, the French Institute of International Relations in Paris, and the Zorig Foundation in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Sam holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University, where he graduated with distinction and honors in international security. He is fluent in Russian and French. In the future, he hopes to work in foreign policy for the US government.

Twitter: @ReboSamuel


Genevieve SheaGenevieve Shea works on the Central and Eastern Europe team at the National Democratic Institute supporting the organization’s regional party development program and efforts to include Roma and other marginalized communities in the political process. She holds an MA in Russian, Central and Eastern European Politics and Security from University College London’s School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies and an MA in European Economics from Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary. She has interned in the State Department’s NATO and OSCE policy office (on two rotations), at the Helsinki Commission, and in the office of Congressman Hastings. She was awarded a BA in International Comparative Politics from the American University of Paris after defending her thesis critiquing the Obama administration’s Russian reset policy. Her research interests include EU-Russia relations, NATO policy towards Russia, the region’s protracted conflicts, and consolidating democracy in the post-Soviet states.


Nadezhda SmakhtinaNadezhda Smakhtina is a Fulbright Scholar pursuing her Master of Arts degree in international affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. In 2015, she joined the Comparative and Regional Studies program at the School of International Service. Nadezhda’s studies focus on governance and security issues in Russia and Europe. She is also currently a 2016 Edmund Muskie fellow and an intern at the National Security Archive, where she works on issues of nuclear disarmament in former Soviet republics, chemical and biological weapons in the USSR and Russia, and NATO enlargement. Prior to coming to the U.S., Nadezhda obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in constitutional law from Tyumen State University. She has maintained her position as a doctoral student at TSU, also in the field of comparative constitutional law, and plans to complete this degree after graduating from American University. As part of her research, she spent a semester abroad at Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg in Germany as a visiting scholar at the Department of Constitutional Economy.


Mike SmeltzerMichael Smeltzer is a Program Fellow for the Washington, D.C based nonprofit GlobalGiving, where he helps manage GG’s team of field of travelers, evaluators, and ambassadors across the globe. He also works directly with nonprofit partners on their online fundraising campaigns, as well as developing impactful projects for their community. In May of 2016, Michael graduated with a Master’s from Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, where he wrote his thesis analyzing the effect of shifting relevant factors in Putin’s patronal regime on intergovernmental transfers between the federal and regional governments. Prior to graduate school, he earned his B.A. from St. Olaf College in Russian Language and Philosophy in 2011. Following his undergraduate career, Michael lived in Vladivostok, Russia for a year where he served as a Home and Abroad Fellow for the School of Russian and Asian Studies, translating and blogging about various local and national events in Russia.


Kasey StricklinKasey Stricklin is currently completing a mid-career Master’s in International Policy and Practice at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Kasey graduated with a JD in 2014 from the University of Oklahoma College of Law where she focused her research on international law, particularly international human rights, and she is currently licensed to practice law in Texas. During law school, Kasey completed a study abroad program in Moscow and also studied Russian at Indiana University’s Summer Workshop for Slavic and East European Languages. She then worked for two years as a law school admissions recruiter before starting her current MA program, where she is focusing on Russia, as well as intelligence and security, particularly nuclear nonproliferation. She is interning this semester at the US-Russia Business Council. Kasey also holds a Bachelor’s of Journalism from the University of Texas, and she participated in the Critical Language Scholarship in Vladimir, Russia immediately after college graduation.


Zack SuhrZackary Suhr is an MA student in Russian and East European Studies at Indiana University, where he recently defended his thesis on the Russian Orthodox Church’s response to the Ukraine crisis. He received his BA in Russian and German with a Government minor from Bowdoin College in 2014. He has lived and studied in three different Russian regions and speaks Russian and German. His primary research interests are Russian-European relations and the role of religion in Russian and post-Soviet politics. Zack has internship experience in the private and nonprofit sectors and is currently working as a Screening Panelist at American Councils for International Education.


Christopher TataraChristopher Tatara is a M.A. candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), concentrating in International Economics and Russian and Eurasian studies. In summer 2016 he interned at the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow, where he conducted research on Eurasian integration. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2014 with a B.A. in History, where he focused on Russo-Japanese relations prior to the Second World War. His other research interests include the mining and energy industries in Central Asia, EU-Russian relations, and Russian policy towards the Arctic.

Twitter: @ctatara1


keith headshot 2Keith Weber is a first-year graduate student in the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) Program at Georgetown University. He is pursuing a concentration in Global Politics and Security and a Certificate in Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies. In 2012, Keith interned in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and then worked as a research assistant at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. From 2014-2016, he served in the US Peace Corps as an English Education Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia.  Keith is interested in international security, conflict resolution in post-Soviet regional conflicts and the role of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. He earned his BA in 2012 at Colorado College in International Political Economy and Russian & Eurasian Studies. Keith spent much of his junior year studying Russian language and culture in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia and also studied Russian at Middlebury’s Davis School of Russian. He speaks Russian and Georgian.


Alden Wahlstrom Alden Wahlstrom is a Program Associate in the Global Terrorism Analysis program at The Jamestown Foundation and assists with editing the Terrorism Monitor and Militant Leadership Monitor publications. He holds a B.A. in Government and Politics and Russian Language and Literature from the University of Maryland, having graduated with high honors for his thesis exploring the drivers behind the 2008 Russia-Georgia War. After graduation, Mr. Wahlstrom moved to Moscow, Russia for advanced language study. His current research interests include Russia’s military modernization program, the Russian response to global terrorism, and other emerging issues shaping the Eurasian security landscape.

Twitter: @Aldenwahlstrom


KatherineDWilkinsKatherine D. Wilkins recently returned to the United States following a year in Russia as a member of the Alfa Fellowship Program. As an Alfa Fellow, Katherine worked with the Moscow offices of consulting firms Control Risks and PBN H+K Strategies. She served as a visiting researcher with the Laboratory for Anti-Corruption Policy, a joint center of Transparency International – Russia and the Higher School of Economics, where she assessed the impact of the financial crisis on Russian anti-corruption reform. Previously, Katherine worked with the Center for Global Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Prague-based journal Transitions. She holds a B.A. in Russian and Slavic Studies and an M.P.A. in International Policy and Management from NYU.

Twitter: @kdwtoday