Opening lecture in the Year of Russia series at Kennesaw State University.


KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 23, 2016) — "The Russian Political Spectrum: Russian vs. American Political Values," Jack Moran, Professor of Political Science, Kennesaw State University

You are invited to the opening lecture for the Year of Russia series!

The Case against Russian Exceptionalism,"

"The Turbulent 20th Century," Mikhail Melnik, Associate Professor of Economics, Kennesaw State University



The Case against Russian Exceptionalism: Russian exceptionalism, the idea that Russia and Eastern Europe are not really a part of the European family is an old idea that scholars working in the field increasingly reject. The trajectory of development attributed to the West which points to the continued development of "democratic" values, protection of individual rights and individual property is subject to fits and starts, uneven developments and even reversals when examined comparatively. The idea that Eastern Europe and Russia had taken a separate path and were not truly part of "civilization" emerged first during the enlightenment. Amplified as the Red Scare and the Cold War emerged, historians, many of them supported by cold war funding, began to see Russian history as something different and apart from the rest of Europe where the majority of Russians suffered under oppression for centuries and were subjected to continuous external threats and harsh political realities. This talk will present arguments against such a view.

The Russian Political Spectrum: Russian vs. American Political Values: The political values of Russia are strikingly different from those found in The United States. At the same time, there is a similarity in so far as the "left-right" typology does not apply to either. To understand the political values of both countries, one must look at the fundamental dilemmas historically faced by each country. This talk will briefly do precisely that.

The Turbulent 20th Century: The 20th Century represents one of the most turbulent periods in Russian history. In addition to the social upheaval and violence of the 1917 Revolution and civil war (1917 - 1922) and the Great Patriotic War (1941 - 1945), the country went through three major economic policy transitions: Vladimir Lenin's New Economic Policy of 1921, Joseph Stalin's five-year plans starting in 1927, and Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms of 1989. This brief presentation will highlight the importance of these major changes in Russia's political economy which will be explored further through the series.


Dr. Alice Pate is Chair and Professor of History in the Department of History and Philosophy at Kennesaw State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Russian and East European History from Ohio State University. Her research in the history of labor in late imperial Russia has been published in a number of articles in academic journals and edited collections. She is the co-editor of New Labor History: Worker Identity and Experience in Russia, 1840-1918 and author of Workers and Unity: A Study of Social Democracy, the St. Petersburg Metalworkers and the Labor Movement in Late Imperial Russia, 1906-14. Dr. Pate is the general editor of the Allan K. Wildman Series on the Revolutionary Era, past president of the Georgia Association of Historians and the Southeastern World History Association. She is director of the Moscow Study Abroad program and teaches courses in Russian and World history at KSU.


Dr. Moran regularly teaches the following courses: American Government, Comparative Politics, Politics of Post-Communist Europe, Politics of International Terrorism, & Senior Seminar. He has also worked in a variety of non-academic environments: Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Policy)/Chairman, Joint Chiefs (J-2) (10/01-04/02), United States Mission to United Nations, New York City (01/98 - 04/98), United State Embassy, Moscow, Russia (03/96-08/96), United States Field Systems Agency, Tokyo, Japan (06/88 - 06/91). Dr. Moran has published a number of scholarly articles and two books. He is faculty adviser to the KSU Global Society as well as the KSU Model United Nations. He is also co-director of the KSU Admissions Scholars Honors Great Books program. He received a PhD and MA from The George Washington University, an MA from the University of London, and a BS from Georgetown University. He is originally from Golden, Colorado and enjoys cycling and long walks in alpine meadows.


Mikhail Melnik's economics research in online commerce and taxation is recognized internationally. He has been interviewed in media outlets such as Forbes, Bloomberg News Radio, The Buffalo News, and CNBC. His research has been cited by policy makers, including the State of Florida Senate, the IRS, prominent think tanks, like the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heartland Institute. Since 2008, he has been a member of about 70 economists nationwide surveyed by Bloomberg News. In the late 1990's, he participated in the Russian Fiscal Reform project sponsored by the USAID and World Bank.