Researcher Serves as a Thought Leader on Russian Foreign Policy

Mitchell Orenstein's research sits at the intersection of comparative politics and global public policy, using a problem-driven research approach to ask big, policy-relevant questions when it comes to the happenings in and around Central and Eastern Europe. Orenstein, a professor of Slavic languages and literatures, teaches East European politics and international political economy, including a course that analyzes the geopolitical competition between the European Union and Russia over the political and economic futures of all of the countries that fall between the two powerhouses.

Orenstein is in the last stages of completing his new book, The Triumph of Neoliberalism in Eastern Europe, which explores why neoliberal economic policies took the region by storm after 1989. It also delves into why these policies lasted for far longer and went much farther than analysts expected from formerly Communist countries with large welfare commitments and limited experience with capitalism.

Orenstein’s research has received numerous awards in the past from such organizations as the American and International Political Science associations, but he recently received his first teaching prize: the Alfred Rubin EPIIC Colloquium Award of the Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership. The honor was for teaching an intensive, condensed course covering the state of Russia and Europe in international affairs to students in a year-long colloquium program at Tufts during an Outward Bound weekend retreat.

“I was very touched when the students selected me for the Rubin award for the best lecturer, since they had a star-studded cast of lecturers throughout the year,” Orenstein explains. “Their well-timed conference centered around the theme of ‘Turmoil in Europe.’ It was a success and serves as a great model for student international engagement.”

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