Article ID: 614523

Released: 3-Mar-2014 3:00 PM EST

Source Newsroom: University of South Carolina

Expert Pitch

The University of South Carolina has several researchers available to discuss various aspects of the escalating territorial conflict between Russia and Ukraine:

Joel Samuels
Joel Samuels is professor of law and deputy director of the Rule of Law Collaborative at the University of South Carolina. He has been doing work in Russia and the former Soviet Union since 1990. He has worked as a journalist covering the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and the rise of organized crime during that same period. In addition to time spent living and working in Moscow, he has spent extensive time in the Caucasus region, one of the seats of unrest in Russia. He also has spent time in the western parts of Ukraine and Kiev. Samuels earned a master's degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan and minored in Russian studies at Princeton University as an undergraduate.
To interview Samuels, contact Peggy Binette in media relations at 803-777-7704 or

Judith Kalb
Judith Kalb is an associate professor and director of the Russian Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. Trained at Princeton University and Stanford University in Russian literary and cultural studies, Kalb specializes in 20th-century Russian culture and can provide insight into the cultural and historical background of the current Russian conflict in the Ukraine.
To interview Kalb, contact Peggy Binette in media relations at 803-777-7704 or

Elena Osokina
Elena Osokina is a professor and historian of Russia. Osokina can provide a historical account on Russian- Ukrainian relations as well as a history of the Crimea.
Born and raised in the Soviet Union, Osokina earned her doctorate in history from Moscow University several years before the collapse of the USSR. As a scholar she has written several books and numerous articles on the Stalin era and Soviet trade and black markets. At USC she teaches Russian history from the genesis of the Eastern Slavs and the creation of the Russian state to the present.
To interview Osokina, contact Peggy Binette in media relations at 803-777-7704 or

Alex Ogden
Alex Ogden is an associate professor of Russian studies at the University of South Carolina whose scholarly interests range from Russian literature and culture to Russian regionalism. A prolific scholar of Russian culture, Ogden can provide insights into Russian societal and political landscape that has led to the current conflict in Ukraine.
To interview Ogden, contact Peggy Binette in media relations at 803-777-7704 or

Gordon Smith
Gordon Smith directs the Rule of Law Collaborative and is a distinguished professor emeritus and expert on Russian law and government. Smith says as Vladimir Putin moves into his 14th year in power (either as president or prime minister) his leadership/persona has become increasingly lackluster in the eyes of large segments of the Russian public. Smith can discuss Putin’s concept of “compatriots” and understanding of state sovereignty as it relates to Russia’s aggressive tactics in Ukraine. Smith has written numerous books on Russian law and government, including his most recent “Russia and its Constitution: Promise and Political Reality.”
To interview Smith, contact Peggy Binette in media relations at 803-777-7704 or


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