Mickiewicz to Speak on Russia's Future Leaders

Ellen Mickiewicz, a leading expert on Russia and the media, will read from her new book at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, Wednesday Oct. 1.

Mickiewicz, the James Shepley Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and a professor of political science, interviewed 108 students at Russia’s three leading universities for her book “No Illusions: The Voices of Russia’s Future Leaders.” She will read excerpts beginning at 5 p.m. in Sanford’s Fleishman Commons.

The event is free and open to the public. A book signing and reception will follow.

Ambassador Jack F. Matlock Jr., former ambassador to Czechoslovakia, 1981-1983, and to the USSR, 1987-1991, will provide opening remarks.

Interviews with Russia’s top college students took place in the spring of 2011 during a period of mass demonstrations in Russia over saving Moscow’s forests, and not long after an anti-immigrant protest rallied thousands around the call to “keep Russia for Russians.” She elicited the students’ views on international relations, democratic movements, their own government and the United States.

“The Internet has made a powerful difference among today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. … They are mightily different, largely because they have been ‘living’ in the Internet, and the way they think and the conclusions they draw are not at all like those of the present leaders -- President Vladimir Putin included,” she writes.

Through these focus groups, Mickiewicz found that the students are intensely interested in the United States, but look to other countries for models of democracy for Russia. They are patriotic, but savvy about government propaganda, she concluded.

Mickiewicz was the director of Sanford’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy from 1994 to 2008 and has been a fellow at The Carter Center since 1986.