Alumna Rebecca Mitchell Awarded W. Bruce Lincoln Prize from ASEEES

Rebecca Mitchell

Rebecca Mitchell

Congratulations to Rebecca Mitchell (PhD in History, 2011) on receiving the W. Bruce Lincoln Prize from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)! The prize is awarded for an author’s first published monograph or scholarly synthesis that is of exceptional merit and lasting significance for the understanding of Russia’s past, published in the previous two years. Rebecca is Assistant Professor of History at Middlebury College, where she teaches courses on the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the relationship between music and power in history. Her book is entitled Nietzsche’s Orphans: Music, Metaphysics, and the Twilight of the Russian Empire (Yale University Press, 2016).

To view the original announcement from ASEEES, please see

2016-2017 FLAS Fellows

REEEC would like to recognize our AY 2016-2017 FLAS Fellows. Congratulations to all!

Graduate Students:

  • Kate Butterworth, Library and Information Science (Georgian)
  • Tyler Dolan, Slavic Languages and Literatures (Russian)
  • Kyle Estes, Political Science (Kyrgyz)
  • Kathleen Gergely, REEEC (Russian)
  • Nadia Hoppe, Slavic Languages and Literatures (Russian)
  • Benjamin Krupp, Anthropology (Russian)
  • Matthew McWilliams (Russian)
  • Lucy Pakhnyuk, REEEC (Ukrainian)
  • Morgan Shafter, Slavic Languages and Literatures (Russian)
  • Serenity Orengo, Slavic Languages and Literatures (Russian)
  • Hannah Werner, History (Yiddish)
  • Benjamin Wheeler, Musicology (Georgian)

Undergraduate Students:

  • Sharadyn Ciota, Political Science (Russian)
  • Vladimir Potiyevskiy, Liberal Arts and Sciences (Russian)
AY 2016-2017 FLAS Fellows

AY 2016-2017 FLAS Fellows Matthew McWilliams, Lucy Pakhnyuk, Kate Butterworth, Nadia Hoppe, Sharadyn Ciota, Kathleen Gergely, and Serenity Orengo

Faculty News

Dr. Nancy Scanell (wearing a white visor in the front row) with European Teaching University staff and students.

Dr. Nancy Scanell (wearing a white visor in the front row) with European Teaching University staff and students.

REEEC Faculty Associate and University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) Associate Professor of Business Administration, Dr. Nancy Scannell, delivered in June 2016 a Financial Management seminar at the European Teaching University (ETU) in Tbilisi, Georgia, in collaboration with ETU’s Associate Professor of English, Dr. Lasha Chakhvadze, and under the direction of ETU’s Vice Rector and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Technology, Dr. Gocha Tutberidze.  With guidance from Ms. Andrea Pellegrini, Assistant Director of the University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center, Nancy incorporated student activities into her curriculum in adherence to UI’s Open Badges in Financial Literacy initiative. Nancy also led a cultural competency excursion for students to the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, hosted by Cultural Attaché Damian Wampler. The photo features from right-to-left in the front row: Gocha, Nancy (donning a white visor), ETU Chair of Administration Tamar Zarginava, Damian (holding UI jigsaw puzzle box) and (skipping to far left) Lasha. The ETU student delegation was comprised of 12 Georgian students and 1 Azerbaijani student. Nancy said that ETU, the US Embassy in Tbilisi, and the Georgian community-at-large generously welcomed her at every juncture throughout her visit, which helped to make for a successful cross-cultural collaboration. The UI community might be pleased to know that the Prime Minister of Georgia is a UIUC alum in Finance.

Peter Maggs (Emeritus Professor of Law) and Alexei Zhiltsov (co-translator and co-editor) have published new editions of their translation of the First Part of the Russian Civil Code. In particular, they have published versions of this Part: (1) as amended through January 31, 2016; (2) as amended through May 23, 2016; and (3) as amended through July 3, 2016. Here’s the background from the Introduction to the latest version by the editors and Oksana Kozyr:

“This translation of the First Part of the Code is being published in
several different forms. The authors have made arrangements for conventional
publication in book form by a leading publisher in Russia. In addition,
because conventional book publication cannot keep up with the frequent
amendments to the Code, the authors have self-published a United States
edition in e-book and print-on-demand form thorough Amazon. Their hope is
that each time that there is an amendment to the text of the First Part of
the Code, they can update the translation and publish an updated e-book and
print-on-demand book, while leaving older self-published editions available
on Amazon in e-book and print-on-demand form. Lawyers dealing with cases
involving the Russian Civil Code must have available versions of the Code in
effect at the time of the making of particular contracts or at the time of
violation of particular rights. Often even a single court proceeding will
involve events that occurred at various times. Multiple versions of the
Russian text of the Civil Code have long been available on the leading
private Russian legal databases. The authors hope to provide equal
convenience to the users of these English translations. In addition, the
authors are currently preparing revised translations of the Second, Third,
and Fourth Parts of the Civil Code for publication.”


Alumni News

Ryan Eavenson (MA REEES, 2015) is pursuing an MA in Modern European Studies at Columbia University. He will also continue studying Czech language, history, and culture.

Maria Cristina Galmarini-Kabala (PhD in History, 2012) has published her book The Right to Be Helped: Deviance, Entitlement, and the Soviet Moral Order from Northern Illinois University Press.

2016 Ralph and Ruth Fisher Forum: Population, Health and Social Change in Eurasia

The 2016 Ralph and Ruth Fisher Forum was held during the 17th and 18th of June, and was organized by Cynthia Buckley, a Professor of Sociology, and Paul McNamara, an Associate Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics. The main sponsor of the event was the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC), while the co-sponsors for this year’s Fisher Forum include the Fisher Forum Endowment, Illinois International Programming, Center for Global Studies, Global Health Initiative, and Russian and East European Institute (REEI) at Indiana University.

Population, Health and Social Change in Eurasia were the central themes of this year’s Fisher Forum. In delving deep into the research regarding the health profiles of countries within Eurasia, the presenters came together to answer these three core questions:

1. What are the positive and negative health legacies of structural change and institutional resilience in Eurasia?
2. What are the processes and interpretations employed by individual actors as they navigate uncertainty and make health related decisions in the Eurasian context?
3. How do the cumulative results of health behaviors in Eurasia confirm, expand or challenge existing theories related to the relationship between economic inequality and health outcomes?

Participants who took on the challenge of addressing these questions, included: Dr. Yuri Frantsuz, a Professor of Social Work at St. Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences, who presented research on The Impact of Income Inequality on Health in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Countries; Dr. William Alex Pridemore, the Dean and Professor of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany – State University of New York, presented on Crime, Justice, and Death in Post-Soviet Russia; Dr. Cynthia Buckley, a Professor of Sociology, REEEC, and LAS Global Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spoke about Ethnic Differentials in Reported Disability: Insights from Russia and Estonia; Dr. Nicole Butkovich Kraus, an Assistant Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University, examined her research on Xenophobia and Homophobia in the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe; Dr. Jill Owczarzak, an Assistant Professor of Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Sarah Phillips, a Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, presented together their joint research endeavor on Harm Reduction and the Transformation of Public Health and Governance in Ukraine; Dr. Tricia Starks, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, who replaced Dr. Hannah Reiss as a presenter, spoke about Kosmonavty ne kuriat! The Campaign against Smoking in the Late Soviet Period; Dr. Victor Agadjanian, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas, presented on International Migration and Sexual Reproductive Health in Post-Soviet Eurasia; and finally Dr. Theodore Gerber, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, presented data and research regarding Housing and Fertility in Russia, 1992-2013.


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2016 Summer Research Laboratory Reception and Slavic Reference Service 40th Anniversary Celebration

Faculty, staff, students, and Summer Research Lab (SRL) participants celebrated the beginning of SRL and the 40th anniversary of the Slavic Reference Service (SRS) with a reception at the University YMCA on June 21, 2016. Attendees enjoyed food from the Russian, East European, and Eurasian region prepared by Piato Cafe. Speakers from the University Library and REEEC reminisced on the origins of SRL and SRS, including Larry Miller’s and Ralph Fisher’s tireless efforts to build the programs, and praised the good work both organizations continue to do to promote research and studies on the region. Everyone had a wonderful time with friends and colleagues!

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What is Political Reconciliation? Reflections on Reconciliation after the Karadzic Trial

Colleen Murphy is Professor of Law, Philosophy and Political Science as well as Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program. Re-posted from RECOM, found here in English and here in Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian.

By Colleen Murphy

In March 2016, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Bosnian Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic guilty on 10 of 11 charges, including genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. He was acquitted on one count of genocide. This verdict spawned significant controversy and commentary. In particular, journalist and scholar Nidzara Ahmetasevic concluded, “In Bosnia now, we are as far away from reconciliation as we were before the Karadzic trial.”[2] Below, I unpack Ahmetasevic’s claim. I focus specifically on the divergent reactions to the Karadzic trial and conviction. Such reactions, I argue, signal an absence of the conditions that would make trust reasonable, and trust is a core component of political reconciliation.

By political reconciliation, I mean the process of rebuilding damaged political relationships.[3] Such repair has a complex set of requirements and entails both institutional and interpersonal changes.[4] Establishing the conditions that make trust reasonable is a key part of the process of political reconciliation, because of what trusting expresses. To trust an individual is to view that person in a particular way, a way that shapes how we interpret their actions and words, and on what words and actions of theirs we concentrate our attention[5] This particular way implies taking a hopeful view of the competence and will of the other. What competence we attribute to someone we trust will vary depending on the relationship in question; competence as a mother is not the same as competence as a citizen or government official. For citizens, basic competence includes the ability to follow the rules and norms that structure interaction among citizens and between citizens and officials. For officials, competence entails knowledge of their role-related responsibilities and rights, as well as recognition of the fact that they act in a public capacity, with the corresponding responsibility to take into account the good of a community when making official decisions. Competence also includes an ability to act on this knowledge. As with competence, the will we attribute to those we trust varies. The robust positive good will towards their children we attribute to trusted parents is different from the more neutral lack of ill will we attribute to trusted citizens and officials. Lack of ill will signals the absence of the desire or intention to harm fellow citizens or officials and a commitment to fair play – a willingness to obey the rules.

Trust also entails a basic expectation of ‘trust responsiveness.’ That is, to trust is to expect the trusted person to be moved to prove reliable, to act in accordance with our expectations, and not to exploit our trust. This expectation is also a moral demand, which is why violations of trust are experienced not simply as disappointments but as betrayals.

Why do we think relationships are damaged when trust is absent? Taking a trusting view and acting on a trustful expectation can express respect and a commitment to reciprocity. It expresses respect, because it implies the presumption of fellow citizens and officials as being competent, basically decent and committed to fair play. And it reflects a commitment to reciprocity, insofar as we take the presumptive view of others we would like to have them take of ourselves. To be trust-responsive is respectful because it implies the right of others to make moral demands of us. In being trust-responsive we are also acting in a manner in which we hope others will act reciprocally.

Political trust is absent following war and repression. Deep distrust is the most typical and, indeed, reasonable attitude to adopt. In the midst of war, a presumptive lack of ill will can make one vulnerable to being killed. This is especially so when conflict is characterized by ethnic cleansing and genocide, as was the case in the Bosnian War. One of the central aims of processes of political reconciliation is to establish conditions where it becomes reasonable to presume the at least basic decency and competence of officials and citizens, and to expect that officials and citizens will prove trust-responsive.

Reactions to the Karadzic trial demonstrate that reconciliation among Bosnians is distant, in part because they point to the absence of conditions that would make such trust as a default response reasonable. One necessary condition for the presumption of the absence of ill will to be reasonable is acknowledgement of past wrongdoing. Acknowledgement entails recognizing past actions and recognizing them as morally wrong. Acknowledgement communicates where the lines for permissible and impermissible conduct should be drawn, and the recognition of such lines on the part of those who are doing the acknowledging. It can provide some evidence of the absence of a desire or intention to harm those previously harmed, and a basic knowledge of how members of a political community should interact.

A commonly shared view of the reactions to the Karadzic trial and verdict is that they reflect “the same ideas pervading local politics.”[6] Among prominent Bosnian Serbs, reactions to the conviction cast doubt on the justice of the verdict, by calling into question the impartiality and competence of the ICTY, characterizing Karadzic as a hero unjustly targeted and victimized by such proceedings, and focusing on crimes against the Serbs that have so far gone unpunished.[7] In the words of President of the War Veterans Association of Republika Srpska, Milomir Savicic, “’I am disappointed with the justification of the verdict. That draconian punishment is based on very weak evidence.’”[8] Mladen Bosić, head of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), stated “The Hague tribunal has once again shown that it is a political court, the politically based verdicts were handed down to all Serb leaders from Serbia, [Bosnia’s autonomous] Republika Srpska and Croatia.”[9]

What is telling is what such reactions omit. Setting aside the question of Karadzic’s particular role, missing from such statements is any recognition that Serbian forces committed any wrongdoing whatsoever during the Bosnian War. Instead, there is scepticism expressed about the evidence of killing, torture, mass rapes and genocide – scepticism which can be interpreted as denial that such wrongs took place. By providing no evidence of acknowledgement of wrongdoing, such reactions also provide no evidence that it is reasonable to believe similar wrongdoing will not happen again in the future.

Such reactions also compound the already deep scepticism among victims and members of their families about the possibility of ever witnessing proper acknowledgement of the wrongs committed. For many Bosnian Muslims, reactions have reflected consternation about the genocide count on which Karadzic was acquitted and the message which that acquittal sent, objection to the limited duration of the sentence, and worries about the trial ultimately being interpreted as vindicating or justifying the actions of Serbs. A mother and widow from Srebrenica, Hatidza Mehmedovic, complained, “This judgment is a reward for Karadžić.”[10] Saja Coric from Mostar reacted, “The whole of Republika Srpska is like a mass grave… we are still searching for our kids… and they claim this is not genocide.”[11] Prior to the verdict, Mirsad Duratovic, who survived the Omarska concentration camp, stated, “’If the judges fail to convict Karadžić for genocide in 1992 in Prijedor, it will be a slap in the face of the victims. Everything else will be a reward for Karadzic and Republika Srpska.’”[12] Underlying such reactions is the anticipation of disappointment and the expectation of continuing denial with respect to the wrongs done and the causes of such wrongdoing.

Such divided reactions also point to important limits to the contributions criminal trials on their own can make to political reconciliation. Trials of individual perpetrators cannot by themselves establish the conditions under which trust of fellow citizens and officials become reasonable. Establishing such post-war conditions requires examining the ideologies, institutions and norms that made possible normalized collective and political wrongdoing, as well as the consequences of past wrongdoing, such as ethnic cleansing, that impede political interaction predicated on respect and reciprocity.[13]

The author is a Professor of Law, Philosophy and Political Science as well as Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is author of the books ‘The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice’ (Cambridge University Press, 2016, forthcoming), and ‘A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation’ (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

[1] I thank John Tasioulas and Riada Ašimović Akyol for their comments on an earlier draft.

[2] Nidzara Ahmetasevic, “The Radovan Karadzic verdict will change nothing,” Al Jazeera March 26, 2016,

[3] For an overview of different senses of reconciliation see Linda Radzik and Murphy, Colleen, “Reconciliation”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),

[4] See Colleen Murphy, A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

[5] Karen Jones, “Trust as an Affective Attitude,” Ethics 107 (1996), 4-25.

[6] Ahmetasevic, “The Radovan Karadzic verdict.”

[7] Julian Borger, “Radovan Karadžić’s sentence for Bosnia genocide exposes continuing divisions,” March 24, 2016,

[8] Denis Dzidic, “Karadzic Verdict: Mixed Reactions Reflect Divided Bosnia,” Balkan Insight, March 24, 2016,

[9] Julian Borger and Owen Bowcott, “’Is the tribunal not ashamed?’ Karadžić sentence angers victims,” The Guardian, March 24, 2016,

[10] Borger, “Radovan Karadžić’s sentence.”

[11] Dzidic, “Karadzic Verdict.”

[12] Borger and Bowcott, “’Is the tribunal not ashamed?’

[13] On this see Colleen Murphy, The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).