Question: Dear Madam, This is Sumantra, from India. I am doing my Masters of International Studies, in University of Otago, and I previously completed my MA in Journalism.
My research interest is Russia, more specifically a resurgent Russia. I am interested to do a PhD on Russia too in the future.
For my MINST thesis, I am planning to look at the cause of the failure of the Russian-American rapprochement/reset during the Bush administration. I have read the book on Russian Foreign Policy by Jeffrey Mankoff, and on the South Ossetia War by Ronald Asmus, as some preliminary reading. Also the article on Foreign Policy, by Dmitri Trenin, called "Putin the Peacamaker?"... I am however not being able to get an appropriate heading/title of the thesis even though I have a broad idea on what I am planning to cover.
I thought of looking at the literature of detente/rapprochement/reset between Russia - US, and also simultaneously other great powers in history, how great power detente is/was different from superpower detente, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, was US genuinely serious about a reset, or was it just a tactical move after 9/11 as US needed a Central Asian foothold, which was not possible without Russia.
Since your esteemed institute is one of the best in International Relations, I thought of emailing you for some suggestions, if you kindly reply. I want to keep my thesis as balanced as possible, and for that Russian perspective is also very much needed.
Any advice from your side on that, or reading list, or material, or suggestion would be great! It would be really kind! Unfortunately I can't read Russian yet, though I am planning to learn, so if you give me any advice, or booklist suggestion, kindly tell me those which are in English. Looking forward to your reply! Thanks and regards.
The answer of Dean of Faculty of International Relations Irina N. Novikova: Thank you very much for your request. Concerning to your MINST thesis we can recommend you the following:
1) Russian-American "reset" announced several years ago should be reviewed much more widely. You are absolutely right stating that both South Osetia and Central Asia are the main problems in the politics of "reset." In addition, Anti-Missile Defense System in Europe, American policy in Afghanistan, Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, and now Syria are also should be under your sight.
2) Making your analysis, you can retrieve some papers by Russian experts who write for "Russia in Global Affairs" Journal. A good start is here.
3) In addition, follow please the publications of our experts who write for The Carnegie Foundation in Moscow.
4) More importantly, the question of "reset" is a hot question in American-Russian bilateral relationship due to future presidential elections in the United States and due to uncertain personal relations between Putin and Obama. We can recommend you to review and make your own analysis of primary documents relative to the nature of American-Russian relations located both within the web-page of the Department of State , and the documents of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance and of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in particular) and within the web-page of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Relations . Your own analysis will contribute to your own statements and conclusion about the official goals and intentions of both powers.
5) Finally, our suggestion for your future PhD thesis: a comрarative analysis between the Detente period in the American-Soviet Relations happened in 1970s and the Reseat period of 2000s can be a fascinating topic.
If you have further questions, I highly recommend you to get in touch with an Associate Professor at our School of International Relations Dr. Natalia Tsvetkova (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). She is a very good expert in this field and will be glad to answer.