Visit Russia (2016 - 2017)

The 2016-2017 academic year at Kennesaw State University was the Year of Russia. For the 32nd annual country study program, the University hosted a series of guest speakers, conferences, art exhibits, and other cultural activities throughout the year designed to promote a deeper appreciation for and understanding of Russia and its people.

KSU Global Education also wants to thank students in Professor Carole Mauge-Lewis's Design Practicum (ART 4030) for their efforts designing The Year of Russia's marketing materials. This year's logo was designed by student Colette Leima.

VIEW 2017 EVENT SCHEDULE year of home
Year of Russia logo 2016 - 2017.

Photo Gallery

This page features images captured during Year of Russia events. To view our assorted galleries, simply view the button below.

view photo galleries

Russia Events

  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016
    12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
    Carmichael Student Center University Rooms
    Kennesaw Campus

    No cost to attend!

    Featuring performances of classical Russian music and dance as well as examples of authentic Russian cuisine, the Year of Russia Day served as an introduction to Russia's culture and to Kennesaw State University's Annual Country Study Program, which has promoted knowledge and understanding of the world's cultures for more than 30 years.

    Meet the Musicians

    All musicians of Balalaika Fantasie are members of the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra. Balalaika Fantasie was joined by guest singer Zhanna Ivanovskay from Minsk. 

    Angelina Galashenkova-Reed (domra) has toured the world as a soloist with the Andreyev Russian Folk Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Russia, performing with them at Carnegie Hall’s 100th anniversary. A virtuoso of the three-string domra, she is a winner of Russia’s prestigious “Cup of the North” competition, and holds the title of “Laureate of International Competitions of Professional Folk Artists.” Immigrating to the U.S. in 2001, she has had numerous solo appearances, most notably at Spivey Hall, and is the concertmaster and domra soloist of the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra. Angelina performs in the domra-guitar duo, 9 String Theory.

    David C. Cooper (balalaika, domra, vocals) has been recognized by Russian virtuosi for his artistry as a balalaika soloist. Pennsylvania-born, Mr. Cooper is an authority on Russian folk instruments (he plays them all), studied conducting and performance at the Glier Institute of Kiev, Ukraine, and is the artistic director and conductor of the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra. Mr. Cooper’s diverse talents also make him in demand in jazz, Klezmer and steel drum ensembles.

    Alla Melnik (bayan, vocals) is a Ukrainian-born bayan soloist who received her music degree from the Kiev University of Arts and Culture. She has performed and taught bayan, music theory and piano throughout Ukraine. Alla has a vast repertoire of folk, classical and popular music, frequently appearing in concerts and festivals. She frequently performs bayan solos with the Atlanta Balalaika Society.

    Gregory Carageorge has been a professional contrabass balalaika and string bass player for over thirty years, performing in numerous ethnic music groups such as the Berkeley, CA based Klezmorim and Troika Balalaikas, The Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival, and several very popular touring Greek folk music bands. He was the leader of the house band at New York’s Russian Tea Room, and has appeared with numerous folk, bluegrass, and jazz ensembles.

    Irene Perloff McCullough (alto domra) has performed in Russian folk music ensembles in Boston and Detroit and Atlanta, and balalaika-guitar duo, “Russian Romance.”

    Kiril Chernoff (alto balalaika) grew up playing balalaika with the Atlanta Balalaika Society and plays prima balalaika in addition to alto balalaika. He is also a scholarship winner with the Balalaika and Domra Association of America.


    'Taste of Russia'

    Attendees of the Year of Russia Day had the chance to sample a full menu of authentic Russian cuisine. Prepared by KSU Catering, the 'Taste of Russia' menu included the following items:

    • Russian Blini with Caviar and Crème Fraiche
    • Shashlik (Beef on a stick)
    • Piroshki (Dumpling filled with cheese or potato)
    • Marinated Onion Salad
    • Variety of Pickled Vegetables
  • Want to continue your exploration of Russian history and culture beyond Kennesaw State University's programming? Check out these other events around the Atlanta!

    Tusovka Festival

    4th Russian Festival Tusovka

    September 18, 2016

    12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    3885 Browns Bridge Road
    Cumming, Georgia30041

    All are welcome to join our family-friendly festival. Enjoy entertainment, live music, International and Russian cuisine, crafters/vendors, games, activities for kids, prizes and more! Admission is free, parking $5. Rain or shine!

    Atlanta Balalaika Society

    Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra 35th Anniversary Concert

    October 22, 2016

    7:30 PM

    Roswell Cultural Arts Center
    950 Forrest St., Roswell, GA 30075

  • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    Bailey Performance Center
    Morgan Hall
    8:00 PM
    $12 - $15

    The Year of Russia's closing event was a concert featuring authentic Russian folk music performed by the Atlanta Balalaika Society. Formed in 1981 by a group Balalaika aficianados, the Atlanta Balalaika Society is one of the most highly-regarded orchestras of Russian folk instruments outside of Russia, and is the primary promoter of Russian folk culture in the Southeast.

    It's original ensemble was led by Charley Rappaport, a professional musician who grew up in New York City’s environment of Eastern European folk culture, and co-founded several Russian folk music groups, as well as the Balalaika and Domra Association of America.

    The make-up of today’s Atlanta Balalaika Society reflects the cultural richness of Atlanta’s vibrant international community. In addition to American-born musicians, the orchestra includes members born in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Latvia and Sweden. The orchestra’s large audience also reflects Atlanta’s international character, with many languages being overheard during their concert intermissions!

    visit The Atlanta Balalaika Society

Film Series

The Year of Russia Film Series included two weeklong screenings of Russian films, one in the fall and another in the spring. Below you will find information about each of the films that make up the film series.

Note: The film screenings are only open to Kennesaw State students, faculty, and staff.

  • Directed by Timur Bekmambetov


    Loosely based on the novel The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, this fantasy-thriller is set in present-day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle.

  • Directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev


    In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family. Won the 2014 Cannes Film Festival award for Best Screenplay, was awarded the best film of the year at the 2014 London Film Festival and the 45th International Film Festival of India. It won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards.

  • Directed by Emil Loteanu


    Famous for its music, especially the Wedding Waltz, the films narrator and tender beast title character is a weak and corrupted count who falls in love with a 17 year old femme fatal. Her first appearance in the film in front of three men, the principal players of the future drama, makes you understand why all three literally lost their minds and would pay any price to have and to
    keep her.

  • Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov


    One of only a few Soviet era films to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this World War II tale shows the effects of the country’s upheaval on an idealistic young couple who are torn apart.

  • Directed by Yusup Razykov


    A witty and poetic story of Iskander, a poor cart man who leads an almost idyllic village life with his three wives, yet finds himself at the center of events that greatly impact his marital life, family relations and position in society. The Orator takes place in the 1920s, at the dawn of Soviet power in Uzbekistan. The Orator is crucially concerned with gender, specifically the early-Soviet reform of Uzbek women's rights and marriage policies.

  • Directed by Gabe Polsky


    A feature documentary about the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. Told from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the story portrays his transformation from national hero to political enemy. The film examines how sport mirrors social and cultural movements and parallels the rise and fall of the Red Army team with the Soviet Union.

  • Directed by Alexandr Mitta


    The artistic and political revolution of early 19th century Russia is mythologized in this kitschy screen folklore ballad of a film about the complex relationship between two artistic geniuses. The story is based on real events which occurred at the time of Chagall's short-lived period in Vitebskin in 1917-18, during which time he creates the Academy of Modern Art, inspired by his dreams of a bright and beautiful future.

  • Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov


    This film depicts the story of a senior Red Army officer and his family during the Great Purge of the late 1930s in the Stalinist Soviet Union. Like a tragedy by Sophocles, Burnt by the Sun takes place over the course of one day. The film received the Grand Prize at the 1994 Cannes Film  Festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

  • Directed by Sergei Bodrov Sr.


    This film illustrates the conflicting views between traditional Chechen culture and Russian warfare. The personal confrontation between two Russian soldiers and their Chechen captors is the main theme of the film, which was shot in the mountains of Dagestan. Awarded a Crystal Globe at the 1996 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and the same year was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

  • Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky


    A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find an enigmatic and sometimes
    dangerous space of consciousness manifest in a room that grants wishes in this surreal humanist  drama. The figure of the Stalker becomes a symbol of this desire, and he leads us through Tarkovsky’s journey to the heart of darkness.

U.S. - Russia Relations in Global Context International Symposium

In conjunction with KSU’s Year of Russia Program, the primary focus of this interdisciplinary symposium was to examine Russia’s international relations in order to promote increased understanding of today’s complex, interdependent world. Due to the storied history of U.S. - Russia relations over the last century - epitomized by the Cold War era, an often adversarial period resulting in numerous third world proxy wars - there is great need for new perspectives that work to identify areas for collaboration in joint problem-solving efforts.

    • The Legacy of the Cold War
    • Russia and the U.S. in an Emerging Multipolar World
    • NATO and European Perspectives on Russia
    • Russia and its Near Abroad
    • EurAsEC, CSTO, SCO, & BRICS: Alternatives to Rejoining the West
    • Russia and the Middle East
    • Global Fight Against Terrorism
    • Arms Control and Weapons Proliferation Issues
    • Ethnicity, Diversity, Identity, Mobility, and Migration
    • Demographic Trends in the Post-Soviet Space
    • Resource Governance including Food, Water and Energy Security
    • Global Warming, Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability
    • The Role of Business and Government Policy in Joint Problem-Solving (Privatization and Regulation)
    • Collaborative Efforts in Education, Science and Technology
    • Public Health, Pandemics, Humanitarian Response, and Emergency Preparedness
    • Media Arts and Diplomacy
  • Andrei Tsygankov

    Andrei P. Tsygankov

    Professor at the departments of Political Science and International Relations at San Francisco State University. He teaches Russian/post-Soviet, comparative, and international politics since August 2000. A Russian native, Tsygankov is a graduate of Moscow State University (Candidate of Sciences, 1991) and University of Southern California (Ph.D., 2000).

    Tsygankov is a contributor to both Western and Russian academia. In the West, he co-edited collective projects, and he published National Identity and Foreign Economic Policy in the Post-Soviet World (2001), Russia's Perception of American Ideas after the Cold War (2004), Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy (2009), and Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin (2012), as well as many journal articles. Tsygankov also published well-received textbook Russia’s Foreign Policy (2006, the second edition, 2010, the third edition, 2013). In Russia, his best known books are Modern Political Regimes (1996), Russian Science of International Relations (2005, co-edited with Pavel Tsygankov, also published in Germany and China), Sociology of International Relations (2006, co-authored with Pavel Tsygankov, also published in China), and International Relations: Traditions of Russian Political Thought (2013).

    Tsygankov spoke at various forums at Berkeley, Stanford, World Affairs Council, and other venues in the Bay Area and outside, and he contributed to Asia Times, Los Angeles Times, Moscow Times, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Voice of Russia, and other media publications. Tsygankov consulted various publishers and state agencies, and he served as Program Chair of International Studies Association (ISA), 2006-07. ISA has well over three thousand members in North America and around the world and is the largest scholarly association in this field.

    William Hill

    Professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College is a retired foreign service officer and an expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union, east-west relations, and European multilateral diplomacy. He served two terms – January 2003-July 2006 and June 1999-November 2001 – as Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, where he was charged with negotiation of a political settlement to the Transdniestrian conflict and facilitation of the withdrawal of Russian forces, arms, and ammunition from Moldova. During his foreign service career Dr. Hill has served in Moscow, Leningrad, Belgrade, the U.S. CSCE delegation in Vienna, and Dhaka. He is a former Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute and is a Professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College in Washington DC.

    Victoria Smolkin

    Victoria Smolkin

    Assistant Professor of Russian History at Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut). Her book, titled A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism, is forthcoming with Princeton University Press in 2018.  Her work has been supported by the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies Fellowship at Princeton University, the Social Science Research Council Eurasia Post-Doctoral Research Award, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship in Religion and Ethics, and the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, among others. She is currently working on a book on the religious factor in the Cold War, titled The Crusade Against Godlessness: Religion, Communism, and the Cold War. In 2014-2015, she was a Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C.

    Phil Breedlove

    General “Phil” Breedlove

    Recently joined the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech after retiring as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the US European Command Commander. In these capacities, he commanded all US and Allied troops in Afghanistan, Kosovo as well as all NATO operations across Europe and the Mediterranean. During his career, he was responsible for Air Forces activities, in an area of operations covering more than 19 million square miles and 105 countries. As a Distinguished Professor, he works with faculty, staff and students on security issues and policy, further he facilitates a number of projects, classes and presentations to advance these same thoughts. General Breedlove brings a wealth of both deep and recent experience in our world’s toughest security and policy issues as well as leadership in situations spanning both peace and conflict.

    Questions: If you have any questions about the International Symposium, please contact Dr. Dan Paracka at or 470-578-6732.

Classes & Reference Guides

The following is a list of credit-earning courses that were offered as part of the Year of Russia. Each one addressed contemporary and historical issues relevant to Russia's diverse culture and important history.

  • POLS 4449: Russian Foreign Policy (CRN# 80694)

    TR 9:30-10:45 am
    Instructor: Dr. Tom Rotnem, Professor of Political Science


    HIST 3361: Themes in Slavic and Eastern European Studies (CRN# 81360)

    TR 11:00am-12:15 pm
    Instructor: Dr. Alice Pate, Professor of History


    ISD 3333/HON3301: Year of Russia (CRN# 80457)

    TR 12:30-1:45 pm
    Instructor: Dr. Dan Paracka, Professor of Education


    HIST 4490/01 Special Topics: Russian and Soviet Cinema (CRN# 81389)

    TR 2:00-3:15 pm
    Instructor: Dr. Katya Vladimirov, Professor of History


    ST 3379: Central Asia in World History (CRN# 81364)

    MW 8:00-9:15am
    Instructor: Dr. Hakki Gurkas, Associate Professor of History