Volume XX Number 3 (May 2010)

By Uri Ra'anan

When, decades ago, I founded Perspective it was certainly not my intention that its life span should be limited to my active period at Boston University.  Had the periodical begun to falter, lost readership, or had its primary theme become less relevant to the contemporary scene, Perspective’s termination would have been inevitable.  However, no such symptoms of decline have been evident. On the contrary, Perspective’s impact appears to be widening steadily.

Surely, this was the consequence of the contributors’ ability to stay ahead uncannily of the Soviet and post-Soviet convulsions.   Early on, the periodical collected a team of American scholars and Russian analysts (many from the tiny ranks of the disproportionately brave opposition, at least one paying with her life).  The names of these contributors honor us all. 

Moreover, I had the good fortune to discover invaluable colleagues who increasingly shouldered the burdens of Perspective’s editorship and publication:  first, Kate Martin, then Susan Cavan.  They were assisted initially by Miriam Lanskoy, and then by Monika Shepherd.

We developed an outstanding team of graduate students, who became experts in specific aspects of the post-Soviet scene and went on, in many instances, to receive their doctorates in the same field.  These teams were enhanced significantly by the priceless aid of the U.S. Navy and, especially, the U.S. Air Force, which seconded outstanding officers to the Institute who contributed expertise on Russian defense issues.

Perspective was only one of the Institute’s products.  It published weekly bulletins electronically and on our website ( that consisted of detailed analyses of developments in the post-Soviet republics and held conferences that resulted in major publications, usually in book form.

The very existence of the Institute was made possible by two personalities: Mr. R. Daniel McMichael and Dr. John Silber, President Emeritus of Boston University.

As I enter retirement, my deep gratitude goes out to them, and to the colleagues who made our work possible.


Uri Ra’anan
Boston University
May 2010



Copyright ISCIP 2010
Unless otherwise indicated, all articles appearing in this journal have been commissioned especially
for Perspective.

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