Politics & Public Diplomacy in Contemporary Russia

Designed to give participants new insight into the country today, Contemporary Russia explores regional geopolitical developments and diplomacy, economic and political reforms under Vladimir Putin, the role of the mass media in society, and new cultural phenomena shaping today's Russia.


Please note that www.acrussiaabroad.org and all of its information will be moving to a new website. You can visit www.acstudyabroad.org/cr for up-to-date information about the program and many others.

While events in Russia since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union have often filled headlines and captured the attention of western observes, few have a full understanding of their meaning, their causes, and their larger social and historical contexts. This four-week summer program is designed to give participants new insights into Russia today. Through readings and intensive coursework in the form of lectures, seminars, and discussions conducted with faculty of Moscow International University, program participants gain a fuller understanding of the complex factors that have shaped Russia‚Äôs evolution since the Gorbachev regime and the final days of the USSR.  Topics include Russia under Putin; the conflict with Ukraine; sanctions and the Russian economy; the role of mass media; elections and opposition figures. All content courses are conducted in English.

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Content Courses

The academic program features approximately twenty hours per week of in-class instruction. Content courses are designed to give participants an in-depth understanding of some of the complex historical and cultural trends that have shaped Russia in the 21st Century. Topics include Russia under Putin; the conflict with Ukraine; sanctions and the Russian economy; the role of mass media; elections and opposition figures.

Language Instruction

As part of the academic program, participants receive five hours of instruction in Russian language each week. Participants are grouped according to language level for the Russian classes; no prior study of Russian is required.

Academic Credit

American Councils participants receive academic credit through Bryn Mawr College, an institutional member of American Councils. Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive 8-10 U.S. academic semester credits.



Students have the chance to meet for two hours per week with tutors recruited from Moscow International University and other universities. In addition to valuable academic support, the peer-tutoring program provides an important opportunity for participants to meet Russians in the increasingly fast-paced, cosmopolitan culture of Moscow.


Participants live in double-occupancy dormitory housing arranged by Moscow International University. Participants will receive two meals a day (breakfast and lunch) at one of the Moscow International University cafeterias.


The program includes weekly excursions to historically and culturally significant sites in Moscow. These excursions are considered part of the curriculum and attendance is mandatory for all participants. Typical Moscow excursions include a city tour, Red Square, Kremlin and Armory, Tretyakov Gallery; Cold War Bunker Museum; Novodevichy Cemetery and Monastery.
Support Services

Support Services

Pre-Departure Orientation

All participants receive thorough preparation materials and attend a virtual orientation. Orientation sessions address academics, health and safety, cultural issues, and emergency procedures.

Resident Director

A full-time resident director oversees the academic and cultural program; assists participants in academic, administrative and personal matters; and coordinates activities with the host institution faculty.

Emergency and Medical

While overseas, participants have access to in-country program staff that provide around-the clock emergency support. Additionally, participants receive comprehensive, overseas international medical insurance coverage for the duration of the program.


Application Deadline

February 15th

Program Dates

Friday, June 10 (depart USA) - Saturday, July 10, 2016



Summer 2016 Program Costs

Dormitory Housing:$1,000
Excursions and In-country travel:    $300
Health Insurance:$100
Visa Fee*: $300


Items not included in the program cost:
  • Domestic transportation to Washington, DC for pre-departure orientation: cost varies
  • International Airfare to/from Russia: approximately $1,000 - $1,500
  • Books and supplies: $150
  • Local transportation: $100
  • Meals not included in Board cost**: $250

*The visa fee will be waived for students who do not need a Russian visa to participate on the program (e.g. Russian passport holders). However, these students will be charged a $100 registration fee.

**Dinners are not included in the board cost.