Stoddard to open series examining Russia

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Russia is the focus of the 2011 winter lecture series at the Unitarian Church, 6300 A St.

The series, "Russia and the Post-Soviet States" is free and open to the public, offering lectures 7 to 9 p.m., Sundays, Jan. 23 to March 13. The lecture series is also a one-credit seminar or three-credit independent study course (AGRO 496-002/AGRO 896-002) at UNL, taught by Charles Francis, professor of agronomy and horticulture.

Robert Stoddard, professor emeritus of geography, will open the series on Jan. 23. He will discuss the geography of Russia and the former Soviet Union.

The series is especially poignant, as widespread fires in 2010 have drastically reduced harvests of crucial cereal grains in the region. The shortfall opens potentials for exports from Nebraska. The region remains a dynamic and volatile part of the world. Continuing political crises threaten much of the energy supply for Europe and Russia's large nuclear arsenal and global ambitions continue to influence United States foreign policy.

Other lectures in the series:

Jan. 30 - James McClelland, associate professor emeritus of history, will discuss Soviet and Russian history.

Feb. 6 - No session

Feb. 13 - Bill Gleason, coordinator of Eurasian studies in the U.S. Department of State, will discuss relationships between Russia and the post-Soviet states, focusing on Russian-Ukrainian relations.

Feb. 20 - Kyle Scott, director of the Office of Russian Affairs with the U.S. Department of State, will discuss relations between Russia and the United States.

Feb. 27 - Bruce Garver, professor of history at UNO, will discuss the nations of eastern Europe once called the Soviet block nations and their relationships with Russia.

March 6 - Michele Commercio, assistant professor of political science at the University of Vermont, will discuss the former Soviet republics in Asia and their relationships with Russia.

March 13 - A dinner and discussion about Russia (requires advance registration, begins at 6 p.m.).