During the years when we were laying the foundation for the Russian-American Christian University (RACU) and during the university’s fifteen years of operation, I wrote a series of brief essays intended to educate RACU’s donors and other interested people about Russia’s fascinating history and culture. The essays covered the following topics: Russia’s rich legacy of literature and music, Soviet and post-Soviete ducation, religious life both during and after the Soviet period, bilateral diplomatic relations between the US and Russia, challenges facing Russian youth especially after the fall of Communism, and observations about Russia’s DNA cultural values. My goal was to help Americans gain an understanding of economic and security challenges facing Russia, challenges unlike anything we have experienced in the West.

As a private educational institution, one of the main goals of RACU was to become a bridge between our nations, a bridge that would allow the two-way movement of people and ideas as each nation learned about the other. As the political context became more restrictive and anti-Western attitudes were encouraged by the Putin government, it was not prudent to write essays about Russia’s domestic political life without causing problems for the university, so I avoided this subject.

I am looking forward to the time when Russians and Americans can once again open up the doors to each other and welcome a lively exchange of ideas, especially about building healthy societies in both countries that nurture human flourishing.