Attention on Crimea Highlights Flux in Russia Studies

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Vasiliy Batanov, AFP, Getty Images

Russian troops stand guard at the Ukrainian navy headquarters, which they took over in Sevastopol, the Crimean capital, last week. Events in Crimea have brought Russia scholars back into the limelight after a hiatus following the end of the Cold War.

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Vasiliy Batanov, AFP, Getty Images

Russian troops stand guard at the Ukrainian navy headquarters, which they took over in Sevastopol, the Crimean capital, last week. Events in Crimea have brought Russia scholars back into the limelight after a hiatus following the end of the Cold War.

In the span of 12 minutes, Kimberly Marten smoothly explained why Russia’s takeover of Crimea was a bad idea, the concerns of its neighbors and trading partners, and why the conflict is unlikely to end in a large-scale war.

"Let me tell you something," said a visibly impressed Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show. "You should be a professor!"

Well, she is. But in her nearly 25-year academic career, Ms. Marten, a political scientist at Barnard College, has never