WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — More than 50,000 Russians and Americans have taken part in academic or professional exchanges during the past decade, according to the US Embassy in Moscow.
“Access to material is being restricted, or check on visa status and people being fined and deported to the country of thesis status,” Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) Deputy Director and former US Department of State advisor Jeff Mankoff stated on Monday at a discussion in Washington, DC, organized by Russia Direct. “All these things that have gone on for a long time, people coming in perhaps with the wrong credentials. It’s been sort of overlooked just because it was never a priority.”
The expert argued it is not Western sanctions that have hindered students from attending Russian educational programs, but rather the strained relations between Washington and Moscow have driven away learners interested in Russian studies.
“I think it’s sending a message to people who are aspiring to go into this field that Russia is a difficult place to work, that the cooling in relations are making Russian studies more difficult and that you should maybe focus somewhere else,” Mankoff said.
In January 2015, Russia’s Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, said relations between Russia and the United States are strained, but do not represent a return to Cold War antagonism.