It seems difficult to exaggerate the role played by Russia and the USSR in the modern era. Soviet Russia rightly claimed to be the world's first socialist country. For almost fifty years after its victory in World War II, the USSR along with the United States dominated world affairs as the other superpower. Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in l99l, Russia remains the dominant player in the international politics of the vast Eurasian continent.
Russians have given the world some of the greatest works of literature, art, and music. From epic novels such as War and Peace and Dr. Zhivago to the Nutcracker Suite and the revolutionary canvases of Kandinsky and Chagall, Russian cultural achievements have become world treasures.
Today, Russian Studies offers an unprecedented wealth of career opportunities. Relations between the Russian and American governments, businesses, professions, non-governmental organizations, and educational and cultural institutions are developing rapidly, and demand for people with language skills and a knowledge of the area is increasing.
With these considerations in mind, the College of Arts and Sciences at Villanova introduced the Russian Area Studies Concentration in l996: