My name is Blair Dunbar. I grew up in a relatively small, homogeneous suburb of Chicago called Geneva. I graduated from Northwestern University with a double major in History and Slavic Studies, and then spent nine months conducting research on minor peasant disturbances in Nizhny Novgorod on a Fulbright. After completing my Fulbright, I moved to Moscow, having received a job as a marketing/press specialist. I’ve lived here ever since.
This blog is my story—a collection of personal anecdotes, insights, and observations about Russia, its history, culture, and people, and my experience being a foreigner, both in the big city and the regions. My perspectives on Russian-US relations are undoubtedly unqiue and two-sided. I started working at RT (Russia Today) two months before the ODNI released its official report on Russian interference—seven pages of which was dedicated to RT. At the same time, I had been the recipient of a Fulbright from the US State Department, and, upon moving to Moscow, began volunteering with the American Center of the US Embassy in Moscow. Currently I devote a lot of my free time to Education USA Russia, a program funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs that prepares international students to become competitive applicants to US universities.
I am decidely American, but I love Russia. For me, both countries are home.
Russia often remains shrouded in mystery, an enigma that few people understand, often conflating the country with its politics and government leadership.
For those who have visited for an extended period, Russia is a bug. Once you catch it, you’ll never be fully cured. It will always be there beneath the surface, poking its way through to varying degrees for the rest of your life. You’re forever drawn to the country—whether because of its history, a favorite author, the politics, or even just a particular building or coffeeshop. I caught the bug the minute I first stepped foot on Leninsky Prospect, and my hope is that by sharing my stories, in the midst of the chaos, fury, and anxiety surrounding Russia and US relations, people can get a different perspective, an understanding not rooted in politics or movies or stereotypes. A perspective of people interacting with other people.
Of course, I hope the journey is entertaining. After all, it is Russia.