The Herbert J Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (REECAS)

The Ellison Center is an endowed, leading resource center which promotes in-depth interdisciplinary study of the many post-communist subregions.  Through our research and programs, we seek to understand the legacies of the imperial and communist past and analyze the emerging institutions and identities that will shape Eurasia’s future from Vienna to Vladivostok. This mission, which flows from Professor Herbert Ellison’s commitment to building sustainable connections with the diverse peoples of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, is strongly supported by the UW administration.

Long known only as the REECAS Center, the Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies was christened as such in 2004 to honor Dr. Ellison’s legacy with the generous financial support of the Ellison family and other program supporters.

As its long name indicates, the Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies region is expansive and diverse, counting 29 countries. REECAS countries include the following: Albania, Armenia. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

The Ellison Center offers Undergraduate Minor as well as a Master’s Degree in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies. We also offer an Accelerated REECAS MA to US Military Foreign Area Officers (FAOs). We sponsor lectures, conferences and exchanges covering the entirety of Eastern Europe and Eurasia; and we sustain a dynamic program of outreach to local schools, colleges and community organizations interested in our region. With over 60 participating UW faculty, the Ellison Center represents a unique intellectual resource for faculty, students and professionals living in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Professor Ellison served as a mentor to thousands of undergraduate and graduate students over 40 years. Instilling in them a love for the people and regions of the former Soviet Union and communist Europe, he devoted his career to the belief that educational exchange programs open doors and minds for all citizens of the world, and especially for those who long suffered behind the Iron Curtain.

Now, with public interest in Russia, East Europe and Central Asia higher than any time since the Soviet Union’s demise, the Ellison Center supports innovative research, student programs and community outreach to promote learning about this region of the world and carry on Herb Ellison’s legacy.

The Ellison Center is housed in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. See more about the Jackson School here, and Senator Henry M. Jackson here.


Professor Scott Radnitz


Scott RadnitzScott Radnitz is an Associate Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies and Director of the Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington. He has conducted research in Central Asia and the Caucasus since 2002. He received his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 2007, and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Belfer Center at Harvard and at the Kennan Institute. He does research on post-Soviet politics, covering topics such as protests, authoritarianism, identity, and state building. His book, Weapons of the Wealthy: Predatory Regimes and Elite-Led Protests in Central Asia, was published by Cornell University Press in 2010. His publications are included in Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Democracy, Post-Soviet Affairs, National Interest, Foreign Policy, and Slate. He is a member of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security (PONARS) in Eurasia, a participant in the Bridging the Gap Project at American University, and an advisory board member of the Central Asian Studies Institute at the American University of Kyrgyzstan.

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