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Series continues with talk on Russia
Anna Rulska, assistant professor of criminal justice at North Georgia College & State University, spoke Monday in Gainesville and Wednesday in Forsyth County. - photo by Tom Reed
Great Decisions 2010

• When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays
• Where: Hampton Park Library, 5345 Settingdown Road


• Week 4: The Persian Gulf
• Week 5: Peace building and conflict resolution
• Week 6: Global crime
Discussion of Russian identity, security and economy led up to the question that would take some great consideration.

“Can they still be considered a world power or are they a power in the world?” asked Anna Rulska, an assistant professor of political science at North Georgia College & State University.

Her query was intended to give the audience at the new Hampton Park library some “food for thought.”

Wednesday’s lecture, “Russia’s Foreign Policy Toward Its Neighbors,” was the third of six in the Great Decisions series, which focuses on topics of global concern.

The long-running national program is being presented locally in conjunction with the Dahlonega university.

Previous topics have included U.S.-China security relations and the global financial crisis. Next week’s lecture will be on the Persian Gulf.

Wednesday night, Rulska discussed the somewhat mysterious country that is the largest in area in the world.

Vernon Kuehn, one of about 45 in attendance, said he has had a curiosity about Russian politics since he grew up during “an era when Russia was the big worry, the big power.”

“You have to wonder now, who are they? Where are they going?” he said. “She did very well tonight in helping us get a feel for that.”

Kuehn said he’s come to all three lectures in the series so far and has enjoyed the different styles of each professor. He described Rulska as “down to earth.”

Rulska taught the audience about Russia’s background, from its negative population growth to its people’s happiness with somewhat corrupt political leaders, before moving into global politics.

She said Russia’s economy, the seventh largest in the world, depends on its exports of oil and gas, which makes it a key player in the world economy.

Whether Russia decides to “play nice” with other nations or the European Union usually depends on what it stands to gain in terms of power, she said.

During a question-and-answer segment, inquiries ranged from missiles and religion to health care.

Zack Elrod, a social studies teacher at South Forsyth High School, said he enjoys the opportunity to listen to experts in these fields. Rulska offered a “different perspective” on Russia’s world position.

“I’ve enjoyed the lecture series as a whole,” he said. “It’s very pertinent to the times.”