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MEDIA CONTACT:   Polly Burks

FAU’s Jack Miller Forum Speakers Series Opens with Lecture about the Russian Experience with Democracy

BOCA RATON (October 16, 2008) – The emergence of democracy from empire is a central component of any account of the American Revolution and the establishment of the young Federal Republic. In this sense, the core principles of the founding are as relevant to questions of international security and the rule of law today as they were for those who contested the Atlantic Empire during the eighteenth century.  

In keeping with its central mission to recover the foundational principles of the American experiment in democracy, Florida Atlantic University’s Jack Miller Forum for Civics Education will present the lecture “Post-Soviet Experience with Democracy: The Success and Failure of Transition” on Wednesday, October 29 at 1 p.m. in the General Classrooms South Building, room 118, on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. The lecture, which will be presented by Renat Shaykhutdinov of FAU’s political science department, is free and open to the public.  

The Russian experience with democracy is inextricably connected to the developments in other parts of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe. Yet, despite the centuries-long common history of post-communist countries, the second decade of their political and economic transition is ending with an astounding variety of results and experiences. During this talk, different paths of democratic transition will be examined and their determinants explored. The implications of the state of democracy in the region and the possible policy prescriptions for improving and sustaining the democratic transition will also be addressed in this presentation. Thus, the Russian example will afford students the perfect opportunity to consider the nature of a strong and weak Democracy, and an opportunity to reflect on the foundations necessary for a flourishing civic life in free societies.

Shaykhutdinov came to FAU in 2007 from Texas A&M University where he received his Ph.D. He earned his B.A. degrees in political science, international relations and sociology from the University of Bosphorus, Turkey. Shaykhutdinov’s teaching and research interests include comparative and international politics, ethnic conflict, research methods, power-sharing arrangements, and the politics of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

The lecture is the first of five to be presented this school year by the Jack Miller Forum at FAU. Future lectures include “Democracy without Democrats: The Turkish Experience” on Wednesday, November 26 at 1 p.m., “Cynicism and Sincerity in a Democratic Society” on Monday, February 16 at 1 p.m., “History at Your Fingertips: What Wikipedia, Google, Email Mean to Students,” on Monday, March 16 at 1 p.m. and “The Future of Conservatism” on Friday, April 17 at 1 p.m.

The Jack Miller Forum, which is organized by the department of political science in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, is a three-year initiative funded by the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History.   The Miller Center provides a wide variety of resources to its partner faculty who are working to strengthen the teaching of America’s founding principles and history on college campuses across the United States.

For more information about the Jack Miller Forum at FAU, visit or call 561-297-3212.

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