I received my B.A. summa cum laude in History in 1980, M.A. in Public Administration in 1982, and Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs in 1984, all from the University of Virginia.  My first full time teaching appointment was at the Monterey Institute, now the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where in 1987 I founded the Center for Contemporary Russian Studies.

In 1989 and 1990, as an Intern
ational Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, I served as special assistant for policy in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs in the U.S. Department of State.  While in the Soviet Union
as temporary political attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, I monitored local elections in Russia, Belarus, and Latvia. I later returned to Russia as a private citizen to serve as staff consultant to the municipal research and training center Dialog, and advisor to the mayor of the Russian city of Novgorod the Great.

My postdoctoral awards include two Fulbright awards (one to Russia in 1996-1997 and one to Ukraine in 2013-2014), a Thornton D. Hooper International Affairs Fellowship at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, as well as research awards from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington, D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In the spring of 2021, I was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna in Italy. As of January 2024, I am a 
Senior Washington Fellow at the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy.

In 1997
Novgorod State University awarded me an honorary doctorate for "great merit in the development of the University and an outstan
ding contribution to the Science, Culture and Education of the Land of Novgorod." In 2007, 2013, 2014, and 2015 I participated in the Valdai Discussion Club, an international gathering of journalists, academics, and diplomats specializing on Russia who meet annually with that country’s top political leadership. In 2008 I spoke at the first international security conference of the Ukrainian Forum in Kiev, hosted by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. From 2017-2019 I held the University of Rhode Island's biennial Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Nonviolence and Peace Studies. I am a Member of the Board of the Simone Weil Center and the American Committee for U.S.-Russian Accord.

I have published in The American Conservative,
The American Interest,
Asia Times, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, The ConversationForeign Policy, The International New York Times, The Guardian (UK), Responsible Statecraft, The Wilson QuarterlyThe Nation, The National Interest, the Harvard International Review, and the Yale Journal of International Affairs. My articles in Russian have appeared in some of the country's leading social science journals and newspapers.

My books include, The Tragedy of Ukraine: What Classical Greek Tragedy Can Teach Us About Conflict Resolution (De Gruyter, 2023),
Crafting Democracy: How Novgorod has Coped with Rapid Social Change (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy: An Interpretation of Political Culture (Harvard, 1995), and Russian Foreign Policy: From Empire to Nation-State, co-authored with the late Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Longman, 1997).