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James Schumaker
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Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and Russia Specialist
Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and Russia Specialist

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Notable Poisonings in the Soviet Union and Russia 1921-2016
Andrew Kramer wrote an interesting article in the New York Times today detailing the rise of suspected state-sponsored poisonings of opponents of the Kremlin.  Kramer's survey goes back to 1978, which seems pretty far, but there is actually much more before...

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Chernobyl
Today is the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl, the worst nuclear plant disaster in history.  I was stationed in Leningrad at the time, while my future wife, Tanya, was living in Kiev. The disaster had profound effects on both of us, though in different ways.  ...

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Rusty Hughes 1945-2016
Morris "Rusty" Hughes, a longtime Foreign Service colleague and friend, passed away on January 9, 2016 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  A Vietnam veteran, he will be buried in Arlington Cemetery.  Here are some of my recollections of Rusty, ...

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Rusty Hughes 1945-2016
Morris "Rusty" Hughes, a longtime Foreign Service colleague and friend, passed away on January 9, 2016 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  A Vietnam veteran, he will be buried in Arlington Cemetery.  Here are some of my recollections of Rusty, ...

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Baker Meets with Shevardnadze in Irkutsk and Moscow, August 1-3, 1990 (excerpt from Chapter 11.11, Moscow 1989-1991)
Baker-Shevardnadze
in Irkutsk , August 1-2, 1990 . Starting with the Wyoming Ministerial in September, 1989, Secretary Baker and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze increasingly
took the opportunity to meet in unusual places outside of Moscow and Washington , DC ...

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Storming the Russian White House, October 4, 1993 (ISCA 1992-1994)
ADST recently published Wayne Merry's account of the storming of the Russian White House  on October 4, 1993.  Here is an account of my view of the crisis from Washington, or at least, from the Russia Desk and the Operations Center, which I hope will be use...

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Spike Dubs (excerpt from Moscow 1977-1979)
Spike Dubs. In early 1978, the situation in Afghanistan was becoming increasingly unstable.  Mohammed
Daoud was overthrown in a Communist coup that April and the country gradually
moved to the center of U.S. attention.  By late 1978, the Department
was scou...

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Harry Gilmore and the Yugoslav Desk (1974)
Harry Gilmore passed away on April 23 (his Washington Post obituary is here .  As Yugoslav Desk Officer back in 1974, he was my very first boss in the Foreign Service, when I was marking time between language training and going out to my first assignment in...

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50 th Reunion Class Speech – As delivered [ad lib on crashing tables and chairs] -- It’s great to be back at MICDS, and I’m particularly
happy to see so many here from the Country Day Class of 1965.  By my count, more than half of us who
graduated fifty yea...
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