As Alaskans mark 150 years since the US purchase of Russian-America, a vital part of that history is Alaska’s relationship with its Bering Strait neighbor. After 40 years of a Cold War “Ice Curtain,” Alaskan and Russian citizen diplomats opened the border and launched a 30-year era of perilous yet prolific progress, including numerous joint business ventures.
Longtime Alaskan and Russian expert, David Ramseur, has documented this era with a new book, Melting the Ice Curtain
, a story of how inspiration, courage, and persistence by citizen diplomats can bridge a widening gap in superpower relations. Ramseur will recap that era, Russia’s current business climate and discuss how its lessons are vital for Alaska and US-Russian relations today.
David Ramseur has just completed the book, Melting the Ice Curtain, the dramatic story of how inspiration, courage, and persistence by Alaskan and Russian citizen-diplomats stared down the Cold War to bridge a widening gap in superpower relations, a model sorely needed today. It was published by University of Alaska Press in June 2017.
Ramseur moved to Alaska in 1979 where he reported on politics and government in the state and national capitals for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and Anchorage Times. Beginning in 1986 for nearly 30 years, he served as press secretary, communications director, chief of staff, and foreign policy advisor to Alaska Governors Steve Cowper and Tony Knowles and to Anchorage Mayor and U.S. Senator Mark Begich.
Ramseur has visited the Soviet Union and Russia more than a dozen times starting with the Alaska Airlines’ “Friendship Flight” in 1988, and lived and worked in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in 1993. He has published numerous articles about Russia in Alaska newspapers and with the Kennan Institute, a leading Washington, D.C. Russian think tank.
He holds a bachelor’s in political science from the University of North Carolina Asheville and a master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri. Ramseur is a visiting scholar in public policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage's Institute of Social and Economic Research and board member of the Alaska World Affairs Council. He lives in Anchorage with his spouse, attorney Susan Wibker.
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