For more than five decades Professor Robert Jones has watched Russia go from Brezhnev’s stifling communism to Putin’s remodeled dictatorship. Now he has written a book that recounts his experiences as a foreign observer living in Russia for months at a time and seeing Russia and Russians change from one visit to the next. He witnessed Russia’s decline under Brezhnev, Gorbachev’s reforms, the collapse of communism, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and Putin’s determination to restore the power of the Russian state at home and abroad. Over time he saw Russians lose faith in communism and turn to Russian history and, tradition.
Robert E. Jones is Professor Emeritus of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst. After receiving a Ph.D. from Cornell University, Professor Jones taught Russian and Eastern history at UMass for thirty-nine years, from 1968 to 2007. He served as Secretary of the Faculty Senate from 1983 to 1985 and as Chair of the History Department from 1990 to 1993. He also served as President of the New England History Teachers’ Association and as President of the New England Slavic Association.
In the course of his career Professor Jones has made twenty-six trips to the Soviet Union, the Russian Republic, and Ukraine. From 1987 through 1991 he organized and led seven UMass winter tours to the Soviet Union and subsequently accompanied Smithsonian Institution tours as a lecturer. He spent the spring 1994 semester as a visiting professor of history at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
He has published three books and twenty-two scholarly articles on Russian history and is a frequent participant in scholarly conferences in the United States and Europe.