Matthew B. Parelman
In 2009 I graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the George Washington University with both a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature and in International Affairs with a concentration in Europe and Eurasia. Curiosity about my family’s ancestry led me down the path to Russian scholarship. While in High School I developed an interest in international politics and history and began reading imperial-era and Soviet-era literature. I spent my junior year of college abroad studying in St. Petersburg and fell in love with the city, its people and its culture. I was particularly fascinated with the inner workings of Russian government and audited courses on comparative government administration at St. Petersburg State Pedagogical University.
While studying in St. Petersburg, I wrote a research paper on the changes in campaign legislation and its effects on recent Russian Duma and presidential elections. My current research will allow me to return to the theme of law and government in Russia as I explore the changes to the judiciary structure and the attitudes of judges and lawyers who work within it.
The Fulbright Fellowship will give me the chance to study in St. Petersburg, the judicial capital of the Russian Federation, from 2009-2010. I will study Russian with the help of the Critical Language Enhancement Award as well as conduct interviews with professors of law, attorneys working in St. Petersburg and judges from a variety of courts within the Leningrad Oblast. The goal of my project is to get a firsthand account of the progress of judicial reform from those within the court system and to analyze what would be necessary to realize President Medvedev’s ideal of an independent judicial system.